Monday, 13 August 2012


So what is missing from this picture?
This is Via Augusta, one of the main arteries into Barcelona and route to the city centre, and usually it is covered with cars, scooters, lorries, buses – you get the idea.

Not in August. Outside of the tourist hotspots Barcelona is closed for the month.

In August Barcelona goes to the beach, and not the beach in Barcelona, but further north on the Costa Brava were people own or rent holiday homes. The clannish Catalans rarely venture beyond the provincial borders.

Left your suit into the dry cleaner in the last week of July? Well forget about seeing it until September.Need something fixed? Fat chance. Want to get a bus? Be prepared to wait for a very long time.

Contractors will not respond to enquiries and even some restaurants and specialist shops and services skedaddle until September. The August exodus goes back to the days before air-conditioning when it was just too hot to do anything, though Barcelona does not quite reach the scorching temperatures of inland Spain.  Nowadays it is just seen as a Spanish right to close up the country’s businesses for the month.

Remind me again, just why is Spain’s economy in the crapper? 

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