Coronavirus meets street art outside the Palau de la Música, Barcelona | Art @bl2a_, photo Tom Walton
For the duration of the coronavirus emergency, with Spain locked down, our weekly social programme has been cancelled.
Our Spanish courses in Barcelona are however continuing, online, in small groups, via video conference.
Come and join us and make the most of the opportunity to learn Spanish!
Come with us to Montjuïc on Thursday for some wonderful views of the city | Photo: Tom Walton
Barcelona is a cool city, right? But how do you discover its real cool places? Our social programme is a pretty good place to start! This week's programme:
- Tuesday 10th | Come with us this afternoon to visit Poble Sec, the district between the Avenida del Paralelo and Montjuic. Once home to factories, of which little now remains, it's a barrio popular, not least because of its many bars (see the recommendations in TimeOut and on TripAdvisor). The Carrer Blai [Google Maps] is particularly popular if you want to ir de tapas. Our walk will also take us down to the Avinguda del Paral·lel (so named because it lies parallel to the Equator). Inaugurated in 1894, and running down to the port from Plaça Espanya, it was once the centre of Barcelona nightlife, with theatres and cabarets and music halls.
- Wednesday 11th | 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.
- Thursday 12th | 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!
- Friday 13th | Fancy a beer this evening? Mireia is taking us to two cool bars: on this side of the Ramblas, Els 4 Gats, which dates back to 1897, and is the quintessential bohemian bar where movies have been shot and artists — including Picasso — and poets have met up. Then, on the far side of the Ramblas in the Raval, we'll be popping into Casa Almirall, which also dates back to the 19th century, to 1860 in fact. Beer? Make mine a glass of absenta! Note that what you drink, you have to pay for 😉 !
We meet up at Ground Floor Reception, by the front door, at 16.30 but 19.00 on Friday.
The street art shutter (complete with dripping chocolate!) at one of Barcelona's most famous cafés: come along, Wednesday | Photo: Tom Walton
intro on our social programme this week
- Tuesday 3rd | The Eixample, the central grid-ironed district of Barcelona, is where you'll find most of the city's most famous Modernista buildings — the houses like the Casa Batlló and the Pedrera, for example. But there's much more to Modernisme than that, as you'll discover if you come along this afternoon to see some of the less well-known buildings — chemist's shops and grocer's and bars included.
- Wednesday 4th | One of Barcelona's great traditions (OK, that would possibly be other parts of Spain, too 😉 !): chocolate con churros for afternoon tea, for which we'll be heading over into the Barrio Gótico to one of our favourite granjas (cafés) on the Carrer Petrixol (now that is the Barcelona tradition!). Also traditionally consumed when you come out of the disco at about five in the morning. Price €7 (disco not included!) . Yummy (16.00)!
- Thursday 5th | 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!
- Friday 6th | Fancy a beer this evening? Come along with us at 19.00 and discover a couple of Barcelona's many, many bars and practise your Spanish over an Estrella. Drinks and tapas not included.
Join us in Ground Floor Reception at 16.30 by the front door, at 19.00 on Friday.
Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Real Sociedad (Saturday, kick-off 18.30).
Castellers| Photo: Tom Walton
We have art, architecture and tradition on our social programme for you this week in Barcelona. All that's missing is the football! Wait, you can get that on Sunday if you can find yourself a bar with a big screen (ok, just following the crazy screaming you'll hear!)
- Tuesday 25th | The human castles which you can see in the photo, above, or castellers as they are known in Catalan, are a local tradition which goes back to the 18th century. Come and find out what it is all about today at 18.15! Price is €5.50 and note that you need to sign up for this one.
- Wednesday 26th | This afternoon's trip 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.
- Thursday 27th | One you just must see: the best known Gaudí building in Barcelona, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, though it's supposed to be finished in 2026 (see this video if you can't wait that long!). If you want to go inside, note that it costs a minimum €15 (and book online if you want to do that) but is definitely not something to be missed (16.00). See also some of the cool pictures to be found on the official Sagrada Familia Instagram feed.
Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door at 16.30.
Also this week | In the Spanish League we have the big game of the season, Real Madridvs Barça (Sunday, kick-off 21.00, in Madrid), with Barça 2 points ahead with 25 games played.
Time to dress up! | Photo: Tom Walton
In Barcelona, Carnival isn't the massive event it is in, say, Cádiz or Rio de Janeiro, but come with us on our social programme this week and you'll see that it's not only in Brazil that they know how to party!
- Tuesday 18th | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia [more information & map]: 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. We won't have time to go inside (though you can now visit it), so you might like to check out these wonderful photos of it.
- Wednesday 19th | Our trip this afternoon takes us down to Glorias, (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: once a massive roundabout, the Plaça now includes a large park).
- Thursday 20th | It's Carnival time! Come along with us at 17.30 and see. There are 50 processions in Barcelona you can join between Thursday and Sunday. In you fancy a weekend away, there are other places reasonably nearby where Carnival is a big thing — like Roses, Sitges, Tarragona and Vilanova. You could always dress up to come with us this afternoon!
Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door at 16.30, 17.30 on Thursday.
Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Eibar (Saturday, kick-off 16.00).