Madrid. En un cap de setmana (Catalan Edition)
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In politics, many debates have also taken place around the expression Red Southern coined by Maurice Agulhon  to find out if the "pays d'oc" was more " republic " than the northern half of France.
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But since , no other "History of Occitan" has been undertaken. The term was popularized by the publications of Raynouard and Rochegude , and known in its contemporary sense by the English historian Sharon Turner. It appeared in the Treasury of Felibritge and in the statutes of this organization in The Institute of Occitan Studies was born in These initiatives as well as others remain closely linked, notably because of the dual membership of their main animators at Felibritge.
In France, Occitania has been confronted with a problem of recognition of Occitan since ; the French is the only "language of the Republic". In , it was made compulsory in the public space places of commerce and work, public transport, etc. Note, however, a variable support rate depending on the geographical origin of the voters. Occitanie is in the lead Behind arrives Languedoc-Pyrenees with All these varieties of the Occitan language are written and valid.
Standard Occitan is a synthesis which respects soft regional adaptations. See also Northern Occitan and Southern Occitan. Catalan is a language very similar to Occitan and there are quite strong historical and cultural links between Occitania and Catalonia. Bourbonnais southern half — approx. The geographical delimitation of Occitania most commonly accepted was specified between —beginning of research on the linguistic boundaries  —and the 20th century.
The practice of Occitan is not the same uniformly throughout the territory. In addition, there is a linguistic transition area in the north called Croissant where the terms of d'oil and Occitan interfere strongly see Croissant. Instead, some territories are not generally considered to be part of Occitania according to the modern definition: .
Written texts in Occitan appeared in the 10th century: it was used at once in legal then literary, scientific or religious texts. The spoken dialects of Occitan are many centuries older and appeared as soon as the 8th century, at least, revealed in toponyms or in Occitanized words left in Latin manuscripts, for instance. Occitania was often politically united during the Early Middle Ages, under the Visigothic Kingdom and several Merovingian and Carolingian sovereigns.
In Thionville , nine years before he died , Charlemagne vowed that his empire be partitioned into three autonomous territories according to nationalities and mother tongues: along with the Franco-German and Italian ones, was roughly what is now modern Occitania from the reunion of a broader Provence and Aquitaine. Since then the country was never politically united again, though Occitania was united by a common culture which used to cross easily the political, constantly moving boundaries. Occitania suffered a tangle of varying loyalties to nominal sovereigns: from the 9th to the 13th centuries, the dukes of Aquitaine , the counts of Foix , the counts of Toulouse and the Counts of Barcelona rivalled in their attempts at controlling the various pays of Occitania.
But from the 13th to the 17th centuries, the French kings gradually conquered Occitania, sometimes by war and slaughtering the population, sometimes by annexation with subtle political intrigue.
From the end of the 15th century, the nobility and bourgeoisie started learning French while the people stuck to Occitan this process began from the 13th century in two northernmost regions, northern Limousin and Bourbonnais. If you plan to move around large cities or explore further afield you will find many companies that offer car hire at affordable prices because of the high competition between car rental agencies, consider renting a car with GPS navigation--it will be even easier to drive than having an automobile map.
Consider having full-coverage insurance instead of franchise: other drivers are not always careful parking near other cars, especially when parking space on a street is limited. Spanish drivers can be unpredictable and some of the roads on the Southern area of Malaga and the Costa Del Sol are notoriously dangerous.
Therefore you will want a car with a fully comprehensive insurance package with includes a collision damage waiver CDW and a vehicle theft waiver, as well as liability cover.
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Many of the car hire companies offer an insurance option where you can choose to reduce your vehicle excess. This means that if you are in an accident you would not be financially liable for the whole excess fee. Child seats are also available with all vehicles so that any children in your party can travel safely and in comfort. Air conditioning is a must in the hot Spanish summer months.
Nevertheless you should make sure to take water with you at all times. If you break down while on holiday you will want a car hire company that gives you the free roadside assistance of trained mechanics. Cars often overheat in Spain while the tires are vulnerable on the hot roads.
Avis accepts payment in US dollars when you pay by a credit card. If you need to pay when you return rented car, payment is made from deposit you provided by credit card in the beginning--so you don't pay extra money upon return, waiting for weeks for deposit to be unblocked. Spain is heaven for cycling, judging by how many cyclists you can see in the cities.
Cycling lanes are available in mid-sized and large cities. It must be taken into account that Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe, and the mountains and hills are from coast to coast.
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For example, Madrid is between and metres above sea, so if you travel through it by bicycle you have to be in a good shape. All the major cities in Spain are served by taxis, which are a convenient, if somewhat expensive way to get around. That being said, taxis in Spain are more reasonably priced than those in say, the United Kingdom or Japan. Likewise, get your hotel's business card to show your taxi driver in case you get lost.
Many English words have their origins in Latin, which makes it easy for English speakers to guess the meanings of many Spanish words. However, Spanish and English also have a number of false cognates that one needs to be aware of to avoid embarrassing mistakes. It is part of the Romance family of languages others include Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Italian, Occitan, French, and Romanian and is one of the main branches of that family. Many people, especially outside Castille, prefer to call it Castilian castellano.
However, there are a number of languages Catalan, Basque, Galician, Asturian, etc. Some of these languages are dominant in their respective regions, and, following their legalization in the constitution, they are co-official with Castilian in their respective areas.
Of these, Catalan, Basque and Galician are recognised as official languages according to the Spanish constitution. In the Basque Country and Catalonia, Spanish is more widely spoken than Basque and Catalan, but the regional governments try and encourage the use of both languages in their respective regions. Apart from Basque whose origins are still debated , the languages of the Iberian Peninsula are part of the Romance family and are fairly easy to pick up if you know Castilian well. While locals in those also speak Spanish fluently, learning a few words in the local languages where you are traveling will help endear you to the locals.
Galician is the only language which has a native majority in its region. All Spaniards are functionally bilingual and no-one should have problems communicating in Spanish. In addition to the native languages, English and French are commonly studied in school. While most younger Spaniards have studied English in school, due to a lack of practice and exposure, proficiency is generally poor, and most people will not know more than a few basic words.
If you are lost, your best bet would generally be young urban people. To improve your chances of being understood, stick to simple words and avoid long sentences. That being said, airlines, major hotels and popular tourist destinations usually have staff members who speak an acceptable level of English, and particularly in popular beach resorts such as those in the Costa del Sol , you will find people who are fluent in several languages.
English is also generally more widely spoken in Barcelona than in the rest of the country. As Portuguese and Italian are closely related to Spanish, if you speak either of these languages, locals would be able to puzzle you out with some difficulty, and as long as you speak slowly, you won't need an interpreter for the most part. Castillian Spanish differs from the Latin American varieties in pronunciation and other details. There is also a pronoun "vosotros", literally "you others", used to address a group of two or more people in the second person and its associated verb conjugations, rarely used in Latin American Spanish.
However, all Latin American varieties are easily understood by Spaniards, and are recognized simply as different versions of one language by the Royal Spanish Academy, the barometer for all things Spanish language. While some Spaniards believe theirs is the more 'pure' version of Spanish, most Spaniards recognize the reality that there is no 'pure' Spanish, even within their own country.
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French is the most widely understood foreign language in the northeast of Spain, like Alquezar and Cap de Creus at times even better than English , as most travelers there come from France. Locals will appreciate any attempts you make to speak their language. The most popular beaches are the ones in the Mediterranean coasts and the Canary Islands.
Meanwhile, for hiking, the mountains of Sierra Nevada in the south, the Central Cordillera and the northern Pyrenees are the best places.
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Historically, Spain has been an important crossroads: between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, between North Africa and Europe, and as Europe beginning colonizing the New World, between Europe and the Americas. As such, the country is blessed with a fantastic collection of historical landmarks - in fact, it has the 2nd largest number of UNESCO Heritage Sites and the largest number of World Heritage Cities of any nation in the world. Cadiz is regarded as one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in western Europe, with remnants of the Roman settlement that once stood here.
Nearby, Ronda is a beautiful town situated atop steep cliffs and noted for its gorge-spanning bridge and the oldest bullring in Spain. Cordoba and Granada hold the most spectacular reminders of the nation's Muslim past, with the red-and-white striped arches of the Mezquita in Cordoba and the stunning Alhambra palace perched on a hill above Granada. Seville , the cultural center of Andalusia, has dazzling collections of sights built when the city was the main port for goods from the Americas, the grandest of which being the city's cathedral, the largest in the country.
Moving north across the plains of La Mancha into Central Spain, picturesque Toledo stands as perhaps the historical center of the nation, a beautiful medieval city sitting atop a hill that once served as the capital of Spain before Madrid was built. North of Madrid and an easy day-trip from the capital city is El Escorial , once the center of the Spanish empire during the time of the Inquisition; Segovia , noted for its spectacular Roman aqueduct which spans one of the city's squares; and the beautiful walled city of Avila. Further north, culture tourists will enjoy Burgos , with its beautiful Gothic cathedral and the world famous archaeological site of Atapuerca; Leon , whose Gothic cathedral was the first national protected building; Salamanca , known for its famous university and abundance of historic architecture; and Soria , with the nearby pre-roman archaeological site of Numancia.
Galicia in northwestern Spain is home to Santiago de Compostela , the end point of the old Way of St. James Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route and the supposed burial place of St. James, with perhaps the most beautiful cathedral in all of Spain at the heart of its lovely old town. Visitors should be aware of the limited hours and likely entrance fees at many historic Spanish churches. Another important consideration when planning your trip to Spain are the limited hours of access to Spanish churches.
Unlike neighbouring countries Italy, France and Germany, churches in Spain are only open for mass once or twice a day and thus, only open to the local worshipping population. While large cathedrals are open all day, these only represent some of the significant christian legacy of Spain. When combined with the high entry prices and bans on photography levied against you to visit most of the large cathedrals of the country, a trip to Spain to indulge yourself in Christian history can be challenging. Today, Spain's two largest cities hold the lion's share of Spain's most famous artworks.
Barcelona is renowned for its stunning collection of modern and contemporary art and architecture. This is where you will find the Picasso Museum , which covers the artist's early career quite well, and the architectural wonders of Antoni Gaudi , with their twisting organic forms that are a delight to look at. Outside of Madrid and Barcelona, the art museums quickly dwindle in size and importance, although there are a couple of worthy mentions that should not be looked over: Many of El Greco's most famous works lie in Toledo , an easy day trip from Madrid.
The Disrobing of Christ , perhaps El Greco's most famous work, sits in the Cathedral, but you can also find work by him in one of the small art museums around town. Valladolid is home to the National Museum of Sculpture, with an extensive collection ranging from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.