Sant Jordi (St George) is the patron Saint of Catalonia and on the Diada de Sant Jordi (St George's Day, April 23) here in Barcelona we celebrate, giving each other books and roses.
Until April 28 you have time to enter our Instagram competition, in which you have to capture the essence of Sant Jordi in order to win up to €400 discount on a course here at IH Barcelona.
Saturday is probably the day to be about with your camera (expect the centre of Barcelona to be packed!), though just about any day of the year is a good one to be about with a camera: one of our favourite Barcelona sports: dragon hunting!
Just out the back of IH Barcelona, literally on the other side of the street, there's a lovely old piece of Modernista industrial architecture, of which only the façade (above) and the shell of the building has survived.
You'll find further information here (in Spanish), along with a photo of the street — Carrer Ortigosa — when it was still cobbled (and with not a car in sight!)
It had been abandoned but work has now started on renovating it, as you can see in the photo below:
Current state of the building, August 2015 | Photo: Tom Walton
We never imagined when we posted a photo of it six years ago that one day we'd be moving in. That's right, because some time before Christmas (we hope!), we'll have new classrooms just across the road.
We have a wonderful tradition here in Catalonia which is to give our loved ones roses (usually to the girl) and a book (traditionally to the boy) on Sant Jordi (St. George's Day, April 23). It's a pretty amazing day in Barcelona, so get out there Thursday with your camera or phone (and/or come with us on this week's social programme).
It is also true that it's become somewhat commercialised, with everyone out there outside every shop and on every corner, trying to make a buck and sell you books and roses. As a result, literally millions of roses have to be air-freighted in to be sold on Sant Jordi (and trashed the next day), which is kind of crazy and unsustainable.
We'll be selling books and roses ourselves here at IH Barcelona on Thursday — but for a good cause. We have an approximately termly charity booksale, with all proceeds going to La Escuelita, a school in Ecuador, which usually raises somewhere around €300-€500.
Because we believe doing our bit for the environment is important, the roses we'll be selling have been made from last year's surplus brochures and we"ll also be selling these for the same good cause.
You can see more photos (including some quite cool bookmarks we made by recycling visiting cards and Metro tickets) on our Instagram page and we have a second video here with a few more ideas of what you could use the roses for.
Note | We need books!
Preferably paperback novels in reasonable condition, in English, Spanish, Catalan, French or German (the languages we teach at IH Barcelona), if you have any you'd like to donate to a good cause.
The next Earth Hour isn't until 19th March 2016 but you can't wait until then to start doing something about climate change.
IH Barcelona has been approved by the European Union's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme which accredits our school as an institution doing its best to protect the environment. To do that, we depend on you, staff and students to play your part.
When you are with us, over things like photocopying, the temperature the air conditioning is on at, keeping the windows closed when the a/c is on, not using throwaway plastic coffee cups, please play your part!
March 28th is Earth Hour and if you're here at IH Barcelona with us you will have seen that we've been creating posters to promote the #YourPower campaign, using whatever there was in the recycle bins:
You could just do nothing, as Naomi Klein points out in her latest book:
We know that if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. All we have to do is nothing. Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything
But we suggest you don't do that and set yourself a challenge that will make a difference.
Downstairs, in the front hall we've started to post our own challenges on the noticeboard: