European Cruise

Istanbul-Turkey Varna-Bulgaria Odessa-Ukraine Sevastopol-Ukraine
Ephesus-Turkey Rhodes-Greece Limassol-Cyprus Cairo-Egypt
Athens-Greece Kusadasi-Turkey Santorini-Greece Messina-Sicily
Naples-Pompeii-Italy Rome-Italy Monte Carlo-Monaco Marseille-France
Barcelona-Spain Cadiz-Spain Lisbon-Portugal Paris-France
London-England People Ship General Items

Barcelona, Spain. I am feeling much better, with my cold diminishing but far from gone. Mary's cold is lagging mine, so her's is still getting worse, or at best, has reached a plateau.

We are amazed at how good the weather is. This time of the year is great! The temperatures have usually been in the 70s; never too cool and only occasionally too hot.

Barcelona is the cultural center of Spain. It really shows, with the architecture and monuments throughout the city. This area is known as Catalonia. Under the leadership of Franco, much of Catalonia's identity was suppressed. The Catalan culture and autonomy has increased since the death of Franco in the late 1970s. The old part of Barcelona is enclosed by Roman walls. The Gothic Quarter has many buildings, arches, and features displaying stone design. We saw the Town Hall, Government Office, the Cathedral, the people's cathedral, and Antonio Gaudi's masterpiece, the Sagrada Famila, the people's cathedral. It is being paid for by people's donations, so it is by the people and for the people. It is quite spectacular. There's nothing else like it! Construction has gone on for decades and may go on for a few more decades. Be sure to view our photos (on the web later). We also saw Roman columns from the first century AD.

I talked with two women who, with their spouses, want to come back to Barcelona because of the art and architecture. It's a very pretty city.

Little packets of information: One of the two bull fighting rings is being changed to an exhibition center. The pickpockets have an agreement with the guides, not to touch tourists with tour stickers when they are with guides. After a tour, if the sticker is left on, it is a signal that you are a tourist with money (to take). There are no corners in Barcelona. All buildings at street corners have a flat surface cut across the corner. The shops close in the afternoon from about 2:00pm until 4:40pm. During that time the workers go home and eat lunch. They then come back and work until about 8:30pm and start dinner about 9:30pm. I find that schedule very unattractive because it takes up the entire day so there is no time for projects, or maintenance, or sports.

In 1492 the Catholics made all non-Catholics leave the country. So, in addition to being excluded from Spain and killed in France, we have heard in other countries on the cruise about Protestants being persecuted by Catholics.

Hey, do I have a surprise for you! Mary has taken an interest in taking photos and understanding digital cameras. She is using the smaller-size camera of the two that we brought. It's humorous that I frequently find myself waiting for her to take photos, instead of her always waiting for me. She has taken many hundreds of photos! She is asking lots of questions about using the camera, and lighting and composition of photos.

Also, at 5:45am this morning Mary was on her way to the laundry to wash clothes. I joined her a little while later, to dry the clothes so she could get a cup of coffee. The is our third time using the laundry. We will need one more time prior to leaving the ship.

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