I wanted to split this post into two parts because the next stop on out cruise was Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and it did not disappoint. With a population of over 1.6 million people I was amazed by how clean the city was and the amount of green space within the city center. It is also clear that the city takes great pride in its art and architecture.
The main reason I wanted to visit Barcelona was the architecture, especially the work of architect Antoni Gaudí, which can be seen throughout the city. Guadi’s designs are radically different from those of his contemporaries influenced primarily by forms of nature.
These buildings with fluid lines, organic shapes and brightly colored tile work are truly original.
But the structure I most wanted to see was the still incomplete church La Sagrada Família, it has been under construction since 1882. Gaudí worked on the church from 1883 until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original ideas. The building is financed mostly from donations and the contributions of millions of people over the years and now has a planned completion date of 2026.
From the exterior La Sagrada Família is highly detailed with stone carvings that remind me of a drip sand castle.
On the inside while the design is still organic (representing trees) it has a much more geometric feel. We were told on our tour that this was so that the interior would not be distracting.
I’m distracted. I think I may like the interior more than the exterior, which is hard to believe.
Gaudí architecture is not the only sight to see in Barcelona, the city is full of beautiful buildings and tile work at every turn.
Barcelona was definitely my favorite stop on the trip.
Our last port was Marseilles, France which we decided to visit on our own, just walking about and seeing the sight.
We strolled the pretty harbor.
Checking out the ancient port
and the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilization
and the Cathédrale La Major, which was breathtaking.
We followed our sight-seeing with a yummy lunch at a street side café which was right across the street from a little flea market (I of course did some shopping.) Finishing the day off with a cup of coffee and some WiFi before we headed back to the ship for our final cruise into Genoa.
While Genoa was not technically part of our cruise itinerary we did spend the night prior and the night after our cruise there so we were able to see the old town and the harbor which were quite nice.
For our first cruise experience I would give this one an A+. While we may have only spent a day at each port we were able to see so much and enjoy out time by letting someone else do most of the planning and organization. The excursions allowed us to see places we may not have known to visit if we were planning on our own. If you want to save money you can plan your own port visit but sometimes I find that my time (and worry) are worth the extra money so I’m glad we did them.
And to my children who never tire of having their picture taken.