Thursday, May 06, 2010

Port of Call ~ Barcelona

Our wonderful trip was sadly coming to an end with our final port being Barcelona. In contrast to Gibraltar, Cádiz and even Funchal, Barcelona is a huge city and not even a week there would be enough to even scratch the surface of what the city has to offer. The old, the new, the sites, the sounds, the food, the history, the people...just so much to experience and see I MUST return some day.

IMG_0814 A Our ride around the city. Barcelona is so big that I knew we wouldn't be able to see much of the city on foot but the Disney tours didn't really suit our needs so before we traveled I had book a Trixi Tour as I thought it would be a fun way to get around and Maisie would enjoy the experience. We had a wonderful guide who peddled us all though the city whilst giving us running commentary about all the sites. The tour that we took was 2.5 hours long which ended up being a bit much for Maisie but she happily put her head in my lap and slept for about the last hour of the tour and she must have been tired as she managed to sleep through all the bumps and bouncing around.

The Trixi tour was a wonderful way to see the city and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a fun, interesting, educational and different tour of Barcelona.

Our tour started in the Gothic Quarter at the Plaça de la Catedral directly in front of the Catedral. In the Gothic quarter we also saw the Plaça de Sant Jaume & Plaça de Sant Felip Neri. We saw some of Gaudi's buildings including La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló & Casa Milà or La Pedrera. We also visited the El Raval, the Born, beautiful Port Vell & Barceloneta.

IMG_0816  B Palau de la Música Catalana was a beautiful building architecturally and with the stained glass and mosaics, just breathtaking.

IMG_0825  C Arc de Triomf at the entrance to Parc de la Ciutadell was built for the 1888 Universal Exposition.

IMG_0824 DThe park area behind the Arc de Triomf

 IMG_0823  E One of the beautiful street lights in Parc de la Ciutadell.

IMG_0829  FEl Monumental, the bull-fighting arena.

IMG_0833  G La Sagrada Familia is one of Gaudi's most famous works in Barcelona. It's a giant temple that has been under construction since 1882 and it's not expected to be completed for at least another 20 years.

IMG_0835  HMaisie at Sagrada Familia.

IMG_0837  I A lot of controversy surrounds the building of the Sagrada Familia. Many feel that the new construction materials which are being use, Gaudi himself would not have used.

IMG_0843  J This is the bottom backside of La Sagrada Familia.

IMG_0838  KThe top backside of La Sagrada Familia.

 IMG_0856  L Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gracia. The building was designed by Gaudi for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat, as an upmarket home. The Batlló family lived in the lower two floors and rented out the upper floor apartments.

From the outside the façade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made from skulls and bones. The "Skulls" are in the balconies and the "bones" are supporting pillars.

IMG_0858  M Another view and such a mix of architectural styles on one street.

IMG_0851  N Another Gaudi building, Casa Milà.

IMG_0878  O For Eammon and I, the best part of the entire adoption process was of course Maisie but another wonderful thing that happened is that we now have friends all over the world. Fina and I have been corresponding since we each received our referral for WanZhou girls back in November 2006. We had hoped and thought that we may have been able to meet in China but Fina traveled to get her April a week after we met Maisie so we never met. Over the past 3.5 years Fina and I have stayed in contact via email and when I realized that Maisie and I would be visiting Barcelona emails started flying and Fina and I set up a time to meet. The day that Maisie and I were in Barcelona was Diada de Sant Jordi, and Fina was already committed to working the entire day but that didn't stop us from at least meeting. Unfortunately due of our time constraints and schedule, we weren't able to also meet her husband or daughter April. Fina and I had a nice little visit and thankfully one of her fellow workers spoke some English as my Spanish is limited to "Dora" Spanish and Catalan, forget-about-it and Fina doesn't speak English. We in the end managed just fine but I will say that I'm thankful for translation software so that at least over the internet communication is easy.

Maisie and I were so busy touring around, walking Las Ramblas and taking in the sites that we had gone the entire day without eating and when Maisie said that she was hungry I just happened to see a gelateria and though I don't speak Spanish I had no difficulty picking out a wonderful, fabulous, darn near org@smic dark chocolate with orange gelato that I have been dreaming about ever since...oh yeah Maisie liked it too. It was so rich and wonderful that Maisie and I shared a small cone and I had tears in my eyes when together we couldn't finish it and had to throw some of it away.

We had a wonderful but oh-too-short day in Barcelona but it was time to head back to the ship to pack and enjoy our last dinner & last on-board show and for Maisie's last night to be a Princess, at least on the ship.

IMG_0881  P Maisie still in her Princess dress from dinner with her final towel animal from Aldo.


  1. Barcelona is such a fun city... We visited once, at the end of a Mediterranean cruise, and spent 4 days just taking it all in. We ate like royalty, loved the hustle and bustle of the city and discovered the most beatiful church I have ever seen.
    What a fun trip for you and Maisie!

  2. Sounds like you really enjoyed your visit. How wonderful. Fabulous pictures. Little Maisie was such a trooper for age four. I am very impressed.

  3. P.S. I'm reading this on Friday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!

  4. Maise is one lucky little girl! WOw.

    So, how in the heck did you get so skinny?!!! Share you secret.

    Happy mother's day

  5. We spent a week in Barcelona on our honeymoon and that was STILL not enough time to take it all in. It's an incredible city! Maisie is lucky to have experienced so many wonderful ports on your cruise!


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