Barcelona — City Sightseeing and walking Old Town


Basílica de la Sagrada Família

I‘ve given you an in-depth look before at Antoni Gaudi’s incredible Basílica de la Sagrada Família. For some reason I was thinking it would finally be complete this trip, but Sagrada Família is still a work in progress. It has been ever since ground was broken on this immense project way back in March 1892. That right; this basilica has been under construction now for almost 139 years, and apparently it has at least four more years to go before completion. As for its status as a basilica, that was bestowed on the incompleted church in 2010. So, you’ll have to wait until at least some time to 2026 for crane-free photos of the exterior:

Basílica de la Sagrada Família

For additional views of this magnificent example of Antoni Guadi’s unique blend of Gothic Revival, Art Nouveau, and Catalan Modernism (Modernisme), check out these articles replete with photos of both the exterior and interior as they appeared a few years ago:

Barcelona apartment building

Many of Monday’s photos were taken on City Sightseeing’s Red Line tour. Today we’ll look at some of the sights on their Blue Line tour, then stroll through Barcelona’s Old Town. In case you don’t recall those two tour lines, here’s City Sightseeing’s route map:

City Sightseeing route map — Red, Blue, and Green (summer only)

Let’s start with the image below of the Hospital de Sant Pau, which ended its role as a hospital in 2009. It now serves as a museum and cultural center:

Hospital de Sant Pau

Another fun photo subject is Torre Andreu, a.k.a., “La Rotonda,” located on the corner of Passeig de Sant Gervasi and Avenue Tibidabo in Barcelona’s Sarriá-San Gervasio District.

“La Rotonda”
“La Rotonda” details

This area is very near Antoni Gaudi’s fabulous Park Güell, which we did not visit on this trip. For a sampling of what Park Güell has to offer, you can see my previous article here: 54 Days at Sea — Visiting Park Güell, Barcelona. There you’ll find fascinating images such as this:

Park Güell

A couple more images before we get off the tour bus and start hitting Old Town near our hotel:

Barcelona
Barcelona

On the 7th and 9th of February I’ll be presenting Barcelona’s “Old Town” (Gothic Quarter) in much more detail. But as we’ve gotten off the Blue Line bus and moved our luggage into our hotel room, let me show you where Ursula and I saw next as we headed right down the street into buildings from long ago. Let’s start with the Barcelona Cathedral:

Catedral de Barcelona
Bell Tower — Catedral de Barcelona

I’ll leave you today with this photo gallery/slide show of sights in this area, all within ten minutes walking distance of the cathedral:

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Barcelona — Arrival; Day 1


Last week I reviewed Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ship Harmony of the Seas. You may recall that I mentioned we took Harmony on a transatlantic cruise out of Barcelona starting at the end of October 2021. What I didn’t mention is that we spent three nights in Barcelona before boarding Harmony. So, over the next four weeks I’ll be presenting to you images of that trip to Barcelona, culminating with a Fun Food Friday restaurant review on February 11 of a tapas place so impressive that we returned to it all three nights we were there.

Plaça de Catalunya monument to Francesc Macià

It was a bright, sunny day when we finally arrived at our wonderful hotel, the amazingly located Catalonia Portal de l’Àngel. You’d be hard pressed to find affordable accommodations at a comparable location. Catalonia Portal de l’Àngel is on a pedestrian street just minutes away from the bustling Plaça de Catalunya.

One of many statues in Plaça de Catalunya

Alas, the weather was not expected to hold, and rain was forecast for Day 2. Ursula had prepaid for us a two-day pass on City Sightseeing’s Barcelona Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour, so we wasted no time taking advantage as soon as we dropped off our luggage at the hotel. We hustled over to the east side of Plaça de Catalunya, picked up our passes, then strolled over to the west side of the plaza to catch a Red Line tour. City Sightseeing offers a Red and a Blue tour, and a third Green tour operates during the summer. Here’s the route map for all three:

City Sightseeing route map

My recommendation for the Hop-On/Hop-Off is to take the upper deck, as in most cities the views above beats the views below.

Looking up often beats…
… looking down, but not always

I’m going to stop here for today, as we have much to cover over the next four weeks. Until Wednesday, I’ll just leave you with the photo gallery/slide show taken on Day 1 while cruising the Red Line:

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Fun Photo Friday — Harmony of the Seas Favorites


A Creepy Halloween aboard Harmony of the Seas

Today I present my favorite photos of Harmony of the Seas. I’ve not yet decided what next week will bring. I have several choices. It might be Barcelona, from before we boarded Harmony, then a series continuation of the transatlantic crossing. It could be the 10-day Mexico cruise from which returned just last week. I might even start a series on a two-week cruise around the islands of Indonesia. Whatever next week brings, here’s today’s Harmony favorites. Enjoy!

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