The final stop on our cruise was another overnight stay, giving us two days to explore the city. We took one day to take an excursion out of town to a famous monastery named after the jagged mountains in which it is located: Montserrat (“saw mountain”). After a final night aboard ship, we then took a guided tour of Barcelona’s most famous landmark, Sagrada Familia,. Designed originally by the famous architect Gaudi, this cathedral has been under continuous construction for 135 years, and is scheduled for completion in 2026. it is sometimes called the most beautiful building in the world, and there is no disputing the grandeur. But to me it is a place of worship turned into a “look at me” display of what artists would do when you turn a church into an art gallery. Once again, it was difficult to capture the essence of the components, but you can get some sense of it from the pictures below.
On a personal level, Barcelona was difficult. Worried about pickpockets, we wound up spilling Ellen’s coin purse all over the sidewalk as we departed the bus, distracted with luggage. We got lost hauling this same luggage all over the city. It was one of the least English-friendly locales, and we struggled to understand how the tapas restaurants worked. The huge, standing room only crowd at Montserrat was frightening, and one of our tour group had her phone stolen in that setting. Leaving the graffiti-laden city in the early morning darkness on the last day was equally unnerving. But in the end we appreciated our time spent. We learned much that would help us should we ever return.