Friday, 25 April 2014

Books & roses (& chatty taxi-drivers)

I knew that Wednesday was el dia de San Jordi but I hadn't realised the way in which Catalans celebrate it.

My flight from Heathrow was slightly delayed, so by the time I arrived in Barcelona it was past 9pm. Still, on my way from the airport I had registered the $-$ I thought $-$ unusual number of women carrying a rose with them. But I was pretty tired, so I didn't really think much of it.

In the morning, I caught an early train to Girona and then a taxi to get to the Universitat. The driver was very, very chatty and she wouldn't stop speaking, so I had to switch to Spanish-mode to the full of my (limited) abilities $-$ in fact, I was quite happy and impressed with myself for being able to sustain a long conversation. 

Anyway (enough self-patting on the back!), she explained the tradition and told me that for San Jordi men are supposed to give their loved ones a rose, while women should give theirs a book, which I thought was quite nice (especially the book thing $-$ I suspect that as far as the roses are concerned, it must have become something like Valentines cards. But with a book it's probably become a much less tacky & commercial activity?).


  1. Hi Gianluca,

    I'm Olga, I've encountered your blog via R-Bloggers.

    Marc Saez was my scientific advisor, and may I say, during the years of my PhDeeing my first St. Jordi roses always came from him! This was just amazing since Marc always brougt roses for all the girls in the research group.

    Hope your INLA talk went on smoothly and you enjoyed your stay in Girona. :-)

  2. Hi Olga,
    I'm sure Marc has always been quite the gentleman!