Barcelona: a city of contrasts (and wild boar)

Quick!!!! Where's my spear?

Running wild in Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

One of the things we love about Barcelona is the contrast between its different districts. Come and see what we mean on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 21st | We have a trip up to the barrio of Sarrià [map] this afternoon. A separate town until it was incorporated into Barcelona in 1921, Sarrià still feels a little like a small town. Look out for wild boar, stop off at the posh bakers Foix de Sarrià (Plaça de Sarrià 12-13) if you're feeling peckish — or try the world's best ever patatas bravas at Bar Tomás (Major de Sarrià 49). Shame it's rather expensive to find a flat there (16.00) !
  • Wednesday 22nd | Our trip this afternoon takes us down to the Plaza España to see the 1000 years of art in the outstanding collection at the MNAC, the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña. Not a trip for philistines (16.00) 😉 !
  • Thursday 23rd | We have a stroll round the Barrio Gótico 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 24th | Come 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 | In the Spanish League, Barça, embarrassed by PSG in the Champions last week, are away to Atlético Madrid on Sunday, kick-off 16.15).

Barcelona, the old and the new, and the Modernista bit in the middle

Torre Agbar

The Torre Agbar, one of Barcelona's most distinctive landmarks | Photo: Tom Walton

On our social programme this week, we've got old Barcelona for you (Tuesday) and the new, post-Olympics city (Wednesday) — with the fabulous Modernista one, from the late-19th/early 20th century, thrown in as well (Thursday).

  • Tuesday 14th | Join us today on our walk round the Barrio Gótico, the old part of the city of Barcelona. You could and will go on your own — but come with us and you'll discover some of the wonderful things to be found there (16.00).
  • Wednesday 15th | Our trip today 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 — and still being transformed, with the Plaça, once a massive roundabout, to become a large park) (16.00).
  • Thursday 16th | 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. Interesting, and not all of them by Gaudí (16.00)!
  • Friday 17th | We have a special St Valentine's Day Friday Club for you this week, three days late of course, but hey, love is for ever, right 😉 ? 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, last-16 tie, PSG vs Barça (Tuesday, kick-off 20.45); Spanish League, Barça vs Leganes (Sunday, kick-off 20.45).

For the PSG game, you'll want a bar with a big screen (content in Catalan).

The Raval, street art and dragons on this week's social programme

Street art in the Raval

Migration is natural, borders aren't | Street art in the Raval by lmnt_ and rocblackblock; photo: sirkirbymuxloe

We've got one of our favourite Barcelona barrios for you on our social programme this week and one of it's most amazing dragons, too…

  • 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, 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 9th | Come with us to the lovely gardens of the Palacio Real de Pedralbes, which was home to the Spanish monarchy 1919-1931 whenever they visited the city, and also takes in the remarkable Gaudí dragon on the gate of the Finca Güell, the summer home of Eusebi Güell, Gaudí's great patron (16.00).
  • Thursday 9th | This afternoon's trip takes us to the CaixaForum, an old textile factory and another fascinating piece of Modernista architecture housing Barcelona's most visited art museum. Of what's currently on, we particularly recommend the Thyssen exhibition (16.00, entrance fee €4).
  • Friday 10th | 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 | Copa del Rey Semi Final, Barça vs Atlético Madrid (Tuesday, kick-off 21.00).

Walking Barcelona on our social programme

On the waterfront

On the waterfront, Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

You'll want comfortable walking shoes on our social programme this week, and your camera!

  • 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 | Come with this afternoon for a stroll 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 Guell, one of the few Modernista buildings to be found outside the Eixample district (16.00).
  • Thursday 2nd | 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 (in the photo, above) and the bottom of the Ramblas (16.00).
  • Friday 3rd | 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 | First leg of the Copa del Rey semi final, Atlético Madrid vs Barça (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00, in Madrid — you'll want a bar with a big screen (content in Catalan) for that!); and in the League, Barça vs Athletic Bilbao (Saturday, kick-off 16.15).

Chinese New Year in our Spanish classes

Chinese New Year in D7

Chinese New Year in D7 | Photo: Tom Walton

It's Chinese New Year and in Spanish class last week our teachers and learners produced some pretty cool activities and decorations to celebrate it.

In Spanish, not Chinese, that would have been, of course 😉 !

Each class on our intensive Spanish courses did something different and then on Friday, each class went to visit the others. Apart from the multicultural exchanges that lead to, it also made a nice change from "normal" class and afforded lots of opportunities for communicative use of our Spanish.


More pictures on our Facebook page.