Come to the Festa Major de Gracia with us this week

Street decorations at the Festa Major de Gracia

Street decorations at the Festa Major de Gràcia | Photo: Tom Walton

With Wednesday being a holiday (school closed, no class!) we have two events for you on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 14th | Join us on our walk today round the popular barrio of El Born, full of cool bars and history, home to the lovely church of Santa Maria del Mar and the Estación de Francia, as well as the fascinating remains of the medieval city of Barcelona in the old Born Market (16.00).
  • Wednesday 15th | National holiday in Spain,
  • Thursday 16th | Come with us this afternoon for a stroll round the barrio of Gracia, where the Festa Major is on. The street decorations are pretty amazing (and most of it made from recycled materials) (16.00).
  • Friday 17th | 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).
  • Friday 17th | 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 | The Festa Major de Gracia (August 15-21) is probably the best of the summer barrio festivals (programme, Facebook, Instagram) but note also the Festa Major de Sants (August 18-26).

Depressingly, the football is back with us. On Wednesday, we have the Joan Gamper Trophy game, Barça vs Boca Juniors (kick-off 18.15), with the Spanish League starting this weekend, with Barça vs Alavés (Saturday, kick-off 22.15).

The Romans, the flea market, the architecture, the football: Barcelona has it all

Montjuic

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

Wednesday's football is probably the big event in Barcelona this week, but we have plenty of other goodies for you on our social programme this week, too.

  • Tuesday 13th | 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 14th | Our trip today takes us down to Glòries, (that's the Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, to give it its full, official name), which is home to the singular Torre Agbar, a huge shopping centre and the Encants, possibly the only flea market in the world with a designer roof (which, in true Barcelona fashion, leaked the first time it rained!). There's also the new Design Musuem down there too. It's an area that's been transformed in the last 25 years — and still being transformed, with the Plaça, once a massive roundabout, now a massive roadworks, but supposed eventually to become a large park) (16.00).
  • Thursday 15th | The 1992 Olympics changed large parts of Barcelona — among them the mountain of Montjuïc [ Wikipedia ], 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) !
  • Friday 16th | 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 | Champions, Barça vs Chelsea (Wednesday, kick-off 20.45).Spanish League, Barça vs Athletic Bilbao (Sunday, kick-off 16.15).

What's on in September in Barcelona

MNAC

The Palacio Nacional, housing the MNAC's 1000 Years of Art – one of the many things to see around the Plaza España | Photo: Tom Walton

The first week in September (such a lovely time of the year in Barcelona!). On our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 5th | 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 6th | 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 7th | It's a couple of years now since the 300th anniversary of the siege of Barcelona but the Barcelona 1714 route is still a historically fascinating one. The remains of the city blocks demolished to build the post-siege fortress now to be seen at the Born Centre Cultural are particularly curious. Why is next Monday a holiday? Come along and find out (16.00)!
  • Friday 8th | It's a long weekend (we're open tomorrow morning, but closed on Monday 11th) and what better place to kick it off (as well as practise your Spanish) than 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 | In the Spanish League, we have the local derby, Barça vs Espanyol (Saturday, kick-off 20.45). If any of you still do the pools, that would be a dead cert for a home win 😉 ! ¡ Hay que ser un poco friki para ser del Espanyol !

Coming up later this month | The Merçè (September 22-25) is Barcelona's Festa Major. Full details of what's on.

For more on what's on in Barcelona in September, see Barcelona Turisme's Agenda (.pdf document).

Barcelona at its best – and worst

Roses for Sant Jordi

Roses for Sant Jordi | Photo: Tom Walton

Barcelona (and Sant Jordi) in the spring sunshine: one of those times of the years when it's at its loveliest. Come and see on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 18th | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia: interesting history, lovely architecture, great bars (and, in August, a great festa major)! We'll also be seeing one of the less well-known Gaudí works, the Casa Viçens (16.00).
  • Wednesday 19th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to see some of Picasso's Barcelona: it includes some of the most picturesque of the streets of the Barrio Gótico (Petrixol, Avinyó…); places like the 4 Gats restaurant (a bohemian taberna in Picasso's time); the Estación de Francia (from where he first travelled to Paris at the age of 21); and the Carrer de Montcada, where the Picasso Museum now stands (16.00).
  • Thursday 20th | We have a stroll round the Barrio Gótico for you today, taking you to see some of the hidden corners you might otherwise miss. Come with us and explore (and see also these other hidden corners of Barcelona, in other barrios).
  • Friday 21st | We have a special Sant Jordi edition of our Friday Club language exchange this week. 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 | It's a kind of big week for Barça: on Wednesday in the Champions it's the return of the Barça vs Juventus Quarter Final (kick-off 20.45), with Barça down 3-0 after the first leg; and then on Sunday, in the Spanish League, it's Real Madrid vs Barça (kick-off 20.45), with Barça 3 points behind their arch rivals, who still have a game in hand. A double opportunity — because of the atavistic screaming that goes on and the absurd amount of importance attached to such things — to see Barcelona at its worst.

Sunday also happens to be Sant Jordi, when tradition has it that the girl gives her guy a book, and in return receives a rose. Barcelona at its best (though you'll have to pardon us for suggesting it's all become a bit commercialized).

Come for a stroll down the Ramblas with us

Ramblas

Come with us for a stroll down the Ramblas, Wednesday | Photo: Tom Walton

It's one of those crazy weeks in Barcelona when (because of the football) people either don't mention the subject or else just go completely bonkers. Not edifying. Meanwhile, on our social programme:

  • Tuesday 7th | Come with us today to explore the bohemian district of Gracia [map]: interesting history, lovely architecture, great bars (and, in August, a great festa major)! We'll also be pass by one of the less well-known Gaudí works, the Casa Viçens, though it's currently largely obscured by tarpaulins for restoration work (16.00).
  • Wednesday 8th | 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 9th | 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).
  • Friday 10th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today for our 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 | Champions ), Barça vs PSG (Wednesday, kick-off 20.45; last 16, return leg), with Barça 0-4 down (!) after an embarrassing trashing in Paris and a mountain to climb: such a disadvantage has never before been overturned at this stage in the Champions history.

Get yourself to a bar with a large TV screen just in case the impossible occurs [content in Catalan]!