Barcelona: Park Guell, La Rambla, and the Norwegian Spirit

Sunday morning we got up early to visit Park Guell before it was flooded with tourists. Park Guell, named after its financial backer, Eusebi Guell, was also designed by Antoni Gaudi. (Do you sense a theme yet?) The Park was originally part of a housing development; but due to various reasons (restrictive leases, lack of transportation options, etc.) only 2 of the 60 plots were sold. The idea of the housing development was abandoned; and the Park became a large private garden that Guell opened up for public events. After Guell’s death, the city purchased the property from his heirs and opened it to the public as a municipal park. Local residents still have free access to the Park. However, visitors have to buy tickets, either online or at the Park, for a minimal fee.

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Gingerbread houses at the main entrance:

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The Dragon Stairway

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Jerry posing with the Dragon

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It’s said that Gaudi used a construction worker as a model when deciding how to mold the seats and where to put the lumbar support. The bench is 360 feet long, winds around the edge of the terrace overlooking the main entrance, and is covered in brightly colored tile mosaics.

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Some of the covered walkways at the Park, leading away from the west side (?) of the terrace.

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The gardens on the other side of the terrace.

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After we finished walking around the park, we had some extra time. So, we headed back to Placa de Catalunya and walked down La Rambla, a tree lined, pedestrian avenue popular with tourists (and souvenir sellers). I had planned on us visiting La Rambla and La Boqueria, a big food market off La Rambla, earlier; but due to our flight delays, this was the first time we had a chance to go. And, unfortunately, La Boqueria was closed. But, we had a nice stroll down La Rambla.

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The dragon here is on the site of a former umbrella shop.

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After our stroll down La Rambla, we started back for the hotel and found this. Seems someone has a sense of humor. (Not the poor cow.)

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We checked out of the hotel, hailed a taxi and headed to the port. We arrived a little early and had to wait about 30 minutes before they started letting people on board. We chose the 12 day Grand Mediterranean cruise on the Norwegian Spirit because of the ports. The Spirit is one of the smallest ships that we have sailed on. The small size made it easy to get around to the different venues. But, in the mornings, when everyone was trying to eat breakfast at the same time, it was pretty crowded and hectic.  We had an interior stateroom (or cabin, or whatever you would like to call it). The cabin was a decent size. The bathroom was a little bigger than what we are used to. And, I liked that the shower had glass doors rather than just a shower curtain.

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The aft pool was for children only and designed in a pirate theme. There might be more children cruising during the summer months. But, I think we only saw this pool being used once or twice the entire cruise. It seemed like a waste of space at the time.

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The main pool area was nice and had 4 hot tubs. We enjoyed soaking in the hot tubs almost every night. After a long day of walking around, it felt pretty good.

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Jerry checking out the drink selection at the Biergarten:

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We ate lunch, checked in for the muster drill, and then went up to the aft bar area for an informal meet and greet with people we had met on Cruise Critic. We had planned several private shore excursions with some of the Cruise Critic people. We had the meet and greet the first day so we could arrange meeting times, etc. for the excursions.

The Barcelona port is not as scenic as a lot of ports we have been to. And, it had started to get cloudy by then. So, I don’t have a lot of great pictures of our sail away. We enjoyed our short stay in Barcelona and would love to go back some day to see more of the city and surrounding area.

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