June Abroad 2011: Spanish Culture

After arriving in Barcelona, we immediately stopped for a quick bite to eat and our tour guide gave us a bus tour of the city. Some of the highlights included the Montjuic Mountain, the Olympic Ring, the Pala St Jordi, and Mirador del Alcalde. The highlight of the tour was the stop at the Sagrada Familia.

The Sagrada Familia is a church designed by famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.  The construction of it began in 1882, and even though Gaudi died in 1926, construction still continues today.  It is entirely funded by private donations and is planned to be completed in 2026 for the 100th anniversary for Gaudi’s death.  It was especially surprising to us.  Pictures of the Sagrada Familia will not do it justice, but a few are attached to this post.

Our hotel is half a block away from Catalonia Square, the center of the 2011 Spanish protests in Barcelona that started just a month ago.  At this point, the majority of protesters have left and the area surrounding it is generally safe, but there is still consistent police presence in the area.   Barcelona is considered to be a safe city, but pick pocketing is very common and the entire group was warned to be very careful about our bags and documents.

It was a welcome change that unlike Prague, the public restrooms in Barcelona did not generally charge a fee to be used.  ☺

Barcelona is an area of Spain where not just Spanish is spoken, but also Catalan.  Many official street signs were not only in Spanish, but also in Catalan and English as well. Dinner was together as a group at the Pomarada Restaurant where Jason very generously acted as our guide as he can speak Spanish very well. Thanks, Jason!

Written by: Tony Real

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