Friday, May 18, 2012

Spain: Barcelona

Usually Ron and I are on the same page with opinions of the places we visit. This is not one of those occasions. Barcelona is a big city with a lot to see and do and a ton of people seeing and doing. I’m not crazy about crowds so immediately Barcelona had one strike against it in my book. Ron doesn’t mind the crowds as much.

Our day began with an expensive shuttle ride (strike two) from the ship to the beginning of Las Rambles. We searched a map to figure out where to go first and decided on taking the Metro to the largest park in Barcelona which is similar to Central Park in NYC in that it is very large and is home to gardens, restaurants, playgrounds, water features, museums and the like. 

Pretty Gardens in the park

Museum of Art

After the park we took the Metro to the Gothic Quarter and stopped for lunch at a cute little basement restaurant. Ron chose a lunch menu that came with a salad of grilled vegetables, salmon, and a delicious strawberry sundae. I chose marinated mushrooms, salad, and a tapas plate of three kinds of Spanish meats.

(Pretend there is a picture of our lunch here and that it looks delicious. I'll have to upload that one later too.)

Everything we tried was absolutely delicious! We didn’t love the bill that came with the meal though. Barcelona is one of the more expensive tourist destinations we’ve been. (strike three).

After lunch we wandered through some of the Gothic Quarter, which I think is my favorite part of Barcelona, and came across the Barcelona Cathedral.  

Then we hopped on the Metro in search of Gaudi. We enjoyed seeing this famous building that was once an apartment building and is now a museum. 

I’m looking forward to seeing it in lights on our next stop in Barcelona. Gaudi’s work is really unique and interesting to see up close.

Back to the Metro we went as we made our way to Park Guell – another of Gaudi’s elaborate, artistic creations. We wandered the park marveling over of all the inimitable details. 

By the time we were done at the park I was beyond ready to get back to the ship for some time away from the crowds. (Nobody panic, I know we missed La Segrada Familia but it is at the top of our list for next week. We won’t leave Europe without seeing it. I promise.) We had intended to have a nice dinner out to celebrate my birthday but I was exhausted and we had already exceeded our budget for the day so we decided on a late dinner in the Lido and planned to go out to the Officer’s Bar for a couple of drinks instead. Sadly, I barely made it through dinner and fell asleep almost directly after dinner. Getting older is so totally lame.

So after our long day in Barcelona I have officially decided that I just don’t really like it there that much. It was OK but I’m not really that excited to go back. I can’t put my finger on what exactly I didn’t like, I just didn’t. It’s not a big city thing either. I love New York, Paris, San Juan, and L.A. as well as other cities I’ve visited but this one just didn’t do it for me. Now Ron on the other hand, really liked it a lot. He’s very excited to go back and said he wouldn’t mind spending a few days there. He felt very comfortable using his limited Spanish and understood most of what people were communicating even though the primary language is Catalonian. I think it’s so interesting how different our opinions of Barcelona are since our taste is so similar. Since we are there for two more days next week, I’ll try to give it a fair second chance and see if anything changes for me after a little more time spent seeing all that the city has to offer. 

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