Fall really is the best time to visit Mediterranean cities. The crowds are gone. The heat has settled into a nice weather pattern where you really only need a light jacket. Spain and Italy in the summer? Noooo. Spain and Italy in the fall? Yesssss. Through out our day in Barcelona, we had absolutely perfect weather.
Barcelona is located in the upper eastern section of Spain, right on the Mediterranean Sea.
Close to the pier where we docked in Barcelona is this great statue of Christopher Columbus. Christopher Columbus was not from Barcelona, he was from the city of Genoa. This statue is here though to remember that he reported to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand IN Barcelona. It is said that the statue is pointing towards the New World. It's not. It points towards Africa, which (if you know your history) was already discovered.
No visit to Barcelona would be complete without seeing the Sagrada Família. Or let me call it by its full name, the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. And believe me, this place lives up to its big name.
Check this out! Look at those spires! I was fascinated by how the whole thing looked like it was melting down into this gooey, drippy, bulbous mess! (Yes, that is how Gaudí designed it. It isn't a mistake, believe it or not.)
This monstrosity, or work of amazing art, depending on who you listen to, was started in 1886 and designed by Antoni Gaudí. Read more about Gaudí HERE. It only passed the midway mark in construction, that's right, MIDWAY mark, in 2010. They expect it to be finished in 2026.
Construction is taking so long on the Sagrada Familía that the newer sections of the building don't match the old sections because so much weathering has taken place. No matter your opinion on the church, it is amazing to see. I haven't seen anything else in Europe that even can come close to how unique and imposing it is.
Next we strolled down La Rambla. La Rambla is a pedestrian walk way in the heart of Barcelona. Flower stands line the tree filled street. It is good for shopping, people watching, maybe picking up a sex worker or two. Seriously, our book warned us about the prostitutes. But fortunately (or unfortunately, however you look at the situation) we didn't see anybody soliciting "favors."
La Rambla is good for posing for a picture.
Or for buying a FC Barcelona scarf. Everywhere we went in Barcelona, my sons kept asking, "Do you think we will run into Messi?" or "Do you think Messi shops here?" Much to my young sons disappointment, we did not run into Messi, the captain of FC Barcelona.
Off of the length of La Rambla there are all these little side streets that were decorated for Christmas.
This picture shows one of my very favorite things about Europe. The mixture of old and new. I look at these towers, left over construction from hundreds of years ago, joined with the newer pink cement construction on the left. Where I grew up, old was always torn down to make way for new. Old of course being a shopping center that was built in the 1980's, not a stone settlement from 500 years ago.
Here is the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral. Built in the 1200's, it holds the remains of a young saint, Eulalia of Barcelona. She had a pretty horrible time. If you dare, read about her HERE.
Here is my sweet nephew, Mr. Sun, who was with us for the day. His parents, Mr. Sun's Dad and Mr. Sun's Mom (aka my brother and his pregnant wife) were at a Barcelona hospital. They had had a baby scare on the boat and were getting all checked out to make sure everything was okay. It was! I now have another new nephew as of May 2014!
Along La Rambla there are all these great open air markets where you can pick up fresh produce, breads, and meats.
And even though we were in a hurry, we still had time to pose on a lion at the port because there is always time for a good lion pose. Rarrrrrr!