Our previous blog focused on the amazing Sagrada Familia as it just overwhelmed our senses, so now we can focus on other interesting spots in Barcelona. Just that name conjures up a certain waiter from Fawlty Towers, but fortunately we met many funny and competent waiters bearing no resemblance to Manuel!
After docking, we left the huge port and were driven around some of the highlights on a rather cool and wet day (this causes grumpy photographers) so we later returned in beautiful sunshine.
Fabulous views from Montjuic Hill.
Lots of infrastructure was built for the 1992 Olympics and beautiful art galleries and monuments abound.
Check out this massive column of Christopher Columbus. Apparently he is meant to be looking out towards “that far distant shore” he discovered but in reality he’s pointing to Sicily. Oops!
Where else could you find the old bullfighting amphitheatre housing a modern day shopping centre?
We ‘needed’ to check out Les Cortes Ingles – an upmarket department store, with a magnificent supermarket section in the basement. Here they sell the famous jamon iberico. It’s also very expensive – check out the (Euro) price of the single ham in a boxed gift wrap below! Fortunately they are cheaper and available in smaller amounts at butchers and the markets…
Along the Passeig de Gracia. Lots of clever forward thinking people in this city… The early roads were designed with expansion in mind and with major intersections angled to allow easy turning.
So back to the Viking Star for our last night on board and fond farewells to our friends – last drinks on the balcony, last dinner at the World Cafe. So sad, but we are already making a shortlist for our next meeting place…
Next morning the Aparthotel Silver went out of their way to make our stay memorable – our room was ready for a 9.30am check in straight from the ship, top quality advice on all the transport options, discounts, and a bottle of bubbly waiting for us… What is not to like?!
Off to shop till we dropped on Las Ramblas, a 1 km boulevard – crowded with what seemed to be a good mixture of tourists and locals.
Our favourite spot as usual was the huge food market, dotted with bars for a quick selection of snacks and a drink.
Each evening we wandered the streets to find a un vaso de vino blanco y una cerveza, and of course tapas. Not only because it is such a great way to eat, but because cafes and restaurants don’t start serving dinner till 9pm (at the earliest).
We want to try and re-create several dishes at home. Number one will be the Catalan traditional tomato bread that accompanies tapas. It looks so simple but has excellent taste and texture and is perfect with jamon, anchovies, cheese, olives – yum!
Barcelona’s population is 1.6 million with a total of 7 million in the province of Catalonia. There is a chequered past – and future – in regard to pro-Catalan vs anti-Spain sentiments in this region. Passions run high and strong…. This interesting blog describes some of the challenges for the younger generations.
We have barely scratched the surface of Spain, so it now joins our wish list of European countries to explore in a longer time span and at a more relaxed pace. We will have to keep buying those Lotto tickets…