Monday, May 9, 2016

Thursday, April 7, 2016 – Barcelona, Spain – Sunny – 65F

Distance from Ponta Delgada, Azores to Barcelona, Spain: 1508 Nautical Miles

The ride was a little smoother last night.

Crystal Symphony will make her first big stop today in Barcelona, Spain.  We arrived early and we are planning to stay late.

I was in the Lido Café before the sun came up and got pictures of Montjuic, a hill (185 m tall) overlooking the harbor. The trans-harbor tram starts and finishes at Montjuic (translates as “Jew Mountain” or more likely “Mountain of Jove”).


Montjuic Before Sunrise


Barcelona Harbor pre-dawn


Marina Area and Mirador de Colón pre-Dawn

When we were here last on the Celebrity Reflection, we were joined by the NCL Epic – The Epic is again our companion.  The good news is that we are docked at the pier close to the city – the Epic is on the other side of the Harbor Bridge.


NCL Epic

Our plan today is to walk the city and see what has changed in the few years since our last time here.

Being at the Marina Pier is really an advantage – you just walk off and in a few minutes you are the Mirador de Colón and the end of La Rambla.

We once again passed the amazing installation, “Once”, installed in 2003 and routinely mistaken as something to do with the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.





 Mirador de Colón

Starting at the Colom monument our plan was to walk up the pedestrian walkway to the Placa Catalunya.


La Rambla

The street was just coming alive – we saw a street performer applying her green makeup getting ready for her act.

Placa Catalunya was already busy with lots of motorcycles parked in front.  There was also a strong police presence at the Placa.

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Placa Catalunya

From the Placa, we headed up the Passeig de Gracia to find a couple of Gaudi Buildings.  Before we got there, I had to take a picture of Ellen and this fountain.  We saw people using this fountain for water (similar to what they do in Rome). 


The famed Gaudi structure – Casa Batllo – was easy to spot with its balcony masks.  The house was an ordinary structure built in 1877 until Gaudi put his touch on it in 1904.  The house next door is also quite impressive.  The non-Gaudi, Casa Amatler, is also worth a picture.


Casa Amatler and Casa Batllo

A little ways down the same street is another architectural wonder, Casa Ileo Morera.  Again, not a Gaudi but wants to be one.


Casa Ileo Morera

Getting a little tired, we turned and started back toward the Port.  Ellen spotted a very unusual building.  This one had what looked to be eyes placed all over the front.  Very unusual.


The “Eyes Have It” Building

The last couple of times we have been in Barcelona, the Cathedral has been draped and under repair or construction.  This time, most of the Cathedral is visible and the square in front of the Cathedral (closed off last time) is teeming with people.



Catedral Barcelona

Along the street near the Cathedral we came across some fascinating metallic statues by the Spanish artist, Julio Nieto.


One was called Coregrafia, and could have been a dancer.


The other statue – “Lo Llevo Bien” (“I Carry It Well”) - reminded me of Jesus (along with a huge crown of thorns).


“Lo Llevo Bien”

I recalled, from our last visit, that this area contained the ruins of a Roman Wall.  Since then, the city has really excavated much more of the Roman Structure.  Check out the sequence below.

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From there, we walked to the Passeig Colom, the thoroughfare adjacent to the beach and Mediterranean.  The Police presence was heavy here – we noted that most of the extra police were actually guarding police stations.

In a small square, I noticed what looked like a mini Mirador Colon.  There were no markings on the statue.



We spotted the real thing at the end of the Passeig Colom – it looked terrific with all of the lamp posts bordering the street.



Mirador de Colón on the Return Trip

We had a late lunch in the Lido Café, where I took some really nice shots of Barcelona.  It was so clear that you could see the Sagrada Familia in the distance.

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It was warm enough that we were able to sit and read on the pool deck.

Tonight, we had reservations at 6:30 PM in Prego’s.  We came for the Mushroom Soup in a bread bowl (incredibly good) but we stayed for the Branzino (Ellen) and Pasta Pesto (me).  A terrific dinner served by our staff below.



A Yummy Meal at Prego

The late sail away was smooth.


We were informed that our next port of call, Bandol, France, was experiencing high winds and we might have to divert. 

No show tonight so we listened to music in the Crystal Plaza (Bruce Johnson) and Palm Court (the Ruby Bamboo Trio sans the lead singer – she was ill, we were told).

We are on tour tomorrow.  Even if we don’t go to Bandol, the tours are expected to run as usual – all the towns along the Cote D’Azur are very close together.

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