A Travellerspoint blog


Barcelona on the Metro

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Day 89 Monday 13 December - “Barcelona on the Metro”

A simple breakfast at the hotel and we set off at about 9 am. We entered the local Metro station and bought some 48 hour all mode tickets. Managed to navigate the automatic ticket machine and charged the cost to our credit card, all worked.

Travelled on the Metro (Line 1 and Line 2) to the Sagrada Famillia. What a spectacular building that is. It is still a construction site but the interior is open for visitors. We spent at least two hours walking around with our heads on a swivel as we tried to glimpse all the features. Inside and out this must be the most spectacular of all the churches we've visited.

The park near the church were closed for repair but there were hundreds of stalls selling Christmas trees, decorations and a wide range of other trinkets. The decorations ranged widely from a simple posy of green leaves to elaborate electrically driven ski slopes with cable cars and skiers taking to the slopes. There were a number of school groups and with the piped Christmas songs the place had a very festive atmosphere.

Back on the Metro to visit another landmark, it is simply listed as “Monumental” it is the 'Bull Fighting Ring' which is now reduced to a museum and the venue for significant entertainment events and rock concerts. We had no intention of going in but I just wanted to capture some images, it is quite spectacular.

No doubt a constant theme, I needed a comfort stop, no McDonald’s around here. Try the Metro station, nothing there. Decide to head for a bigger station, still no luck but found a small bar. Killed two birds there, had the comfort break and had lunch. We caught them by surprise I think, they didn't have an English menu but they had about 80 pictures of dishes. We selected some tame looking plates and had 'Sausages and chips' for Jenny and 'Pork chops and chips' for me. With two cans of Coke the total came to 17 € (including a tip).

Back to the Metro and aimed for the “Arc de Triomf”, bulls-eye. Very impressive structure at the North end of the Passeig de Lluís Companys, a wide pedestrian boulevard. The other end of the boulevard is the entrance to the park where the Barcelona Zoo shares space with a number of museums. The state of our legs precluded us from exploring the area further.

As our tickets were 'unlimited' we stayed on the Metro to the end of the line. Climbed to the surface and caught the next one back towards the centre. There are no less than 8 lines which criss-cross Barcelona. There are numerous 'connection points' where different lines cross over. We found the system to be quite easy to navigate, the different lines are colour coded, the trick is to be on the correct platform to catch the train going in the direction you want.

The trains arrive with a regular frequency of about three minutes. If you missed one, the next was less than three minutes away. Despite their frequency they were very well patronised, there was standing room only on quite a number of them. The trains are dedicated to a specific line and the stations are displayed above the doors with a red LED flashing below the Station's name. There are also indicators to show where there were connections to other lines. All very clean and easy. For good measure, most platforms have elevators to the street surface, try that in Sydney!!

We fly out tomorrow and we'll be airborne most of the day. Next posting from Singapore.


Posted by greynomadm 08:35 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Back in Barcelona

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Day 88 Sunday 12 December - “Back in Barcelona”

Final breakfast on board the Jade, managed to say farewell to some of the regulars and lined up to disembark about 8:45. Used the shuttle to take us to the bottom of La Rambla and we walked to the hotel. We asked for a room at the back of the hotel and it is much quieter. The WiFi connection is very good so I spent some considerable time catching up on a month's worth of software updates. Partook of the Spanish siesta tradition and relaxed on the bed for a while.

About 2 PM we set out to find a place for a late lunch. There must be at least 50 places to eat within two city blocks. Very hard to decide but finally settled for a place where Jenny had Spaghetti Bolognaise and I had a Seafood Paella. We then wandered through a variety of gift shops looking for that appropriate gift for some of the people back home.

It gets dark early here, sunset at about 5:30 pm. We had a light dinner and retired to our room after arranging to have a taxi take us to the airport at 4 am on Tuesday. The desk clerk was very helpful and also offered a wake-up call at 3:30 – REALY looking forward to that – NOT!!

Posted by greynomadm 09:41 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Cruise Day 28 – At sea

Day 87 Saturday 11 December - “Cruise Day 28 – At sea”

Today had all the hallmarks of another relaxing day at sea. Early in the morning there had been a short announcement something like “Code Alpha 5047”. Nothing further and we had breakfast and sorted out some of the accumulated paperwork. Took two completed books back to the library and we were sitting around doing very little.

The Captain announced that we were heading into a small port to transfer an ill passenger. Before long we were met out at sea by a marine rescue vessel, about the size of a pilot boat. The Jade came to a stop and positioned to protect the Port side from the wind and the rescue boat came along side.

The transfer started with two suitcases followed by a lady and finally the patient on a stretcher. The stretcher was placed on the outside deck and wrapped in three or four layers of blankets. It wasn't possible to take the stretcher into the cabin of the rescue boat. With a paramedic at the head of the stretcher the rescue boat took off back to port.

During our 28 days aboard this is the third person, that we're aware of, that has been medically evacuated. The first was taken off just minutes after we'd left the wharf and we returned to port, the second was placed in the ambulance just before we were due to sail, this one was the most dramatic though. I guess it is to be expected in a way, seeing the age and questionable condition of some of the passengers. Hell of a way to complete a cruise though.

Low key afternoon and our last dinner in the Grand Pacific. Packed our cases and hopefully kept out enough gear for tomorrow. Luggage has to be outside the cabin by 10 pm, not that we've eager to leave, but ours were out there two hours ahead of time.

Attended the crew show, always funny and entertaining. I'll use up the last of my Internet minutes and this will be the last of my postings from the Jade. It has been a wonderful experience, we've seen many fabulous places and have a had a great time along the way.

Just for the record, my belt appears to have shrunk by about 5 notches – no idea how long it will take to get back to my correct weight. Jenny has threatened a starvation diet for the next month, with Christmas happening that's not even remotely likely.

Posted by greynomadm 13:00 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Cruise Day 27 – Malaga

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Day 86 Friday 10 December - “Cruise Day 27 – Malaga”

Our last port visit before we return to Barcelona and we head home. Malaga would have looked much more spectacular if the sun had been able to break through. Despite the heavy overcast we went ashore and wandered the very clean streets.

We visited the Santa Maria Cathedral, the most significant of at least five churches in the down-town area. Once again we were impressed by the scale and grandeur of the decorations, carvings and paintings. The size and opulence of the churches we've visited makes me wonder where all that money to build them has come from.

We strolled through narrow lanes and discovered many squares paved in marble and surrounded by many cafes, restaurants and speciality shops. In one area we observed a demolition in progress with an elaborate structure in place to preserve the facades. It must have added enormously to the cost of the project.

Largely by chance we came up a fresh food market comprising three sections, meat of any and all varieties, fish and seafood of many forms and a section devoted to fruit, vegetables and preserves. It was crowded but immaculately clean and well organised. Some of the produce on sale was outside my knowledge or imagination.

After about three hours we found our way to the bus stop and we returned to the ship. Nothing much happened during the afternoon but we attended the “Elements” show in the Stardust. We saw this at the end of our first week and it was just as spectacular three weeks later.

Tomorrow is a “Sea Day” and then we'll be in Barcelona. In all we've visited 15 unique ports in eight countries. We will have sailed a total of 7,761 nautical miles. Many fond memories.

Posted by greynomadm 17:36 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

Cruise Day 26 – At sea

Day 85 Thursday 9 December - “Cruise Day 26 – At sea”

Clocks forward one hour and we slept in. Nothing much on today, we have a reception for the 21 day plus cruisers which was quite entertaining. In the evening there was an informal gathering of Ozzies and Kiwis. Quite a few turned up including a couple from Bendigo. Most had flown to Barcelona and would fly back from there.

We cashed in our free dinner voucher at Cagney's Steak house, four courses and a complementary bottle of wine. The food was excellent and as Jenny doesn't drink I had the whole bottle to myself. Another excellent day on board the Jade.

This is the shortest entry ever, but there just isn't a lot to say.

Posted by greynomadm 11:16 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

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