There is definitely a different feeling on the ship. The first 14 days ended, many people left the ship and a ship full of new travelers arrived. It feels odd to see people disembarking. I'm glad we have another week before we have to leave the ship.
This is my third visit to Barcelona and I have never been to all the Antoni Gaudi sites so that was top of the agenda. And today we kind of saw the sites. We will be back in a week for a couple days so we will likely try to see more when we return.
We met our tour group for a half day tour of Barcelona. The tour only included an outside visit to the Sagrada Familia. We bought tickets online to see the inside from home. That however, didn't work out. We had an issue with the tour van not dropping us off at Sagrada Familia as promised after the tour. If we would have taken a cab from the cruise port we would have likely missed our time to enter...and you don't want to wait in line to go inside. Oh well - it's not finished anyway.
The outside of the Sagrada Familia is interesting and eclectic. Work began in 1882 and Gaudi took over the project in 1883. He worked on it until his death in 1926 (he was hit by a tram). When he died, less than 25% of the church was complete. All the different minds (and egos?!?) working on it over the years have resulted in many looks. Not necessarily cohesive. The plan is to have it complete in 2026. I'm doubtful. They have to knock down buildings on an adjacent street to create the entrance and the residents are fighting it. Even though the basilica is not complete, the work Gaudi did on the nativity façade and the crypt have World Heritage UNESCO designation.
Next up was Parc Guell. Back in the day, a rich businessman, Mr. Guell, came to Gaudi with an idea to make an exclusive, gated residential community on 42 acres of land he owned. The plan was to have different modernisme architects design and build 60 houses and Gaudi would develop the outdoor space. Gaudi set to work on the outdoor space and it is wonderful. It's whimsical, organic and very ahead of its time. Unfortunately they only sold two houses. One was to Gaudi who felt bad that houses weren't selling and he tried to encourage others by buying one. So, the project was abandoned with only some of the outside space developed, two houses and the Guell mansion (now a school). The space is beautiful. I love the broken tile work. Gaudi recycled and used broken bottles, glass, china, stone, etc. to create mosaics. This was different for the time because before this mosaics were always little square pieces.
Then we drove by Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. We only drove by which was frustrating because we couldn't see the buildings very well. Then up to Montjuic where the Olympic sites are. We stopped for a quick look at the city from up top. This tour was ok but I am not a fan of drive by van tours.
Since we weren't going to make our inside Sagrada Familia time we decided to walk around the gothic quarter, La Rambla and the water front. There was country music and a line dancing display going on with a big crowd. It was a bit odd.
Barcelona was so busy today. La Rambla was packed with people. Tourists of course - our guide told us locals do not go to La Rambla. It was too crowded for my liking. Most things, except tourist stores and the mall on the waterfront, were closed today because it's Sunday. We of course took a photo of Chris (Columbus).
Back on the ship we did another life boat drill. Life boat 13 still looks good. The passengers on board now seem younger and “less seasoned” than on the transatlantic. Let’s face it – the transatlantic cruisers are usually die-hard. There aren’t many first time cruisers on a transatlantic voyage! We had a happy hour drink in the Ocean Bar under the stormy painting and toasted Bill and Terri.
Sail away was a bit chilly so we opted for hot chocolate instead of cold drinks.
I've discovered the perfume testers in the shops. A note if you are cruising, don't bring perfume - just go down to the shop and give yourself a spritz before dinner. They have all sorts of fabulous brands.
We are exhausted from all the ports and we are looking forward to a sea day tomorrow.
Always happy to see Chris C. He's going that way. He has things to "discover".