girona22 graben 170Only a few months after the language course in Benidorm (November 2021), we were surprised to hear that another Spanish language course would be held from 24th – 30th April in Girona! I was a bit surprised when I heard where it would take place!

Girona is in Catalonia, and there, in contrast to the capital Barcelona, they really do speak "catalá". My Spanish friends were also very amused that I should undertake to learn Spanish here. But the "real" Catalans also speak Spanish, and many people who have moved here from other regions of Spain speak Spanish anyway, even if they often speak Catalan in everyday life.

But separatism is alive: Everywhere in the region you can see the Catalan flags, slogans like "Indepedencia", yellow ribbons as a symbol of solidarity with the imprisoned / convicted Catalan politicians.

Girona is a city with about 100,000 inhabitants, situated in the very northeast of Spain near the French border. Probably because it is not on the coast, it is often bypassed by tourists. But it is a city worth seeing, with a beautiful old town and equally beautiful surroundings at the foot of the Pyrenees.

girona22 calle 300The hotel was located in the middle of the city, and was a modern one, but one of the very simple kind. Breakfast was served in a neighbouring café. This is common in Spain, breakfast in the hotel is only available in the tourist areas. Many locals also had breakfast in this café.

The courses took place in an educational institution half an hour away on foot. Part of the route could also be done by bus.

The number of participants this time was lower than in the times before Corona.That's why the courses were smaller than before. Sure, you can't learn that much in 4*4 hours. But we could also speak Spanish with the teachers during the breaks, at meals, on excursions, with the Spanish twinners who joined us from time to time, and also with each other (besides Germans and French, there was also a Pole and an Italian with whom I could only converse in Spanish).

girona22 see 300The excursions took us to Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava, just under 40 km distant from Girona, and to the lake of Bayones, only 15 km away. Both are very picturesque places. Wednesday was the day for the full day excursion where we visited the Salvador Dalí Museum in Figueres.

But then events took a sudden turn: On Thursday morning, the organizer reported being corona positive. Within hours, others followed until finally half of the participants tested positive. I left early on Friday because I was afraid that I would have to go into quarantine in Spain if I tested positive, and had myself tested at home (negative). But my fear was unfounded: nobody was asked for test results and everyone was able to travel home by plane, train and car without any problems. Corona was hardly a topic in Spain. The participants that had tested positive voluntarily stayed in quarantine in the hotel until their departure, so that on Friday there were almost no classes, and only with very few of us took part in the farewell evening.

Nevertheless, the experience was enjoyable, and possibly unique. I spoke a lot of Spanish, learned a bit, and also discovered a little of non-touristic Catalonia. I can highly recommend these Spanish courses and I will be there again next time.

Wolfgang Mörler
Association of Darmstadt
Germany

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