Barcelona has a great reputation for many reasons. It’s a great spot to practise both Spanish and Catalan. Two of our students Nick and Kate have visited recently and put their Spanish to the test!
Here they share their top tips for visiting, including where to go and how to use your Spanish language skills and perfect guide to start planning your next summer city break.
Name the three things you would recommend doing in Barcelona
Nick: I would highly recommend to visit La Sagrada Familia by waking up early and avoiding the queues, the interior is really incredible with the sun coming through the stained glassed windows. As you're in beautiful sunny Spain, Park Güell is a must see. It has beautiful gardens, mosaics and architecture that you can freely walk around without a tour guide. Antoni Gaudí's work, he was one of it not the most respected architects in Spain and there's a few buildings and houses that he designed that you have to experience for yourself. Oh and of course, try tons of local tapas bars for a beer and traditional tapas!
Kate: To start with I would recommend doing a long stroll around the city, starting in a picturesque quarter of Gracia, walking towards Park Güell, visiting the nearby Observation Deck (Turó de la Rovira) for a lovely view of the city, returning towards the beach via Sagrada Familia, impressive Arc de Triomf and lovely Parc de la Ciutadella. This lovely walk will give you an understanding how big Barcelona is and what a variety of different areas it has.
What Spanish phrases did you use when doing those things?
Nick: For the stunning views: 'Qué guay!' (how cool) , smelling the beautiful food as you walk by the resturants and bar:, 'tengo mucha hambre' (I’m very hungry) as well being by a terrace with a beer and delicious food: 'esto es muy relajante' (this is very relaxing) y 'muy rico' (very tasty) while tasting the local cuisine was often said!
Kate: ‘Qué rico’ (delicious) in every gelato place, ‘me gusta muuuucho’ (I like it very much) in every other food place, ‘puedes hablar más despacio por favor?’ (can you speak more slowly please?) in every shop when trying to buy something.
Did you build Spanish practice into everyday?
Nick: Absolutely, asking for directions, ordering food and drinks, asking for the wifi password and understanding each letter and number in the password (very important).
Kate: Yes, I stayed in an Airbnb with the local family, who were talking to me in Spanish. They showed me the house around and explained the rule in Spanish. I spoke about myself a lot and they gave some easy stories about themselves. When out, I was able to order ‘cafe con leche’ easily!
What was the highlight of using Spanish in Barcelona?
Nick: Suprising the locals when they heard me speaking in English to my girlfriend then I would order my food in Spanish, the look on their face was priceless. I tried to blend in as much as possible and fool a few people I was Spanish too which was good fun.
Kate: The highlight was understanding locals when they speak slightly slower. It give the motivation to carry on learning the language.
What’s the best thing you ate whilst in Barcelona?
Nick: Hands down solomillio con pimiento verde y queso, that was riqisímo!
Kate: Can’t remember now! But I always love good padron peppers and calamari, it is always the best thing for me. Barcelona has awesome wines on offer too.
What was one thing that surprised you?
Nick: The fact that Barcelona had a lot of cultural diversity in a medium-sized city, whilst also finding the pace for life and groups of friends and community relaxed and enjoying life in the week after work, staying out late and many had smiles on their faces along the way.
Kate: There is a serious divide between Spanish and Catalan. And on a separate note that locals can be having a beer for breakfast :)
Would you say learning with Stripey Spanish helped you during your trip? if so how?
Nick: Stripey Spanish at Level 1 has given me a huge starting pack for vocabulary, communicating the basics of telling someone about myself, describing my family and asking about theirs, ordering food and drink, socialising and more. Understanding locals and other Spanish speakers really helped too with the listening skills and common phrases we've learnt in class. Thank you Stripey Spanish for teaching us in a really fun and practical way! They've made learning Spanish really interactive, enjoyable and memorable.
Kate: Yes, gave me the confidence to try and speak. I also started understanding full sentences that people are saying.
If you had to describe your trip using one Spanish phrase what would you say?
We hope you’ve enjoyed these Barcelona tips. Fancy going yourself and want to learn some Spanish to help you? Click here to find out more about about Spanish lessons and courses.
By Emily Banks
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