Love it or hate it, bullfighting is deeply imbedded in Spanish culture – although perhaps for not much longer, as the animal rights groups are slowly but surely upsetting this once all pervading so called “sport”.
There is a strong police presence in Spain. We often see various police forces stationed at roundabouts monitoring and stopping drivers, police patrolling the streets and beaches, police at public events large and small and patrol cars making nightly rounds. Catalonia has its own police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra which protects the 7 million people who live in the region and its own Police Academy, the ISPC (Institut de Seguretat Pública de Catalunya) located near Barcelona.
Gin and tonic tastes a million times better with home-grown lemons. Trust me, I’ve tried it, so have the neighbours! So, finding my four-foot lemon tree dripping with fruit when I arrived at my Costa Brava villa this week was a real treat, at least for me and the wife, who enjoy a sundowner. The children – three year old Clemence, six year old Harry and nine year old Maddy – were more excited about slurping away on their all-time favourite drink, chocolate flavoured Cacaolat, which you don’t get in the UK. I think the youngest can see off a carton in under 10 seconds now.
Catalonia has a culture of its own and at this time of the year it celebrates a small creature which lives in the sea – the sea urchin. For the last 20 years, the town of Palafrugell has organised an important gastronomic event called La Garoinada. Sea urchins have many different names throughout Catalonia, but Palafrugell is the only place that calls sea urchins “garoines.”