Nick Lloyd’s captivating ‘walking history lessons’ about the Spanish Civil War are one of the best ways to spend a morning in Barcelona.
The Spanish Civil War isn’t a common topic for a food blog, I admit, but we’ll categorize it as ‘food for thought’ and move onto what’s important: praising Nick Lloyd’s tours in Barcelona. I’d met Nick before, briefly, and I’d heard literally dozens of gushing reports about how good his various guided walks were, so I finally put my name down for one of them and joined him in Plaça Catalunya to see what all the fuss was about.
In what he describes as a ‘walking history lesson’, Nick shows his experience as a former teacher by grabbing the attention of the group and holding it unbroken for four hours. The secret’s in the storytelling; he weaves tales of ordinary people caught up in the conflict around the bigger historical framework, bringing events to life and providing often shocking context. He even makes sense of the ‘alphabet soup’ of acronyms that has left me baffled many times when trying to understand the various groups involved.
It’s informed, emotive and incredibly interesting. Nick has great depth of knowledge and can confidently go off on tangents suggested by tour guests, answering questions and returning smoothly to the main thread.
The tour starts in Plaça Catalunya and moves through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, before finishing with a sit-down slide-show in Bar La Llibertària, surrounded by posters and photos from the era.
A four-hour lesson and lecture might not sound like a load of fun but the time flies past. Nick’s passion for the subject is contagious and questions from the group always stimulate discussion. On the tour I was on, the people who took part were still engaged in animated conversation about it (while effusively praising Nick) well after he’d left. Unsurprisingly, the tours get a lot of great feedback on TripAdvisor.
We were the first group to be able to buy physical copies of Nick’s new book: Forgotten Places: Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War
This is also well worth picking up, either in print or in the Kindle version. Divided into two parts, it begins with a look at the history of the Spanish Civil War from Barcelona’s perspective, then provides a guide to related sites in the city.
Any intelligent person with even a passing interest in the events of the past will love the tour. And at just €25 for a half-day it’s surely one of the city’s greatest touristic bargains. Contact Nick on firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.