Our 7 am arrival in the port of Barcelona was rather uneventful as the terminal, although a cruise ship terminal, was some distance from the heart of the city and our views were obscured with various port warehouses and storage tanks. Our scheduled tour was to be an all-day-er so we arrived at our meeting point right on time. We have the “pink” excursion tickets so we boarded first, then had to wait for the others to arrive. (Sometimes being first is not always the best choice). For some reason we ended up sitting in a group of six that had been on our Granada together, so by now we were quite familiar with each other, and throughout the day enjoyed some social jousting.After we were all onboard, our very competent and exciting tour guide, Eva, introduced herself and her driver, and our day began on a high note and lasted throughout the day. Eva not only knew her stuff but was witty and comedic at times, serious the next. Here she is pictured pointing out some of the finer points of Sagrada Familia, the world famous Gaudi Cathedral.
Our first destination was the mountain top monastery of Montserrat, some two hours distant, with beautiful views of the countryside. Upon our arrival, after several miles of twisty, turning two lane roads, we arrived at this magnificent edifice with its Cathedral. Just like Disneyland, the rest of Spain and it’s school children were there at the same time. How they managed to park all those tour busses is a mystery to me.
After a potty stop we joined the hundreds of other visitors who were heading for the Cathedral with it’s famous “Black Madonna”. The queue to visit side chambers of the Cathedral which would eventually lead to the Black Madonna not only included our hearty group but several hundred ahead of us. Upon our arrival at this sacred site, we were hustled through a small anti-chamber and out again and admonished “no photos”. This statue is so small, and Barbara was concentrating on NOT taking pictures that she did not realize it was right in front of her. To the right is huge plaque with a recreation of the Black Madonna in the center. It’s located over the entrance to the side chambers of the Cathedral.
It is just mind boggling that all the stone to build these structures had to be hauled up this mountain – centuries ago…and not with modern vehicles and road surfaces.
Below is a view of the distant City of Barcelona or “Bar-ca” as the locals refer to their beloved home.
After about two hours at the monastery we returned to a seaside restaurant at the foot of Barcelona for a “Tapas, and seafood lunch”. Our tables were already set with our first course – salami & green olives, as well as bottles of red and white wine, and Alan had told us to ask for whatever wine we wanted, so we ordered a bottle of Cava (champagne) and Rose wine. Next came plates of huge bread slices rubbed with tomatoes and olive oil, then croquettes, platters of large shrimp, tiny fried squid, calamari rings, green peppers, plates of Mussels, plates of paella, flan for desert with cups of café con leche (milk). We were so full of wine and food we could hardly walk.
Pictured above –my plate of paella
below remnants of shrimp, mussels, and peppers
And below, Barbara with the beginnings of her meal
After lunch we walked around Gaudi’ church “La Sagrada Familia”, which is where I took the picture of Eva giving us chapter and verse about the meaning of the building and why it was not constructed according to tradition.
On the opposite side of this basilica is the Passion, a sculpture of the crucifixion of Jesus, with Mary standing below, and staring at you from the bottom of her dress, is the face of Jesus, and as one moves from side to side the eyes of Jesus follow you.
It is project is projected to be finished in maybe 20 or so years – I think
After a hurried stop to visit some of the sites built for the 1992 (?) summer Olympics and a magnificent view point overlooking the port and city, we were “rolled” off our busses and onto the ship, but….. never ones to miss a meal on the ship we spruced ourselves up and headed to the dining room, only partaking of the lightest of two courses.
Next; Beautiful Barcelona – Day Two