Thursday, December 03, 2009


Today we'll visit Barcelona. The ship is here from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and once again we'll do our own thing, trying to see the highlights but still having a relaxing and enjoyable day.

Barcelona's beginnings, much like Rome's, are subject to myth and a bit of mystery. The first myth attributes the founding of the city to Hercules 400 years before the building of Rome, thus the name Βαρκινών;. The second myth attributes the foundation of the city directly to the Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino after his family, in the 3rd century BC.

Barcelona has several important museums, including a Picasso museum, but we'll pass on those. We'll be concentrating our efforts into thre areas: the Gothic Quarter, the olderst part of the city, the Sagrada Familia, a work in progress, and Las Ramblas, the mostly pedestrian street that cuts through the heart of the city.

Once again our plan will be to start at the furthest point and work our way back towards the ship. This means that our first stop will be the Sagrada Família, which has been under construction since 1882, and is still financed by private donations. It's expected to be completed by 2026. This massive, impressive and over-the-top church was designed by Antonio Gaudi, who's work is spotted throughout Barcelona.  We'll have to take the subway  to get to the Sagrada Familia, but it looks pretty straightforward - fingers crossed! 

The Barri Gòtic ("Gothic Quarter" in Catalan) is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. Many of the buildings date from medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. Catalan modernisme architecture (often known as Art Nouveau in the rest of Europe), developed between 1885 and 1950 and left an important legacy in Barcelona. A great number of these buildings are World Heritage Sites.  This area is filled with narrow, medieval streets, and the gothic  14th century Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, often called simply Barcelona Cathedral. 

The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in Barcelona. One story is that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street.  The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt.

Once we've wandered through the Gothic Quarter we'll stroll down Las Ramblas, a 1.2 kilometer-long tree-lined pedestrian mall.  Here we'll find the legendary La Boqueria Market. It's a foodie paradise ithat's a feast for the senses – groaning stalls of every food imaginable in an elegant market hall. It's said you can buy anything here from fresh fruit to edible beetles, but the Jamon Iberico, Manchego Cheese, freshly squeezed juices and pizza make an excellent and cheap picnic.  Hmmmm-  lunch?  

Las Ramblas ends at the dock, so we'll be sure to find our way back on board.

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At 12/03/2009 10:08:00 PM , Anonymous Jane said...

Sounds like another great day. Too bad you're skipping the Picasso museum. That is where Casey's infatuation with Picasso began. He liked the cats and the funny eyed lady.

At 12/04/2009 10:48:00 PM , Blogger Bob and Rosemary said...

What a wonderful trip you are having!! How's the boat?


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