FollowTheBaldie.com: Town and country walking and study tours in Barcelona and the Western Med
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Spanish tours - Country of belated marvels: a tour of the industrial culture of northern Spain, 1875-1914

The Casaramona mill, Barcelona. CC Marcel Germain. More.

Featuring:

  • Technological history. You'll see a comprehensive range of machinery and equipment from all major sectors.
  • Industrial architecture and landscapes. Production facilities, workers' housing, the palaces of entrepreneurs.
  • The history of work. Cunningly disguised as visits to surviving bourgeois and working men's clubs, an introduction to the classic cuisines of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, and a night at a fiesta in a mining village. Apart from tour notes and maps, you'll also receive a free, specially published bedtime reader containing freshly translated excerpts from contemporary novels, diaries, industry journals and reports.

Dates:

  • September 27-October 5 2013

Book one of these, or request new dates for your group!

Overview

Primitive agriculture with no surpluses, a lack of coal, or religious beliefs inimical to literacy and the work ethic: for whatever reason only three regions in southern Europe responded to the challenge presented by the British and other northern European industrial revolutions in the 19th century.

This September tour sets out to discover two of them. Starting out from Gijón (Asturias) with subsequent nights in a small village, Santander (Cantabria) and Bilbao (Basque Country), you’ll get to know the industrial heritage of the land where the Cantabrian range slopes down to the Bay of Biscay. The itinerary for this part includes major mining and railway museums, ironworks and other attractions, as well as the seaside palaces and villages commissioned by wealthy entrepreneurs from Gaudí and other Catalan architects.

Then, following an evening in Logroño (La Rioja) devoted to understanding the industrial base of its wine industry and getting to know its unrivalled tapas bars, we’ll head east on the new high-speed AVE train.

Barcelona is one of only a handful of industrial cities that were also powerful medieval centres, and it still retains important productive sites like the great 14th century shipyards. Steam power was smuggled here from Britain in 1833, and industrialisation followed a unique path based on water power. The final days of this tour will investigate some of the hundred or so industrial settlements that were the backbone of Catalonia’s industrial economy, including the Scottish colony built by Coats of Glasgow.

From Barcelona you can fly home to numerous British airports, or we can suggest where you might go to explore more of Spain or southern France.

So tick the boxes: railways, mines, foundries and steelworks, textile colonies, industrial architecture in stone and iron, the houses of the Midases and the masses, autumn sunshine and superb food and wine.

Itinerary

Day 1Friday. Arrival in Gijón after lunch. (Airports in rough order of convenience: Asturias/Oviedo, Santander, Valladolid, Santiago, Porto.) Railway museum. Group dinner. Optional visit to working men's cultural club. Overnight in classic 19th century hotel in Gijón.
Day 2Saturday. 19th century remains on site of Spain's oldest coal mine/Asturias' first shaft mine/Spain's only mine with submarine galleries, with stellar local guide. Mining and Industry Museum at El Entrego. Spectacular geology in caves of El Soplao (customised extended tour), adjacent to old mining complex (Real Compañía Asturiana - zinc, lead, iron ores). C18th water-powered Catalan forge with live demonstration. Fiestas of Our Lady of Good Health in mining village. Overnight in colonial mansion in same village.
Day 3Sunday. Functioning C18th water-mill. Bourgeois seaside resort of Comillas: Catalan art nouveau (Gaudí's Capricho, Montaner's Sobrellano palace, other work by Domènech, Llimona). Industrial/mining settlement of Astillero: "English" loading bay in the port, company railway, workers' housing, chimneys of an 1880s refinery, 1911 electricity generating station, etc. Overnight in modern 3 or 4* in Bilbao's C19th district.
Day 4Monday. A wide range of major industrial sights in Bilbao, including a tbc visit to a functioning steelworks going back 500 years.
Day 5Tuesday. Bilbao: free, e.g. to visit the Guggenheim (ticket not included, advance booking required) or organised visit to museums. La Rioja: application of chemical and mechanical advances at 19th century phylloxera bodega, includes tasting. Logroño: city tour, including conservative art nouveau architecture; evening free to allow (guided) exploration of superb tapas bars. Overnight in excellent little modern 3* in the old centre.
Day 6Wednesday. High-speed (AVE) train to Barcelona for group lunch. Barcelona city tour with industrial slant. Overnight in Barcelona in modernist hotel.
Day 7Thursday. Barcelona city programme. Overnight in Barcelona in modernist hotel.
Day 8Friday. Barcelona province. Colonia Guell and lunatic asylum (Gaudí prototypes for Park Guell, Sagrada Familia). The Llobregat valley. Mills in Manresa, Terrassa industry museum. Closing group dinner. Overnight in Barcelona in modernist hotel.
Day 9Saturday. End. Optional extra for those France-bound: cement train, then Pyrenees yellow train to Perpignan
Disclaimer

We're currently working on the Barcelona and Bilbao segments to improve what's on offer. Check back for updates...

The interesting state of Spain's public finances means that what is here today may well be gone tomorrow, but if attractions vanish we'll do our very best to find even better alternatives.

Details

Price £955 per person (£1165 single occupancy). This includes: all transport for organised activities from beginning to end; accommodation as below; all breakfasts, three lunches and two dinners (wine, water, coffee); all entrance fees, tips and taxes. Flights etc at beginning and end are not included. The price is fixed and will not be affected by currency or fuel price volatility.
Hotels Accommodation is in carefully selected 3-star or equivalent hotels with, where possible, a period atmosphere.
Grade easy
Base Spain (Meeting point information here, where relevant - make sure you have the right one!)
Location tags Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Catalonia, Gijón, Logroño, Oviedo, Spain, Terrassa, Zaragoza,
Theme tags architecture, art, gastronomy, history, industrial,
Your guide(s)
>
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Mr Baldie > Academic: anthropology (SOAS ), system design (Twente). Career: textiles, industrial energy sys, supply chain management, bioinformatics, banking, political/institutional consultancy, in Germany, Holland, USA, UK. Interests: Spanish literature (Generation of '98), music (brass bands, barrel organs), long-distance cycling.
Length 9 days
Average daily walking distance 3 km / 1.86 miles
Average daily walking time 0.6 hr

Photos

followthebaldie industry art nouveau
Day 1: 1913 Orenstein & Koppel locomotive, Gijón railway museum
Day 1: 1913 Orenstein & Koppel locomotive, Gijón railway museum
Day 1: cultural association, Gijón
Day 1: cultural association, Gijón
Day 1: dining room of hotel
Day 1: dining room of hotel
Day 2: Arnao works
Day 2: Arnao works
Day 2: pithead at Arnao
Day 2: pithead at Arnao
Day 2 Arnao mine in 1898
Day 2 Arnao mine in 1898
Day 2: locomotive Leonore, Arnao
Day 2: locomotive Leonore, Arnao
Day 2: Mining and Industry Museum, El Entrego
Day 2: Mining and Industry Museum, El Entrego
Day 2: Mining and Industry Museum, El Entrego
Day 2: Mining and Industry Museum, El Entrego
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: El Soplao caves
Day 2: hotel
Day 2: hotel
Day 2: hotel
Day 2: hotel
Day 2: hotel
Day 2: hotel
Day 3: TBC hydraulic powered forge visit with demo. Photo: CC kurtxio http://goo.gl/b6wEx
Day 3: TBC hydraulic powered forge visit with demo. Photo: CC kurtxio http://goo.gl/b6wEx
Day 3: functioning C18th water mill Photo: Tourism
Day 3: functioning C18th water mill Photo: Tourism
Day 3: Llimona angel in Comillas
Day 3: Llimona angel in Comillas
Day 3: Gaudí Capricho, Comillas
Day 3: Gaudí Capricho, Comillas
Day 3: Bridge of the English, Astillero. Photo CC http://goo.gl/B4FnQ
Day 3: Bridge of the English, Astillero. Photo CC http://goo.gl/B4FnQ
Day 4: 1893 iron footbridge over the Nervión in Bilbao
Day 4: 1893 iron footbridge over the Nervión in Bilbao
Day 4: Barakaldo, industrial suburb of Bilbao, in 1898
Day 4: Barakaldo, industrial suburb of Bilbao, in 1898
Day 5: bodega visit, La Rioja
Day 5: bodega visit, La Rioja
Day 5: bodega visit
Day 5: bodega visit
Day 5: art and design school, Logroño, La Rioja
Day 5: art and design school, Logroño, La Rioja
Day 5: preparing mushroom and prawn specials, CC Casa Vides http://goo.gl/edz6l
Day 5: preparing mushroom and prawn specials, CC Casa Vides http://goo.gl/edz6l
Day 5: hotel façade
Day 5: hotel façade
Day 6: Barcelona-Madrid AVE on inauguration day, CC Gmn01 http://goo.gl/PWygR
Day 6: Barcelona-Madrid AVE on inauguration day, CC Gmn01 http://goo.gl/PWygR
Day 6: Barcelona's medieval shipyards with Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia's 1902 customs building, CC Pere López http://goo.gl/Axy6L
Day 6: Barcelona's medieval shipyards with Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia's 1902 customs building, CC Pere López http://goo.gl/Axy6L
Day 6: Born market, CC Ferran Pestaña http://goo.gl/LoScO
Day 6: Born market, CC Ferran Pestaña http://goo.gl/LoScO
Day 6: France Station, CC Smiley.toerist http://goo.gl/QlhDQ
Day 6: France Station, CC Smiley.toerist http://goo.gl/QlhDQ
Day 6: France Station, CC Julien Lagarde http://goo.gl/Cc5wC
Day 6: France Station, CC Julien Lagarde http://goo.gl/Cc5wC
Day 6: France Station, CC Albert Subirats http://goo.gl/9LUPW
Day 6: France Station, CC Albert Subirats http://goo.gl/9LUPW
Day 6: Castle of the Three Dragons, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/5hq2D
Day 6: Castle of the Three Dragons, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/5hq2D
Day 6: Castle of the Three Dragons, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/TZQjF
Day 6: Castle of the Three Dragons, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/TZQjF
Day 6: park conservatory, CC Amadalvarez http://goo.gl/3KSIV
Day 6: park conservatory, CC Amadalvarez http://goo.gl/3KSIV
Day 6: park fountain, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/DJbS3
Day 6: park fountain, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/DJbS3
Day 6: Rossend Nobas' Chariot of Aurora, CC Enfo http://goo.gl/pDBn0
Day 6: Rossend Nobas' Chariot of Aurora, CC Enfo http://goo.gl/pDBn0
Day 6: dragon in park fountain, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/XbKWh
Day 6: dragon in park fountain, CC Bernard Gagnon http://goo.gl/XbKWh
Day 6-8: hotel
Day 6-8: hotel
Day 6-8: hotel
Day 6-8: hotel
Day 6-8: hotel
Day 6-8: hotel
Day 8: Florinda flour mill in Manresa, CC Josep Renalias http://goo.gl/fXHne
Day 8: Florinda flour mill in Manresa, CC Josep Renalias http://goo.gl/fXHne
Day 8: Albareda flour mill in Manresa, CC Josep Renalias http://goo.gl/ReO5w
Day 8: Albareda flour mill in Manresa, CC Josep Renalias http://goo.gl/ReO5w
The Aymerich, Amat i Jover textile mill/industry museum in Terrassa, CC Xavier de Jauréguiberry http://goo.gl/AriU3
The Aymerich, Amat i Jover textile mill/industry museum in Terrassa, CC Xavier de Jauréguiberry http://goo.gl/AriU3
The Aymerich, Amat i Jover textile mill/industry museum in Terrassa, CC Xavier de Jauréguiberry http://goo.gl/dGsVq
The Aymerich, Amat i Jover textile mill/industry museum in Terrassa, CC Xavier de Jauréguiberry http://goo.gl/dGsVq
Horizontal engine in the Aymerich, Amat i Jover textile mill/industry museum in Terrassa, CC Xavier de Jauréguiberry http://goo.gl/6WwkC
Horizontal engine in the Aymerich, Amat i Jover textile mill/industry museum in Terrassa, CC Xavier de Jauréguiberry http://goo.gl/6WwkC
Wool opener in the Terrassa industry museum, CC Friviere http://goo.gl/FxhNO
Wool opener in the Terrassa industry museum, CC Friviere http://goo.gl/FxhNO
Barrau loom from the Terrassa industry museum, CC mNACTEC http://goo.gl/mQpVy
Barrau loom from the Terrassa industry museum, CC mNACTEC http://goo.gl/mQpVy
Cover: Puig i Cadafalch's 1911 textile mill for Casimir Casaramona, CC Marcel Germain http://goo.gl/hmxKg
Cover: Puig i Cadafalch's 1911 textile mill for Casimir Casaramona, CC Marcel Germain http://goo.gl/hmxKg
Panorama of the Colònia Sedó near Esparreguera, CC Pepe Cornet http://goo.gl/Rdmth
Panorama of the Colònia Sedó near Esparreguera, CC Pepe Cornet http://goo.gl/Rdmth
Main turbine, Colònia Sedó, CC Pepe Cornet http://goo.gl/3xDuY
Main turbine, Colònia Sedó, CC Pepe Cornet http://goo.gl/3xDuY
 


Comments

  1. [...] Mr Douet and Ms Criado on this expedition will have different stories, but for Mr Baldie this all started at primary school when the [...]

  2. nick says:

    Hi Trevor, looking foward to reading this industrial guide when you start posting. Sounds fascianting. Best Nick

  3. Mr Baldie says:

    Unfortunately it's going to be a paid-for thing - small edition covering post-restoration stuff for the September tour, then at some point thereafter a book of some nature, into which you will obviously be invited to peer.

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