This week: the Park Güell, a holiday… and independence?

Entrance to the Park Guell, Barcelona
Entrance to the Park Güell, Barcelona | Photo: Irene Ucha

Our social programme never stops, no matter how heated the politics in Barcelona gets (see below) 😉 ! This week's programme:

  • Tuesday 10th | 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 [see also this video on how Modernisme changed Barcelona] (16.00).
  • Wednesday 11th | Come with us the the Park Güell this afternoon, the lovely Gaudí park – especially gorgeous in the autumn sunshine. Magnificent views of Barcelona from the top. NOTE that you need to reserve your place if you want to come — by 14.00 on Monday (entrance fee €7, meeting at 16.00).
  • Thursday 12th | Holiday (ironically, given what's going on — see below — today we celebrate Dia de la Hispanidad (possibly, in Catalonia, for the last time ever 😉 !). School closed, no class.
  • Friday 13th | 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 (16.00)!
  • Friday 13th | 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 | Here in Catalonia, we're all very expectant as to what might happen this Tuesday: are we about to have a unilateral declaration of independence?

The Catalan and Spanish media is frankly not going to provide you with an objective view of the issue. The Guardian's coverage is rather less biased and you could also follow what the BBC is saying (though there's also some nonsense published in both of those places).

Recommended reading | The Guardian: What's wrong with the world? Endlessly refighting old wars does nothing to heal a fractured present. (article in Catalan): Els carrers seran sempre nostres?

All of Barcelona on our social programme this week


The MNAC: an outstanding art collection | Photo: Tom Walton

A popular barrio, something arty, something Gaudí, something cinematic: you have all of Barcelona on our social programme this week!

  • Tuesday 3rd | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia [general 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 (16.00).
  • Wednesday 4th | 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 5th | 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!). See also some of the cool pictures to be found on the official Sagrada Familia Instagram feed. It's definitely not something to be missed so why not come with us today (16.00) ?
  • Friday 6th | 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 starting this week | Just down the coast, the annual, excellent Sitges Film Festival (October 5-15)

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.

Picasso's Barcelona on this week's social programme

Josep Llimona, Desconsuelo | Photo: Tom Walton

Desconsuelo, statue by Josep Llimona in the Parque de la Ciudadela | Photo: Tom Walton

Our social programme this week. Note that you need to reserve you place for the trip on Wednesday — before 16.00 on Tuesday! Do come along, it's great extra practice for your Spanish.

  • Monday 11th | National holiday in Catalonia (and what was all that about?), school closed
  • Tuesday 12th | 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 13th | This afternoon we'll be visiting the Parlament de Catalunya. Ironically housed in what was originally the arsenal of the fortress built to dominate the city after the 1713-14 siege, the building itself is lovely, the visit an interesting one also to discover how the Parlament works. The trip also takes us into the Parque de la Ciudadela, one of Barcelona's nicest parks (16.00).
  • Thursday 14th | 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 (16.00).
  • Friday 15th | 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 | Champions, Barça vs Juventus (Tuesday, kick-off 21.00).