two families' train trip to Barcelona, Spain

Last week, the Travel School Project hit the road- or tracks rather! We traveled by train for the better part of Sunday to Barcelona, Spain to spend a few days unplugged from virtual school. It was our group's first overnight trip traveling together. An adventure that had us all excited. Both families have traveled independently to Barcelona in the past, but it's been a few years for each. Barcelona is one of those European cities that you visit, leave and want to go back.  It has stayed on the top of the group's travel request list. Wilson and Camille were itching to use their Spanish language skills. They've taken 2 years of it. Never mind that Barcelona has the Catalan language too. That's an aspect blended in that can leave an entire group lost. To me, the city has a Gothic and Bohemian mix. It's playful, authentic and richly steeped in the visual arts. A goldmine landing spot for a few days of out-of-the-classroom/textbook learning. I think it's a city for the 5 senses- sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. We crammed in what we could- plus each mom catered to individual requests. Our feet hurt, we slept like rocks and scarfed as much tapas down that we could. Once again leaving us, wanting to go back. 

Examples of outside of the classroom learning Barcelona style:

  • forms of government- yes, there's Barcelona but what is Catalonian? Why is there a recognizable push to be something different? They have their own yellow and red striped flag that shows up in several of the photo below.  

  • architecture/building- a big one in Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi is the city's mastermind of Catalan Modernism. A creative genius. His work has a unique style. We visited several of the now World Heritage sights. The most famous, La Sagrada Familia, has been under construction since 1882. This is my 3rd time to visit the cathedral project over the span of 18 years. I marvel at the progress every time. Definitely an amazing place to see while still under construction. 

  • math- geometry in it's architectural glory.

  • history- Columbus sailed to the Americas for Spain. He returned to Barcelona to to report of the new land to the King and Queen. Host city of the 1992 Summer Olympics.

  • art- the main Pablo Picasso museum. Put together in chronological order. I've claimed it as my favorite art museum for years. Abigail especially enjoyed taking it in because she was too little to appreciate the last time ('12).  Gaudi's work throughout the city is covered in mosaics. Art pad drawing on the go. 

  • food culture- The Boqueria market. Ahhh- I may have eaten octopus for breakfast! It was a delicious ordering mistake- (I'll blame it on the Catalan language barrier). Outside of the Boqueria, we ate, ate and ate tapas. Spices in Spain are a delightful contrast to the bland French food palette. 

  • current events- football craze, refugee crisis, tourism and financial economy

  • language- Wilson, Camille and Elizabeth carried the non-Spanish speakers. I was shocked by Wilson's complete conversation in Spanish with our cab driver from the train station to the hotel. 

  • music- Gaudi's acoustical designs, subway and park artists