Carrer de Verdi has won the closely fought street decoration competition at the Gràcia festival (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The surreal forest on Carrer de Verdi has taken first place with Plaças Rovira i Trias and de la Vila coming second and third. "I was not expecting this. We never take for granted winning this competition because you never know," said Mariaella Carrera, a Mexican architect who devised the concept. The jury of five people from the world of art and decoration gave Verdi 186 points, just two more than the second place winner. With this win, Verdi has now accumulated four wins in just five years. The big surprise was that second and third place were newcomers to the podium. Plaça de Rovira i Trias, with a creation of a dream garden gained second place with 184 points and also won a special prize for their lighting. Last year they took ninth place and this year they had expected to come third. The other unexpected winner was Plaça de la Vila, who's position also exceeded their predictions, they came third with 175 points. "We've never been favourite. Our best turnout had been seventh place," explained Laia Déu, talking of their witches den creation. As promised, after receiving their prize, the residents of Verdi unveiled a large banner which carried the slogan 'Respectem guarnits els' and stressed the need for greater surveillance for the sets. They wished to raise awareness amongst visitors explaining "We need to explain to people that this is part of a cultural tradition that goes back 200 years. We must avoid acts of hooliganism but also the bad behaviour of some parents who let their children sit on the decorations to have their photo taken," said Sergi Font, president of the street.
Ryanair is to increase its aircraft and routes at El Prat airport, before their launch in November (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Even before they start their services out of the airport Irish company Ryanair are to increase the number of flights and planes. "We're filling the planes. We are very pleased with the reception from passengers on the routes available from the airport", says company sources. The airline has already launched an ambitious expansion plan in early November, opening 20 routes to 10 Spanish destinations and another 10 European destinations. However starting in November they will include three new destinations, Porto, Leeds and Fuerteventura. With these figures, Ryanair expected to overcome an initial forecast of 2 million passengers and reach 2.5 million users in El Prat. The additional flights and higher frequencies also means that they will be almost doubling their investment at the airport in Barcelona, which will increase from €290 million to €465 million. Thanks to this increase in flights at EL Prat it is expected that flights from Girona airport will suffer a fall in activity, especially in the winter months, and local authorities are negotiating with the airline to avoid a drain on flights, which could fall from between 20 percent to 30 percent. "This summer we had more or less the same flights as last year, but this season we know that there will be a much lower activity rate," trade union sources have indicated.
The ayuntamiento have withdrawn a restaurant guide published for gluten-free diets after receiving criticisms for not being rigorous enough (read article here in Castilian here, El Periodico). The ayuntamiento of Barcelona have stopped distributing the restaurant guide at customer service and tourism offices published together with the Guild of restaurants. The decision was taken as a precautionary measure and "out of respect" to the Asociación de Celiacos de Catalunya, who reported yesterday morning on a programme, El dia, on Com Ràdio, that the publication was not "rigorous enough" and offered misleading information. Matilde Torralba, president of the association, who called for the guide to be withdrawn on the grounds that the information was "harmful" said, "A restaurant can not advertise locally for gluten-free dieters, and when you call to inform them, they say they can make a steak and salad." Municipal sources, have since denied that the publication is "harmful to public health" but said they have decided to not distribute it as a precautionary measure and "out of respect" to the association, who also claim that at no point were they contacted to develop the publication. Sources from the Restaurant Guild have said: "The guide is not published by us. However we did give them our support as it is an interesting initiative, as we do with many other initiatives". Torralba, critised the guide for not included the many restaurants in Barcelona that have done "great work" to suit the needs of her members. "Of the 42 restaurants of the publication, only two have worked with us to suit our needs".