What could be better than spending a summer in Barcelona? How about spending a summer in Barcelona learning Spanish? Yes most people, determined to have the time of their lives in Spain for one long sunny season are forced to take jobs handing out flyers for bars, working in over-crowded Irish pubs, or looking after someone’s screaming brat with a job in childcare! Clearly not the smart option.
This year I’ve been feeling an increasing amount of envy for those lucky language students who manage to wangle a whole summer’s of Spanish lessons as part of their University/College degree and who, not only leave Barcelona better at Spanish than I am, but also have a great time doing it. If you do decide to study abroad in Barcelona then there are no shortage of great summer programs to choose from offering intensive Spanish classes, plush student accommodation and all manner of extra-curricular activities – day trips, cultural tours, nights out etc! Oh, what I wouldn’t do to be 21 and have rich parents!
If that sounds like you then I suggest you have a read around the Study Abroad in Barcelona website, where you can find out more about their initiative and what’s included on their comprehensive cultural and language program.
Ah yes, Sant Joan/Sant Juan/St. John’s…. call it what you will. This crazy fiesta, celebrated on midsummer’s night, is the equivalent of New Year’s Eve in the rest of the world and easily the biggest booze up in Spain (including Catalonia).
Sant Joan’s has two elemental components: booze and fireworks. Possibly the least responsible combination since Roman Polanski and underage girls were last teamed up. However the Spaniards are never ones to let an EU health and safety manual stand in the way of having a good time (running the bulls, anyone?) and so it is that children, drunks and cretins (sometimes even cretinous drunk children) are allowed to play havoc with explosives to their heart’s content.
The utter stupidity of this was rammed home as me and my friends made our way to Mar Bella beach to enjoy the celebrations. Everywhere rockets and bangers were being set off, some at worryingly horizontal angles. One idiot let off a rocket that exploded just a metre above some hapless bystander’s head and I walked hurriedly, with shielded eyes, from the metro to the relative safety of the beach where most people were more intent on drinking than unleashing pyrotechnical chaos.
Sant Joan... the aftermath on Mar Bella beach
Once we’d run the gauntlet and survived it was time to enjoy the festive atmosphere and as tonnes of my friends and Couchsurfers
had all gathered it became a great social occasion. Sadly I had barely finished telling some American dude how I never miscalculate how much I drink these days, when – still early in the night – the white wine/beer/mojitos hit me like sledgehammer over the head. I had to lie down… for five hours. When I woke, with a girl in my arms (yeah even I don’t know how I pulled that one off!), it was sunrise and my God the beach was a mess. You could barely see the sand for the empty cans, cartons, plastic bags and burnt out rockets. I had to puke up a bit first, but by then I was ready for the tram/metro journey home. So there you go, my first Sant Juan party! Slightly wasted on me, but we’ll chalk that up to experience. (ie. don’t drink 79 cents white wine from litre cartons).
Otherwise the Barcelona party season has carried on. From Nasty Mondays at Sala Apolo to the usual Saturday nights at Razzmatazz there has been some epic nightlife. And whenever I was getting bored of Barcelona’s clubs a fresh idea would come along. Recently I’ve been to a couple of awesome pool parties up on Montjuic, whilst last Sunday we went to an all right beach party on Playa Parc Forum with German DJ MANDY. I was particularly pleased with this event as the f@cking Barcelona council with their ever more fascist noise restriction policies have banned DJs from playing at chiringuitos at most of Barcelona’s beaches, but as this one is just outside the city limits it was full steam ahead for the all night party. Lots of cute girls too…:)
Right now it’s one of the very best festivals in Barcelona, the Festa Mayor de Gracia… another week of liver-busting fun beckons! Think I’ll stick to a couple of shandies…