Day 10 Sunday 25th September 2022


Written by Tam

We’re up at around 8 and have breakfast in The Galley – full English to set us up for the day. Then we head back to the cabin to pack our cases ready to disembark at our 9.45am slot. We decide to take our own cases as it’s far simpler than trying to pack and have them ready the evening before. It’s all very simple and stress free and we join the taxi queue which is well organised and head to the Novotel Barcelona City where we are staying for a couple of nights to give us a chance to explore more of beautiful Barcelona. We check in but as it is early the room isn’t yet ready, but they allow us to leave the cases meaning we are free to explore.

We walk to Sagrada Familia but there aren’t any tour tickets available for today – we had contemplated buying them ahead of time but discounted it – still, no doubt one day we will do the tour which looks amazing.

Instead I’d downloaded a self guided Gaudi walking tour. This took us to 6 beautiful Gaudi buildings throughout the city – what an amazing man he was to have such vision.

[Kev - definite Phantom of the Opera vibes about this one.]

At the end of the tour we ended up at Park Guell which is high up on a hill, by the time we got there we are very hot and sweaty. You need to have a ticket to enter but we are told by a member of staff that you can book it online and then you get a slot. We paid €25 but the time slot was 4pm but the person on the gate said it didn’t matter what time the slot was we could go in. It’s an amazing place – very Doctor Seuss like. We followed the map on the leaflet we were given and realise this is definitely somewhere you could spend more time exploring. Unfortunately because of the time we’re here, early afternoon, it’s really full of tourists so I think the best plan would be to get here early and do as much as possible before it becomes crowded.

[Kev - I get what Tam says about looking like it was created by Doctor Seuss, but it looks more dark fairy tale to me. There should be a witch inside trying to lure children into her oven. Well, we've all got to have a hobby.]

We realise from all the posters and banners throughout the city that we are here for the La Merce Festival – there’s plenty of activities going on all over the city, music, dancing and art. Whilst walking through the city earlier we saw the Parade of giants.

We head back to the hotel and retrieve our cases and go to the room which is on the 18th floor with great views. Once we’re showered and changed we head up one floor to the bar which is on the roof top with a seating area and a small pool with lounging area. The pool is freezing cold though and there aren’t many sunbeds so we don’t anticipate making much use of this, but the bar area is nice. We get a drink and review the festival timetable and make some notes on what we might like to see. Where the parade was earlier is the fire run, Correfoc, basically it’s a parade of various groups who go along the streets with fire crackers spinning and shooting the flames into the crowd. The people doing this are dressed as devils. The hardy fools who want to are having lots of fun trying to get into the thick of things and stand as near to the sparks as possible. It’s all very loud and enthusiastic and a fun thing to see. There are bands playing and people dressed up and the parade goes on and on.

[Kev - the photos don't really do it justice. It was loud as hell and the crowd were sprayed by sparks. Not so much 'health and safety gone mad' as 'health and safety gone missing'. And this was the childrens parade. The adult one was later in the evening. We missed it as we we'd moved on to the park for some music. Lord knows what it was like - the childrens one was scary enough.]

The majority of the music events are happening in Ciutadella Park which we walked though this morning with a huge, ornate fountain. It’s dark by now and there are lots of food and drink stalls set up throughout the park. We get a large cold beer in a refillable cup and some noodles and dimsum from one of the food trucks. It's very tasty and not too expensive at around €8 for a big dish.
At one of the music stages there’s some music playing and people with large lip puppets lip syncing to the music – it’s very upbeat and the crowd are very enthusiastic.

[Kev - this is the same structure during the day.]

It’s been a very fun and varied day and Barcelona certainly hasn’t disappointed us – it was lovely to be able to spend more than just a few hours here. We catch the train back to the hotel and straight to bed as we need to be up early for a very full last day.