Spring Session returned to Concord Academy this year, and one of the offerings was the opportunity to go on a foreign or domestic trip. One of the international trips offered was an architecture-focused visit to Barcelona and its surrounding towns. The trip was four nights in total, all spent in a hotel in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
Immediately after arriving, the group of 22 students and five chaperones went to see the Casa Mila, a house designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí for a wealthy family in the city. The impressive structure featured intricate designs, abstract sculptures on the roof, and a central courtyard. Next, the group saw the Sagrada Familia, the cavernous church designed by Gaudí more than 140 years ago and still under construction today. Despite being one of the most famous sites in Barcelona for its magnificent construction both inside and out, nobody had slept in more than 24 hours, and the visit was before dinner. That confluence of factors made it a less popular attraction than it otherwise could have been.
The following day, the group went to Parque Güell in the morning, which was a formation again designed by Gaudí. It is a park on the outskirts of the city originally completed to house some of the wealthiest people in Barcelona. However, Parque Güell was never fully realized, so it ultimately became a large park with several small Gaudí buildings. After that, the group took a bus tour around Barcelona during which they saw sites that there was otherwise no time to see. To cap off the day, the group visited Casa Batlló, also the work of Gaudí, which contained the notorious curves and patterns of Gaudí’s work.
On the second to last day, the group traveled to see Girona and Figueres, two towns about two hours north of Barcelona. Girona had interesting buildings characterized by strong medieval architecture, while Figueres was home to the Salvador Dalí Museum which showcased some of Dalí’s famous paintings and printmaking work. To cap off the trip, the group went to Montserrat, a large mountain south of Barcelona. There, they saw a monastery built near the top of the mountain. The views were incredible, with many smaller towns in the surrounding valleys visible and the distant Pyrenees mountain range in the background. Picturesque buildings built into the side of the mountain and a stark yellow cable car made this visit unique, and it was one of the most beloved attractions on the whole trip.
Everybody was alone for lunch, so there was no general consensus about the midday food. However, the group strongly disliked the dinners. The critique of the dinners was that they were far removed from any foreign cuisine, let alone the cuisine of Barcelona. On some days, there simply was not enough food to be filling after a long day of exploring the city.
Despite this, the group had a wonderful time exploring Barcelona and visiting the work of Gaudí all around the city. Virtually every other aspect of the trip was better than anticipated, making for a memorable Spring Session!