Today was our final port of call, finally the sun was shining and it was and hot day in Barcelona.
We woke early in order to get off more or less as soon as the ship had docked; today was the day I wanted to get off and then back to soak up some sun. I had visited Barcelona three times previously so I knew more or less what to expect but it was my friends first time here so off we went exploring.
The one thing I like about Las Ramblas, which is the main shopping street in Barcelona is the small food market, Mercat de la Boqueria. It is about half way up the street on the left hand side and if you blink you really could miss it. The market is a delight to walk around, very busy but it’s definitely worth the effort of fighting through the crowds. There is stall upon stall with the freshest, brightest fruit and vegetables you will ever see. Once you hit the middle of the market you will also come across a rather impressive fresh fish area. This has to be seen to be believed, some of the fish here look like they date back to pre-historic times! There is also a never ending array of huge shrimps, live lobsters and crabs and some other…..well to be honest I don’t know what the rest are but they are fish I know that at least.
There are also a few cheese stalls here too, although I’m not a massive lover of cheese, especially the ones I am convinced should be quarantined not eaten, for those of you who do have a taste bud for it then make sure you try a few that are on offer.
Las Ramblas itself is very busy indeed, it is always crammed with locals and tourists but the stroll is nice. If you continue up the street past all the street acts and interesting pet stalls you will eventually come out at a rather large junction. In the centre is a huge open space usually full of pigeons and the street veers off into 3 or 4 different directions. You can also easily walk to the famous Gaudi church (Sagrada Família) from here.
As I had been to Barcelona before I really was itching to take myself back to the ship and soak up some sun, my friend met up with another couple we knew on the cruise and off I toddled back down Las Ramblas and to the ship.
It was a really nice atmosphere along the marine front too. There were quite a few cruise ships in today including the rather beautiful Celebrity Silhouette so the view from the ship was quite impressive. I got back on board, changed, and headed off in search of that all important sun bed…..ahhhh the cruisers “best” friend.
My friend continued to explore Barcelona for quite some hours, getting the last shuttle bus back to the ship and I was pleased she had enjoyed her visit here, it certainly left her wanting to explore more on another trip.
As it was our last port of call the famous sail away party would be a great event to join in with. Everyone enjoying the sun, waving their union jack flags and just having a good time. A little into the party we were joined by Noddy, one of the kids favourites.
One thing I came across on the dock here was the image to the right. It was actually quite sad to see and a stark reminder in some ways just how important it is in life to enjoy every moment. It also made me think once again about those that went through the ordeal on the Costa Concordia and for a few moments I simply went silent.
Overall it had been a great day here in Barcelona, it was what cruising is all about, although our last port we still had 3 days at sea to look forward too and the chance of spotting some more dolphins as we went through the Gibraltar straight.
It was adios Barcelona and hello once again to the open ocean………….
Video 1: Barcelona Sail Away With A Naughty Noddy
Video 2: Live Crabs Mercat de la Boqueria