… which began auspiciously when we happened on a small antique market just off the ship. We found lots of intriguing things (relics! charms! knives!).
We hopped on the green bus to make our way toward Gaudi’s Park Guell, passing Barcelona’s many beaches and Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia.
The city is filled with quirky buildings and sculptures. Frank Gehry’s shiny metal fish was built for the 1992 Olympics, as was the cell tower designed to look (vaguely) like an Olympic athlete leaning over to accept a medal.
The Agbar Tower was completed in 2004, and its tiles are illuminated at night. A Joan Miro sculpture graces the harbor, and the Miraestels floating sculptures by Robert Llimos enliven even the water. The sculpture is seen here with a pretty tower for the Port Vell Aerial Tramway.
Everywhere you look, there’s something interesting to see: a gigantic ball nervously perched on a roof, or a sudden glimpse of “David and Goliath.”
A several mile uphill walk to the Park got us only the disappointing information that all tickets had already been sold for the day! We decided it was time for lunch, but there were no restaurants in the area. Another long walk brought us to excellent tapas – chicken croquettes, potato bombe, potatoes bravo, an omelette sandwich and ham and cheese – washed down with sangria. Refreshed, we caught a cab to the National Museum of Catalonian Art in Montjuic Park, and had an hour to walk through the Gothic exhibits, featuring works by El Greco, Tintoretto, Rubens, etc. The view of the city from Montjuic was spectacular; Sagrada Familia, clothed in scaffolding, is visible at the top left in the first photo.
Inside the museum, we found St. Sebastian, curiously portrayed by Spanish artists holding a bow and arrows, rather than pierced by arrows as in Italian art. The lone exception was a beautiful carved wooden statue – by an Italian artist.
Back on the ship, it was party time! Mia and I arranged a small surprise birthday party for Frank in the Pinnacle Grill, with our tablemates and friends. Some of our guests were a little TOO happy! Laurence and Joy, the outstanding Neptune Lounge concierges, decorated our cabin with balloons and a “Happy Birthday” banner while we were at dinner, providing a second surprise.
What a day!