Sunday, December 9, 2018

Friday Nov 23 Barcelona

Friday Nov 23 DAY 9- Full Day in Barcelona
Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

Today, spend a full day at leisure in Barcelona or join the optional tour to Montserrat. 

Optional: Half Day Montserrat Tour (AM) BOOKED
it was only 4 hours 9 AM to 1 PM

From the Catalan language meaning, “serrated mountain”, Montserrat is 45 km from Barcelona. 

A small group of us boarded the bus at 9 for the hour's drive.
The drive to Montserrat is worth the tour.

It's not raining! And we are the first bus in the parking lot.

Josep Maria Subirachs's Escala de l'Enteniment (Stairway to Understanding) has become a spot for daring selfies as people appear to be teetering over the cliff.

Hence the fencing.

But as with many daredevil-selfie staples – dangling over the Grand Canyon, swimming to the lip of Victoria Falls – the risks are exaggerated. The monument is just 10 metres high and located on a terrace.

Reaching the topmost tier, it turns out, involves little more than clambering up the three-metre-wide blocks that represent Llull's eight stages of awareness: stone, flame, plant, animal, man, heaven, angel and God.

Nice that there is a covered walkway.

Visit the Royal Basilica, where you will see the famous 12th-century Romanesque sculpture of "Virgen Moreneta". 

The Black Madonna is sometimes referred to by other names, including 'The Virgin of Montserrat' and 'La Moreneta'. The statue sits behind a sheet of glass. However, one of her hands that is holding a sphere (which symbolises the universe) is not behind the glass. It is tradition for you to kiss or touch the Virgin's hand whilst opening out your other hand to Jesus.

It starts to rain as we leave the church and we head inside for coffee. Some of our group are attending the service at 11 so we poke around the souvenir shop.

Farmers' market.

Really raining as we head back to the bus.

We tip our guide and let him know that we will not be attending the farewell dinner.

Afternoon at leisure.

We spend some time with the hotel maintenance as he tries to get our safe to work.Done. It turned out that Anne and Bob had left a note for us at the desk with meet up options. Although we had been at the desk several times no one thought to give it to us! We got it the next morning!!

We headed out in a drizzle and walked to Las Ramblas.

Along Caspe.

A tree-lined pedestrian street, it stretches for 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. La Rambla forms the boundary between the quarters of Barri Gòtic, to the east, and El Raval, to the west.

This building, with a huge thermometer (seven storey) is at the corner.

Imagine walking on a piece of art! Joan Miró‘s circular tile work, crafted by the artist himself right on the street.

The Teatre Principal is the oldest theatre in Barcelona, founded in 1579, built between 1597 and 1603 and rebuilt several times, mainly in 1788 and again in 1848. The theatre was originally named the Teatro de la Santa Cruz in Spanish (or Teatre de la Santa Creu in Catalan).

Human statues are everywhere but they do such a good job that a euro or two is worth it.

We stepped into the tourist office to see about buying tickets for Sagrada Familia, he pointed us down the hall and then she said "buy them online". OK, fine.

Time for some lunch at Taller Tapas.

Patatas bravas.

Thanks to the florists lining the middle it is always spring in this street. It doesn’t matter if it rains, freezes or is hot as hell. They settled down in the nineteenth century. It was common coming across artists like Salvador Dalí or impressionist painter Ramón Casas (1866-1932). In fact, there he met Julia, his muse and future wife. Although Casas’ brushes were obsessed with this lottery seller, they also captured everyday scenes of the walk.

His calling card read simply: "Ramon Cabau Gausch, Agricultor "--farmer.

Cabau was indeed a farmer, raising flowers, mushrooms, salad greens, fava beans and peas, and other gentle crops on his handsome finca in Canet de Mar, just northeast of Barcelona--but he was far more than that, too. He was a licensed pharmacist; he held a law degree and, as founder (in 1962) and longtime owner of the top-rated Barcelona restaurant called Agut d'Avignon, he was one of the most important figures in contemporary Spanish gastronomy--as influential and unique in his own part of Spain, Catalonia.

La Boqueria is a huge marketplace where you can buy pretty much any food item. It is a sensory overload… there are so many smells, colors, and sights to see all the while trying to push your way through the crowd.

The market itself is separated into various sections, including produce, candies and other treats, meats and seafood.

Many of the products they offer are easy to take with you to eat on-the-go. Try one of their delicious juices (generally just 1 euro) or a sampling cone of some of the local meats, cheeses or olives.

We definitely needed some chocolate.

So civilized.

We find ourselves down by the port, where we had been last night, on the tour, in the dark.

The Columbus Monument (Catalan: Monument a Colom, Spanish: Monumento a Colón or Mirador de Colón) is a 60 m (197 ft) tall monument to Christopher Columbus at the lower end of La Rambla. It was constructed for the Exposición Universal de Barcelona (1888) in honor of Columbus' first voyage to the Americas. The monument serves as a reminder that Christopher Columbus reported to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V in Barcelona after his first trip to the new continent.

Aduana Building at Port Vell in Barcelona, Spain
This Neoclassical building in the Square of the Gate of Peace at Port Vell opened in 1902. Architects Enric Sagnier and Pere García did a masterful job of decorating the former custom house with Ionic columns, dentil molding and ornate windows. Above the reliefs of royal crowns and the crenels are sculptures of winged lions. The stone façade has a warm glow in the Barcelona sunshine. This building is called Aduana by some and the Duana Nova (New Customs House) by others.

This funky giant prawn/lobster statue was originally part of the decor at the Gambrinus seafood restaurant. The 10m long fibreglass sculpture was designed and built by Spanish artist Javier Mariscal. When the Gambrinus restaurant closed the statue was bought by Barcelona city council, restored and now takes pride of place on Passeig Colom near the Port Vell.

El Cap de Barcelona (1991–1992) is a surrealist sculpture created by American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Its English title is The Head of Barcelona.

The sculpture was Lichtenstein's first outdoor work using ceramic tile. It is said to acknowledge Antoni Gaudí and Barcelona's affinity for mosaics.

The sculpture stands tall on the waterfront in the heart of the city. Made out of concrete and ceramic, it is an abstract rendition of a woman's head and appears exactly how one would expect a Lichtenstein sculpture to be. Lichtenstein did not start experimenting with three-dimensional art until the late 1970s, and prior to this his main focus was on pop art.

We walk back towards Las Ramblas.

It's dark around 6 PM.

You can see a little of the Picasso sketch on the building in the middle.

Christmas display, large chairs and table, food telling  the Christmas story.

Eventually you will hit Plaça de Catalunya, one of the most popular squares in Barcelona. There are tons of restaurants, bars, and high-end stores here. There is also a metro and train station here, so it is easy to get anywhere else in the city.

We turn down our street, Caspe, and decide to grab a bite before we head back.
For fun we chose an Irish pub The James Joyce.

On your last night in Spain, join your fellow travelers for a festive Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant. 8 PM

No, we skipped this dinner and from what I heard we didn't miss anything.

Overnight: Barcelona

Nov 12-13 Toronto to London to Madrid
Nov 14 Madrid on our own
Nov 15 Madrid on our own
Nov 16 Madrid on our own until Welcome Dinner
Monday Mural some murals in La Latina
Thursday Doors Madrid
Thursday Doors El Retiro Madrid
Pull Up a Seat Madrid
Nov 17 Part 1 Madrid City tour
Nov 17 Part 2 Toledo and Madrid dinner
Nov 18 Madrid to Cordoba to Seville
Weekend Reflections Seville
inSPIREd Sunday Puerto Lapice
Nov 19 Seville
Nov 20 Seville to Granada
Nov 21 Granada to Valencia
Tuesday Photo Challenge Tranquil
Week 1 Recap  Nov 12 - 16
Week 2 Recap Nov 17 - 23
Week 3 Recap Nov 24 - 26

Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Weekly Postcard Friday


  1. A day to remember. Wonderful shots, especially at Montserrat.

  2. Monserrat is my one regret about our visit to Barcelona, Jackie. We had a lovely day in Girona instead, but if we'd had an extra day.... :) :) Thanks for sharing.

  3. That's a lot for one day. I've never been on a tour. All of my holidays have been self directed, but I haven't been to someplace like Europe. Maybe there it would be a good way to go. - Margy

    1. We prefer self-directed too. But sometimes it is worth it to leave all the details to someone else. It depends on where we're going and for how long.

  4. Thank you for bringing me on your journey. Love it! Gorgeous! Happy Holidays! Love your new header!

  5. You made me wish I was in Barcelona right now - it has been a few years since I was there for christmas markets and the fantastic nativity scenes that pop up in the squares and churches.
    Montserrat is a real beauty. You have to see it from the top at least once, but then you can just enjoy the stunning views of it from below. You probably didn't appreciate the rain, but I liked your cloudy shots of the view back down.


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