Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain – 2/18/2015

FEBRUARY 18, 2015 (Wednesday)

Another rough night at sea but mostly we slept better knowing the ship is sound and can make it. We put in a wake up call for 7:30 AM. We got up and got going and met Dennis and Helga in the Blue Lagoon for breakfast at 8:30 AM. They had beat us there by a little bit and already had a table near the window. We all ate and then headed out off the ship. We stopped to get our shuttle tickets (five Euro for round trip per person) and then took the shuttle to near the statue of Christopher Columbus. Michael and I had signed up for the free Orange Donut walking tour of Barcelona but his knee has been bothering him. When we all got off the shuttle bus and saw the hop on hop off bus, we decided to do that instead. (Once we got off the ship and had good internet, we wrote to the Orange Donut tour and apologized.  They understood.  We said when we came back we’d go on their tour.)

Leaving the port authority building we should have guessed we were in for a visual treat.

Leaving the port authority building we should have guessed we were in for a visual treat.

Our shuttle bus into Barcelona.

Our shuttle bus into Barcelona.

Eye candy just beginning.  So many things to look at, such beauty.

Eye candy just beginning. So many things to look at, such beauty.

Our hop on hop off bus.  Pretty woman with Helga and Dennis.

Our hop on hop off bus. Pretty woman with Helga and Dennis.

The hop on hop off bus was 23 Euro per person (senior discount) and included two lines, the orange line and the green line. We got on at stop 5 on the orange line. We took it all around and didn’t get off until we changed over to the green line. Once on the green line, we didn’t get off until we had to go to the bathroom. We decided to have a little snack at the same time and stopped near the Park Guell. We went into a little restaurant on the street to the Park Guell and had a light snack. Dennis and Helga ordered cuddle fish and pot stickers. Michael and I ordered spice potatoes and calamari. Everything was excellent and we all enjoyed sharing. We also went to the bathroom, which didn’t cost extra (and it even had a toilet seat – yea).

Great traveling friends, energetic, insightful, humorous and thoughtful.

Great traveling friends, energetic, insightful, humorous and thoughtful.

Christopher Columbus atop the monument.

Christopher Columbus atop the monument.

Part of the city is ancient.

Part of the city is ancient.

Hard to tell what is new and what is old, it is all so well maintained.

Hard to tell what is new and what is old, it is all so well maintained.

Grand buildings when you look around.

Grand buildings when you look around.

1992 Olympic flame.  Huge complex to host the games.

1992 Olympic flame. Huge complex to host the games.

We have to come back and spend a couple weeks being tourist here.

We have to come back and spend a couple weeks being tourist here.

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I just can't believe my education has somehow skipped Catalonia.

I just can’t believe my education has somehow skipped Catalonia.

Great designs everywhere, ordinary is made unique.

Great designs everywhere, ordinary is made unique.

They really try in Barcelona.

They really try in Barcelona.

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Markets look good.

Markets look good.

Scooters are really huge here.

Scooters are really huge here.

Fits in, just too cool.

Fits in, just too cool.

Delivery cycle!  This would work for a Pizza place.

Delivery cycle! This would work for a pizza place.

We like Barcelona.

We like Barcelona.

They have a little graffiti, but they also have street and sidewalk sweepers, lots of them.

They have a little graffiti, but they also have street and sidewalk sweepers, lots of them.

Antoni Gaudi, archetect, finished in 1910, Casa Mila (The first owner) meant to represent ocean waves and seaweed.

Antoni Gaudi, architect, finished in 1910, Casa Mila (The first owner) meant to represent ocean waves and seaweed.

Tours include the roof.

Tours include the roof.

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Then there was a contest...

Then there was a contest…

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This device is moving things up the ladder.  You can see the pallet a little over half way up.

This device is moving things up the ladder. You can see the pallet a little over half way up.

Now near the top.

Now near the top.

Pretty cool.

Pretty cool.

Just grand and beautiful almost everywhere.

Just grand and beautiful almost everywhere.

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Rental bikes on the bottom right.

Rental bikes on the bottom right.

Helga, Dennis and Pretty woman plotting our next move.

Helga, Dennis and Pretty woman plotting our next move.

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Had to grab Edie before she could hop on one of these.

Had to grab Edie before she could hop on one of these.

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Don't know what to call the art on this building.

Don’t know what to call the art on this building.

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Love it, and not even sure it is very new.

Love it, and not even sure it is very new.

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Medical Bio research park.

Medical Bio research park.

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A suggestion of a fish on top, next to the pyramid.

A suggestion of a fish on top, next to the pyramid.

Edie thinks phallic.  I don't.

Edie thinks phallic. I don’t.

Color underneath.

Color underneath.

Up close.

Up close.

Antoni Gaudi's church called Sagrada Familia, started in 1880's, expected completion is 2026, 100 years after his death.

Antoni Gaudi’s church called Sagrada Familia, started in 1880’s, expected completion is 2026, 100 years after his death.

It is a Catholic Basilica and has a full history of controversy at every stage of construction.

It is a Catholic Basilica and has a full history of controversy at every stage of construction.

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We are going back.

We are going back.

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Three completed spires.

Three completed spires.

At a distance.

At a distance.

So Barcelona.

So Barcelona.

Lunch.  We were enjoying Dennis and Helga so much, and they are so engaging, we totally space on taking food pictures.

Lunch. We were enjoying Dennis and Helga so much, and they are so engaging, we totally spaced on taking food pictures.

After our snack we walked up the hill (really cool because there were steps and then an escalator) to the park area. There was a long line and a wait of about fifteen minutes to get a ticket into the park (7 Euro per person) so we decided to skip it as we didn’t have time. We looked around a little (didn’t see the dragon) and then walked back down the steps and the hill to catch the hop on hop off.

Door repair.

Door repair.

We walked up to the top, realized we didn't have enough time to tour the park and had to head back to the hop on hop off.

We walked up to the top, realized we didn’t have enough time to tour the park and had to head back to the hop on hop off.

Gueil Park, on Carmel Hill, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Gueil Park, on Carmel Hill, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Just a hint of what is inside.

Just a hint of what is inside.

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Back.

Back down.

Helga, retired school teacher and Dennis, retired principal, eye the little boys that need a little disapproval.  Not a jungle gym.

Helga, retired school teacher, and Dennis, retired principal, eye the little boys that need a little disapproval. Not a jungle gym.

Our lunch restaurant.

Our lunch restaurant.

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Even the reflections are cool.

Even the reflections are cool.

Lots of detail everywhere too.

Lots of detail everywhere.

I was impressed with the lamp posts.

I was impressed with the lamp posts.

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Enough, we give, turn it off, we are getting overwhelmed.

Enough, we give, turn it off, we are getting overwhelmed.

Even the trees have stylish bark!  What the heck, do you see it too?

Even the trees have stylish bark! What the heck, do you see it too?

So fun.  Make us lol.

So fun. Make us lol.

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Edie saw the gun, I totally missed it.

Edie saw the gun, I totally missed it.

Of course, another beautiful cathedral.

Of course, another beautiful cathedral.

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Gaudi meets Da vinci?

Gaudi meets Da vinci?

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I like the outdoor balcony curtains.

 

 

The hop on hop off bus was wonderful (but cold at times). We saw so much it was overwhelming. Such beauty in Barcelona. We are definitely going to come back and spend some time here as there is just so much to see and do. We’re fascinated by Gaudi and his buildings, especially the Sagrada Familia which Gaudi was working on when he died. It is stunning and one can look at it for days and not see everything. We saw the nerve center of the city, Placa Catalunya; the Arc de Triomf, an entrance to the site of the Universal Exhibition of 1888, the first event of its kind help on Spanish territory; the World Trade Center; the great Olympic facilities, which were held in 1992; the central railway station of Barcelona; Camp Nou, a huge sports stadium; another of Gaudi’s works called La Pedrera, or Casa Mila, constructed between 1906 and 1910 and looks like waves splashed by the wrought iron seaweed on the balconies; La Manzana de la Discordia, or the block of discord, has beautiful ceramic tiles that look like fish scales and is another work by Gaudi; the historic district where we saw the Gothic Cathedral, among other things. So many things and way too much to remember but all so very beautiful.  It all left us wanting to come back. I was willing to abandon ship and stay in Barcelona but Michael wouldn’t go for it (his medication was on board). He agrees that we need to come back and explore.

We made it back to the ship in one of the last shuttles. We rested up for awhile and then headed to the bronze Latitudes cocktail party at 6:45 PM in the Spinnaker Lounge. Again, Prism was playing and singing, the executive officers were around mingling, drinks were plentiful (but not as plentiful as with the silver cocktail party), and the hor d’orves were good. I can only imagine what the cocktail party for the platinum members is like. Can’t wait to get to that level (something like 76 days or more). Plus, free laundry and chocolates!

Such fun and nice staff.

Such fun and nice staff.

The band's name is Prism, and each and every one was an excellent singer.  The sound was full and rich.

The band’s name is Prism, and each and every one was an excellent singer. The sound was full and rich.

Snacks were great and plentiful.

Snacks were great and plentiful.

Really nice.  Edie embarrassed me a little with her boldness towards the deviled eggs.

Really nice. Edie embarrassed me a little with her boldness towards the deviled eggs.

Very nice NCL staff.  Talked with us quite awhile, I think Joan is her name.

Very nice NCL staff. Talked with us quite awhile, I think Joan is her name.

A drawing for prizes.

A drawing for prizes.

After the cocktail party we went to the 7:30 PM show, “Tenors of Rock.”

Stardust theater curtains and stage as viewed from the balcony.

Stardust theater curtains and stage as viewed from the balcony.

Dennis and Helga saved us seats, and Allen and Maria joined us. I think this was one of the best shows I have ever seen on a ship. They were wonderful. I only wish they had done more show numbers as the one they did for Phantom of the Opera was spectacular. These guys are from the United Kingdom and are fun and really good. We thought about going to the 9:30 PM show but are tired and want to get some sleep for tomorrow’s outing in Valencia.

That was our day. Hope yours was great!

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