SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
September 28, 2016
The Many Sides of Barcelona
At the pier, Port Vell, Barcelona
Sunny and a warm 84°
Our first full day in the sea component of C-269 began early in preparation for “port stop exploration.” We began with a walking tour of Barcelona geographically centered around Las Ramblas, a broad, straight avenue known for its tourist attractions including a section of sidewalk cafes, flower shops, an open air market and other amenities for visitors to this Mediterranean port city. But, while all of these modern aspects of the city were certainly part of the tour, our purpose was to go back in time to the 1930s and learn more about Barcelona’s role in the Spanish Civil War and the impact of that brutal conflict on the people of this city and the region of Catalonia. Long-time resident of Barcelona, historian Nick Lloyd, spent the morning helping us gain a clearer perspective on the character of the city and its residents through the stories of the struggle against fascism, first in Spain and then throughout Western Europe.
With this complex history in mind, the afternoon was spent visiting some of the key cultural and historic sites of the city with our local Barcelonian guide, Maica Chacopino. Stops included Montjuic (home to many of the 1992 Olympic Games venues) and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Maica was an excellent resource for those students focused on the development of tourism in Barcelona as she presented these sites just as she would to any tourist group, but with a history of tourism added in for perspective on how this port city became an international destination for vacationers.
It was a full first day, but there is still plenty to see and learn about in Barcelona, and students will have the chance to ground truth their findings from shore-based research by exploring this port and our subsequent stops. Upcoming activities include time for this project-specific exploration as well as a beach debris survey and trip to Barcelona’s maritime museum. Of course, continued orientation to and training for shipboard life continues in preparation for our Saturday morning departure. Stay tuned for details on all of this and more in subsequent blogs from the students-turned-crew.