Up bright and early (5.45am) on the 4th October and off to the airport to catch our flight to Spain.
I wrote in my journal
“The roads were empty for the first time.. as today was EID Al Adha day in Dubai”
The 7 hour Emirates flight to Barcelona was brilliant – we arrived in Spain at 1 pm and were checked into our Motel by 4 pm.
We stayed at the “Hotel Regencia Colon” - it was such a quaint little Motel with its candy stripe wallpaper and florals…it reminded me a little of Fawlty Towers in the nicest possible way.
...and we had the most beautiful view from our window..
It was in the most amazing location … situated in the Gothic Quarter surrounded by the most incredible buildings and one street from the beautiful old Barcelona Cathedral.
The Barcelona Cathedral began construction in 1298 and was completed in the 1400’s..
it was Donnas most favourite of all the cathedrals we were to visit on our trip.
The Gothic Quarter or “Barri Gothic” is the centre of the old city of Barcelona and is a labyrinth of streets with most buildings from the medieval period as well as some dating back to the roman settlement. We loved that these streets opened into courtyards and as we came around a corner we would see a crowd gathered around a band playing… or some women playing a weird instrument…or groups of dancers… it was lively and “happy” and we were almost overwhelmed by how lucky we were to be there. Our Hotel couldn't have been in a better location.
We spent the evening wandering the streets taking in the view and atmosphere … finally making our way down the the marina…where we pulled up a chair at a beautiful restaurant and ordered traditional Spanish seafood paella.
We were so thankful for hot showers… comfy beds… and feeling incredibly blessed to be in Spain.
We woke early to a thunder storm.. we were on the 5th floor and had slept with our window ajar to enjoy the breeze and views of the Gothic Quarter buildings from our window .. I think we both opened our eyes at the first deep rumble of thunder and then just gave a contented sigh and enjoyed watching the lightening reflect off the buildings and listen to the rain hit the cobblestones below. It was almost surreal watching the Gothic Quarter lit up with lightening …like it had been especially planned just for us.
Our first stop today (and only real plan for Barcelona) was to see the famous
“Sagrada Familia” church.
Well actually our first stop was a delightful little cafe for breakfast and great coffee just across the road from the Sagrada Familia.
I was so not prepared for the sheer scale of this church...
The Sagrada Familia began construction in 1882 at the end of 1883
Gaudi was commissioned to carry on the work and did so until his death in 1926
…since then different architects have continued the work using Gaudis plans.
It is still under construction and estimated completion is 2026.
There is no doubt it was spectacular…the stained glass windows…the light….the sheer size…Gaudis amazing vision…knowledge and dedication.
If you have the time and are interested there is a virtual tour (((here))) it shows it off in far more detail than my photos do. It was just so vast it was impossible to capture the scale in a view finder.
Unfortunately the tower tour we had booked was closed due to the downpour earlier…so we were unable to get to the top… but we enjoyed it just the same.
This visit took up most of our morning.... but we had time for a little more sightseeing and made the most of the time we had.
Next stop was the Port to board our Cruise ship for the next exciting part of our trip.
The beautiful…almost brand new Regal Princess was waiting (maiden voyage was May 2014) and she is spectacular.
This beautiful ship holds 3560 passengers and 1346 crew ...that's as many people as live in our town...crazy!
This is our 4th Princess cruise and we were not disappointed…
we were very soon unpacking in our cabin and Dounald our cabin steward had welcomed us aboard. Its always a lot of fun exploring what will be your home for the next few weeks..and finding your way around....the central atrium was spectacular.
We made our way to the dining room for dinner and enjoyed some cocktails…
and waved farewell to Spain.
Next stop ... France.