FollowTheBaldie.com: Town and country walking and study tours in Barcelona and the Western Med
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    • Language All our guides are native English speakers and speak the local language fluently.
    • Knowledge Our local and subject knowledge is profound and up-to-date.
    • Interactivity See someone interesting? We'll interpret. Tired/full of energy? We can adapt the programme.
    • Individuality We don't do herd tourism. No silly flags. No headsets.
    • Responsibility Unlike most "green" tour businesses, we only use public transport--cheaper and generally more interesting.

Barcelona tours - Gracia, Spain's second city

Overview

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee. ¡Hail Mary, full of grace! he quoth. And thus, via the order of Shoeless Carmelites and a host of other cunning plot devices which will be fully explained during this walk, did Gracia acquire its name and its shield: an iris, purity incarnate, airborne on a blue sky.

Still viewed by some of its older and less coherent residents as Spain’s second metropolis (after Madrid, of course), Gracia lies at the strategic crossroads of the north-south Roman highway with the riverbed-road connecting the insignificant port of Barcino/Barcelona with the province’s mountain wilds. Thrice in the nineteenth century an independent municipality, it was one of half a dozen villages finally swallowed up by Barcelona in Cánovas' 1897 municipal reforms.

However, in the Town of Gracia you'll still find a strong sense of a separate identity, the result of a number of factors including:

  • the comparative lack of immigration from other parts of Spain and the world;
  • its traditional role as a focus for intellectual innovation–for example, romantic federalism and workers' movements;
  • the maintenance nowadays of strange and anachronistic beliefs--forgotten Protestant sects rub shoulders with jackbooted separatists, trendy anarchists, tree-huggers, stone-worshippers, esperantists and theosophists;
  • thriving associations.

Itinerary

Some highlights: Gaudí­'s first major commission, his other church and his house when he still dressed like a gentleman; Franco and the the monolingual Catalan saint-to-be who helped him win the Civil War; the baker and the beanie saint; the speculative jeweller and the girl who found freedom and love amid the Civil War; other remnants of revolution and republic, cows and cats, palaces and farms, secret tunnels and underground hideaways; for those of a thirsty bent, brief interludes in Catholic-regionalist (with a magnificent little theatre), Trotskyite-internationalist, leery-local and/or various other types of bar.

Details

Grade easy
Base Barcelona (Meeting point information here, where relevant - make sure you have the right one!)
Location tags Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Catalonia, Gracia,
Theme tags architecture, gastronomy, history, literature,
Your guide(s) Mr Baldie
Walking distance 3.85 km / 2.39 miles
Walking time 2 hr
Total return travel time from base to walk 0 hr
Total time from "hello" to "goodbye" 2.30 hr
Fiestas and markets in places we go through - combine a walk and some partying or shopping!
  • week in mid-August (fiesta mayor)
  • first weekend in September (fiesta mayor in one street)

Note that there are also events in most places on January 6 (Three Kings), Carnival, Easter, April 23 (St George), June 23 (St John), and September 11 (Catalan regional/national day)

Photos

Coming soon! Please try the overview or itinerary for pictures.

Comments

  1. [...] Similar phrases using the Caló vocabularly of Iberian Romani dialect are to be found on and in many other houses in the gypsy quarter of Gracia, Barcelona (on a variant of this walk). [...]

  2. [...] to witnesses of the following incursion from this walk on the Collserola hills behind Barcelona to this Gracia walk, near Plaza Lesseps, presumably making use of the 2-mile on-the-way-to-being-a-green-corridor [...]

  3. [...] such as we also find walking up Montserrat and in a great number of other places, including this Gracia walk, this Girona country tour, and on tombs in the great Montjuïc cemetery. (But if you're leaving [...]

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