It's our first full day in Spain. With the weather delay (I-15 washed out due to flooding) and the delay in our flight to Toronto (I don't know why, you'd have to check with Air Canada on that one), it added something like 15 hours to our trip, boosting that total to a whopping 36 hours en route. Yeah, we're a little whooped.
So we heard it was Catalonia Day today in Barcelona, we thought, oh! That's cool! They are celebrating their "State" holiday, we'll just sort of hang around the vicinity of our hotel and watch the festivities. (We just so happened to be in Australia on their National Australia Day a few years ago, and loved it, we thought perhaps it might be the same kind of thing ~ with bands playing and parades, etc.) Oh wow, we had no idea.
All day long we've been seeing throngs of people dressed in yellow and red shirts, or red and yellow shirts, carrying and waving and wearing red and yellow striped flags. I'm thinking everybody here has lots of spirit.
Now we're more educated. We've learned that this is a recently organized event (started in 2009) as part of the movement for Catalonia to gain Independence from Spain. There are 1.5 million people gathered in the streets right now, (including the street in front of our hotel), all dressed in yellow and red and carrying flags.
Don't you think it's sort of ironic that we spent 36 hours to get to Spain, only to spend the first day here in Barcelona with 1.5 million of our newest best Catalonian friends who are petitioning to disengage themselves from Spain???
I have to say, I'm impressed with the organization of this whole deal. Mr. C is reading online that they have employed 15,000 charter buses to get people here from outside Barcelona. So there are several million people in attendance, I think the 1.5 number is for the actual participants, who are lined up in red and yellow striped sections to imitate their "Independence" flag, which is red and yellow striped. And they've formed a "V" on the two major streets of Barcelona to represent the vote taking place in November.
I am pleased to tell you that we just so happen to be tucked into our 5th floor hotel room with our balcony windows thrown wide, where we are watching and listening to all the hoopla. 1.5 million people can create some noise, let me tell you! It's impressive.
This whole thing underscores one of my basic theories of travel. You just never know what you're going to find when you get there ~ and that's why you go!