|We left Clinton, New Jersey for the 45 minute trip to Newark Airport followed by a 3 hour wait for our international flight across the pond to Barcelona. The flight was pretty good but not at all conducive to any amount of sleep.
We landed in Barcelona and met our pre-arranged ride to the Hotel Arc La Rambla for a 3 night pre-cruise visit to the hustle and bustle of what turned out to be a pretty neat city...despite the warnings of terrorist attacks (15 dead in August of 2017 just down the street from our hotel), riots (almost daily in some part of the city) and professional grade pick-pockets. We got to the hotel and met up with our travel partners, Lisa and her brother Ken and Dave and Kathy. We stashed our luggage and took off almost immediately – with still no sleep – on a cab ride to see Barcelona’s most visited attraction, the Sagrada Familia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Fam%C3%ADlia, which loosely translates to “the world’s most bizarre church”. And bizarre it is. The church has been under construction for 136 years with a projected completion date of 2026. I bet, as do many of the locals, that it won’t be done...and it definitely won’t be under budget.
Our tour guide pointed out specific religious items adorning the outside of the church and explained what they represented and while those items made sense, it seemed – to my highly trained artistic eye – that it all ended up looking very mish-mashy. We toured it, wandered it, photographed it and wondered aloud just what was the architect, Antoni Gaudí, trying to accomplish. In my opinion, if he was trying to design something that would live in infamy, his legacy will be just that...we’ll see in 8 years; or maybe longer.
After finishing the tour we snagged another cab – our second of what seemed to be about 150 of them – and headed back to the hotel. We mistakenly opted to dine outside on La Ramblas at one of the many outside cafe’s. I say mistakenly because while the food was tolerable, the flies were the star of the meal. If you didn’t eat fast enough you had to cover your plate with your napkin to keep them off your food. Needless to say, we ate pretty fast but I may have still swallowed one...or two.
The gang wandered around the corner from the hotel to an Irish Pub – complete with a Pakistani bartender – and spent about an hour there, but after being up for about 30 hours we faded fast and all of us were very happy to hit the hay.