Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A morning out from Barcelona before a cruise

The cruise ship was set to depart around 5. So the Rasansky 5 took the opportunity for a morning excursion. Picking them up at the hotel we headed up the coast for a trip outside the city. Before we left, however, we decided to swing by the old city to check out the artists we had seen the day before. Stopping at the weekly market outside the cathedral for a bit of shopping we made our way through the bustling streets in a different route to get to the Santa Maria del Pi and the artists all set up along the San Josep Oriol Plaza. It was a lovely summer morning, but not so hot as to be uncomfortable. Just the right temperature to peruse and check out the various offers and speak with the artists. 

After finishing up our morning Barcelona shopping experience, we headed up the coast to Mataro, to visit Can Manetes for a taste of the local artists wares. By that time it was closing in on departure, so we stopped at a local restaurant for a quick roast chicken sandwich (delicious!!) and an ice-cream before heading to the port for a week's adventures on the sea. Hasta Pronto!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Rasansky 5 - Exploring Barcelona

Afegeix la llegenda
Given a full day to catch up on their sleep and get their European land legs under them, we met up with Deb, Howie and the crew to discover the wonders of Barcelona. Visiting the old city, we started with a walk through the old city, enjoying the Cathedral gargoyles, and stopping to see the old measuring standards chipped into the side of the cloister street. As we reached the old Jewish Quarter, we were met by the guide at the Jewish Synagogue who asked if we could come back in a few minutes so they could finish setting up. So we took a stroll around the block, stopping so the ladies could step into a shop for a spot of shopping while the guys popped into a bakery for a quick drink (hello, peach juice!) After our brief excursion, we slipped through the narrow streets back to the Synagogue where the guide explained about Jewish life in old Barcelona (for over 600 years there was a sizable Jewish population in the center of the city). Then off we went exploring the streets of the old city once more. 

One of the stops was in the Plaza de Sant Josep Oriol, just outside of the Santa Maria del Pi church, were we paused for a few minutes to take a closer look at the paintings on display from the various artists (and Mark picked up a Catalan Independence flag). Another quick stop for some hot chocolate and a coffee (Eric managed to sit under the leaking air conditioner unit) and then off to Sagrada Familia. As a group that loved to take pictures, we went to some of the best spots to get a picture of the building, as its size and the crowds make getting a good shot tough to do sometimes. The final stop for the day was Park Guell (with a K). It's hard not to be impressed by the mountains of trencadis mosaic lining the walls and the steps, or the rock walls built in the form of palm trees. But all this visiting worked up an appetite, so we stopped for lunch at Browns, one of the best pasta places along Passeig de Gracia. After lunch, while the delicious lunch was making everyone sluggish, we took the long way back to the hotel in the car to get a better overview of the city. 

Next up is a trip up the coast before they head off on a cruise.