We left Talbot Heath on a murky Saturday morning clad in our pink hoodies at the start of the Easter holidays for our trip to Gatwick on the school minibus. We got there in good time and were escorted through check-in and security by a member of Study Trips and soon we were on our Easyjet flight to Barcelona! On our arrival we were met by blue skies and palm trees as well as another representative from Study Trips, who put us straight on the coach for Urbany Hostal Hotel. Our very modern, high-rise hotel was friendly and clean with a great view of the impressive Torre Agbar. Once settled , we ventured forth to eat our evening meal at the Restaurante Gaudí close by ( pollo, patatas fritas, paella,espaguetis) then it was “¡Buenas noches!”and straight to bed, as we had a busy few days ahead.
We woke up to brilliant sunshine and decided to have breakfast on the terrace. This consisted of cereal, toast, fruit, cheese, ham, and hot and cold drinks, then we set out bright and early for the Picasso Museum, which is situated in Barcelona’s gothic quarter. The museum was organised chronologically and we learnt about Picasso’s life and influences, as well as seeing some fantastic paintings, although photos were not allowed for obvious reasons.
Once we were outside, since it was Palm Sunday, we were able to see people leaving church with their intricately woven palms. “La sardana” ( the typical dance of Catalunya) was being danced outside the old cathedral in the Plaza San Jaume, as it is every Sunday. To do this, people of all ages hold hands high and skip up and down to the sardana music, we had a brief try!
In the afternoon and in soaring temperatures we found our way up to El Parque Guell, which is at the top of a steep hill with escalators all the way up! We had baguettes for lunch and then had free time to explore the beautiful park designed by Gaudí, famous for its mosaic seat that undulates around the park.
After breakfast on the sunny terrace, we caught the metro to La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece. We were captivated by its impressive size and beauty and then visited the exhibition about Gaudí in the vault under the church. Lunch was eaten on the terrace of a restaurant just opposite.
Las Ramblas awaited, so we made our way to this famous avenue which runs through the centre of town all the way to the port. Many interesting sights, stalls, shops, and street entertainers could be seen, as well as the Boquería, Barcelona’s original market which sells just about anything!
Finally we had our Tapas dinner at Restaurante Moka, where we were tempted with tortilla, patatas bravas, croquetas, calamares, ensalada amongst other things. It was all delicious and was topped off with icecream.
More sun shone down on us as we found our way to the Joan Miró Foundation, which meant travelling by funicular up to the top of the mountain. The foundation is where the famous abstract artist’s work is displayed, some pieces are very large and brightly coloured!
Then it was back down in the funicular and after a quick lunch we were at Gaudí’s building commissioned by the Mila family, commonly known as La Pedrera. This fascinating structure has an amazing roof covered in Star Wars- like figures (really chimney pots) and we were able to visit every one of the floors in the building, truly remarkable imagination was at work here.
Afterwards, we strolled down to the port area La Barceloneta for our last evening meal, which we had on an open-air terrace facing the marina. We all tried typically Spanish food and some of us tried some paella for the first time!
Our last day started with a visit to the Poble Espanyol, a village built in 1929, which encompasses all the architectural styles of Spain. This traffic-free village is very picturesque and houses many craft shops where we could see glass, leather and metal objects being made, even a guitar-making shop. The handmade soap shop was most popular!
We had our lunch in one of the quaint restaurants and then had to head back to the Urbany Hostal Hotel as we were flying back that evening. While we were waiting for our flight, we did a quiz devised by Miss Thorp-West (art questions) and Mrs Matthews (Spanish questions), winners received a Barcelona souvenir.
It was a most enjoyable and educational trip, “muchas gracias” to Miss Thorp-West for organising it and to all involved.