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Review: South to Barcelona by Vernon Lacey

May 18, 2019



I won this book in a club draw, so it’s taken me quite a time to get round to reading it. I’m now so glad I did. I always like to learn something from the travel memoirs I read and I learnt so much from reading this very charming book, which follows the first couple of years of Vernon Lacey’s time in Barcelona as a teacher in an International school.

It contains a wealth of information about the city, including the history, art and architecture of the region. What I learnt even more from were the author’s encounters with the Barcelona locals he mixes with. These are funny and delightful and I enjoyed the way he depicted them and gave voice to their attempts to communicate with him. His landlady, Montse, is a particularly wonderful character. In fact, the author gives vivid life to the people he meets and the book is imbued with the flavours of Catalonian customs.

In addition to his social and cultural activities, I loved the stories about the school where he teaches, but I especially loved the anecdotes about the adventures he has with the language and the laughs and mishaps that follow. There are also some very touching and poignant episodes that added to the depth and atmosphere of the book.

Altogether, South to Barcelona is a lovely read about a wonderful journey of discovery in the author’s life. I really felt I was there in the city with him, experiencing the magic and mystery of a new country, city, culture and language. I am now looking forward to his next book.

A shortened version of this review has been posted on, and the link to the book is here

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