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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Barcelona: Knowing The Language

If anyone thought that getting from one part of a Tube station to another, negotiating all those passageways and flights of steps, was tiresome, then they had never had to do the same thing in Barcelona. Where the Metro shows an interchange between lines, the first reaction should be to scepticism.

Many of the walks cause the thought to enter that maybe the interchange should have been one stop away Рthink of Bank to Monument without the escalators, but a lot further. But here there are also opportunities: one long passageway under the Estació de Sants has been turned into a series of adverts for a name familiar to all who have experienced the very worst of low cost air travel.

Yes, those adverts proclaim the addition of Barcelona’s main airport to the route network of Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care). After years of trying to pass off Girona and Reus as “Barcelona”, because both are not only operationally more convenient, but also cheap on handling costs, Michael O’Leary’s finest have decided to do as EasyJet did in the first place.

However, some of the locals are less than impressed with the Ryanair advertising: a rash of red stickers have been applied to the passageway sides, suggesting that the carrier is not showing the Catalans sufficient respect. Why? Because the ads are in Castellano, or what we would call Spanish.

And the first language of Barcelona is Català, or Catalan. That means a lot to many in the city and the region: the language was banned during the Franco dictatorship, with Castellano imposed, as with all other law, from Madrid. One might have thought that Ryanair would have done their homework, although the thought did enter that they might have done so, but were too tight to get another translation done.

Perish the thought, eh, Mike?

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