Cruise 2013 – Day 3 – Barcelona, Spain

Our first rise on the boat, 8am or so. We were still out at sea, but land was quickly approaching, the green hills and pale buildings of Barcelona in the distance. It would be 2 hours until we were set to arrive at Barcelona port though (and then another half hour until we were due to be cleared from there) so we headed to the Romeo and Juliet Restaurant again for breakfast.

No expense spared again for breakfast, staff were in full swing already at this point of the morning, the tables set and ready to go, we sat down and were immediately offered tea/coffee/juice and a pastry to start before we were even given a menu, I picked out a nice looking cinnamon swirl from the platter.

IMG_1593

My breakfast was a lovely little plate of breakfast essentials – bacon (streaky American style), scrambled eggs, sausage links, and hash brown (which resembled grits more than anything you’d see in the UK). You could also help yourself to a bunch of other cold breakfast stuff from a counter in the middle, I grabbed a yogurt and some granola too because… Im greedy (though not as greedy as my father who ordered an omlette meal AND pancakes).

Finally we were cleared to leave the boat, so after watching some acrobats in the cruiseship main foyer, we got off the boat and went through the port area before taking a bus to central Barcelona.

IMG_1605

The bus dropped us outside Port Vell and a massive statue/podium thing which im presuming is really famous. We started our trip by heading across a nearby bridge to MareMagnum or something which was a shopping centre, the shops inside were fairly standard fare, I almost bought some swim trunks but decided against it in the end because I can’t be bothered to carry shopping around for another 7 hours.

IMG_1612 IMG_1613 IMG_1616

From here, back to the statue and on towards la rambas, a strip of stands which is somewhat infamous for its pickpockets I hear, there were a ton of living statues around here as well, detailed enough to make the living statue acts in London’s Covent Garden look pathetic, these guys had props, wings and so on. I learnt firsthand that nothing is more impressive than being genuinely unsure as to whether or not you are looking at a statue or a person standing still, It reminded me a little of that youtube video I watched a few weeks back where a guy basically just put a fish-bowl in front of an actual statue and watched as everyone started taking pictures with it and putting money in.

IMG_1621 IMG_1625

Barcelona is gorgeous, the roads are spacious, bright, and littered with trees and hot women (instead of faeces, take note Marseilles), the architecture on the buildings kept impressing me as we walked around the streets, even the top half of buildings which were unspecial had awesome architecture and detail to them. We walked through some back streets just exploring randomly, we stumbled onto one or two churches, one of them the Santa Eulalia Cathedral, which was very impressive. We also walked through some of the gothic quarter, which is pretty much as it is described, with a more gothic look to the buildings – very pretty though.

IMG_1649
Detail on the Gothic quarter buildings was impressive

IMG_1629 IMG_1631 IMG_1651

IMG_1666

After a little while of walking through random backstreets, we wound up at Barcelonas version of the Arc du triumph, complete with a football and tennis ball wedged into the cracks in the design (some 20 meters up).

IMG_1677

Lunch was at a small café, we weren’t actually that hungry after our mammoth breakfast, but were pretty desperate for an excuse to sit down somewhere shady. It was nothing spectacular, just some sandwiches and a drink, it was a much needed rest though as we were already getting pretty tired from the walking, it was still only 1.30pm or so too.

Mum was dead set on seeing the Sagrada Famiglia (or as our family refers to it, the corncob church), we tried our luck on the underground to get there, turns out the Barcelona underground isn’t too bad, separated into its own separate lines and such like the London underground (but without the Zone 1-6 bullshit that makes London more confusing), thankfully we live in an age now where ticket machines have touchscreens and multiple languages, so buying a ticket was pretty easy, and its one price to go wherever.

Leaving the metro station and doing a 180 left me face to scaffold with the backside of the enormous Sagrada Famigila, sadly half of it seems to be covered in scaffolding and building apparatus at any one time (they say it’ll be completed in 40 years?), the parts of it that are visible are very impressive though. I do find it odd that there are two very different styles which can be seen where they are building on top of the old building, even the colour is two distinct shades.

The detail on the building is amazing, similar to the line for buying tickets to go inside, which went literally around the block – kind of surprising as the tickets to go inside are 13.50 EUR per person, a crazy price to pay to go inside to look around in my opinion, but maybe there are some fantastic views inside.

IMG_1693 IMG_1698 IMG_1700

Regardless though, we weren’t going to be able to get inside even if we wanted with that massive queue outside, so we turned our attention elsewhere and started trying to find out how to get to the other famous Barcelona attraction – Parc Guell.

About 20 or so minutes later of walk-sit-walk, we found a bus which would take us to Parc Guell, this place is miles out from just about everything else. An old lady on the bus yells at me to confirm that im about to miss the Parc Guell stop, the camera around my neck possibly giving away the fact that I am infact a tourist who has no other business on the bus.

From what I’ve heard and sussed during my time in Barcelona, Parc Guell is designed by the same architect as the Sagrada Famigila, and it shows. The inside of the park is a beautiful collection of small architectural set pieces interspersed with lush greenery and dark skinned entrepreneurs trying to sell you cold water and souvineers (while the cops chase them about – seriously.).
Not a whole lot more I can say about the park really, it was very pretty and a lovely excuse to walk around in the sun (bit too hot at times though), It was also a lovely excuse for the girls to dress down a little apparently as the amount of hot pants and borderline see-through dresses today was impressive.
I’ll let my pictures do the rest of the talking for Parc Guell.

IMG_1704 IMG_1706 IMG_1717 IMG_1723 IMG_1739 20130827_170050

Not a whole lot we could do after Parc Guell as it was so far away from the other attractions, we took a taxi back to the port to board back onto our ship and spent an hour or so winding down and freshening up before dinner.

My dinner tonight in the Romeo and Juliet was French themed, I figured since I didn’t get to have much of a French dining experience in Marseiles I’d substitute my own, I had a bouillabaisse soup (seafood soup) with garlic crouton for starter and Coq au vin for main (chicken in red wine with mushrooms), It was pretty good, though I think im done with French food for this holiday. I also tried Escargots for the first time, my dad ordered it for starter and I had one… It wasn’t bad, but at the same time mid-way through chewing it I remembered it was a snail and just felt very put off.

IMG_1750

We walked around a little after dinner, stumbled upon the 80’s party in the foyer, apparently our waiter from earlier in the evening was dancing about in the crowd topless – I guess their work is varied at least?

IMG_1777 IMG_1780

There was also some sort of party happening on the top deck outdoors but it was so windy I didn’t stick around for too long.

Tomorrow we’re in Palma de Mallorca, Spain – which I believe Is primarily going to be a beach relaxation day, I’m okay with this after all the walking we’ve been doing.

We found this waiting for us back in the cabin room
We found this waiting for us back in the cabin room