Saturday, May 29, 2004, Barcelona Spain
Today we arrived back at the home port for the cruise, Barcelona Spain. Aaron and I have a flight out on Sunday, so we have the day to explore as much of Barcelona as we can in one day. The first thing we did was take a taxi to the hotel where we were staying, The Barceló Hotel Sants. I picked this hotel because it is located on top of the central train station where there's a train that takes only 15 minutes to get to the airport. It's also on top of a subway so it was very convenient to get around. Unfortunately the air conditioning in the room didn't work which made it very uncomfortable and despite our calling they never sent anyone up to fix it.
The first place we decided to visit was the Sagrada Família. Started in 1882 the Sagrada Família is a never ending project. Actually current estimates are that it will be complete by 2030. The church is a very unusual design, resulting in Aaron's statement "it's so gaudy." (or should we say Gaudí, after all this is Barcelona.) While we were walking around the church we bumped into a few people from the cruise who were also exploring Barcelona.
After viewing the Sagrada Família we took the metro to the Drassanes stop near the port. We looked at the statue of Columbus and then walked over to the maremagnum where we had lunch and walked around for a while.
From the docks we walked around the outside of the Maritime Museum and then walked up La Rambla. La Rambla is a very wide street with a market running up the middle. There's all different kinds of merchants, performers, and con-artists working the street. We only walked up a short distance to go to the Palau Güell, which unfortunately was sold out. We then walked across the Placa Reial and up to the Catedral de Barcelona.
The Catedral de Barcelona is is a very large and interesting cathedral dating back to 1298. As we were walking around inside one of the guards motioned for us to come over to where he was standing. He directed us to an elevator that took us up to the roof from where we had a great view of the entire city.
After the cathedral we walked over to the Palau de la Música Catalana which is Barcelona's concert hall. We didn't go inside, but did take a few pictures of the facade.
We then decided to explore the Parc de la Ciutadella. On our way there we passed the Arc de Triomf. The park is a very nice green place on the south-east edge of the city. On the north end of the park there's the Gaudí designed Cascade Fountain. Just south of the fountain there's a small pond where you can rent rowboats. We spent a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the park.
After we had our fill of the park we took a taxi to the Fundació Joan Miró. This turned out to be a disappointment. The museum isn't very large and at €7,20 for admission is rather over priced, especially since we only spent about an hour here. The museum is split into two sections, the permanent exhibit, and temporary exhibits. The temporary exhibits were very strange and didn't really appeal to me. Of the permanent exhibits there were only a few pieces that I liked. There was also an outside garden around the museum that looked interesting from the window, but as we approached the entrance the guard turned us away and said it was closing.
From the Miró museum we walked up to Estadi Olimpic which was used for the 1992 Olympics. We then walked accross the street and walked around the outside of the Palau Nacional & Museu Nacional d' Art de Catalunya and down the Av de la Reina Maria Cristina. Since we were meeting a group of people from the cruise for dinner we didn't really have much time to go in any more museums. With the hotel only a few blocks away we decided to walk back and stop at the Parc Joan Miró on the way. Most of the park was under construction but we did get to see Miro's Dona i ocell (1982) (Woman and bird). Since the moon was out I decided to play around with camera angles and snap a picture of the statue with the moon.
Unfortunately there was just too much to see in Barcelona to be able to fit it all in one day. We never got to see La Pedrera, Parc Güell, the Maritime Museum, or explore the rest of La Rambla. I guess I'll just have to come back another time.