Let’s move to another part of the market where there are no cages.
Right down at the end of the main shopping street we arrive at Plaça Corona
I don’t always make it as far as this but today we did the whole stretch. The crowds begin to thin out down here. There are plenty of cafes with space for tables and chairs outside while in the town centre the stalls take over the whole street.
Back in the Porxada there are fruit and vegetable stalls under the shade of the old market
And summer vegetables for escalibada
Here we are – it’s Thursday again and the market is in full swing.
For the sake of this blog I forced myself to go and visit the caged birds
I am too sensitive to their plight and usually avoid this end of the market. If I had come here in the first part of the 20th century then I would have had to deal with animals of all sorts being bought and sold. Now there are mainly flowers and herbs and olives and a few birds.
The square outside of the library is called Malluquier i Salvador and was used as the cattle market as in the old days it was outside the city walls.
There are only a couple of stalls selling chickens and ducks and I suppose it could be worse. People come here from the countryside and perhaps they have gardens and ponds.
One little boy was asking for a duckling ‘Vull un anac! Vull un anac’ and his mother was about to buy him one. I wonder where it was going to live
The official name of the square is Malluquier i Salvador and the local name is Plaça de Can Sinia. The library runs along one side of the square and is housed in a historic building called Can Pedrals. And underground there is a large bomb shelter from the civil war.
To all the birds in the market – may you find happy homes with good people!
Wherever I live I am always drawn to the health food shops and Granollers is lucky to have several, the biggest of which is Veritas.
It’s actually a chain of supermarkets, started in 2002, and now there are 23 shops in Catalunya. Veritas was founded by 4 Catalan families with the aim of providing healthy, more ecological and non chemical food. In the UK health shops don’t tend to sell meat, but this is normal here and Veritas has an ecological range of meat products in the chiller section. Organic meat is expensive in Catalunya but it’s good to know there is a market for it even though the main supermarkets haven’t taken this on board.
This branch is very friendly and you can have a coffee and cake in their little cafe which is rather basic but ok and has tables by the window. I think a notice board would be a useful addition but that is also not so common as in the UK.
It’s not a cheap option to buy things in Veritas but in general prices are high for vegetarian or ecological products all over Catalunya and here they have a wide range.
I took this picture because of the Bimbo van. The name always makes me laugh but of course it doesn’t mean the same in Catalan. Bimbo has been producing sliced packaged bread since 1964 from their factory here in Granollers. Before Bimbo this type of convenience loaf didn’t exist in Catalunya or Spain.
This is a flower shop on our street at Carrer de Joan Prim, 101. They are very friendly and helpful and I am welcome whether I am spending a few euros or a lot more.
The owners husband is British so she speaks English and she understood when I moaned about the lack of choice in flowers in Catalunya compared to the UK. For me there are not enough ‘normal’ flowers like roses or anemones or sweet william. The shops are more used to people buying bouquets for special occasions rather than wanting several cheaper bunches for vases in the house.
However, this shop is my favourite place when I decide to get flowers.
And I really like their idea of having quotations on the blackboard to help you when you need to write a card
Sometimes a flower is worth more than a thousand words
I have dreamt of learning to dance Swing ever since I arrived in Catalunya. There are plenty of classes in Barcelona and earlier this year I went up there every week to do a beginners class of Lindy Hop. But what I really wanted was to dance in Granollers. I knew there were dancers here but they also were always travelling to the big city. It seemed noone wanted to start classes here.
And then….my friend Montse decided to take the plunge and open a school of Swing here at the Roca Umbert Arts Centre. She and her dance partner Miquel teach classes there on Mondays and Wednesdays. See them on stage at the EcoGra on my previous post
Last Spring they did a few events, dancing in the street and handing out leaflets, and soon there were enough people signed up to run not one but several classes. We are lucky that there is also a successful and thriving swing scene in nearby La Garriga and with the added bonus of a jazz band to play live occasionally, we were off!
More information is available at the Facebook page of Big Potters Swing.
The name comes from a play on words Gran=Big and Ollers=Pots. Granollers=Big Potters
There is a lovely Facebook page called Imagina’t un Granollers amb + color
I don’t know who set it up but it is such a good idea. The pages are full of suggestions for how to make Granollers a more creative and colourful place. It is possible. It depends on the people who live here and what they dream of!
Imagine painting your house in bright colours.
Or putting colourful plants on your balcony to share with the passers by
Or acting to preserve the beautiful old buildings rather than see them knocked down to build more flats.
Or even going out wearing clothes in other colours than the predominant black, brown,grey and beige!
Yes I have a feeling Granollers is changing
I want to write about the shops in Granollers where I have found good service. Remember I am not the typical shopper – I look for friendliness above all and especially that the shop keepers don’t treat me like an alien because I am foreign and stumble over my words.
I don’t want to get into naming and shaming or describing the negative experiences I’ve had (although perhaps I will be tempted sometimes) so these posts will be mainly about the good places I have found.
Saras butcher is hidden away on a quiet back street on Carrer Tarafa. I only recently started going there since starting to feed my dog a raw meat diet. I am vegetarian but do occasionally buy organic chicken for humans
The woman who runs the shop – is she Sara? – is very friendly and helpful. She was genuinely interested in finding things like chicken necks and meaty bones that I can give my dog and she even went out on the street to say hello to her.
There is another butcher closer to home who are polite to me but they don’t smile much or chat at all and I always feel nervous and awkward going in there as it is clear they don’t warm to me. So I now chose Saras every time and am greeted by a cheery ‘ Hola guapa’ which makes the whole experience much more pleasant. A butchers shop is not the favourite haunt of a long time vegetarian so it is saying a lot that I actually almost enjoy going in there.
Until fairly recently Granollers was still very much an agricultural town. There are still many reminders of this past if you look for them. The industry dominates but the countryside keeps us saneThere is a flock of sheep that sometimes ramble along the sides of the river
I made a film of them which you can see here.
Another reminder is the small field that is still worked down by the river near the car park on Ramon Llull. Here it is a couple of weeks ago just after someone had dumped their old sofa there. I saw a feral cat using it for a place to sleep. Couldn’t get close enough to her to get a picture. See the beautiful mountains in the background!
I’m not sure what the crop was but I was watching it grow and last week it was cut and left in neat rows. At the weekend they removed it without baling and today the tractor was turning over the soil
There are swallows swooping down here, and poppies and wild flowers growing along the edges. I walk along these paths picking up other peoples rubbish.
In the distance is a patchwork of vegetable plots which I hope very much will never be taken over to build yet more hideous flats or create yet another messy car park. Please leave this peaceful part of Granollers as it is! Unless you want to knock down the flats and build little houses with gardens.
Granollers is full of trees.
Every season I marvel at how many there are and especially now in summer I thank whoever’s hand it was that planted so many throughout the city to give us shade
Here are a few of the ones I saw today as we walked down Ramon Llull towards the river and into Park Ponent. It is a lovely dog walk and not too hot if you look for the trees.There are shady avenues
Trees mean birds!
In Granollers there are always ugly things with beautiful things alongside. I’ve learnt to switch off from most of the bad bits
I love the walks by the river. There is often the sound of ducks and frogs and lots of busy birds crossing the water from treetop to treetop
Park Ponent has a large pond as well as bordering the river.
Usually there is hardly anyone there.
All sorts of trees
A nice place to sit and contemplate life
And more blossom on the way home
And see the peaceful trees extend
their myriad leaves in leisured dance—
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins.”
― Kathleen Raine
Cycling home this evening I passed through the Porxada and stopped to take these pictures as it looks so beautiful at night. This central square is one of the best parts of Granollers
It is quiet, not really like a city. There are people sitting drinking and talking at a cafe and some others walking home or just having a stroll. The Ajuntament is the Council building.It is perfect cycling here as it is flat and there are lots of streets with no cars.
I have a secret pleasure in riding my bike through the centre – it was recently totally renovated and the tiles are a little bit loose in places. They make the most satisfying ‘ptuk ptuk’ as you go over them and I try to get as many as possible on the way home!
It doesn’t work if you are walking.