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Moving to Barcelona With Children – a Guide to English-speaking Mother and Baby Groups, Schools in Barcelona and Pregnancy in Barcelona

Moving to Barcelona with Children

Moving to Spain with children can be a daunting prospect as parents Carrie Frais and Rebecca Laidlaw found when they relocated to Barcelona. In Barcelona not only is there a language barrier (the language here is Catalan and not Spanish) but you are without your support network of family and friends. It can be an isolating time and expat parents are often not really aware of the resources available to them. For this reason Carrie and Rebecca started the website mumabroad for families relocating to the Catalan towns of Barcelona, Sitges, Sant Cugat, Maresme, Girona and Tarragona. The website is a resource for children´s activities, shops, child-friendly restaurants, health, education and childcare. What makes the site unique is that it is based on recommendations from local mums and serves as a networking tool for Expat families. The below information is an extract from the site mumabroad.

English-speaking Mother and Baby Groups in Barcelona

Support groups for mums who have just had a baby or have very young children are few and far between in Barcelona. This is partly because Catalan women tend to rely on their own mothers for help in the early days and also because once the statutory four months maternity leave is up, the vast majority of women go back to work and it is not uncommon to see babies as young as four months in nursery (Guarderia). However, there are increasing numbers of support groups around, which have proved a lifesaver for many mums without families here. The groups are a great way to share information and to meet others in similar situations. There are a number of English-speaking and international mother and baby / tot groups in Barcelona and Sitges such as: New mum meets – in the chill-out area at the back of Barcelona shop Mujer, The Big Crawl – weekly group for mums and tots in Barcelona for the more active, older babies, Barcelona Women´s Network Mums & Toddler group and Sitges Play Group – the only place in Sitges where mums and dads can stay and play with their children. Given that many parents in Barcelona have no option but to put their babies & toddlers into nursery at a young age due to work commitments, some mums have told us that there is a lack of day-time activities available for little ones in Barcelona. However, if you look hard enough there are a huge range of activities available for children in Barcelona such as yoga for mums and babies, fun & interactive music groups for babies and toddlers with Barcelona Tots, Baby Rock English sessions designed to introduce English to small children through the medium of music and movement, baby swimming classes and children’s concerts.

Schools in Barcelona

Many feel that the single, largest problem facing most international families when relocating to Barcelona is where to educate our children. Whether to follow the Catalan system or whether to opt for one of the numerous international schools is hotly debated amongst Expats. The Catalan language proves to be the deciding point for most parents, many of whom are unaware before moving to Barcelona that this is the language in which their child will be educated. Many are also unaware that all correspondence between parent and school will be conducted purely in Catalan. State Education in Barcelona is co-educational, free and conducted in Catalan rather than Spanish. Places are allocated according to where you live and although education doesn’t begin until the age of six many babies start at nurseries (guarderias) at the age of four months and almost all are at school (preescolar) full-time from the age of three. All children have the right to free education, however in many schools the demand simply outweighs the number of places resulting in a point system at the initial stages and then often a lottery is drawn with many parents unable to secure a place at the first school of their choice. Unlike in many European countries, there is limited job mobility within Catalonia, meaning that children normally remain at one school for the duration of their education and therefore it is not as common for places to open at a later stage. Bridget Nelson, of Planet English, offers an interesting insight into the education system: “International Schools generally have better facilities, in theory but not always the case – smaller class numbers , and teachers who have been trained in child – centred education. Of course the language is an important factor especially for families who expect to return to their country. For non English speaking parents wanting their children to attain a high standard in English – it´s also probably the best option. Disadvantages are that they are generally not so well integrated into the local community – especially in Barcelona, and probably don´t follow local culture or traditions so much. State Schools on the other hand, live their local culture to the full, but the class sizes can be quite big and in general educational methods are still quite traditional and in my opinion, not very child centred. Children who go to the local state school probably pick up Castellano and Catalan much quicker than children who go to International Schools.”

Pregnancy in Barcelona

Barcelona´s maternity facilities range from large hospitals to smaller clinics and in medical terms, are regarded as being of a high standard. The bigger hospitals tend to operate under the social security system and the clinics under private insurance. Birthing options, however, are limited although this is beginning to change as more women are opting for a natural birth. Ante-natal or pre-pregnancy classes & groups are fairly difficult to come across in Barcelona but are on the increase. Many Catalan pregnant women often get advice from their own families so without family here, information can be scarce and conflicting.

Groove With Barcelonas Nightlife

It is well known that Barcelona Spain is among the top famous destinations in Europe brought about by its remarkable city delights and many other features that are surprisingly exciting to indulge in. Barcelonas one of a kind nightlife is a catch one should not miss while in Barcelona. Herewith are the major reasons why one should not miss the life of a perfect Mediterranean nightlife.sIf you’re looking for something classy, the streets around the Passeig del Born draw a dashing crowd. The Pla§a Reial is ideal for alfresco drinks, and the Port Ol­mpic is overrun with tourists where theres a number of clubs to choose from. Late dinner during night outs is normally 10:30pm, and around 1 a.m., anyone apt for a party heads to the bars where you’ll be barhopping until 5am. Believe me youll never get enough when you get to check out these kinds of bars!sOne of the most popular nightclubs in the city thats frequently visited by tourists are the ones in Las Ramblas where a few Barcelona hotels are situated such as the famous Hotel Claris, one of the top hotels in Barcelona thats located right in the heart of the city, and also Hotel Barcelona Cathedral. You could select your choice for the night whether it be Barcelona Pipa Club, Jamboree, Club 13 and Club Fellini. Anything is as good as it gets!sAnother notable amusement spot is the Port Ol­mpic, where there are clubs and bars along the Olympic yachting marina. Its beautiful spots in the summer months are just the right place where you can sit about and enjoy the pleasant fussiness of the outdoor.sAnd there are also the Casinos which opens daily, if you are just above 18 years old, you could take part and expend your time in at Gran Casino de Barcelona. Moreover, the Port Vell/Maremagnum is Barcelona’s biggest shopping mall and is full of shops and clubs. During daytime it’s a shoppers resort, and by night all the clubs and bars open up and you can pick your choice among Irish bars, techno clubs and more. Indeed, this city is the liveliest in Spain, more to the awesome place alone the party also goes on throughout the week. All these and more when you are in Barcelona Spain. Check it out yourself and experience the fun you wouldnt want to miss for anything.

See The Wonders Of Barcelona Spain

We are not here to give you a history lesson, but rather to hit on the highlights of making a trip to Barcelona with all of its historical value. However it will take more than one trip to see everything that this has to offer. With all of the museums, beaches, churches, historical sites and just beautiful skylines you will never be bored. So be ready to travel for a return visit.

The first place you should head to is the Picasso Museum. The different fazes of Picasso are all shared between five different medieval palaces. The cities in this tour include Malaga, Paris, Moscow and Barcelona all of which were called home by Picasso at some point. Due to its low cost and long visiting hours it makes a great bargain as very easily accessible through public transportation since it is located in Cuitat Vella Parc. The Ciutat Vella (the beautiful city) at one point made up the entire city of Barcelona, as it was divided up into four areas. Due to the easy to follow landmarks it is easy to find these four areas. Using the Catalunya Square you will be able to find the Christopher Columbus Monument which you will also be able to see the port from. If you head north towards the Olympic Park you will be able to see the Cuitadella Park. You will now be able to see the Arch De Triumph and much of the living history of the city of Barcelona.

Whether you are an avid or just a curious soccer fan do not forget to check out the Barcelona soccer team while you are there. Usually the soccer seasons runs from September through May. As always there will be many exciting matches to take in, so if you wan to see one, get your tickets early and be sure to plan your vacation around it.

The Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, as this area is called has very clean beaches and accommodations for all of their visitors to take in and to enjoy. There are all types of lodging available including hostels, chalets, bed and breakfasts and even apartments. With so many things to do and so many sites to take in there is something for everyone on any type of vacation or getaway that can be imagined. You can keep the kids busy as well as the adults entertained in this magnificent city.

Hotels In Barcelona – Part 2

Barcelona Spain is one of the busiest and liveliest cities in the world and offers a rich culture that spans centuries of generations.

Spain has a rich culture spanning centuries of histories that makes the people of Barcelona unique and their lifestyle exciting and fun. They have gastronomic appetite for good food, offering many restaurants and bars to help you get a sense of their love for food. Anything forms the typical Catalan dishes to more diverse cuisines and exotic foods can be found in the land of Barcelona.

This is the place of laughter and fun under the sun and where excitement never seems to end. Proliferating the streets are bars, discotheques, shows, concerts and fiestas making the night come alive that can only be experienced in Barcelona. The leisure and entertainment offered are vast to ensure that everyone will have fun, whatever their taste and lifestyle.

The beaches in Barcelona made up the most popular leisure spaces in the urban landscape. With its coastline stretching more than four kilometers, the beach is alive and women are as beautiful as the sea itself, providing a feast for the eyes. Barcelona is full of energy, vibrating colors and smiling friendly faces giving visitors a welcoming atmosphere.

There are also many great hotels in Barcelona to make your vacation the most memorable and the most satisfying ever. These hotels boast of world-class amenities and features at par with the world are finest. You can easily locate a hotel of your choice and place a booking by search the Internet and looking for the best rate and package.

La Florida is Barcelona’s only urban resort. After 4 years of restoration work, the hotel opened in 2003 offering spectacular views of Barcelona, the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees. Its location at 300 meters above the city gives the best vantage view of both the city and sea. It has restaurants, Spa and other amenities that will surely make your stay an unforgettable experience.

The Melia Barcelona has 333 well appointed rooms featuring elegant new designs, personalized service, excellent cuisine, relaxing spa and events organization. It’s located in the heart of the commercial and financial district and is only 20 minutes away from the Barcelona International Airport.

Barcelona Princess is located in Barcelona’s world-famous Avinguda Diagonal. It has 364 rooms featuring stylish contemporary accommodation and high quality modern facilities. The hotel’s design is sleek and contemporary reflecting its state-of-the-art modern comfort. The swimming pool on the 23rd floor has a commanding view of the city. Getting your way around the city will not be a problem if you will be staying here since the tourist buses stop right in front of the doorsteps.

Eurostar Crystal Palace is all about location, sitting in the heart of Barcelona in Paseo de Gracia, the most emblematic thoroughfare. The Center of Modernism and Antonis Guadis, two most renowned works of Barcelona are just a few steps from the hotel, as well as the National and Internation boutiques.

AB Skipper recently opened the modern luxury hotel that offers state-of-the-art comforts as well as world-class facilities. Guest rooms have complimentary wireless Internet access and features a rooftop pool with a great view of the sea.

Short stories: Vacation experiences

Vacation to Spain:

Stationed in Germany 1960, I was a U.S. Army Engineer on leave, heading for Barcelona Spain with a recent acquaintance. Paul had an old opal automobile. I had just met Paul through my three best companions. They had known Paul and they convened me to take some time off. I had been in the service for a year and half without more than a three day pass. I had several weeks due me. Paul was looking for someone to share expenses with on a trip to Spain. Neither Paul nor I could speak Spanish. For that matter we couldn’t speak or understand any language other than English. But being young and having more nerve than brain, we set out on our journey.

The trip was very enjoyable as we drove without incident through Germany. In France, along the highway were two hitchhikers. As we passed them they yelled for a ride in English. Paul said ” They’re Americans, lets give them a ride.” I was against the idea, they just looked too unkempt. Unshaven, dirty corduroys and dark pull over shirts. Paul stopped, disregarding my negativity. They piled in the back seat and began the small talk. Their names were Reggie and Sam. They eventually explained that they were just out to see the world by hitchhiking. They were going however far we were going. Paul told them that we were headed for Barcelona. That was just great with them. I hated to hear that, but it was Paul’s car so I kept my thoughts to myself.

Along the way we were passing through a small town. Some kind of fair was slowing down traffic to a crawl. As we drove past two girls, Reggie reached out and patted one of the gal’s on the behind. She swore at him in English. He said “Hey, your English.” She replied that she was and of course they were offered a ride. After traveling a few miles out of town, Reggie and one of the gals became very attached.

It was dusk when we reached Barcelona. The streetlights turned on while we were looking for a place to stop. Paul spotted a police station with curb parking in front. It was only a block from downtown shopping. Saying their goodbyes, Reggie and his girlfriend walked away with Sam and the other gal following. I felt relief that the girls had come along. I hoped that it was how we could get away from our tagalongs.

Paul said that we should both go downtown in different directions to find a respectable hotel. We would meet back at the car to see who found the best one. Being in agreement we locked the car and went our separate ways. As I walked

Travel experiences: Barcelona,Spain – Part 10

ENJOYING BARCELONA – “The Capital of the Mediterranean”

The trains in Spain are mainly very plain – but, unlike most of the trains in Britain, they are fast, reliable and very cheap. We travelled to the majestic city of Barcelona by train from Calella, and it took approximately 50 minutes. It stopped at many stations but it was fabulous for the price – around seven euros each. There were even singers on board – who I applauded but got some very strange looks from fellow passengers. The singers were buskers and were more to be endured than admired! In my un-travelled ignorance I thought that the train company had laid on some entertainment for the tourists.

But, if you are going to Barcelona, the trains, buses and Metro are much better than taking the car. Thieves target the tourists’ cars, and anyway, parking space is at a premium and traffic inclined to induce a severe case of road rage.

We decided to alight from the train at the central square, the Placa de Catalunya, which is also the site of the main tourist office. The train station was underground, and on emerging up into this huge sunlit square our senses were bombarded with the noise, bustle and colours of this vibrant, visual and stylish city. Oh, Barcelona, why did we only have a few hours to spend sampling your delights? The truth is you need a week – at the very least – to savour the flavours of this famous Spanish dish. Of course, our primary objective was to see the creations of Gaudi. Here was a man with his head full of dreams and an ability to turn them into concrete reality. His buildings are visions of the future but constructed with nature in mind.

The dream came true for us, but we couldnt go on a walking tour. My daughter could only hobble, having fractured a bone in her foot a few days before our departure; so we caught the wonderful open – topped Bus Turistic. These buses allow you to relax in the sunshine and see the city, both at the same time. Travelling three different routes, they pretty much cover all the major sights and museums. Passengers can listen to commentary on headphones in ten languages. A ticket is excellent

Camping holidays in Barcelona, Spain

Advances in technology has changed the way humans do many things in life from how we conduct financial transactions to how we buy a variety of consumer products, and for most everyone how we interact with our fellow humans. Yet, few things have changed how we vacation and plan our travels as much as the internet. For example, I have located a super vacation destination which I had little idea existed. It is demonstrative of the new trend in vacation destinations which are rapidly overtaking time share resorts as the inexpensive getaway resorts. In fact, these new resorts offer amenities every member of your family will find attractive. These resorts are so up and coming many travel industry pros feel they are ready to compete with major hotel chains for reservations of future guests. These new resorts are actually campgrounds but not the traditional type so you can forget the tent. These are luxury camping resorts which feature all the comforts of home so there is no roughing it. In fact, with these trendy new sites there is little need for anything except perhaps your swim suits. Many of these are even located in exotic destinations such as this one near Barcelona Spain. Paramount Places has created an ultimate family holiday package which every member of your family will enjoy. What is more important is the community style living arrangements in mobile home units which sleep six comfortably. Plus, this particular location offers perfect summertime weather practically all year round. Conveniently located near Barcelona Spain, this adventure also features the opportunity and potential for experiential learning as well as fun and leisure. Other amenities include a gymnasium, sauna, and fitness programs such as aqua aerobics, aerobics classes daily, an indoor swimming pool, two full size outdoor swimming pools and volley ball courts, tennis, etc. There is also a Championship 18 hole golf course nearby, a Hacienda style restaurant overlooking the pool area. There is nightly entertainment both young and old will enjoy. Finally, there is a botanical garden and a mini petting zoo for the kids. Plus a full market for shopping so you can stock your self catering unit. But, not to worry, your short or long term rental will be completely stocked with all the necessities including appliances, pots and pans, and linens. So there is no reason for you to stay home during the holidays whether it is in season or off season. Plus the prices on the short term and long term rentals are better than every other hotel or bed and breakfast in the Barcelona Spain area. You can locate additional information at www.ParamountPlaces.co.uk and request further information or book your reservations. Don’t forget to take your camera. You will want to remember this trip forever. Explore Barcelona Spain while you are there, it is a lovely

Travel Spain For an Enriching Experience

The sun kissed country Spain is located at the cross roads between Europe and Africa. The travel Spain will amaze you with its diverse wonderful sights, attractive cities, striking landscapes and much more. Proving to its name the country has become a hot favorite who long for sun soaked holidays. The country is much more then just beer and beaches. It is completely soaked up in rich history and a legacy of famous painters. Often known for its beach tourism, travelers are in for a surprise as the country has a varied and diverse geography and culture. One will come across striking snowy mountain ranges, lush green meadows and valleys to even deserts. Not to leave its famous beaches which are always worth visiting.
With a wide variety of activities for tourists, inviting destinations and beautiful landscapes rewards its visitors on travel Spain with an enriching experience. The third most popular and travel destinations in Europe, witnesses million of tourists traveling to Spain.
Barcelona Spain the most visited destinations of Spain, with million of visitors visiting the city every year. The modern and cosmopolitan city of Spain has the perfect location on the Mediterranean coast and the excellent infrastructure, all leading to an ideal holiday break in the city. Barcelona streets abound with attractions, amazing architecture, historical sites and monuments, beautiful beaches and much more. Out of many Spain cities, Barcelona city is the one, which has the European touch and feel of all, as it is open to novel ideas and developments. Visiting the city during the autumn months is just right when the temperatures are low, not much of visitors around and with the Festes de la Merce taking place on September 24, it is the best time to explore the place and become a part of the biggest street party.

Barcelona Spain’s second largest city has centuries of history at its back. Founded by the Romans in 218 BC, known as ‘Barcino’, it shows signs of inhabited before the Romans did but with no certainty, by whom. The traces of city’s past are today seen in the various monuments and sites. Visiting the number of ancient buildings such as the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and Placa Reial are a must giving an insight into the city’s past. Besides the ancient places, there are the lovely beaches, parks and gardens to explore. The city won’t bore and tire you out.

A must see destination, Madrid Spain is the capital city of the country, located in the center of the country. The beautiful city offers so much to take in that it is obvious why it is the top destination in Europe. The city is built on the River Manzanares and it is said that the Romans founded the city. The city is not only the political center but a cultural center too. One will come across beautiful parks, the art museums, bustling plazas making it a favorite among many. It is a cosmopolitan city with all the modern facilities available, the city has retained its rich past, which are visible in its historic neighborhoods and streets. A tour of the historical sites takes you to the Royal Theater, the majestic Royal palace of Madrid, archeological museum, the art museums of Prado, the Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum all stand to the country’s heritage.

Not just the cultural city, this exciting Madrid Spain city is an exciting place, full of nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and pubs, open all night to chill out. The entertainment options are abundant to keep you engrossed during your stay, right from the cafes, movie halls, music halls, theaters and nightclubs too. With the city compact enough, getting around on foot is a nice option and feasible too. Exploring the wonderful places and meeting the friendly local people is quite an experience. Home to the Royal family and the world’s soccer teams, the city does not disappoint anybody, for whatever reason one is visiting here.

Travel experiences: Barcelona,Spain – Part 6

Shopping in Barcelona.

Although not quite in the same league as Paris or Milan, Barcelona is certainly among Europe’s cities of style. It is a natural magnet for the fashion-conscious and there is no shortage of design outlets for even the most tireless consumer. Everything from books to jewels, haute couture (local and international), designer furniture and cava is on offer. Several markets animate squares around the centre of town.

The major shopping areas in Barcelona are located around La Rambla – Passeig de Grcia-Avenida Diagonal, El Triangulo, around Plaa Catalunya, L’Lilla on Avenida Diagonal, and the Maremgnum in the Moll de Espanya in Port Vell.

For the best bargains, it is better to get up early! There are different merchandises and markets on different days of the week and areas of the city. The Plaa Nova has antiques on Thursdays; the first and third Friday of month in Plaa de Pi there is a cheese, sweets and honey market. In Sundays there are markets in Plaa Reial – a collectors market of stamps and coins and near La Sagrada Familia is an artisan’s merchandise. Els Encants Vells, is a traditional second hand market open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and on non festival Saturdays around Plaa of Les Glries Catalanes.

The Barcelona offers a service to facilitate and create greater access to shopping in the city. Some Barcelona hotels offer special free trips to Barcelona Shopping City which is a program specialized for shopping in the city, mainly in the Shopping Line. So, what is the Shopping line? Five kilometers steeped in history and replete with shops. Five kilometers taking in Barcelona’s landmark streets and featuring the most select, original and finest-quality shops. The Barcelona Shopping Line covers an exceptional route around a large, easily accessible area, much of it pedestrian zone, where you can do your shopping in comfort and enjoy some of the city’s most interesting and charming landmarks.

There are two big sales in Barcelona. The winter sale starts during the second week of January and lasts until the end of February. The summer sale begins in the middle of July and lasts until the end of August. Discounts of 20%-50% are offered, at the end of each sale up to 70%! You can ask form hotels in Barcelona (for example http://www.barcelona-hotels-di rectory.com/) where you live exactly the addresses of shops where sales take place.

If you live outside the European Union you can claim back 16% VAT, the tax you pay when you make your purchases. When you buy goods with a value greater than 90, 16 :

- Ask for your Tax-free cheque in the store where you are making your purchase.

- When you leave the EU, declare your purchases at customs and get your cheques stamped.

- Cash your tax-free cheque at the airport or return it to us by post.

One great attribute of the people of Barcelona is their spontaneity. Barcelona is undoubtedly one of Spain’s most cosmopolitan cities, renowned for design and innovation with superb shopping for clothes, shoes, leather, furniture, art and much more. To go shopping in Barcelona, even if you don’t buy a thing, is a real pleasure, for the lively crowds, the helpfulness and friendliness of the shopkeepers, for the shops themselves and for the easiness of a human sized city, where the shopping areas are easily identified.

10 Facts about Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a great city and one of the main attractions in La Sagrada Familia. Below we look at 10 facts that you may not have not known about this attraction.

1. Construction of La Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and is still underway. It is expected to be completed in 2041. It was originally conceived by Catalan publisher Josep Bocabella symbolic of the revolutionary ideas becoming increasingly apparent in the city of Barcelona. Work began by public subscription with architect Francesc de Paula Villar’s design-a traditional neo-Gothic style. When the two could not agree, Antoní Gaudí took over construction.

2. Art nouveau architect Antoní Gaudí dedicated more than 40 years of his life to its construction. He spent the last 15 years of his life working continuously and exclusively on the project.

3. The Roman Catholic basilica will comprise 18 tall towers with the tallest reaching a height of 560 feet. It is projected to be 60 meters wide and 95 meters long.

4. Admission is granted for EUR8, while groups of 20 or more people, retired folks, students, and those under 18 get a reduced rate of EUR5. ‘Friends of the Church’, children below 12 years of age, and the disabled (as well as one companion) are granted free admission. Services, however, are charged separately, and all groups must book in advance. Services include lift charges, audio guides, and cloakroom services. Wheelchairs are available for disabled visitors. Visitors are not permitted to climb the towers; they must take the lift.

5. La Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

6. The cathedral’s chief architect Gaudí died tragically in a tram accident. His death was mourned throughout the city, and he is now buried in the Sagrada Familia crypt.

7. Although the cathedral was not damaged during the Spanish Civil War, in 1936, Catalan anarchists destroyed numerous models and plans to rid the city of conservative religious icons.

8. Construction is currently underway under the guidance of Jordi Bonet i Armengol. Starting in the 1980s, computers were used for the design and construction process. This has made drastic improvements in speeding up the process.

9. A 180-meter tower topped by a lamb that represents Jesus was included in the original Gaudí design. This tower was to be enclosed by four shorter towers that represented the

10. Four Evangelists and would be topped with the animal symbols attributed to them. A fifth tower would represent the Virgin Mary. The towers’ pinnacles will carry colourful mosaics and some will bear the words ‘Excelsis’ and ‘Hosanna’. The three facades of the basilica-the Passion Façade, Nativity Façade, and the Glory Façade-has three portals to represent faith, hope, and love.