We debarked (disembarked?) (left the ship) about 9:00a.m. Monday. After a final nice breakfast in the main dining room and a coffee and parting chat in the Tuscany. By waiting until about the last minute, we allowed the taxi-stand queue to build up, probably enough people in line to fill 50-60 cabs. Occasionally a cab would show up. Barcelona has a reputation for a shortage of cabs, and 4-5 cruise ships in port at the same time obviously aggravates the situation. After about five minutes of no progress, we left that line, went and got on the port’s local shuttle to a drop off point closer to edge of downtown. Looked there for a cab but it was futile. There was almost gridlock at the circle at the base of the Ramblas, traffic cops trying to move things along and wouldn’t have appreciated a cab pulling to the curb, even if there had been an empty cab.
So I asked my iPhone, it told me that the hotel was a mile in that direction. So we walked. In a different direction which was more interesting and featured cafes where we could pause as needed. The relatively short distance wasn’t the issue, but combined with the heat and the heavy suitcases, it was a bit of work. We made it to our hotel, nicely situated in the Gothic Quarter, a place we’ve stayed twice before.
Of course our room wasn’t ready. We checked luggage and headed out for a day of window shopping and photos. Within a few steps of our hotel is a small alley containing several artisanal shops. Meg spotted a jeweler. He had some bracelets on display. Meg said that they were almost what she had been looking for but not quite. The guy said he would make what she described, it would be ready in 20 minutes. It was more like an hour and 20 minutes, but we had a good wander through the neighborhood. Picked up her custom bracelet after lunch and continued on.
Barcelona is a vibrant community, lots of small independent shops, bars and tapas places. Partially intact city walls from Roman Times, old buildings, Modern office buildings and street art, and of course graffiti and tourists. Plenty of kids and dogs being walked; real people still live here. Somewhat regretting that we only are here for an overnight, but looking forward to Paris!