Belper School and Sixth Form College experience boundless culture in Barcelona

Sep 05, 2019


At Rayburn Tours we have a strong international focus, working together with schools worldwide to seek new adventures, embrace new cultures and learn new skills. There is, however, something special about hearing from schools local to us. So we were particularly delighted to hear from Belper School and Sixth Form College when they asked for some support in arranging their language tour to Barcelona in 2018 – and again this year.

From the outset group leader, Pam Jackson, was keen to ensure that students benefitted from a new cultural experience, encouraging them to try new things that they otherwise wouldn’t.

Working closely with Pam, Tour Consultant, Scott, and Tour Co-ordinator, Rhys, helped to create a trip that would allow students to witness some of the Barcelona’s big-hitting sights, as well as to venture deep into the cultural heart; giving these young linguists the opportunity to put their language skills to the test.

 

The itinerary in a nutshell

After an evening arrival, the following morning started with some free time to explore La Rambla, the Mercat de la Boqueria and neighbouring streets. La Rambla is one of Barcelona’s main landmarks and although it’s certainly a tourist trap, it perfectly encapsulates the lively and colourful nature of the city. No trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit here!

Whilst you can see human statues performing in most cities these days, the sheer number on La Rambla means that competition between them is fierce – and you’ll see some incredibly elaborate costumes and people contorted in all manner of positions, whilst some might even appear to be hovering mid-air!

Situated just off La Rambla, La Boqueria’s quirky market stalls are not to be missed. The famous food market sells a huge variety of fish, meat, vegetables and fruit. For language students, it’s an invaluable opportunity to brush up on vocabulary and listen in on animated and noisy conversation, whilst soaking up the Spanish culture. Although popular with tourists, you’ll also find that Spanish shoppers and many of the city’s top restaurants buy their food here. It really is an unmissable snapshot of life in this bustling city.

 

La Boqueria Market

La Boqueria Market

 

In the afternoon the group split into two, with some students opting for the Sagrada Familia, whilst the football fans chose to explore the enormous Nou Camp stadium to learn about the cult heroes of FC Barcelona past and present.

After all the hustle and bustle of the previous day, the next day was enjoyed at a more relaxed pace. It kicked off with a visit to the Castell de Montjuïc to enjoy the tranquil gardens and stunning views of the city. Surrounded by the green parkland, tweeting birds and majestic buildings which characterise the area, it’s difficult to believe these streets once echoed to the sound of Formula 1 racing car engines, with the Spanish Grand Prix being held there between 1969 and 1975!

After lunch, the group visited the Picasso Museum. Although the artist was born in Malaga and spent most of his life in France, it was in Barcelona where Picasso spent a large part of his youth; time which had much influence on his artistic direction.

 

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

 

Belper School students spent their final day at Port Aventura Theme Park, arriving at midday and staying until the early evening to make sure there was plenty of time to enjoy the 6 different ‘worlds’ and 43 rides to the max! The group included one student who was a wheelchair user, so we made sure we informed the park ahead of their arrival. Pam was ‘amazed’ by the assistance given to the student by the park staff, which helped ensure another enjoyable day for everyone.

Eventually, it was time to say ‘adios’ to Barcelona as the students got on board the coach to head back to the airport for their flight home.

“In terms of opening our students up to cultural experiences and trying new things, this trip was absolutely perfect.”

Pam Jackson, Party Leader

 

Additional support

Prior to both Belper School’s trips, Scott and Rhys travelled to the school to give a presentation to the parents and children. This additional support and personal contact is another thing Pam greatly appreciated and, as a company, we always enjoy doing it!

Attending parents’ evenings gives us the perfect opportunity to get to know our party leaders face-to-face. And seeing the excitement amongst the students reminds us (if ever it was needed) of the importance of school trips and what a hugely positive effect they have on the children taking part.

 

Lasting impressions and lifelong memories

Pam was so impressed not only with the trip itself, but just as importantly with the customer service she received from Rayburn Tours. She described working with Rhys in our Operations Department as a ‘pleasure’ and said that he dealt with all her questions both ‘quickly and effectively’ – which is exactly what we strive for!

One of the highlights Pam described was taking the children to Tapa Tapa:

“We took the students to Tapa Tapa and bought them traditional dishes to try. So many students told us that they would now be willing to try new foods and we have lots of coverts to paella, mussels and calamari. That’s life changing.”

She also said:

“Last year was fantastic, but this year with the tapas additional and more beach time it was even better.”

The school are keen to return to Barcelona in 2020 and we look forward to working with Pam and her students again!

 

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