Port Vell Marina, Barcelona Part 2
Port Vell Marina, Barcelona Part 2
9th November, 2009.
Our friends Julie and Richard arrived at Port Vell Marina on the evening of the 4th November and have returned to England today. During this time we have had such fun visiting as many places as possible. Jim has been cooking some of the most popular Spanish dishes and we have enjoyed some lovely restaurant meals. On their first evening with us Jim served his very special seafood and fish paella which was enjoyed by all.
On the 5th we walked up to the Montjuic Castle to take in the views of the city before returning to the city to visit Las Ramblas. We visited the market and marvelled at the fresh fruits, meats, fish, freshly squeezed fruit juice and the assortment of mushrooms on display.
After the market visit we wandered along to a small square to have a well deserved coffee when we spotted the Santa Maria church was holding a guitar concert in the evening. Richard purchased 4 tickets and so we made our way back to Ariel for Jim’s tuna dinner in order to be back at the church in time. We stopped at the post office and as we have found in the whole of Spain the building is splendid with wonderful paintings on the ceiling.
Manuel Gonzalez who was born in Barcelona and who is considered by critics to be an international guitar master played to the audience for approximately an hour and quarter. It was wonderful and we truly enjoyed every minute as we were all very moved by his talent with the guitar in this church with its very good acoustics.
6th November, 2009.
We were up early to take the tourist bus for the day in order to see as much as possible. It stopped just outside the marina and we were aboard within five minutes on our day trip. It took in the area along the coast to Port Olympic and then worked is way into the city to Catalunya Square past the cathedral and many beautiful buildings. We stayed on the bus and took the blue route out to Placa d’Espanya which was used for the 1929 International Fair and fountains descend in terraces from the Palau Nacional which is home to the city’s historic art collections. On summer evenings, the jets are programmed to a multi-coloured music and light show which was built by the engineer Carles Buigas for the 1929 Fair. The blue route took us past the Olympic stadium for the 1992 games before heading back to Catalunya Square to change to the red route where we had lunch before rejoining the bus tour for the afternoon.
After Catalunya Square it headed north and we saw the Gaudi apartment building from the bus together with the Casa Batlo building completed in 1906. We stayed on the bus until we reached the Sagrada Familia stop. We then spent the next two hours visiting this most unconventional church which is thought to be Gaudi’s greatest work.
In 1883, a year after work had begun on a Neo-Gothic church on the site, the task of completing it was given to Gaudi who changed everything and for the next fourteen years he made it his life’s work and he lived like a recluse on the site. He is buried in the crypt. At the time of his death only one tower on the Nativity façade had been completed, but work resumed after the Civil War and several more towers have since been finished to his original plans. Work on this marvellous building is today financed by public subscription. Although much has been done so far it is hard to believe that by next year they hope to be holding services in this church. The masterpiece involves over 300 craftsmen working full time on this beautiful building. Richard, Julie and I took the lift to the top of one of the towers for a wonderful view of the work which has been done. Gaudi’s dream was for 16 towers to be erected on the finished design. In five years time this will be wonderful to revisit and to experience this marvellous plan at the finish.
Back on the bus after an ice-cream to visit the Parc Guell where Gaudi’s work with wildlife such as the dragon, covered with brightly coloured tiles guards the steps in the Park Guell. After visiting the park we headed as fast as we could down the very steep hill to catch the bus and to finish the tour although it was now dark.
7th November, 2009.
We went to the cathedral for Richard and Julie to experience this beautiful Gothic design with the very unusual cloister where the white geese still to this day live. There are around 24 of them all very well fed and in very good condition. As we watched them after the keeper had left their fresh supply of cabbage and lettuce it was very apparent that there was a seniority order and they all had to take their turn.
We went to the afternoon tour of the Palau de la Musica Catalana which is a real palace of music, a celebration of tile work, sculpture and stained glass. It is the only concert hall in Europe lit by natural light. The auditorium is lit by a huge inverted dome of stained glass depicting angelic choristers. The stunning “Muses of the Palau”, a group of 18 highly stylized instrument playing maidens are the stage’s backdrop. There are over 300 performances in the building every year and every form of music is performed except Opera. The best performances are in the afternoon when the stain glass and the inverted dome can be seen at their best. Unfortunately, they do not allow any photographs taken inside but I was able to snap the mosaic covered pillars topped by busts of the great composers Palestrina, Bach and Beethoven outside.
As visiting berth holders we were able to attain 4 tickets for the Barcelona boat show so it would be rude not to go. We had a great time visiting the Jeanneau stand and inspecting the new 53 and 57 on show. Much too big for some of the marina’s and ports we have been in but it was fun to look. We did also visit the Lagoon catamarans and we all decided the new 62 foot was like a small bungalow although with lots of fun extras.
Dinner at a local restaurant of fish also included a tour of the kitchens which were on show by television to all diners though out the evening. The four of us met the chefs and were amazed at the huge kitchen below stairs.
8th November, 2009.
Just by the marina is the Museum of Catalunya explaining the history of Catalan from the beginning and includes the fight to save their rights during Franco’s time. In Barcelona every Spaniard speaks Catalan first and Spanish second. All the road signs etc. show Catalan as the first language which is very confusing for visitors.
A marvellous display on several floors and it is easy to see why they are very proud of the museum. There are beautiful views over the marina from the roof restaurant.
After lunch we walked along the beach area taking in the sand artists on the way. Several people were in the water swimming and lots of families were on the beach as the sun as shining.
We finished the evening with visiting a very nice restaurant near the marina run by two young and very inspirational chefs. Julie and I had to go for a long walk along the promenade after such a wonderful meal.
9th November, 2009.
Richard and Julie spent the morning visiting the shops and Jim and I tried to visit the Columbus statue but as luck would have it the lift was out of order and it was shut to visitors.
After meeting in a tapas bar for lunch it was with big regret we had to say goodbye to our friends. They headed back to Ewell and we sailed off to Badalona.