Even though things have changed — and Catalunya is increasingly free to pursue its own interests — Europe's "stateless nations" continue to live in solidarity with each other. The Catalan people find Basque or Galician bars a little more appealing than the run-of-the-mill Spanish ones. They even make a point to include the other languages on their ATMs. In Barcelona, you'll see Catalan first, then Spanish, Galego (the language of Galicia, in northwest Spain), Euskara (the Basque tongue), and then German, French, English…and a button for all the rest. While all of these groups — Catalan, Galician, and Basque — speak the common language of Spanish, they respect each other's native tongues as a way to honor their shared ethnic-underdog status.
These groups' affinity for each other even factors into where they travel. On a recent trip to Northern Ireland, I was impressed by how many travelers I met from Basque Country and Catalunya. Because the Basques and Catalans feel a kinship with the Catholic minority in Ireland's Protestant North, they choose to vacation in Ulster.
About This Entry
You are reading "The Solidarity of Stateless Nations", an entry posted on 14 August 2009 by Rick Steves.