Good Gaudi! Barcelona's Architecture Explored 

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Some may argue Barcelona's eccentric nature comes from it's name – Barça: The Passion. The reality is that the passion extends beyond the name of this city and into the artistic flair that adorns every building and street, every gallery and park. Today, we can use a range of software and platforms to try and build what we vision in our minds. When you visit Barcelona you step into a world where these varied and alternative structures exist and visions have been realised. Ergo the Catalan Modernism of Gaudi exists and the surrealism of Miró is that bit more real as you take in these noteworthy sites.

Barcelona has always been a ‘go-to’ destination. Teachers realise the potential a school trip to Barcelona has to explore the arts, History, Business and Geography but it is the within this focus on Art, Design, Architecture and Photography where Barcelona seems to be a logical choice for Party Leaders. We can play scenarios over and over again in our head – our dreamland, our utopia. The moment you touch down in the capital of Catalonia students can step into this dreamland where no longer it is Alice in Wonderland or Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp but Tim in Wonderland and Tim and his Wonderful Lamp. The point being that as you walk down La Rambla or walk round the corner to find Casa Milá the artistic angle that was once an artist’s own mental image is a walking dreamland that aims to inspire and ultimately exist.

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Every visit to Barcelona deserves the grand unveiling of the skyline before your eyes. A trip up to the summit of Montjuic Hill allows you to take in the grand scale of the city against the backdrop of the mountains that border the city as though a line of defence for Catalan Nationalism. More striking as the mellow evening light heightens the terracotta glow of the buildings below, the view from Montjuic prepares a group for the wonders that are to come on their school trip to Barcelona.

Alternatively, Montjuic Hill is an ideal area to start off your tour should the group arrive late the previous evening. Within the area there is plenty to see such as the National Art Museum of Catalonia which is housed within the Palau Nacional. Located by the steps of Montjuic, the museum has a range of collections that include examples of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance Art. While it will be hard to pull your students away from the numerous areas and archives that form part of the MNAC network it is important not to skip out of the other nearby worthwhile sights of the gardens and Olympic Stadium.

Without the creative eye, some can forget the artistry placed on buildings that do not house particular examples of art. The Fundacio Joan Miró is one building where creativity is not in doubt. Inside the white walls of the museum Miró’s aims for the foundation become clear: to promote contemporary art and the experimentation of this form.

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Travel to other side of the city and Parc Güell basks in the Catalan sun as Gaudi’s mosaics and sculptures inject a cacophony of colour. ‘El Drac’, the multi-coloured salamander is an intriguing figure facing down the steps of the park. The detail along the main terrace and time spent creating the mosaic highlights to students the dedication needed to become a great artist. While we speak of great artists it is hard to ignore the Picasso Museum in the La Ribera district. Little needs to said about Picasso where the work speaks for itself in many forms and languages, but the museum itself is home to one of the most extensive collections including some of his first major works. What is significant about this stop is the story told between Picasso and the city of Barcelona.

School trips to Barcelona are not completed without visiting one world famous, historically important work of art that dominates the skyline of Barcelona…and on this occasion I’m not talking about Camp Nou (though we will come that soon)! Instead I am alluding to Gaudi’s unfinished ‘Gift to God’, his magnum opus, the Sagrada Familia. It is not merely the scale that lends itself to being labelled ‘impressive’, but the time and detail spent on this structure. Simply walking around the Sagrada you bear witness to the different areas that blossom from the structure, which if they were to stand alone would resemble a work of art themselves.

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Like the shape of Camp Nou, this cauldron can represent the hotpot of art found in the City of Barcelona. A chocolate box of assortments, Barcelona houses a number of key artists that have managed to imprint themselves on this Catalan star. Art back at school will never be the same as a school trip to Barcelona acts as the starter gun to creativity and inspiration as it was to athletes of the 92’ Summer Olympics.

Author Bio: Joana Hall writes for Travelbound who offer a range of school trips to Barcelona for students of all ages.