In my group, there was someone from Vienna, two people from Sheffield, two from Toulouse and one from Poland. Our teacher Miriam motivated and taught us with lots of patience, joy and her extremely nice Spanish temperament, despite hot temperatures and a high level of noise from a nearby building site. As early as the first day, we could say a few sentences in Spanish. Obviously, she praised each one of us for this. The explanations and translations were always in English. In the breaks and during the trips we chatted in English or Spanish. I could speak to my hotel room neighbour and some tourists in Italian. I was faced with a number of languages this week, which was a great pleasure and gave me the motivation to progress further in this particular field.
The goal of my stay in Spain was to discover the country, the people and the “lengua”. Even on my first day, I was able to experience exactly this. I took the regular 91 bus from near my hotel to the last stop in the outskirts of the city. During the journey, I enjoyed the view of the well-known architecture – the Eixample construction project – the port and the calm suburbs. A habit of mine in foreign cities is to just march ahead and follow my instinct. Therefore, I was very lucky to find an outdoor traditional kindergarten party after just a few steps. None of the singing and dancing Spaniards asked me what I was doing there. I enjoyed the Spanish songs, played by three musicians, the excited, lively and pleasant chatter and the families dancing with their small children. At the buffet, I bought some excellent typical Spanish homemade dishes. I almost felt like a part of this large “family”, although I hardly understood a word.
The daily Spanish course started at 9:30am and ended at 2:30pm and I am once again convinced that learning is fun! On Monday, we walked into the old city after the course, where we saw the Gothic Quarter with its Catedral, impressive Santa Maria del Mar church and Parc de la Ciutadella. Miriam’s explanations were in Spanish. At the end, we came to my favourite spot, the port.
On Wednesday, we took a bus trip with Steve, another teacher from the school, to Montjuic hill, where we visited the breathtakingly large Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC).
On Thursday, we enjoyed ourselves at a fantastic Flamenco Show in a very small bar. I was impressed by the dance, the music and the emotions of the dancers.
On my last day, I travelled to Tibidabo, Barcelona’s 512-metre high mountain, easily recognisable by the church built at the top. This church, Templo del Sagrat Cor is crowned by an enormous bronze statue of Jesus, the Sagrado Corazón. The view from Tibidabo is fascinating – the city lies beneath and stretches out to the sea.
I will always carry very fond memories of this view, as well as all the other views and insights I encountered.