|Welcome to Barcelona!|
When our ship docked at the part of Barcelona, our reactions were pretty similar. “This looks like Dubai!”…..”Its a huge city”…….on and on. Tanvir had arranged for a car with driver, for our day long tour of Barcelona. Like every morning, we had a hearty breakfast, packed up our essentials in Ozy’s bag-pack and off we went to explore the city!
Outside the terminal was Juan, our driver/tour guide for the day. To our pleasant surprise, Juan was fluent in English. He quickly run us through, the plan for the day. Upon our approval, we drove us to our first stop in Barcelona, the famous, La Sagrada Familia.
La Sagrada Familia: It is perhaps Barcelona’s most famous attraction. A trip to Barcelona without a visit to this Cathedral, is incomplete. Juan knew that we had only a few limited hours in Barcelona, so he recommended that we not go inside the cathedral. It clearly asked for an entire day to tour inside this majestic cathedral. It would mean, that we would have to sacrifice everything else.
|La Sagrada Familia|
He dropped us off, just opposite to the cathedral, so that we could catch a good glimpse of the cathedral. We took several pictures of it and also shopped for soverniors in the little kiosks around the cathedral.
From the outside, we were astonished to see the sheer height and intricate designs on the cathedral. There were several cranes planted around the cathedral as the construction is still incomplete. However the progress made is extremely impressive. The cathedral was designed by Spain’s most noted and respected architects, Antoni Gaudi.
|Us posing in front of La Sagrada Familia|
Park Guell: It is a garden complex situated on the hill of El Carmel. It was initially intended to be a residential park for about 60 residents. Unfortunately, the project was unsuccessful and now soon it became a city property.
As soon as you enter the park, there is a park fountain, followed by a smiling dragon, which stretches itself in the middle of the divided staircase.
|Note the Dragon behind where we are sitting!|
At the top of Park Guell is a terraced area where you get a wonderful view of the Park as well as the city. It has multi-colored mosaic seats. The vibrant colors of the tiles are truly breathtaking.
|The vibrant colors of the tiles are truly breathtaking.|
The La Rambla Street: Juan then took us to the La Rambla Street. It is a fairly crowded street in the heart of the city. It is popular not only with the tourists, but also the locals. It is lined with trees on both sides and is filled with bars and restaurants. The shops range from tiny kiosks selling newspaper, souvenirs and flowers to high-end, brand-named boutiques, like Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton etc…
|Note the chandelier lights used at night as part of Christmas decoration|
|Residential apartments with stores on the main floor|
While we driving by the La Rambla street, a very interesting building caught our eye. It is called as La Pedrera. Again, this is a creation by Gaudi. It was declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1984.
I have a great passion for food and I crave to take pictures of them. I had told Juan that I wanted to see a local food market in Barcelona. He promised to take me to one and he indeed fulfilled his promise.
La Boqueria: He took us to this large public food market called La Boqueria. It is a paradise for the senses. I was mesmerized by the smell and colors of the Boqueria.
|Sea of people in La Boqueria|
Considered as a one-stop for the best products from Catalonia ranging from fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood to tapas bars, it houses many fishmongers and butchers.
|Who wouldn’t be elated to be here!?|
What an amazing market! Every type of produce you can possibly imagine, from fruits and vegetables to meat, seafood, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, breads, pastries etc…etc…
|Can’t make up my mind!|
Well worth spending a few hours. While looking around and taking pictures, I thought if I ever had the privilege of living in Barcelona, I would definitely get my produce from here!
I feared that everything else would be a let-down after our visit to La Boqueria. It is indeed a food paradise!
|Candied Almonds, Pecans, Cashews etc….etc…|
After we were done with La Boqueria, we still had enough time to go to Mount Montjuic. This is a hill in the center of Barcelona, famous for its several attractions like the ‘Castle de Montjuic’, ‘Montjuic Gardens’, ‘Palau Nacional’ etc.
|Cable car @ Montjuic|
Mount Montjuic: It has a commanding view of Barcelona as well as its port. For the best view of Barcelona, a visit to the Montjuic Mountain is a must! Its primary heritage came from two very important events that took place in the century….the International Exhibition in 1929 and the Olympic Games in 1992.
|View of the Barcelona port and our ship anchored there|
Montjuic Castle: At the top of the mountain is the 18th century Montjuic castle. It is in pretty good shape. Infact, some of the rooms have been refurbished and now house the Military Museum.
|Ozy and Zain outside the Montjuic Castle|
The best way to get to the top of the mountain is through this cable car, which makes one stop in the middle for ‘scenic point’.
Palau Nacional : I think by far, the most outstanding building that was left after the International Exhibition of 1929 is this Place within which is the museum of Catalonian art. We did not have the opportunity of viewing the museum from inside, but were very intrigued by this majestic building.
Catalonia Square : It is the central most square of Barcelona, right opposite to Palau Nacional. We stopped by to take pictures of the square.
Las Arenas: Right next to the Catalonia Square was this dome looking building. Through Juan, we found out that it was initially a Bull fighting arena called as ‘Las Arenas’. The Parliament of Barcelona banned bull fighting in 2010 and so this building had been now been converted to an indoor mall.
|Las Arenas (the building on the right)|
Our day in Barcelona was short (not any more shorter than what we usually had on our cruise) and there was lots and lots to see. Unfortunately, we had to skip on a lot of things to do and see.
Juan drove us back to the port and bid us goodbye. Tired, yet content, we boarded on the ship for some more exploration and adventure.