Thursday, October 17, 2019

Barcelona in the Sunshine

The rain is pouring down here this morning, echoing in the chimney, pattering on the skylight, and dulling the already muted garden. Sunny Spain seems eons ago.  I've spent the past two days doing very little and feel great! Later this morning I'm off to school to see what my students got up to while I was away. 

Our group of 14 arrived in Barcelona around noon, after 24 hours in transit. We all slept more on the plane going there than on the return flights. Our guide, Silvia, met us at the airport and we dropped our luggage off at the hotel, then hit the ground - walking rather than running. 

Barcelona is a beautiful city with the soft air that comes from being near the Mediterranean. Beautiful architecture, interesting sights, great food - there is much to appreciate about it. Narrow streets bordered by tall buildings meant that one had to look up to see sky and trees, while maintaining an eye on the ground for uneven cobblestones, and also looking straight ahead to prevent bumping into the many people on the streets. 

Looking up along La Rambla. 

More looking up - the Umbrella House, also known as Casa Bruno Cuadros - is distinctive for the ceramic umbrellas and fans decorating the house. There is also a dragon. The original owner of the house owned an umbrella shop on the main floor, hence the decor and name. 

Looking up to see intricate light fixtures. They are everywhere in many styles. 

The sheer number of decorative features in this photo make it a busy one, but the busyness typifies the city to me. 

If you've been watching the news recently, you might have heard about protests and demonstrations in Barcelona. They occurred in the square reflected in the photo above. While we were there, quiet groups of people with posters and signs stood in front of the buildings, watched carefully by police, but there was no violence. That changed later, after we left. 

I quite like the distorted shapes of reflected buildings in the window.

Light slants in another narrow passageway. 

We were almost ready to leave the city and head back to our hotel. In the Plaza de la Catedral a talented guitarist had been playing and singing, filling the air with lovely, gentle melodies. A street performer created bubbles that floated up and up before bursting into nothingness. As we prepared to leave the square and head off for dinner, the guitarist began singing a song that my students knew well from Spanish class. I use it for teaching some grammatical concepts, but also for culture. 

The students looked at me, wide-eyed, "Mrs. Orr, - it's Vivir mi Vida!" They started dancing and singing along. Tears pricked my eyes as I thought of how wonderful it was to have these students see that what they had learned in the classroom was a part of real life. That moment was one of the highlights of the trip for me. 

My next post will be about the Gaudi architecture that Barcelona is so famous for. 


  1. Barcelona looks like a lovely place! I am enjoying your travel posts.

  2. Oh my gosh, so much to see, I’m going a lot by your description of views, my eyes are failing me but it sounds marvellous!

  3. You have caught that reflected image in the window beautifully - I love all of these European countries that are on my doorstep, each one so different in it's culture, architecture, and personality. That's way I feel so sad about this stupid Brexit business going on here.
    That was a very lovely moment for you when your students started dancing and singing as the guitarist played Vivir mi Vida.

  4. Thank you for sharing the story about your students recognizing a song you taught them and then singing along and dancing. You say that it was one of the highlights. I can see why.

  5. Love your golden moment. Cities always come to life for me when there’s street music. For me today a sole player in a small square playing ‘ Somewhere over the rainbow’ on saxophone. Magical.
    Love all the intricate details in the buildings. Another for my city list. B x

  6. Such interesting architecture. What a marvellous moment for the students to hear the music 'live' as it were.

  7. What an adventure for your students and for you. Can't wait to hear about Gaudi!

  8. That certainly was a special moment! When I was learning French in high school, our teacher was also a Spanish teacher. She loved to teach us French songs, and I at least loved that so much. I still sing the songs she taught.

    She sometimes would teach us the songs that the students of Spanish were learning as well :-) I can still remember parts of "Cielito Lindo." Recently I have been studying Spanish for the first time, and I am going to try to find "Vivir mi Vida" online. Thank you for the glimpse into Barcelona street life!

    1. There are several versions of the song on Youtube. I like Marc Antony's interpretation of it.

  9. Incredibly beautiful architeture, if it makes the picture busy, I can only imagine how busy your eyes were! I loved seeing the umbrella house, and hearing about the kids recognizing a song you had taught them, what a powerful moment as a teacher to experience! Glad that you have recuperated from the jet lag :)

  10. How incredible for your students to have the connection to such a beautiful city through language and music. So much detail went into architecture of the past. Love wandering cities with so much character and history. Glad to hear you had a nice trip.

  11. The city of Barcelona looks fascinating. I love the story of your teaching that came alive to your students. I know that warmed your teacher-heart! (Glad to know that you had gone before the violent protests!)

  12. Windows and sun. Two of my favorite things!

  13. Wonderful! I love your photos, which recall our own trip to Barcelona a few years ago. But that anecdote! How marvellous to be there to witness your students understanding the significance of what you'd taught them in the classroom.

  14. How exciting to be in Barcelona. We had an exchange student from there two years in a row but lost contact with her several years ago. Thanks for all the wonderful pictures. xo Diana

  15. How wonderful that the song you taught was sung! Love that!

  16. Oh how I love Barcelona and walking Las Ramblas. I love The Umbrella House. One evening we walked through there very late at night and people were still out strolling and dancing. It was beautiful!

  17. We have heavy rain as I sit and look out of the window … so to see these glorious blue skies in your photographs, was a very cheerful sight.
    Another lovely post Lorrie, thank you.

    All the best Jan


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