Come with us to the Park Güell this Thursday!

Railings, Park Güell: come with us and see, Wednesday | Photo: Tom Walton

We're back to "normal" on our social programme this week, so we have our first Friday Club of 2019 if you'd like to join us for that:

  • Tuesday 8th | 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. It's Antoni Gaudí that got all the fame and credit for it, but we'll also be telling you about Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (with an honourable mention for Enric Sagnier (16.00).
  • Wednesday 9th | 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).
  • Thursday 10th | One you just have to see, the Park Güell (that's "Park" with a "k" as Gaudí is said to have modelled it along English lines). Apart from the lovely Park itself, the view of Barcelona from the top is spectacular. More information on the Park Güell on Wikipedia and on the official Park Güell website. Note that you need to sign up for this one — by 16.00 on Tuesday! Entrance to the Park is €7.50 (16.00).
  • Friday 11th | Join us this evening for our first Friday Club language exchange of the New Year. 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 | Spanish League, Barça vs Eibar (Sunday, kick-off 18.30).

Christmas in Barcelona: food, churches and Kings

The Three Kings, bringing you presents in Barcelona, provided you've been good | Photo: Tom Walton

Exceptionally, with Tuesday a holiday, we've got something for you today (Monday) on our social programme this week:

  • Monday 31st | 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. Especially interesting at this time of the year, both are also great places to go for lunch. Bring your camera (14.00)!
  • Tuesday 1st | Holiday
  • Wednesday 2nd | Apart from Sagrada Familia (see Thursday), the city has a number of other lovely churches. Come with us today to see the Joyas del Gótico, the "Gothic jewels" of Barcelona — the Cathedral and the wonderful churches of Santa María del Pí and Santa María del Mar, the latter the subject of a book we always recommend, La Catedral del Mar. Note that there's a €7 entrance fee to see the Nativity scene in the cathedral (16.00).
  • Thursday 3rd | Join us this afternoon on our trip down to the Plaza España to discover some of the traditions that come with a Spanish Christmas, when presents are traditionally brought not by Father Christmas on December 25th, but by the Three Kings on January 6th (watch out for the procession on the evening of the 5th, by the way).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above. Note that, with school closing at 16.00 until January 7th (and at 14.00 on Monday 31st), there's no Friday Club this week.

See also The official tourist board has a great little guide to what's on in Barcelona in January, over at BarcelonaTurisme.com (large .pdf document)

Our social programme in Barcelona over Christmas

Nativity scene, Fira de Santa Llucia, Barcelona

Nativity scene, Fira de Santa Llúcia | Photo: Tom Walton

Join us on our social programme this week to see something of how Barcelona spends Christmas!

  • Monday 24th | We're going into Gracia this afternoon for look round the barrio and to see some of the Christmas stalls that are to be found. Need to do some last minute Christmas shopping 😉 ? Note that we're meeting at 14.00 today!
  • Tuesday 25th | Holiday
  • Wednesday 26th | Holiday
  • Thursday 27th | 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 €8 (disco not included!) . Yummy (16.00)!
  • Friday 28th | Come for a stroll with us this afternoon round a very Christmasy Barrio Gótico to see some of the hidden corners of the old city (16.00).

Join us downstairs at the front door, at the times given above.

Note that school is open only 09.00 to 16.00 this week (until 14.00 today, Monday) and closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and on Saturday.

There's therefore no Friday Club this week, obviously: it won't be back until January 11th.

The week before Christmas on our social programme in Barcelona

Feliz Navidad from Legoland! | Builders, Toni and Bel; Photo, Tom Walton

Come with us on our social programme this week and see some of the things that make Christmas in Barcelona different!

  • Tuesday 18th | One of our Christmas traditions in Barcelona is to buy (or make!) figures to create a Nativity scene at the Santa Llúcia Christmas fair, which has been held for the last 225 plus years [website]). Come along with us this afternoon to see (16.00).
  • Wednesday 19th | A pessebre vivent, a live Nativity scene, is a traditional here in Catalonia and we're going to see one this afternoon at the Torre del Suro which has been staged for the last 25 years by young people with special needs. Note that we meet at 17.00 today.
  • Thursday 20th | 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!). At this time of year, on the block outside, there's a traditional Christmas fair that we'll show you around. 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.
  • Friday 21st | 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 | In the Spanish League, in the last game before the Christmas break, it's Barça vs Celta (Saturday, kick-off 18.30).

See also The BBC explains Catalonia's beloved scatological Christmas custom, which you might want to read if all those figures (ahem) pooing at the Christmas fairs puzzle you somewhat 😉 !

Come with us and see some of Barcelona's wonderful architecture

The Passenger: Marie Schneider and Jack Nicholson meet in the Palau Güell, then visit the Pedrera, back in 1975

Comes with us on our social programme this week and discover how much more there is to Barcelona's amazing architecture than "just" Gaudí!

  • Tuesday 11th | 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, in the video above); 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 12th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to visit the lovely Parque de la Ciudadela, which lies on the site of the fortress built to dominate the city after the siege of 1714, which was demolished in 1868 and then became the site — in 1888 — of Barcelona's first Universal Exposition. If you're interested in architecture, and the history of Barcelona, there are some fascinating things to see on today's trip (16.00).
  • Thursday 13th | 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 and — if you're a fan — a selfie coming out of the Hotel Oriente is on your to-do list (16.00).
  • Friday 14th | We have a special "Hawaii" Friday Club for you this week. 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 | In the Champions, it's the last game of the group stages, with Barça vs Tottenham(Tuesday, kick-off 21.00). Barça have won the group with something to spare while Tottenham must win this one to qualify. Tickets start at €69 (or €440 for a VIP ticket! Does anyone actually pay that to watch football?)