When we first got off the cruise and checked in to our "flat" we walked over to the Montjuic area. This is an area we have never explored in Barcelona in the many times we had previously come here. In the Placa d'Espanya we were amazed to see the plaza with the massive monument in the center. Surrounding this plaza was an old bull ring which was converted into a mall with an observation deck and restaurants on the top deck. We took many pictures at the top of this "bull ring" and had an enjoyable glass of Sangria while trying one of the many tapas available. We then went on to the Catalan Art Museum where we saw so many beautiful water fountains as we walked the many steps to the museum. We made plans to come back to the main (magic) fountain where a water show was held on certain nights that were told was quite impressive. At the museum we were able to take an elevator to the roof and once again had a spectacular view of the city. After leaving the museum we took a long walk up Montjuic to see many of the Olympic buildings and eventually Montjuic Castle. Barcelona held the 1992 Olympics and had built many new facilities for the Olympics that resided in this area. Montjuic is the highest point that overlooks the city and the port. We were able to take some great pictures of our cruise ship that was still at dock when we were up there. It was nice to know that we were staying in the city for a few days before taking our next cruise.
After leaving Montjuic we walked down to Las Ramblas which is the main street through the heart of the city. It was nice to revisit this street where we had always visited during our past cruises. You never get tired of watching the street performers (human statues) dressed to please the crowds and win their tips. The street was packed after a major soccer tournament had just finished where Barcelona had been victorious. After walking through Las Ramblas for a while we headed back to our flat after having walked around 10 miles for the day. We were tired but had made reservations at a very nice restaurant around where we were staying. We had a 3 course meal that was very enjoyable along with some really authentic Sangria that was made with whiskey and cognac.
On our second day we went back to the Las Ramblas area and the Gothic quarters. We took many pictures of Casa Batllo and then headed to Palau Guell. Pictures do not do justice to the amazing architectural detail of this home built by Gaudi (the most famous Barcelonian architect) for Eusebi Guell (the very wealthy textile manufacturer who hired Gaudi for many projects). After seeing so many unique features of the "house" (palace), we were amazed to actually be able to walk up to the roof and see the 20 chimneys that all looked like works of art. It is truly an amazing place that you should visit if you go to Barcelona. We also spent some time walking around the Gothic area taking some pictures and having lunch. We took a quick metro ride over to Sagrada Familia to see what progress they had made in the 2 years since we last saw this amazing project. It is truly an iconic image of Barcelona and is hoped to be completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death (he was the primary architect of the project when it began over 100 years ago).
We have so much more to share from our trip here in Barcelona but we think this is enough to talk about now. We will send out some subsequent blogs on our night time adventures in the city and our day trip to Sitges. Stay tuned!
Sharon and Greg