It really felt good to sleep in a little and not be in a rush to get off the ship today. It was cool in the morning but after the 86 degree day yesterday in Aix au Provence I was determined to dress for hot weather, knowing it would be hot within a few hours.
Barcelona is a very large port and a very large city in Europe, with a population of 1.6 million, so I thought the best way to see it was to take the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus like I did in Verona.
I am on my own today since Sue opted to stay aboard the ship. I took the T3 Blue shuttle bus from the port to the center of Barcelona for 3.50 euros round trip.
In the center of Barcelona is this tall statue of Christopher Columbus and the surrounding area was huge with many people, live entertainment and what looked like an outdoor market.
The famous three quarter mile long wide pedestrian walkway of Las Ramblas was right there and it lived up to its reputation of being crowded.
This is where it pays to be cautious and on the lookout for pickpockets, mostly because there are so many people. In addition since Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates, people are more desperate. Even one of the guys from Norwegian warned me to be careful as I left the ship.
I found the Hop On Hop Off Bus across the street from where the shuttle dropped me and I got right on. The price was less than 20 euros and for the next 2 hours I was able to see the main sights in Barcelona.
Afterwards I decided to get on the second line since that one had the famous unfinished Gaudi masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, the famous unfinished cathedral.
It has been under construction since 1882 and is not expected to be completed for quite a few more years.
I was very impressed with the city which surprisingly is not old, like Rome. There are ten separate districts of Barcelona and the beaches are beautiful with real sand, blue water and they seem endless.
I was impressed with all the trees and the amount of green space as well as benches for people to sit. Seeing Barcelona this way made me want to come back here and spend a few days to really see more of the city.
It is very colorful and there is a big emphasis on art here. This was the home of the famous artist Gaudi and his modern art buildings like Casa Mila and Casa Batlló are very cool looking.
Barcelona is very up-to-date and energy conscious with a tram which was recently installed, and its tracks run over grass. The city also encourages the use of bicycles and they are available to rent all over the city in different spots.
A community bicycle program called Bicing wa started five years ago here, and you can pick up a bike in one spot and drop it off in another.
Eventually I became aware of the time and this tour bus was taking a lot longer than I had expected. I started to worry that I might not get back to the ship on time. After asking the tour bus guide about it, based on her suggestion I got off before the last stop and grabbed a taxi. I felt like the contestants in The Amazing Race where they tell the taxi driver to go very fast and they will give him a good tip. That is exactly what I did and he had me there in 15 minutes, a half hour before I had to be on board. It was cutting it close but it was totally worth it to me and I am sure he appreciated the extra euros.
Later I caught up with Sue and we had dinner in the main dining room, The Manhattan Room which was really nice and there was a live jazz band with a singer. The meal was great and again, too much food. For sure the diet will be initiated upon my return!
A little time in the casino and again no luck for me. I don’t know why I even bother. We had tickets for Blue Man Group at 10 that night and the Epic Theater was packed. I didn’t know what to expect and although aspects of the show were funny I am glad I did not pay for this, as it just was not my type of entertainment. It was definitely interesting and unlike anything I have seen before.
Tomorrow is a day at sea and that means sleeping in!