Northampton School for Boys


Barcelona 2014

Barcelona 2014 thbs

This year’s Y13 trip to Barcelona was a resounding success. As usual, we stayed in a typically Spanish flat in the heart of Barcelona, just a stone’s throw away from the famous ‘Ramblas’. On arrival we were very kindly treated to a typically Catalan meal prepared by the owner of the flat: spinach with raisins and pine nuts to start followed by ‘fricandó’ and ‘crema catalana’. This was the perfect opportunity for the students to practise their Spanish speaking skills and the owner of the flat, Josep María, commented on both their confidence and ability to converse in Spanish.

We then went on a tour of some of the sights of Barcelona which included the gothic cathedral, Plaza Cataluña, Arco de Triunfo, Paseo Marítimo, Ramblas and Plaza Real.

Tuesday was spent travelling by train to Montserrat where we walked to the top of the mountain to take in breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery. The afternoon was spent walking around the Montjuïc district of Barcelona and visiting the Plaza de España, ‘Palacio Nacional’, Olympic stadium and swimming pool, parks and the Joan Miró art gallery (which provided a great comparison to the works of Salvador Dalí that we have been studying).

Wednesday was the ‘Salvador Dali’ day where we travelled by train to Figueres, home of the Salvador Dalí museum/art gallery – a superb opportunity for the students to see up close the works of Dalí that we have been studying as part of the A Level course. We then travelled to the coastal town of Cadaqués to visit Dalí’s home which was amazing. The highlight of the trip had to be meeting three people who had met Dalí, one of whom knew him extremely well. The students had the opportunity to listen to anecdotes about the artist and ask questions about him, all of which will prove invaluable to their forthcoming speaking exams in which they have to discuss in detail the life and works of Dalí. Meeting people who actually knew him gave the students an excellent insight into Dalí as a person rather than the showman that is often portrayed.

Thursday was spent going to see the ‘Sagrada Familia’ cathedral, designed by Antoni Gaudí. The different facades and inside of the cathedral were incredible as was the view from the top of one of the towers. After lunch and a visit to the beach the next stop was ‘Parc Güell’, also designed by Gaudí with its fabulous mosaics, curved architecture and views over Barcelona. Thursday evening was finished off with a trip to the cinema to further immerse the students in Spanish.

Friday was spent visiting the famous ‘Casa Batlló’, another building designed by Gaudí where they were able to observe once again the curved architecture and amazing mosaics.

All in all, the students had a brilliant experience of seeing not only a vibrant Spanish city, but also a typical provincial town in the form of Figueres, the beautiful white-washed coastal town of Cadaqués and the mountainous landscape of Montserrat. They were a pleasure to take away as they fully immersed themselves in the Spanish culture, taking full advantage of every opportunity to use their Spanish speaking skills to order food, purchase train tickets and entrance tickets to museums as well as speaking to waiters and local people. They were so adventurous in sampling the local cuisine and delighted in trying an amazing array of tapas from pigs’ ears to octopus! The favourite had to be the 'jamón serrano' and ‘pimientos del padrón’ (a bit like playing Russian roulette to see who ends up with the hot pepper!)

The trip will undoubtedly prove invaluable to their performance in their A Level exams and has given them an excellent insight into the Spanish way of life and culture.

Mrs L. Edwards