Overnight in Barcelona
In the capital of Catalonia, the Celebrity Reflection stays overnight, from ten in the morning to five the next afternoon. This is still very rare on a cruise, so we enjoy this long stay. In addition, Barcelona is a city that is absolutely worth seeing, which we have only known from a half-day visit so far.
Barcelona - Ronda Litoral with the Port Authority building
The pier in Barcelona is extensive and the port exit is more than a kilometer away. However, a port bus regularly drives to the individual terminals; Celebrity Cruises also uses a shuttle bus. It takes some time for the port authorities to clear the ship, so we don't start our shore leave until 11:00am We take the shuttle bus.
The Rambla - the heart of Barcelona
Barcelona - Flower stand on the Rambla
Our first destination today is the Palau Güell, a city palace built by Antoni Gaudí. It is not far from the port on a side street off the Rambla. This beautiful shaded promenade is the heart of Barcelona. Lanes on both sides, in the middle pedestrian zone, cafes, kiosks, flower stands. The Rambla begins at the Columbus column at the port and leads over 1,25 kilometers to Plaça de Catalunya.
The Palau Güell is located on Carrer Nou de la Rambla, just a few steps to the left of the Rambla. From the basement to the roof terrace, an impressive, well-thought-out early work by Antoni Gaudí. Architecture, equipment, furnishings, everything fits together here. The visit takes about an hour - of course you can stay longer there - and is definitely recommended. You can find more information in our article In the footsteps of Antoni Gaudí.
We go back to the Rambla and on to Plaça Reial, on the right of the Rambla. A nice place. In the middle there is a fountain, all around palm trees, cafes and restaurants. Plaça Reial is a place where people meet and enjoy being. Back on the Rambla, we pass the Teatre del Liceu, cross the Plaça de la Boqueria, admire the Miró mosaic in the middle of the square and stop at the “Mercat de la Boqueria” market hall.
Barcelona - Market stall in the Mercat de la Boqueria
In earlier times it was a meat market - Boqueria means butcher shop - today there is fresh food of all kinds. The variety is overwhelming, you can try the goods, sometimes complete meals are offered. The market hall is also a tourist magnet and is quite crowded at all times.
In the Barri Gotic
We walk back a little way down the Rambla, past the Gaudí dragon guarding the corner house, and into the "Barri Gotic", the Gothic quarter. There are many narrow, winding streets and lovingly renovated buildings, as well as small shops, cafés and tapas bars: it is worth simply walking through the quarter and looking.
Our next destination is La Seu Cathedral. Unfortunately, it is so crowded there that we cannot visit the cathedral. So let's go to the Palau de la Música Catalana first. We are unlucky here too. The next tour is in more than an hour. We don't have that much time today. We end our old town tour at Plaça de Catalunya. We had read that the view from the café-restaurant on the top floor of the El Corte Ingles department store should be particularly beautiful. We're not that enthusiastic. The view is not at all comparable to that from the roof of the Palau Güell, from the top of the Columbus column at the harbor or from the tower of the cathedral.
At Plaça de Catalunya we take the metro - L3 towards Zona Universitaria - to the Paral • lel station. The "Funicular de Montjuïg", a funicular railway up to the Montjuïg mountain, starts in the area of this metro station. Actually, you just have to follow the signs. We have problems finding access because the metro station is being rebuilt. A knowledgeable train employee helps us.
On the Montjuïg
The 173 m high Montjuïg is Barcelona's local mountain and a popular destination for both residents and tourists. Sports facilities for the 1992 Summer Olympics, parks, world-famous museums such as the Miró Foundation and the “Castell de Montjuïg”, a large fortress, are located here. The funicular goes up to the height of the parks and museums, to the castle it goes on with a cable car, the "Telèferic de Montjuïg".
Barcelona - Telèferic de MontjuÏg
Erected as a medieval fortress in 1640 because of the dominant military situation, the fort was used in different ways in the following centuries and was repeatedly rebuilt. Today the military history museum is located there. Fortress and museum can be visited. A 1,9 kilometer long footpath leads around the entire facility. It is now so hot that we only go to the nearby viewpoints. The view from Montjuïg is breathtaking, whether of the city, the sea or the coast. In the harbor we see Queen Elizabeth, whom we know from a visit to Hamburg. We have already traveled with her sisters Mary 2 and Victoria. Nice ships, interesting tours.
We want to take the cable car, the "Teleférico del puerto Barcelona", down to the port. This cable car runs from the Miramar station on Montjuïg via the middle station at the Word Trade Center, the 119 m high Torre Jaume I, to the terminus in Barceloneta, the 86 m high Torre Sant Sebastià, and crosses the old port. Since the buses to the cruise ships leave near the World Trade Center, we want to get off there. Unfortunately, the cable car doesn't stop at the middle station. From the terminus in Barceloneta back to the middle station we would have to walk all the way around the port, about 2 ½ kilometers. This is too far for us in today's heat. So we have a drink at Café Miramar, enjoy the great view and walk back to the harbor from there. This path is also longer than a kilometer and we are quite exhausted when we reach the reflection at after six o'clock.
The magical water games "Font Mágica"
Tonight we want to go to Font Màgica, the magical music and light show near Plaça d'Espanya. That means: showering, eating at the buffet and going again. We take the cruise bus to the port exit, go to the metro station on the Rambla and take the train to Plaça d'Espanya. From there we walk between the two towers, which also form the entrance to the exhibition center, towards Palau Nacional.
The Museum of Catalan Art is located here, directly behind it is the Montjuïg, in front of it are the fountains of the Font Màgica. During the day it is a very nice, but not so spectacular facility. With the onset of darkness it actually becomes magical, the fountains become a composition of water, color and music. More than 3.000 water nozzles press over 2.500 liters of water per second, the fountains are up to 50 meters high. In addition, music is played via an extremely powerful sound system. The pieces vary from classical to rock, such as Chopin's “Nocturnes” or “Sultans of Swing” from Dire Straits. The water games take place three to five days a week, depending on the season, several times after dark and each last 20 to 25 minutes. There is a festival atmosphere, but the shows are well worth seeing and hearing despite the crowds. You can find more information in our article Magic Fountain.
Back to the port we take the metro again and then the cruise bus. There is another nightcap on the ship and then we fall dead tired into bed.