Barcelona, Spain – Europe 2010 (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series Europe 2010 (Spain and Mediterranean Cruise)

This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.

After our four day organized tour dropped us off back in Madrid in the late evening, we spent one night at a hotel in Madrid, close to the train station, since we’d be traveling to Barcelona by train the next morning.

The Renfe train was fast, easy, relatively inexpensive, and much more relaxing than flying. Once we arrived in Barcelona, we checked into our hotel, and met up with my sister, her husband, and their (then) four-year-old son who had flown into Barcelona from the U.S. the previous night.

Sagrada Familia

Our first stop in was Sagrada Familia, a famous Antoni Gaudi building in Barcelona.

I recommend reading about the Sagrada Familia, because its history is lengthy and too complicated to cover in a blog post. But basically it is a cathedral that has been under construction since 1883. (No, that’s not a typo. The late 1800s.) And it’s not scheduled to be completed until 2026, so inside it was almost like a big construction zone. Entrance fees to Sagrada Familia help fund its completion!

Outside Sagrada Familia Outside Sagrada Familia Outside Sagrada Familia Details on Sagrada Familia cathedral

We had actually bought my nephew an inexpensive little digital camera because he always loved taking photos, and he always dismissed those toy digital cameras. We bought it before we left for Spain and decided we’d give it to him in Barcelona! He was thoroughly enjoying the camera!

nephew taking photos

We had to stand in a line that moved pretty quickly to get inside (again, one of the benefits of traveling in Spain in late September / early October … very few crowds!

The details inside were incredible.

Inside Sagrada Familia Inside Sagrada Familia Inside Sagrada Familia Inside Sagrada Familia

And, there were very clear indicators that this structure is still very much a construction site:

Construction Inside Sagrada Familia

Afterwards, we stood in a different line to take an elevator to the top of one of the spires. If I recall correctly, there are four or five different elevators you can take that have different views of Barcelona. We stood in line, and then as we got closer to the elevator, I saw a sign saying that the elevators were one-way only. That you have to take a narrow spiral staircase back down to the bottom.

Well, me and spiral staircases do not get along. I decided against going up to the top, and instead just Ken, my nephew, and my sister went up while I waited at the bottom!

Here are some photos that Ken took at the top!

View of Barcelona from Sagrada Familia Spires at top of Sagrada Familia Views from top of Sagrada Familia Views from top of Sagrada Familia Views from top of Sagrada Familia Views from top of Sagrada Familia

And seeing just how narrow that spiral staircase was and that there were no handrails, I made the right decision not to go up. I would’ve ended up with a broken neck on the way down!

Narrow staircases at Sagrada Familia


Our next stop was Montjuic. Montjuic is a mountain top in Barcelona that gives sweeping views of the city. First you take a funicular to the upper part of the city, then cable cars to Montjuic.

Sign for funicular to Montjuic Funicular to Montjuic in Barcelona

All five of us fit in the cable car just fine.

Cable car to Montjuic

And the views from the cable car were spectacular:

Views from cable car to Montjuic Views from cable car to Montjuic

The views from the top really were spectacular:

View from top of Montjuic View from top of Montjuic View from top of Montjuic View from top of Montjuic View from top of Montjuic

My nephew had a great time running around and checking out all the old cannons that were on display:

Cannons on Montjuic

It was a fantastic place to walk around and take in the sites.

Top of Montjuic in Barcelona Top of Montjuic in Barcelona Top of Montjuic in Barcelona Top of Montjuic in Barcelona

But be careful and don’t fall off the edge of the mountain!

Don’t fall?

We spent a good chunk of our afternoon on Montjuic, and then headed back down the cable car, down the funicular, and back to our hotel before heading out to dinner later that night. It was an early night for us. Ken and I had been up since about 6AM to catch the train from Madrid, and my sister and her family were still jetlagged from the flight the night before.

Oh, but I should point out that Ken had broken his sunglasses (a screw had fallen out), and he managed to find an eyeglass store that very kindly fixed his glasses for free!

Walking around Barcelona

The next morning day was our cruise departure day! We had some time to kill in the morning before we could board the cruise ship, so we walked around the city for a while.

Barcelona is gorgeous!

Barcelona city views Barcelona city views Barcelona city views Barcelona city views Barcelona city views Barcelona city views Barcelona city views Barcelona city views

Picasso Museum

We visited the Pablo Picasso Museum after walking around the city for a while.

Picasso Museum

Photos weren’t allowed of any of the indoor spaces or artwork, so unfortunately I don’t have many photos to share of the Picasso Museum except for an outdoor walkway and a fun glass floor in their lobby!

Inside Picasso Museum Inside Picasso Museum

Before heading back to the hotel to get packed up, we stopped by a cafe to get some hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was more like hot pudding, because it was SO thick and rich and amazing.

Amazing hot chocolate in Barcelona Hot chocolate in Spain Hot chocolate in Spain

On our way back to the hotel, I chuckled at this sign at a subway station:

Funny no peeing sign at subway station

And that was it! Although I would’ve loved to have spent more time in Barcelona, it was time to board our cruise ship, the Celebrity Constellation! We said farewell to Barcelona as our cruise ship pulled away.

Next up, a review of the Celebrity Constellation!

Cruise ship sailing from Barcelona

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