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Stranded in Barcelona
Sights of Barcelona
We were on a Mediterranean cruise in October 2010 which ended in Barcelona. We had planned to spend one additional day and night in Barcelona before leaving for Paris to spend three days there and then fly home to Toronto. There is no direct flight from Barcelona to Toronto, thus we had to make a connecting flight and chose Paris.
However Paris at this time was engulfed in massive demonstrations and strikes due to their proposed pension changes. We had been in contact with our travel agent and requested that we not go to Paris but instead to make a connecting flight somewhere else and go straight home to Toronto. With many other people having the same idea, it turned out that the earliest we could get a connecting flight from Barcelona to another city on the same airline, KLM, was to Amsterdam four days later. Thus we were stranded in Barcelona for an additional three days and nights! Wow our great fortune! We got to see a lot more of the city than if we had just spent the one day there!
We did miss Paris but Barcelona is a world class city and well worth spending four days there to see and experience its sights and flavor!
We toured the city for the first two days on their double decker tour buses which was great as the city is huge and this is a relaxing way to travel around and see the sights. You can get off at numerous stops, spend time at that particular sight, then get back on the next bus and continue the tour. All headphones on the buses have information in numerous languages, thus you know what sight you are passing by.
The architect Gaudi has left his mark all around Barcelona and his buildings are a joy to see. His most famous building, the Sagrada Familia, was started over a century ago and is still under construction. If you have time, it is worth a visit not only from the outside, but to go inside as it will blow you away!
Nearby is the Gaudi Park which is no ordinary park and you have to see it to believe it. Many of Gaudi’s buildings are UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites as they are so spectacular in their design and construction.
We were fortunate to get tickets to the Palau Musica which is one of Europe’s fine old music halls and again if you have time, please try to spend an evening there both for the fantastic music and the construction of the theater which has no blank walls or ceilings!
The streets of Barcelona can vary from the very narrow, which is typical in most of Europe’s old cities, to the very wide that can accommodate modern traffic. Thus Barcelona is a blend of the old and new. This also applies to its architecture, from the old, to the Gaudi, to the very modern.
The famous walking area called La Rambla is another area to spend some time, from just walking, to watching all the buskers, to visiting the St. Joseph Market, to shopping in the nearby shops, to having a drink or meal.
We visited the Picasso Museum and before this visit, I could never understand his art work. The museum explained his work and now I can understand what he was trying to do in his modern art pieces. I really enjoyed this experience and learning to understand his works. We found that Picasso used to dine and drink at a "new" pub (late 1890's) called the 4 Cats and it is still in operation today. Thus we visited it and had a drink there as well under one of his paintings!
The Olympics which were held in Barcelona, left a great mark on the city. It is as if this was a turning point for the city where it became a world class destination as tourism increased immensely after this.
We tried out several Spanish restaurants and I had tapas for the first time and really enjoyed it. Tapas are small portions of various foods and you pick and choose what you want.
Yes we were stranded in Barcelona for an extra three days and wow were we happy that it happened!