The Raval, Andy Warhol and Modernist architecture on this week's social programme

Street art, Raval

Street art in the Raval, by Guaté Mao | Photo: Tom Walton

It's just got noticeably colder in Barcelona (ok, yes, it is mid-November!) so bring a jacket with you if you come with us on our social programme this week, though you can still expect it to be sunny! Cold but sunny — the time Barcelona looks its finest.

  • Tuesday 7th | Come for a stroll around the Raval, the district on the right of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port. One of the best places in Barcelona to go to find street art (see photo, above), it was a rather seedy red light district but is now home to the CCCB and the MACBA and Fernando Botero's fat cat, and (in keeping with its past) to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras (16.00).
  • Wednesday 8th | Take a walk with us this afternoon along the Moll de la Fusta [see photos], which takes us from the wonderful Catalan History museum, across the old port past the Maremagnum shopping and leisure centre to the statue of Columbus and the bottom of the Ramblas (16.00).
  • Thursday 9th | Until Decemmber 31st, the CaixaForum has an Andy Warhol exhibition on. Formerly a textile factory, later used as police horse stables, it's now one of Barcelona's best art museums and, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, an excellent example of how Modernist architecture wasn't just used to build houses for the rich! Entrance fee €4 (16.00).
  • Friday 10th | You've got to start your Barcelona weekend somewhere. Why not start it with us at our Friday Club language exchange, where you can practise all the languages you know? In the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00.

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | If film is your thing, you might like Barcelona's Asian Film Festival, on until November 12.

Barcelona's wonderful architecture on this week's social programme

The prize-winning video of one of Gaudí's most famous Barcelona houses, the Casa Batlló

Here in Barcelona we have another of those crazy weeks with a holiday in the middle of it. But that won't stop social programme ! It's perhaps especially interesting this week if you have an interest in architecture….

  • Tuesday 31st | Our walk this afternoon takes us to the Manzana de la Discordia, the block on Passeig de Gracia with three of Barcelona's best examples of Modernista architecture — the Casa Batlló (Gaudí); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí), which is further up the street on the other side (16.00).
  • Wednesday 1st | National holiday in Spain (Día de Todos los Santos), no classes, school closed
  • Thursday 2nd | Apart from Sagrada Familia, the city has a number of other lovely churches. Come with us today to see the Joyas del Gótico, the "Gothic jewels" of Barcelona — the Cathedral and the wonderful churches of Santa María del Pí and Santa María del Mar, the latter the subject of a book we always recommend, La Catedral del Mar (16.00).
  • Friday 3rd | It's hard to believe, but Via Laietana (just along the road from IH Barcelona) is little more than 100 years old. Driven through the heart of the old city between 1908 and 1913 (in the video, above), it's now one of Barcelona's busiest streets. Come with us and discover more of its history this afternoon (16.00).
  • Friday 3rd | Come back to school after our walk and get yourself some extra Spanish practice at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Seville (Saturday, kick-off 20.45).

If Game of Thrones, rather than football is your thing, the Game of Thrones Exhibition is now open at the Maritime Museum.

Come and explore Barcelona on our social programme

Plaza España

Plaza España and Las Arenas | Photo: Tom Walton

So we didn't in the end become an independent nation last week (though we might be by the time you read this!) Meanwhile, on our social programme

  • Tuesday 17th | Although in Roman times Barcelona was far less important than Tarragona, 100km down the coast, the Romans left behind the remains of the city of Barcino that they founded in 15 BC: the Roman Temple and the traces of the Roman walls on top of which the city's medieval walls were largely built are among the things you'll see on our walk this afternoon (16.00).
  • Wednesday 18th | Transformed for the 1929 Universal Exhibition, the Plaza España is within walking distance of so much: the Las Arenas shopping mall in the former bullring (great view from the top!); Miró's Dona i Ocell (no sniggering!); the outstanding art collection at the MNAC (housed in the Palacio Nacional, built for the Exhibition); the former factory, now art museum of the CaixaForum and lots more besides. We won't actually be going into the latter, but you might want to, afterwards (16.00).
  • Thursday 19th | Our "Barcelona y el mar" walk today takes us down to the port and the seafront, and to the barrio of Barceloneta (where they aren't too happy with noisy tourists!) for a different perspective on the city (16.00)!
  • Friday 20th | It's Selfie Night at this week's Friday Club language exchange. Join us for the fun and games in the bar/on the terrace (19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | Champions, Barça vs Olympiakos (Wednesday, kick-off 20.45); Spanish League, Barça vs Malaga (Saturday, kick-off 20.45).

This week: the Park Güell, a holiday… and independence?

Entrance to the Park Guell, Barcelona
Entrance to the Park Güell, Barcelona | Photo: Irene Ucha

Our social programme never stops, no matter how heated the politics in Barcelona gets (see below) 😉 ! This week's programme:

  • Tuesday 10th | Come with us for a stroll this afternoon to see something of the Ruta del Modernismo. We can't and won't (promise!) take you to see all the 116 Modernista buildings officially included in the Route, but you'll get at least a taste of Barcelona's magnificent architecture [see also this video on how Modernisme changed Barcelona] (16.00).
  • Wednesday 11th | Come with us the the Park Güell this afternoon, the lovely Gaudí park – especially gorgeous in the autumn sunshine. Magnificent views of Barcelona from the top. NOTE that you need to reserve your place if you want to come — by 14.00 on Monday (entrance fee €7, meeting at 16.00).
  • Thursday 12th | Holiday (ironically, given what's going on — see below — today we celebrate Dia de la Hispanidad (possibly, in Catalonia, for the last time ever 😉 !). School closed, no class.
  • Friday 13th | Come with us this afternoon to visit two of Barcelona's food markets: Santa Catalina, which is under 10 minutes away, and then across the Barrio Gótico to the Ramblas and the Boqueria [ video ], the more famous of the two. Both are great places to go for lunch. Bring your camera (16.00)!
  • Friday 13th | Kick off the weekend — and practise your Spanish — at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | Here in Catalonia, we're all very expectant as to what might happen this Tuesday: are we about to have a unilateral declaration of independence?

The Catalan and Spanish media is frankly not going to provide you with an objective view of the issue. The Guardian's coverage is rather less biased and you could also follow what the BBC is saying (though there's also some nonsense published in both of those places).

Recommended reading | The Guardian: What's wrong with the world? Endlessly refighting old wars does nothing to heal a fractured present.

directa.cat (article in Catalan): Els carrers seran sempre nostres?

Barcelona this week: a small matter of independence

Palau de la Musica

Are we really heading for independence? On Sunday, we should know | Photo: Tom Walton

Our social programme this week — an interesting one for Barcelona!

  • Tuesday 26th | Come for a stroll around the Raval, the district on the right of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port. One of the best places in Barcelona to go to find street art, it was a rather seedy red light district but is now home to the CCCB and the MACBA and Fernando Botero's fat cat, and (in keeping with its past) to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras (16.00).
  • Wednesday 27th | First laid out in 1791, the Laberinto de Horta is one of the most romantic of the hidden corners of Barcelona (as well as being one of the settings for Tom Tykwer's 2006 film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer). Come along and see it with us (16.00).
  • Thursday 28th | Note the change from the usual time today: this evening we're going to the spectacular light and sound show of the Magic Fountains of Montjuic (20.30).
  • Friday 29th | Our Friday Club language exchange is one of the most popular events on our social program. Why not join us on the terrace and in the bar after class this evening (19.00-21.00)?

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | Assuming the vote on Sunday goes ahead, there's the small matter of whether or not in Catalonia we think we should be an independent nation. You could do worse than read The Guardian's section on Catalonia if you've been trying to ignore it all and now feel you should catch up on what all the shouting is about.

In the Spanish League (almost as important as independence 😉 ), it's Barça vs Palma (Sunday, kick-off 21.00).