Barcelona! Wow, what a city! First single word to describe it is “TRAFFIC”! Cars, buses (public and multiple tour type), Vespas, electric scooters, full size motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrian, lots of dogs (and as a side note, in Spain neutering seems not to be a common practice and yet they all seem to get along ). And they are driving everywhere together! And lots and lots of tourists. Because we only have two full days here we were hitting the big time tourist sites so that was to be expected. The Sagrada Família was as astounding as everyone said. Las Ramblas, a tree-lined pedestrian street stretching 1.2 kilometers (0.75 mi) has everything.....Gaudi buildings, the opera house, a maritime museum, a fabulous market and many restaurants and shops, as well as an erotica museum and street vendors selling purses and windup toys. Kiosks of flower vendors, caricature artists and tsotski shops with every kind of souvenir imaginable.
We rode the hop on/off bus and visited the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulàlia where Jan, Peggy and I took the elevator (thank heavens) to the roof where we had a spectacular view of the city in all directions and could see Sagrada Família and Montserrat Monastery (at least we think that’s what it was), the port and cruise ships.
Jan, Rick and I also visited the Maritime museum which was wonderful. It’s in the old shipyard building—really old, the year 1243 has the first reference to the Barcelona shipyards in a document by King James. It was a naval building until 1936, became the museum in 1941 and has great interactive displays and models. It’s very, very well done and I don’t know how they made it so clean...the ancient stone arches supporting the roof are just beautiful.
We got to know public transport bus V13 well and found it reliable and on time! it seemed to be everywhere and our trusty “Hola Barcelona” card covered the cost.
Rick and I hadn't planned on visiting Barcelona but we're glad we did. The first day out of Calpe was a long travel day. We left Calpe around 9 and finally made it to our apartment at 8 that night. Tuesday we spent the morning at Gaudi's Basilica. It was unbelievable, interesting, and spiritually inspiring.
The afternoon found us on La Rambla, walking around, people watching and finally, visiting the Barcelona Maritime museum. What a place - what history. The building housing the museum was built in the 17th century where Spain's ships were built. Spain's involvement in shipping, warfare and exploration all involved the sea. We loved the interactive displays, the models and all the history.
Today we rode the hop on hop off bus around the city. Special highlights were Gaudi's houses, the market, and Barcelona's Gothic Cathedral.
Packing now as Rick and I head to Madrid and then home. Another wonderful vacation.
The Sagrata was everything that everyone has described. I particularly love the way nature, plants and animals, are woven into religious themes. Since Gaudi's work has been described by others in our group, I will mention my other favorites here. I loved the market and I loved being on the roof of the cathedral.