Alternative style of roses
The funeral will be held at 6pm today in Barcelona Cathedral for Juan Antonio Samaranch, known by many as the moderniser of the Olympic Games, who died yesterday as a result of heart problems, aged 89 (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The king and queen of Spain will lead the mourners at this evening’s service, which is expected to see a number of international politicians and sportspeople come to Barcelona to pay their last respects to Samaranch; members of the public will be able to pay their respects between 12 and 5pm at the chapel of the Palau de la Generalitat, where Samaranch will be laid out (this is an honour given to those who have received the Generalitat’s Gold Medal). Samaranch was president of the International Olympic Committee between 1980 and 2001, and since then has been the honorary president of the sporting organisation. He will be remembered by many in Barcelona for the moment that he announced, in 1986, that the city had won the hosting of the 1992 games, although his history as a member of General Franco’s Falange party during Spain’s dictatorship tarnished his image for many.
Flower-sellers are hoping to sell six million roses during tomorrow’s Sant Jordi celebrations, a rise of 10 percent compared to 2009 (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Last year, around five and a half million roses were sold in Catalunya on April 23rd and the prices of the flowers are expected to be kept the same as in 2009, despite a rise in the international market for roses—although there is always a wide price range to be found in the roses for sale, according to Barcelona’s main flower wholesaler, Mercabarna-Flor, the average price will start from €3, as in 2009. Flower-sellers have decided to absorb the increased wholesale price of the roses, calculated at between seven and 10 percent mainly as a result of the closure of various Dutch flower distributors, rather than pass it on to clients. The arrival of the flowers in Catalunya has largely been unaffected by the problems caused to air travel in recent times because most of them had already arrived in Europe (many came from Colombia) before flights were cancelled en masse, and have since arrived from The Netherlands by road transportation.
While many Catalan hotels, in Barcelona and on the Costa Brava and Maresme, have benefited from the recent hundreds of flight cancellations with a rise in their reservations amongst those stranded here, they are now starting to feel the negative consequences of people being unable to travel to the autonomous community, with a wave of cancelled bookings (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Last weekend, the hotel sector saw reservations 10 percent higher than normal (and the Renaissance Barcelona Airport Hotel was at one point running at 110 percent capacity thanks to the installation of extra beds), while the tables have now turned and, according to the president of the Association of Hoteliers in Barcelona, Jordi Clos, one in four hotel bookings in the Catalan capital are being cancelled. In Girona, sources from the tourist sector calculated that the percentage of cancellations was between 20 and 30 percent.
Also in the news: Rise in number of people trying to enter Catalunya from Andorra with ‘black’ money (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Spanish government says that kidnapped Catalan charity workers are fine (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Catalan parties try to reach an agreement on renewal of Constitutional Court (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia).