Whoever came up with the cruise itinerary is genius. I was excited to finally visit Spain and Barcelona was the perfect first destination.
First, we took a ride through the city on a tour bus scheduled by the cruise line. For a tour bus ride, it was a nice (scenic) drive through the city. We saw tons of architecture in less than an hour. During the ride, we saw Casa Batllo, one of Antoni Gaudí’s buildings. When I was in elementary school, my mom brought me a book (Gaudí: The Complete Buildings) about his work from one of her business trips to Barcelona. I had been intrigued by Gaudí’s architecture ever since then. The tour bus stopped right in front of the Sagrada Familia, the famous Basilica of the Sacred Family. Whether or not you are religious, you should see this basilica. The size is stunning (it was still under construction back in 2009), but even more impressive are the intricacies you take note of just by looking at the exterior. There is also a nice gift shop on the left side of the church where we bought some decor for our house. If you happen to be in Barcelona and are pressed for time or have extra time, a tour bus ride is not a bad idea.
Next, we went on the Montjuïc Cable Car. This was something we did on our own, since my mom had already been to Barcelona. Therefore, the lift was quiet and empty, and definitely less touristic. The ride was relaxing and the views from above were better than expected. We could see all of the Spanish architecture that fills Barcelona. At the top, we walked through the Castle of Montjuïc. It had nice views over a port (where the cruise was stationed) and a big canon. The castle was quiet, too. I feel that while you’re in Barcelona, the places you will see the most tourists are the buildings famous for their architecture (and I see why).
Finally, we dropped in to an ice cream parlor to meet one of my mom’s friends. They had not seen each other in 20+ years! It was a great end to our visit.
I know there are more places to see and things to do in Barcelona, but I loved what I saw in the time that I had. So we made our way back to the cruise for paella, dance lessons, and a good night’s sleep in our little room.