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).

This week: the Mercè, Barcelona's Festa Major

The correfoc: Barcelona parties | Photo: Tom Walton

The Mercè is one of those times of year when Barcelona seems to go ever so slightly bonkers and it's definitely a time to be here! Come with us and see for yourself on our social programme this week:

  • Wednesday 20th | 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).
  • Thursday 21st | The 1992 Olympics changed large parts of Barcelona — among them Montjuïc [Flickr | Wikipedia], which is where we're going this afternoon. Bring your camera or phone along: the views are fantastic (16.00) !
  • Friday 22nd | Come with us this evening for the start of the Mercè (see also below), Barcelona's Festa Major (18.30).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above. Note that there's no Friday Club this week.

Also this week | Don't miss the Merçè [full details], will you? Highlights include the amazing castellers (Saturday and Sunday in the Plaça Sant Jaume at 12.00); the fireworks and dragons of the correfoc (Saturday 18.30 and 20.00 on the Via Laietana);  and the exceedingly noise trabucaries (Sunday 9.00, Plaça Sant Jaume).

Note also that Monday 25th is a holiday in Barcelona, and school will be closed.

In the Spanish League, we have Barça vs Eibar (Tuesday, kick-off 22.00) and, 100km north, in the lovely town of Girona, the first ever Girona vs Barça La Liga game (Saturday, kick-off 20.45), with newly promoted Girona having a Manchester City connection that The Guardian thinks is somewhat fishy.

Come with us to the Festa Major de Gracia, Friday

Festa Major de Gracia

Street decorations, Festa Major de Gracia | Tom Walton

With Tuesday being a holiday (school closed, no class), we've an event on Friday on our social programme, as well as our Friday Club.

  • Tuesday 15th | National holiday in Spain
  • Wednesday 16th | Today's trip takes us to the top of Montjuic to visit the fortress that overlooks Barcelona. From it, the city was bombarded on various occasions and it also enjoyed notoriety as a prison. Today, however, it's one of the best places to go to obtain magnificent views of Barcelona (entrance fee €5.00, 16.00).
  • Thursday 17th | Come along on our walk this afternoon, which will take you to some of the hidden places in the old city that you might otherwise miss (16.00)! See also other hidden corners of Barcelona in previous entries on this blog.
  • Friday 18th | Come with us this afternoon to see some of the amazing street decorations at the Festa Major de Gràcia (full programme, in Catalan), probably the best of Barcelona's barrio street festivals (16.00).
  • Also this Friday | Join us this evening at our Friday Club language exchange. It's a great place to kick off the weekend — and to practise your Spanish !! 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 Super Cup, second leg, Real Madrid vs Barça (Wednesday, kick-off 23.00 (!!), in Madrid); and then the La Liga starts on Sunday, with Barça vs Betis (kick-off 20.15).

This week in Barcelona: magic fountains, the Ramblas and Jack Nicholson

Fonts de Montjuic

The spectacular magic fountains of Montjuic | Photo: Tom Walton

Our social programme for the first week of August (when, 25 years ago, we were in the middle of the Barcelona Olympics!)

  • Tuesday 1st | 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 2nd | Come with this afternoon down the Ramblas, to discover some of the amazing things on and just off it — including one of our favourite Barcelona dragons and the Palau Güell, one of the few Modernista buildings to be found outside the Eixample district. If you are an Antonioni fan, the Palau Güell is where Jack Nicholson meets Marie Schneider in The Passenger and — if you're a fan — a selfie coming out of the Hotel Oriente is on your to-do list (16.00).
  • Thursday 3rd | 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 4th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today for our very popular Friday Club language exchange (19.00-21.00).

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

Also this week | Your last chance to go to the Sala Montjuic, the open air cinema festival in the grounds of the fort on Montjuic, which overlooks the city. Cool place for a picnic supper on a hot summer night!

Barcelona Turisme, the official tourist board site, has a terrific guide to what's on in Barcelona in August, if you want to plan ahead (.pdf document).

Fisherman and tourists, the Olympics and lunch on this week's social programme

Montjuic

Come with us to Montjuïc on Wednesday for some wonderful views of the city | Photo: Tom Walton

Our social programme takes you to lots of Barcelona's different barrios, and we've a couple for you this week. Come with us on Wednesday as well for the magnificent views of just about all the districts of the city.

  • Tuesday 18th | The barrio of Barceloneta was built on reclaimed land and dates back only to the 18th century but once housed Barcelona's fishermen and then, later, factories. Both are now long gone and have been replaced by a lot of noisy tourists, but the district still retains a peculiar, original flavour (16.00).
  • Wednesday 19th | The 1992 Olympics changed large parts of Barcelona — among them the mountain of  MontjuïcWikipedia ], which overlooks the city and which is where we're going this afternoon. Bring your camera or phone along: the views [ Flickr | Instagram ] are fantastic (16.00) !
  • Thursday 20th | 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 (see this article on The Guardian for suggestions). Bring your camera (16.00) !
  • Friday 21st | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today for our very popular Friday Club language exchange (19.00-21.00).

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

Also this week | Just when you thought we could all have a nice summer break from football, along comes the International Champions Cup (in the US), so plonk yourself down in front of the telly on Sunday for the Barça vs Juventus game.