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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Barcelona by Bus (2 Days in the Catalonian Capitol)

Barcelona-Day 1

Barcelona by Tour Bus from the Ship

The Ruby Princess docked for the last time (Sunday) here in Barcelona, Spain. We decided to spend three additional days here so we could see some of the city without rushing. We had arranged to go on a tour from the ship to get an idea of how the city was laid out. Our luggage was carried off last night and it was waiting for us as we departed the ship. We grabbed our bags, rolled them to the bus and hopped aboard.

Our tour would take us through some of the highlights of Barcelona; Sagrada Familia church, Old Gothic Quarter, Barcelona cathedral, and other sites. This was Sunday and there were hundreds of people around the cathedral watching Spanish folk dances. The tour ended at a square where we caught a cab to the Hotel Antibes, located in the center of the city. We unpacked, had a pizza for dinner and called it a night.

Day-2 (Monday)

Barcelona by Open-Air Bus; Hop-on-Hop-off

MA and I had decided to see Barcelona by the open air buses that weave through the city stopping at all the highlights. The run about every twenty minutes and you “hop on, hop off” at whatever stop suits your fancy. We were up early, and out the hotel door at 8:00. We walked the four blocks to the huge Gaudi church called La Sagrada Familia and found the Bus stop. We purchased two-day tickets.

We took a little time for more photographs of this huge church that truly is THE landmark of Barcelona. It was begun in 1883 by architect Antoni Gaudi and it’s still under construction. It would take me much longer to describe everything to you but just let me say it is unbelievable, awesome, symbolic in Christian faith, and will still not be completed for another 30-40 years. The towers are over 400 feet high. The interior is so massive it you can’t believe human beings could build something like this. The photos don’t do it justice. I took plenty and will dedicate an entire gallery to just this church.

It was finally time to start the bus ride so we hopped aboard the Blue Line which serves the north and west part of Barcelona. After touring the northern part of the city we headed by to the central district. Our first bus transfer was at the Plaza de Catalunya, the central plaza of Barcelona. We jumped aboard the Red Line for two stops and got off to walk into the old Gothic Barri (Quarter). It was lunch time so we got two cold drinks at a café and opened our “sack lunch” and had our ham and cheese sandwiches which we had made at the hotel breakfast.

After lunch we walked around the old quarter, tried to get in a museum but most were closed on Monday. We hopped back on the Red Line bus, found some empty seats on the top and enjoyed the view from the upper deck. We hopped off again at the Plaza d Espanha to purchase two rail tickets for a trip to Montserrat Tuesday and check out the rail station where we need to be on Tuesday.

Back on the bus and rode it to the top of the hill of Montjuic which rises to 700 feet above the streets. The National Palace, which is now a museum, dominates the architecture of the district. From this landmark you can see the whole skyline of Barcelona. I took some photos and we hopped back on to back to the Sagrada Familia church where we hopped off. We decided to have dinner and it was a choice between McDonald’s and the Luctuca Restaurant-Buffet. We chose the buffet. The food was good, kind of like Sweet Tomato and topped off with a small ice cream cup and decaf espresso.

Back at the hotel, the prayers for our return kicked in when the hotel clerk offered to hook us up with his cousin who works the night shift and would probably be interested in driving us to the airport Wednesday. Given that the local transportation will be on strike, it was a welcomed suggestion. I later met up with Alex and we’re all set to at least get to the Continental counter tomorrow. We’re watching the flights and if our inbound aircraft takes off from New York for Barcelona we might be OK after all.

I then decided to walk back to the church and take some night photos. On the way back about a block from the front door, I was approached by a stranger wanting to know directions to the subway. I immediately recognized him as a “thief” and held my tripod up pointing it at him. He then asked me if I had a map and I replied no and told him to take a hike. About that time two plainclothes police officers walked up, identified themselves and asked the guy for his ID and asked me for my passport. I pulled out my police ID and showed it to the cops and they smiled. I thought the crook was going to choke. The cops him to take a hike and not to be accosting tourists He quickly walked off. The cops had a big laugh and told me to be careful.

Off to Montserrat on the train (Tuesday). Thanks for all the comments and the prayers! WW & MA

Christopher Columbus Monument


  1. Wayne/MA,

    Thanks for this final update - WOW - what a blessed trip!!!

    As I have mentioned before - looking forward to the galleries from this trip.

    I pray for your safe trip home - Have a God blessed day.

    dave b.

  2. Awesome information and picture.My whole family decided to visit Spain during next vacations.By your post i get good knowledge about Barcelona.Thanks for sharing traveling experience and i am sure that you take full enjoy of your trip.


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