19 - 22 February 2011
Over the Lent Half Term, the Economics and Business Studies department took a group of 23 students to Barcelona. The trip was ably led by Richard Castle accompanied by Ellen Kite and Simon Grills. The first day in Barcelona included a visit to the winery ‘Bodegas Torres’. The winery is owned by the Torres Family and is situated on the outskirts of Barcelona. It is a good example of a business that is expanding rapidly and its global ambitions have prompted it to set up operations in countries such as the US and Chile. Whilst the company is dedicated to maintaining its family heritage and traditions, it was clear to see the constant improvement in facilities with environmentally friendly capital being an important part of its future strategy. The tour of the winery consisted of an enjoyable train journey and finished with a wine tasting for some of the teachers, and some non-alcoholic drink for the boys!
In the afternoon there was an optional trip to the famous La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. This gave pupils a chance to see some of the most recent additions to this compelling and unorthodox piece of architecture. In the evening we joined an excited crowd of fans at Camp Neu to witness Barcelona play Athletic Bilbao. The final result was a narrow win for Barcelona (who dominated possession).
Other trips included the Seat car plant and the Port of Barcelona. The Seat plant was similar to the Jaguar car plant that the economics department visited in December 2010 (though the capital intensive nature of the production process was very striking, even compared to Jaguar). Seat were keen to impress on us the increased innovation and productivity that had resulted from their new capital and facilities. These improvements had been introduced under the supervision of their new owners, Volkswagen.
The visit to the Port of Barcelona allowed us to enjoy a boat trip around the port and some of the group were even allowed to pilot the boat around the port. Recent development of the port had meant that the capacity of its commercial facilities had grown significantly over the past decade. After the boat trip one of the Port Centre staff gave a presentation outlining recent successes of the Port and its plans for the future.
Each evening the economics department ran a series of seminars on the Spanish economy. These seminars covered themes such as Spain’s recent macroeconomic performance, the key challenges that lie ahead for the Spanish economy and the potential for a Sovereign debt crisis in Spain. The trip also allowed for time to explore the City on foot, enjoy a variety of Spanish restaurants and to experience the retail charms of Las Rambles!