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|Settlement type||Sovereign city|
|Official language(s)||Catalan (mainly to piss off everyone else), Spanish language and Mongolian Welsh|
|Opening hours||11 a.m. - 2 p.m./5 p.m. - 20 p.m. (closed on Sundays)|
|Population||Hairy and argumentative (2011 statistics)|
|Time zone||Very very slow|
|Patron Saint(s)||Saint Maria|
The feel of a beautiful Mediterranean breeze blowing gently through the streets, the smell of freshly baked bread wafting in the air, the whistles of common prostitues echoing in your ears as you walk down the street – welcome to Barcelona!
Founded in 1802 by the upper classes from Madrid, who wanted somewhere nice to sit bedside the beach, Barcelona was originally called ‘Ciudad de las Putas con Sabor de Tomate’. They drafted in the locals of the area to help build the city and maintain a good supply of tomatoes, bread and poorly made wine. However, the Catalonian work ethic quickly came to the fore and the downtrodden locals, tired of having their tomatoes pinched and being forced to work for more than 2 hours at a time and before 10am, overthrew the Madrid elite and set up their own autonomous collective and renamed the city Barcelona – originally an old Latin phrase ‘Ba arce Thelon arhh’ that used to mean ‘independent minded and free’ although some scholars disagree and say that the translation should actually be ‘extremely hairy and given to bouts of violent lovemaking'. Make your own mind up. Freed from the restraining influence of the Madridians, Barcelona quickly grew into a fiercely proud (loud and angry) and prosperous (having a lot of prostitutes and tomatoes) city that to this day excels in the production and consumption of vast amounts of bread, tomatoes and Marijuana.
Catalans are a friendly (if you're not from Madrid), well dressed (see Fashion, below) group of people and will often (never) take the time to speak to you in Spanish. They have a wide and varied diet (bread and tomatoes) and a rich sporting culture (shouting at Madrid). They also have a strong work ethic - no more than five hours out of every twenty four may be worked and definitely not on the following: Sundays, afternoons, evenings, mornings, August and any time you actually need to get into the shop/bank/hospital.
edit Fashion (or lack of)
Over the years Barcelona has become known for its Fashion and style – although back in 1982, Barcelona hosted a Boy George concert which proved to be disastrous. Regretfully, the concert itself escaped and had sex with one of the locals – quickly spreading Boy George's ghastly style across the populace. Despite the best efforts of the government (culling 85% of the population in an effort to stop the growth of the 80’s style) the Catalonian genetic makeup was irrevocably altered and many people still remain drawn to mullets and denim.
edit Traditions and culture
Apart from the famous Running of the Bulls , Barcelona also has many other traditions:
Castellers – human towers where the most un-popular child in the area is forced to climb up in the hope that they fall off.
The eating of Calcots –Calçotad – which originated from having to eat up all the onions in the city in case the smell attracted the French – still a very popular custom in the city.
Sant Joan – a celebration of the Pagan summer solstice where the locals gather on the beach to drink heavily and urinate in the sea - this symbolises...er...well... something significant anyhow.
Correfoc – originally a way to chase unwanted lepers from the city – they would be chased by an angry mob armed with pitchforks and Fireworks to burn away any infected flesh that would fall off. The lepers would then be piled up and set alight in enormous heaps outside the city while the mob would douse each other in chicken blood and sing songs to the devil. Today it’s considered to be a jolly fun day out for all the family.
Other Barcelona pastimes and traditions include: Arguing with Each Other, Not Moving on the Metro, Rearranging all the Furniture in the Cafe, Going on Strike, Laughing at Tourists, Arguing with Madrid, Not Keeping Milk in the Fridge in the Shop, Bureaucracy (Winners of the Unnecessary Red Tape Games, 3 years in a row) and Arguing with the Rest of Spain.
Barcelona also hosted the 1992 Olympics (not winning anything of course, because the majority of the games took place in August and so there were no citizens available to participate, what with everyone being on holiday.) which were a huge success and, in some people’s opinion, put Barcelona on the map - having literally fallen off it the previous year and being found down the back of the sofa a month later.
Barcelona is also home to Barcelona FC – a football team that, despite being based in Catalonia, has somehow managed to become a well run, efficient and incredibly rich football team. Barcelona FC has long standing rivalry with Madrid FC, although many believe this is due to underlying sexual tension between several of the players.
The recent economic crisis that has hit many countries and cities has largely bypassed Barcelona due to the fact that it actually hasn't got a civic economy. The sun shines, the tourists provide most of the actual money (well, that which the prostitutes haven’t already got) and there isn't much else to worry about apart from making sure that the tomatoes are ready on time.
The government (as it is laughingly referred to in Barcelona) is mainly based on arguing and trying to keep the traffic moving during the weekly strikes that regularly cripple the city. Most of the actual city administration is actually not necessary as there is nothing really to do – see Economy section. The majority of the government’s time is taken up with translating everything from Spanish into Catalan – for no apparent reason other than to irritate the Spanish.
The various police forces that can be seen around the city were once under governmental control but in recent years have become feral and roam the city in packs, looking for foreigners, tourists and other such deviants to harass.
edit Famous People from Barcelona
Antoni Gaudí – a builder who was famous for never finishing on time and was actually run over by a disgruntled client who had been waiting for seven years for him to finish putting in some bay windows. Other famous people from Barcelona include many, many other people, who, at the moment, have inexplicably temporarily escaped the authors mind. There are definitely lots of other famous, influential and interesting people from Barcelona. Absolutely.
edit Twinned with
Barcelona – twinned with itself since 1901 until present day – apart from 1996, for half an hour on a Tuesday in June, when the city cut off all diplomatic relations with itself and declared independence from itself.
Madrid – mistakenly twinned in 1932 by the then Mayor – Juan Carlos Don Alfonso Abernathy – an notorious alcoholic who, during a drunken War Cabinet Session, thought that he was twinning Barcelona with Madagascar and declaring war on Madrid. The ruling was never rescinded and Barcelona is still, technically, at war with Madagascar.