In English followed by Catalan
I tend to visit Italy fairly regularly for holidays and in the past I used to travel often to Milan for work. It’s still one of my favourite countries and favourite languages. I like the food, the people, the scenery, the culture, everything in fact!
I had never visited Sardinia as it was always fairly difficult to get to with no direct flights from my local airport. That changed this year so I took the opportunity to go.
Alghero (L’Alguer in Catalan) is one of the main towns in Sardinia and the old town is very picturesque. Surrounded by old city walls, the streets are narrow, mostly traffic free and a delight to wander at random.
Due to being populated by Catalan people in the 15th century, the Catalan language still remains in Alghero to this day. However, only around 20% (10,000-15,000) of the town’s population actually still speak it. As I had recently started learning Catalan, I was very interested to see how it was being revived in Alghero. The language is known locally as Alguerés (Algherese in Italian). It belongs to the Eastern variant of Catalan and was described as “Archaic Catalan” by our tour guide. My hotel was around 30 minutes by bus to Alghero old town and even in the hotel when I asked about Catalan speakers, they said I would actually need to be right in the town of Alghero to find it!
In Alghero, there are organisations such as Associació per a la Salvaguarda del Patrimoni Historicocultural de l’Alguer and Omnium Cultural who organise events to promote the use of Alguerés. I spent a week in Sardinia and I was travelling throughout the north of the island so I was not in Alghero every day.
Whenever I was in Alghero, I would listen to the local people speaking to each other and it always seemed to be in Italian. I really wanted to find an Alguerés speaker so that I could try and have a conversation in Catalan. On the last day of my trip, I found a shop in Alghero old town with all their signs in Catalan so I went inside and the shop owner was speaking in Italian to some other customers.
I then asked her in Italian if she spoke Catalan and she said she did but not as a first language so I had a nice conversation with her in Catalan and even though Alguerés is slightly different, there weren’t any problems holding a conversation.
I then found a book shop in Alghero just outside the city walls and I asked them for books written in Alguerés. There were a few poetry books, a travel guide book about Alghero and a local culture magazine so I bought a selection from them.
Elsewhere on the island I visited the beautiful small town of Bosa which has been relatively untouched by mass tourism. Topped by a medieval castle, the town is dotted with narrow, colourful houses.
The houses tend to have just one room on each floor to offer more protection from floods. The streets are narrow like in Alghero and some unique crafts are made by some local ladies here such as embroidered lace and earrings made from cotton (which I bought).
Being keen on archaeology, I visited some Nuraghe sites in Sardinia. There are around 7,000 Nuraghe sites in Sardinia. The Nuraghe people lived in Sardinia before the Romans arrived and their buildings date back to between the 18th century BC to the 2nd century AD.
They tend to consist of a main tower with two or three floors and then smaller houses surrounding it. The Nuraghe are unique to Sardinia and are not found in other Mediterranean islands.
If you would like to learn Catalan, Italki is the website where I find my tutors for my Skype lessons. You can register on this link here and after taking your first paid lesson, you will receive $10 of credits to use towards another lesson.
USEFUL TRAVEL LINKS
I booked my flights independently using Skyscanner. It also brings up results of the budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet.
I normally look for hotels or apartments using Booking.com as many of them do not require a prepayment and are flexible with regards to amendments and cancellations up until a few days before travel. By using my link, you will receive a 10% refund from your accommodation costs.
Another site I regularly use for hotels is Hotels.com. They also have many hotels offering flexible options. I once had to cancel a hotel at a non-refundable rate but they helped me obtain a refund as I needed urgent surgery and the hotel still had a week to rebook another customer. I have therefore been happy with their service.
For insurance, I have been using Flexicover to buy annual policies for over 10 years. In that time, I have had to claim twice for last minute illnesses resulting in cancellations and the service has been efficient. You can also arrange to pay extra and cover pre-existing conditions.
La setmana passada, vaig anar a l’Alguer a Sardenya. Puc parlar molt bé en italià, però volia practicar una mica de català també. En L’Alguer, hi ha 20% de la poblacio (10.000 persones) parlen català. Durant de la setmana, buscava una revista o un llibre en català. Vaig anar a una llibreria i vaig trobar alguns llibres en català, vaig comprar una guia de l’Alguer i un llibre de poesia en català. El tipus de parlar català a l’Alguer es com el ‘vell català’, hi ha algunes diferències.
Vaig preguntar a algú a la ciutat si hi havia una revista en català que pogués comprar i hi ha nomes una revista amb articles sobre la cultura catalana i events a l’Alguer. Vaig comprar les dues últimes edicions. En l’últim dia de les meves vacances, vaig veure una botiga amb rètols en català. Vaig entrar en la botiga i la dona podia parlar en català. Estava molt contenta quan vaig trobar una altra persona que podia parlar català amb mi!