Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Solidarity Rose for Sant Jordi

Next week is Sant Jordi in Catalunya, and is always a popular and well celebrated day. I compare it sometimes to England, as Saint George is also the patron saint of England, and the day goes by pretty much unnoticed. Ask any Catalan the date of Sant Jordi, and they'd tell you the 23rd April like a shot. I'd wager that around 20% of English would know!

As is customary with the day, Barcelona council supports a cause and promotes the idea on the web. This year the very worthy cause is the Solidarity Rose project which is in its 18th edition and is an initiative from amics del gent gran. The idea is that citizens buy either a rose or a book (as per the tradition) and take it to an elderly person they know, spend some time with them and thus raise awareness of the large numbers of old people who are lonely and much of the time alone. Participants are then encouranged to share their tale on Facebook and Twitter with hashtag #rosascontraelolvido. So you can take a real rose or you can pick up the one that has been made specifically for the day in many different outlets (200 in total including supermarkets, shops, etc.) and the price is 3,50€. Good idea I think and I hope it is a success. Being self employed I don't keep a strict clock with work, and have made lots of friends in and around my neighbourhood who are all retired and who I bump into a lot. I know that some of them are lonely despite having families here, so this is an even better idea for those people who have no-one.

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Football Frenzy Begins!

Last night saw the start of many a groan from a supportive wife as a 9 day football frezy begun. Real Madrid were (deservedly, in my opinion) beaten by Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena - site of the final of this year's Champions League competition. That was the first of a two-leg semi final, and this evening sees the mouth watering Barcelona travelling to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in their first round tie.

Mourinho - ex-Chelsea boos - has already dismissed Chelsea's chances of progressing past the seemingly invincible Barça, and despite Di Matteo doing a preety good job at chealse since Villas Boas' departure I have to say I agree with him and can't see Chelsea toppling Barça over two legs. I'll predict a tight tie tonight, possibly not much fgootball being played, and it may even end up a draw.

That means next week, Bayern travel to the Bernabeu with a huge advantage of being in front, although Real have that all important away goal. And Chelsea will come to Camp Nou knowing they are still the underdogs.

Sandwiched in between is the small matter of La Liga fixture of a certain Barça vs Madrid this weekend! I still don't know why the Spanish press call this a "derby" when the two teams are hundreds of miles away, but I've kind of got used to it by now, so a derby it is. THE derby. These ties are always hot-blooded affairs  - perhaps more so since Mourinho's arrival at Madrid - and usually cards are dealt out left right and centre. I expect this game to be exactly the same and it may even be a showcase for the possibility of the final everyone outside of Germany is expecting in the Chamopions League final, too. Mourinho always moans that it's impossible to win at Camp Nou but I sometimes think that their players don't do a lot to help themselves either.

It's all shaping up to be a veritable feast of football, right?!! Any predictions from you guys and gals? Let me know in the comments!!

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