The Cruise

World cruise on the Dawn Princess starting in Sydney on May 21, 2010 and sailing west around the world for 104 days.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Thursday July 8, 2010

Day 48 Barcelona Spain
Even though the four of us have been to Spain before, none of us had ever been to Barcelona. We took the shuttle to town and then took the hop on hop off bus. There are three routes this bus takes so we took the red route, which took two hours when you stay on. This is what we did, as we wanted to see as much of the city as possible. Barcelona was most impressive. It is situated on the Mediterranean Sea, and has beaches and sea views. The architecture of the city is superb. Every building in the old Gothic Quarter, which dates from the 13th to the 15th centuries manifests some specialty that one is urged to photograph. Barcelona was an important trading hub of the Roman Empire and many Roman ruins remain. The Cathedral of St Eulalia, which is a Gothic Cathedral was begun in 1298 in the Romanesque style but was not entirely finished until the 19thcentury. Barcelona seems to take centuries to build cathedrals. La Sagrada Familia was begun by Barcelona’s famous architect, Antonio Gaudi in 1883. It is still unfinished today and the expectation is that it will take another 25 years to complete. It is a most unusual church with a mixture of art nouveau and modernism. It looks like wet sand has been allowed to splatter down the façade and there are sculptures in ever nook and cranny. Gaudi was killed by a tram in 1926 and he left no plans or notes behind. Nevertheless, work has resumed and the façade on the east with its Nativity scene and on the west with the passion and death are completed. After lunch back on board ship, we returned to do the blue line of the hop on hop off bus, then we walked down Las Ramblas. This street was bursting with life and was very colourful with its portrait painters and artists, its flower stalls and street entertainers. We watched some acrobats perform extraordinary feats, and there were many statue performers. It was very hot and yet they stood without movement for hours wearing heavy costumes. While I had a glass of Sangria and the others had a beer we were entertained by one girl dressed as an angel in a grubby dress and with an even grubbier pair of wings. Somehow she did not seem to have the idea of the others that you were meant to be a statue. She kept looking around, lifting her dress up to count her money, which she kept in a purse tied round her waist under her dress, checking on who was coming and in which direction and when she was totally bored, even having a cigarette. The interesting thing was that the children loved her and paid to have their photo taken with her and receive a marble from her. She was probably a little less frightening than some of the statues. (Barbara) Princess Cruises has somewhat of a dilemma when it comes to providing passengers with information about what to do in the ports of call. On the one hand, they want to provide us with the best possible experience and, on the other, they need to make a profit. The tours they provide are good quality but they are expensive. The missing information largely centres around public transport. In Europe, local buses and trains are cheap and take you to most of the places you want to go. How about a 2 hour trip on a local bus in Cannes for 2 euros that takes you on a delightful journey with the locals along the French Riviera? Unfortunately, it is only word of mouth between passengers that alerts you to these treasures. Princess Cruises is strangely silent. Comprehensive public transport information should be provided for all ports of call on the World Cruise. One enterprising passenger has brought his bike with him on the cruise. You are allowed to bring walking frames and motorized wheelchairs so why not bikes? This bike gives him free access to major venues when gong ashore, not to mention fantastic exercise. Beware of the fear factor which is so widely used to get people to take organized tours rather than do their own thing. By this I mean that you are guaranteed not to miss the sailing of the ship if you take an organized Princess Cruise. We then all see ourselves waving goodbye to our friends as they disappear over the horizon while we work out how we are going to meet up with the ship again. Fear reigns! The solution to this is to be conservative when you travel by yourself. Plan to return to the ship 2 hours before it sails, carry a mobile phone and have a backup plan. (Bill)
8 players from "Baca" in the World Cup Spanish Team.

Entertainment on the ship before we sailed out of Barcelona.

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