Transatlantic Cruise on the Celebrity Equinox
10/27/15 to 11/9/15

Due to the length of the review, it is in 5 parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top of each page. 

Page 1 - Pre-Cruise in Barcelona, Spain
Page 2 - Pre-Cruise continued; Embarkation and Ship
Page 3 - Ship Continued and  Entertainment
Page 4 - Ports of Call:  Valencia, Spain and Malaga, Spain
Page 5 - Ports of Call:  Lanzarote, Canary Islands and Tenerife, Canary Islands
 

Preface
We had never taken a Transatlantic cruise before, so we decided that it was time to experience one.  While I was still working, I didn’t want to take the time to do one, since I wanted to use my vacation time to explore ports rather than spending so many days at sea.  Now that I had no work commitments, the time was right; plus, we would get to visit 3 new ports and finally get to return to Barcelona for a pre-cruise visit.  We would also be able to sail on the only Celebrity S Class ship we hadn’t cruised on, the Equinox.

Prenote
Carol had a full knee replacement just 3 months before we would leave for our vacation.  We had been concerned that she might not have recovered enough to fully enjoy the trip; since the long recuperation and therapy period is painful and challenging.  Carol, however, did everything her doctor and therapists ordered and was doing quite well.  Since we knew that there was lots of walking to be done in Barcelona, we brought Carol’s wonderful lightweight portable electric scooter.  The TravelScoot (www.travelscoot.com) is an amazing vehicle for people with walking issues.  It only weighs 35 pounds, travels up to 4 miles per hour and can go 10 miles on a single charge.  Best of all, it folds up easily for storage if needed, so it can easily fit into a trunk of a normal vehicle.



Pre-Cruise in Barcelona Spain
We visited Barcelona before our first Mediterranean cruise in 2003.  We were so impressed with the unique beauty of the city; and were most disappointed at the time that we only were there for 2 nights.  It only allowed for one full day of touring; which was not nearly enough time to experience lovely Barcelona.  This time we would spend 4 nights; plus, since our flight arrived early in the morning, we would have almost 4 full days of touring. 

Barcelona - Day 1
The non-stop flight from Miami actually arrived early.  After clearing immigration, we picked up our checked bags and met the driver from a company named Royal Road (www.royalroadbarcelona.com/en/), that was previously named Autos Vilar.  Because we had told the company that we had Carol’s TravelScoot and several pieces of luggage, he picked us up in a large van.  It had plenty of room for our luggage, the scooter and could easily have had another couple along with their baggage.  The cost was €50.

The traffic moved very fast until we arrived at the base of Las Ramblas, the street where our hotel was located.  With Las Ramblas being basically a walking street, it only has narrow streets running along either side of the pedestrian walking area.  The walking street is only ¾ of mile long. The traffic can be very slow moving and was for us.  The Hotel Monte Carlo (http://www.montecarlobcn.com) was located about three fourths the way to the end of the walking street.  We had chosen the hotel since it was reasonably priced for the location and had both air conditioning and elevators; something many don’t have.

Post review note:  Unfortunately, the Montecarlo Hotel was sold and was closed in December 2015.

   

It also had something we hadn’t planned on, that was most beneficial, a handicap elevator to the lobby.  This was perfect for Carol to avoid the stairs and be able to ride the scooter to our room.  It was accessed by a small arched entrance next to the main doors of the hotel.  The main use for the handicapped elevator was for moving heavy luggage to the lobby.

   

With our arriving before 11:00 AM and check in time at 3:00 PM, we left our luggage at the hotel and began exploring.  With our hotel located on Las Ramblas, there was no shortage of things to do while waiting to check in.  I stopped in at a large church along the way. When the lovely exterior decorations called to me, I couldn’t pass it up.  I was glad I didn’t, since there were some lovely statues and ornaments. The chapels along the outer wall were particularly beautiful.  It has a very long Spanish name, but the English name of the church is Our Lady of Bethlehem.

   

       

One place we had to go to first was La Boqueria market.  One of my friends, Jim, had insisted that we had to go there.  Since it was just a couple blocks away, we started our walk down Las Ramblas through lovely Barcelona.  It is such a treat to walk around this town, the gorgeous buildings and iron work balconies keep you gawking while walking.

   

When we arrived at La Boqueria, we weren't the only people interested in seeing it.  It was packed with locals doing their shopping and tourists checking the place out. There has been a market in this location for almost 800 years; but not this large back then.  It was quite a place with what appeared to be every kind of food available for purchase.  What was most impressive was that everything looked so fresh and appetizing.  It would have been a great place to have lunch; but we had other plans for lunch that day.  Jim had also told us that we had to go to a certain restaurant named La Rita.  When they visited Barcelona several years ago, they loved it and went several times.

   

   

Since the restaurant was further away than we wanted to walk, we walked up to Placa Catalunya at the end of Las Ramblas.  By going there, we would be able to easily find a cab and not have to get stuck in the Las Ramblas traffic.  The area was so pretty with the many statues and vividly colored flowers. 

   

   

   

   

It worked out very well; since cabs were everywhere. We arrived at la Rita by 12:30 PM with a €5 taxi fare.  Unfortunately, it opened at 1:00 PM, so we would have to wait. 

This actually worked out well, since we were then near the front of the long line that would form while we were waiting for the restaurant to open.  It was apparently very popular, since it filled up quickly after it opened.  When I had looked at the menu prior to the trip, it looked most interesting; however, for lunch the only menu was one with the lunch specials.  This was quite limited.  For €9.5 we could pick an appetizer, a main course, dessert and a drink.  Since beer was one of the drink options, I had my first Spanish beer.  We both ordered a veal dish.  The meal was OK, but not the fabulous one that we had hoped for.  The taste was good; but the veal was very tough and was a workout to even cut.  I am sure that the evening meal would be much better with the larger selection.  The desserts however were quite good and hit the spot.

   

   

After lunch we took another cab back to Placa Catalunya and explored it some more before returning to the hotel around 2:30 PM.  The room was ready and Carol was finally able to do some unpacking.  The room was quite comfortable and roomier than expected.  The dressing/closet area outside the bathroom made the room feel larger. 

   

   

The bathroom was also a nice size.

The room had some unexpected features that we really enjoyed during our stay.  The bed itself was quite comfortable; but in addition, each side had a remote control to raise or lower your head, feet or knees.  It was most enjoyable after traipsing all over Barcelona for the day. 

There was also a switch to open and close the metal blinds on the outside of the windows to keep the room dark in the morning.  It was most effective.

While Carol was unpacking and organizing her nest, I checked out the rest of the hotel.  The lobby itself wasn’t particularly large; but it was never crowded either.  I must say that the front desk service was superb.  They couldn’t help us more and were so pleasant.

The main public room was the bar and breakfast area.  I took some photos of the breakfast area one morning; but we never did eat there, since there were many other options.  The €14 per person buffet didn’t compare to the many reasonably priced cafes and bakeries where we could get coffee and croissants in the morning.

   

   

With the gorgeous weather and possible cloudy or rainy weather forecast for the next few days, I took advantage of the good weather and walked over to the Gari Botic, the old quarter.  I loved walking through the old narrow streets, while looking up at the lovely iron works on the balconies.  There is just so much to take in while walking around Barcelona.

   

The main tourist attraction in the old quarter is the Barcelona Cathedral.  The original building was completed in 1448 after a 150-year construction period.  It has a beautiful ornate exterior.

   

The interior is even more ornate with such gorgeous statues and decorations.

   

   

   

The altar area and organ pipe decorations were most impressive.

   

   

The brightly colored stained glass windows added to the beauty.

       

The choir area is a particuarly gorgeous section of the cathedral.

   

The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Eulalia, who is entombed in the cathedral's crypt.

   

The decorations in the chapels along the outside walls of the cathedral were masterpieces.

   

After leaving the cathedral, I continued walking through the old quarter until I found my way back to Las Ramblas.  I came out at one of our favorite spots we had seen the first time we were in Barcelona, the House of Umbrellas.  It was once a building where they made umbrellas.  The umbrella decorations all over the outside of the building made it quite obvious what was there at one time.  Now it is a bank and one of the most popular photo stops in town.  I came back the next day when it was cloudy to get some more photos to use.

   

There is a dragon statue at the corner of the building.

After returning to the hotel, Carol and I went back out to sightsee; but didn’t stay long, since Carol was exhausted.  We hadn’t gotten much sleep on the flight and didn’t even go out for dinner.  After it got dark, I went out to get some photos of Las Ramblas at night and the illuminated building across the street.

   

I also found something that we would become addicted to, it was a Bailey’s Irish Cream ice cream.  Oh my, it was so good.  We would visit this ice cream stand many times while in Barcelona.

   

It had been a very full two days of traveling without much sleep, so we crashed early, since we would have a full schedule for the next three days.

 

Barcelona - Day 2
I woke up most refreshed after a long night’s sleep.  I was already adjusted to the six-hour later time zone.  Carol was still asleep, so I went out to look for breakfast.  Even though it was 7:45 AM, it was still dark outside and Las Ramblas had few people traveling on it.  I found a small bakery that had a nice selection of breakfast treats and coffee.  I consumed it all quickly and walked around in the uncrowded environment before returning to our room.  Since Carol was now awake, I let her know the bakery menu and headed back out of the hotel to get her a pastry and coffee. 

   

We had a city tour planned for the morning with a company called Barcelona Day Tours.  They are part of Spain Day Tours (www.spaindaytours.com) who is also called Top Day Tours.  We booked this company in three of the ports, since they had a very good reputation.  With us supposed to meet the tour van at 9:00 AM at Placa Catalunya, I had time to walk around some before we had to leave for the tour.  Las Ramblas is quite sedate in the morning compared to the hectic pace in the afternoon and evening. 

We were told to be at the meeting place by 8:55 AM for a pickup between 8:55 AM until 9:30 AM.  They have a time window, since they pick up most people at their hotels and they don’t know which order they will pick people up.  With them not allowed to pick up on Las Ramblas, because they have larger vans, we would have to meet at Placa Catalunya; which was most convenient.  When they had not arrived 9:20 AM, I called their office.  They apologized and said they would be there soon and not to worry.  They finally arrived at 9:40 AM.  I must say that the company did feel badly about how late they were and also sent me an email apologizing for their late arrival.  When the tour was over and they dropped most of the people off at the cruise port, I could see why they were running late.  The people on the tour had brought all their luggage that had to be loaded into the van when they were picked up, since they would be boarding the ship after the tour. 

Our tour guide was Anna.  She was very pleasant and most knowledgeable.

The van was quite large with plenty of room, since they don’t fill them up to provide for more capacity.  The back compartment had plenty of room to store Carol’s scooter along with all the luggage for the other passengers.

   

Our first destination was La Sagrada Familia, the most recognized attraction in Barcelona.  This tour would only view the exterior, since tickets were required to enter and tour the building.  There were long lines of people hoping to buy tickets to get inside the church; but there aren’t many tickets available daily to purchase.  Like us, many people order tickets online before they come to Barcelona to make sure they won't be disappointed.  The tickets have an assigned 15-minute window for you to enter.  If you miss the window, you are out of luck.  We had tickets for the next day.  When we had visited La Sagrada Familia 12 years earlier, we didn’t have tickets, so we were looking forward to seeing the interior the next day.

As we walked around the building Anna told us all about the history and construction of it, we were amazed at how much progress had been made since our last visit.  They had added so much to the building.  Anna said that the exterior was to be completed by 2026, the hundredth anniversary of designer Antoni Gaudi’s death.  Construction started in 1882.  When Gaudi died in 1926, the church was only 20% complete.  It is now 70% complete.  We will need to return to Barcelona to see the finished product.

We were dropped off on the west side of the building which is called the Passion Facade. It faces the setting sun to represent the death of Christ. It is a newer section than the Nativity Facade that is normally shown in pictures; which faces east for the rising sun representing the birth of Christ. Construction started on the Passion Facade in 1954.  There were so many sculpted scenes to look at on the building. 

   

   

   

The colorful fruits and decorations on top of the towers and around the building added a nice touch.

   

In between the Nativity and Passion Facades is the not yet started Glory Façade.  It will be the main entrance to the church and is to be the largest and most striking of the facades.

When I had first seen photos of the Nativity Façade of the building, it looked like it was melting; but when you are close to it you can see the fine detail that has been put into the sculptures.  It is quite a lovely and an interesting place to visit.

   

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Our next destination was Parc Guell.  Construction of the Park was completed in 1914.  It was originally designed to be a housing development on the outside of town inside a large park; but was unsuccessful.  It was then turned into a park in 1924. Only 400 people per hour are allowed to enter the main tourist section of the park, the Monument Zone.   Tickets are difficult to purchase if you wait to get them the day you want to visit.  This was one of the benefits of taking the tour, they had purchased the advance entry tickets for us and would get us there at the right time.  There were so many people in line hoping to be able to buy tickets.  When we visited in 2003, I did not need a ticket, since it was a totally free park.  I had really enjoyed the park the first time I visited it; but Carol had decided to stay on the hop on/hop off bus rather than walk up the steep hill to the Monument Zone. 

Now I was glad that Carol would finally get to see some of the unusual park.  Another benefit of taking the tour was that we would be dropped off slightly above the park, which made it much easier, than having to make the steep climb I had previously done.  By coming from above, we were able to see some areas of the park I had missed the first time.  Carol was enjoying driving her scooter down the curvy path to the Monument Zone.  One structure, called the Bird’s Nests, is supposed to look like the trees, with trees planted in the tops of some of them.

   

In addition to interesting rock walls and structures, we saw a fellow creating gigantic bubbles.  It was fascinating to watch.

   

When we reached the main area, we saw two Gaudi designed buildings.  One of them had a small museum inside.

   

The main park structure is reached by a staircase that is guarded by what is called a dragon statue. It is really a fountain with a salamander statue covered in colorful ceramic tiles.  I had really wanted Carol to see this statue, that I was enthralled with on our first visit.  At that time, I bought a small souvenir statue of the salamander.  This time we got a bigger one.  Fortunately, she didn’t have to climb the steps to see it.  There were lots of people around the statue, since it is the most popular photo stop in the park.

   

I continued further up the stairs to the market hall area, which is covered by a roof that is supported by 86 Roman style columns.  This area was intended to be used as a market by the residents of the housing development.  Like much of the park, there are lots of colored tile decorations.

Continuing up the stairs, we could see a slanted colonnaded pathway.  A rather unusual type structure. 

   

At the top of the stairs is a huge terrace, which is also the roof of the market.  We could see the bird’s nests from a different perspective on one side of the terrace.

   

The curved walls of the terraces are beautifully tiled benches.  It is called a serpentine bench.  The curvature would allow people to have privacy from others sitting along the bench.  It is quite a special work of art. 

   

   

At the front end of the terrace, you could look down into the park area we entered from.

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The outside of the terrace walls also had beautiful tile work.  I wish we had been allowed to spend more time at the park; but we had many places to see on the city tour.  Anna was trying to round us all up to leave; but everyone was trying to get lots of photos of this unusual and beautiful place.   

The next part of the tour was driving around town with Anna pointing out the attractions.  We had visited the inside of the main Gaudi buildings the first time we were in Barcelona, so a drive by was fine with us.  We stopped at La Pederra, also called Casa Mila, to get out and take photos.  The interior design and roof top statues are more interesting than the exterior of this building; but it is still a must see. 

   

We drove by Casa Batllo, which is considered one of Gaudi’s masterpieces.  The tiled exterior is so very unusual and so beautiful at the same time.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and get photos, so we had to take them through the van windows.

   

There are just so many interesting and pretty structures all over town.

   

We then headed to Montjuïc, which is a flat topped hill in the city.  There are many attractions to visit there; but it would take several hours.  Some of the 1992 Barcelona summer Olympic games were held in a stadium on Montjuïc.  We drove by the castle and some other attractions, including Poble Espanyol.  This open air museum was built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exposition.  It covers 12 acres and is a Spanish village that is supposed to contain elements of all towns and villages on the Iberian Peninsula.  We could only see the large entrance gate.              

   

Our tour only provided for a short stop at a scenic overlook where we could see how large the city was.  When we return to Barcelona on another cruise in 2016, I hope to visit the Montjuïc area to do some exploring.

On our way back to the drop off spot, we passed by the Columbus statue at the bottom of Las Ramblas.  It is a very pretty area.  We will have to check it out more closely when we return to Barcelona next year.

   

After the tour ended we had lunch at a restaurant on Placa Catalunya and returned to the hotel.  But first I had to show Carol what a wonderful treat I had found at the ice cream stand the previous night.  She was now a fan of the Bailey’s ice cream too. 

One of the places that I wasn’t able to visit on our previous Barcelona trip was the Palau de la Musica.  I tried, but it was closed.  With it being Saturday and the music hall being closed on Monday, and us boarding the ship on Tuesday, I had to get tour tickets for Sunday.  I was having difficulty purchasing them online, so I decided to walk over there and see if I could buy them in person.   I was glad I did, since the normal price is €18 each; but I was able to get the senior discount for being over 65.  They were only €11 Euros each.  One of the few benefits of being old.  It was also good that I went early, since I was able to take some photos of the building exterior in clearer weather; plus, I was able to find where to enter the building for the tour.  A new section had been added to the building with shops and a large waiting area.  There was also an elevator, since Carol would have to bring her scooter for the long walk there.  Although, the weather had been forecasted to be rainy, it was more mostly cloudy with mild temps in the upper 60’s.  When the sun was out it was quite warm.  I hoped that our weather luck would continue.

   

   

One place I had discovered was the Carrefour Market, right across from the hotel.  It was the place for locals and tourists to shop.  It was a supermarket with everything one could want at very reasonable prices.  I bought Carol a half liter coke for €.79.  Much better than the €2 and €2.5 at other places.  The 1.5 liter bottles or water were only €1.4.  We had to purchase some pharmacy type items also and they were pretty much the same price as at a Walgreens at home.  They also had a lots of food for sale, including sandwiches, fruits, pastries and even fresh paella.

After returning to the hotel, we got ready for our evening entertainment. We had plans for the evening with friends who were in Barcelona for the day while their cruise ship was docked there.  We were going to go to the Tablao Flamenco Cordobes ( http://www.tablaocordobes.es/en ) for dinner and a Flamenco show.  Our friends Sherri and Terry had booked tickets to it before we knew they were even going to be in town on their cruise.  When we found out, we decided to join them to get to spend some time with them.  We had never been to a flamenco show; but hoped for the best.  At least we would be with friends.  I contacted the theater after buying tickets online before we left Florida.  We asked if they could sit us together and they fixed us up.

As usual, we arrived to the theater early, as had Sherri and Terry.  It was so good to see them and get caught up.  The entrance to the theater had a Moorish look to it, similar to what I would see later in the cruise when visiting Alhambra Palace. 

   

We had mentioned this venue on our Cruise Critic roll call to see if anyone else was going.  One of the couples, Bobby and Robin from Chicago wanted to join us, so they were able to sit at our table also.  The dining room area had lots of tables packed into a space that needed to be larger, so there wasn’t a lot of room.  While waiting to be told to go to the buffet area, we were brought some delicious sangria.  When we got into the buffet area, it was very crowded with people trying to fill their plates.  The room needed to be much larger for the number of people in the dining rooms.  But I will say that the food was pretty good. 

   

   

After dinner, we were directed to the theater for the flamenco show.  Once again, it was a crowded room; but everyone was close to the stage.  We were told not to take any photos or videos during the show.  They would give us a sign during the last five minutes of the show when we could take all the photos and videos we wanted.  I was glad of that, since I did want to have something to remember the show by.

When the show began, I was a bit concerned.  It started off with some male singers performing.  It wasn’t the kind of music that I appreciate and I didn’t think that they were that good.  But when the dancers began, oh my goodness, they were something else.  They were most impressive with their feet tapping and flying around.  In addition, their expressions and the passion displayed during their dance really added to the performance.  Sherri is a dance instructor at home and she was most impressed.

When they told us that we could take photos, I understood why they weren’t allowed earlier.  I couldn’t believe how many iPhones and iPads flew up into the air as people stood up to get photos and videos.  Fortunately, we were in a raised area above the main floor and were able to take photos from the side. 

   

The dances they did during the photo time were not as good as the other performances; but it allowed us to have a memento of the show.  All but one of the dancers were women.  The one male dancer was phenomenal, so I took a short video of his performance.

It had been a great way to finish a most enjoyable day.  We were so glad that we had been able to meet up and share some quality time with our friends Sherri and Terry.

 

Barcelona - Day 3
We had a nice day planned with plenty of spare time to just enjoy the lovely city.  We had booked our visit to the interior of La Sagrada Familia for an entrance between 11:30 AM and 11:45 AM.  Once again we picked up a cab in Placa Catalunya.  This time the cost was €7.5.  When we were visiting the church the previous day, I had asked where the handicapped entrance was, so that Carol would be able to take the elevator up to the main level of the church.  I was so glad that I did, since the crowds were so large.  When we were allowed into the entrance, I was surprised that there was no elevator, just a mild winding path up to the church.  Carol’s TravelScoot had no problem getting to the top without my assistance.

I was disappointed that we hadn’t been able to see the interior when we visited 12 years ago; but it is probably just as well, since the interior was now completed.  Entering the building, one needs to be cautious, since everyone is looking up at the ceiling.  The 150-foot tall nave is most impressive.  The columns are designed to look like a forest of trees with branches reaching up to support the roof.

   

       

       

   

   

   

   

The large vividly colored stained glass windows reflect their glow throughout the building.  The window’s designs aren’t intricate like most I have seen.  But they are an explosion of color and quite stunning.

   

   

   

It is a most interesting building.  I had read that there aren’t any flat surfaces in the building; other than, I guess, the floor.  Thank goodness for that.  It is quite a place and certainly a must see for a first visit to Barcelona.  Be sure to get tickets online in advance so you will not be disappointed.

Above the altar is a large Latin cross covered by a canopy with vines and grapes around it.  Quite unique. 

   

I was intrigued with the way the light played on the designs in the ceiling near the alter.  It looked like the light of heaven was shining down into the church. 

We left the building at the Nativity facade entrance, where we could get a close up view of the exterior sculptures.  They were just stunning from such a close vantage point.  La Sagrada Familia is quite a place!  Take your time to see as much of it as you can.

   

   

   

   

The taxi ride back to Placa Catalunya was only €6.5, so perhaps the driver that took us there didn’t know the shortest route.  I had looked online earlier in the day to see if there were any restaurants that we might want to try for lunch.  One really intrigued me.  It was called Vienna and its claim to fame was that a New York Times travel writer described one of their ham sandwiches as “the world’s greatest sandwich”.  Well, how could we pass that up?  The restaurant itself was a cute bar that had a nice feel to it.

   

The famous delicacy was the small baguette with Iberian cured ham.  It was the most expensive sandwich on the menu, probably because of the glowing review.  When the famous sandwich arrived, it was just a baguette with a few slices of ham on it, nothing else.  No spreads, no vegetables, just a few very thin slices of ham.  It tasted OK, but I will take one of Carol’s ham sandwiches any day.  I have a feeling that the New York Times writer must have had way too many sangrias before going to the restaurant.  Don’t waste your money on it.  At least the beer was good there.

After the disappointing lunch, only one thing could fix my poor restaurant choice, back to the ice cream stand for some real food satisfaction.  We left extra early for our 3:00 PM Palau de la Musica Catalana tour, so I could show Carol the lovely streets along the way there.  There was also a very large walking street, Via Laietana, that had many interesting buildings and shops.  One had unusual looking decorations on it that looked like eyes.

   

   

   

We found the entrance for our tour of the Palace of Catalan Music, which is a large concert hall.  The original building we would tour was dedicated in 1908.  The waiting area was nicely decorated and contained a few shops. 

   

When it was time for the tour to start, our tour guide directed us to a small theater where a movie about the concert hall was shown.  When it was completed, Carol was taken to an elevator to get up to the concert hall’s main floor and I went with the rest of the group up the grand staircase.  I think my view was nicer than the elevator.

   

   

When we arrived into the main concert hall, the group began oohing and ahing.  It was obvious why it is considered one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world.

It seats 2,200 people and is the only concert hall in Europe that is illuminated entirely by natural light in the daytime.  The drop dead gorgeous skylight in the center of the room is the main illuminator and the immediate eye catcher when entering the room.

   

   

Once I could stop staring at the skylight, I could look around and see the intricate beauty of the rest of the building.

   

The movie before the tour had interviews with some of the stars that had performed at the theater.  They mentioned the statues of 19 muses that were on the stage behind them.  At first they were distracted by them and later thought of them as friends.

   

There was just so much eye candy in the hall.  Every angle had a different beauty to it.  I took so many photos; but each one had a different look to it. 

After our tour of the main and second floors, we went to the intermission area.  From there I could walk out onto the patio that I had looked up at from outside the building the previous day.  The mosaic covered pillars were something else.  It was a very narrow area; but so pretty.  The Catalan Modernism architectural style is so unique.  I was so glad we had been able to visit this amazing concert hall.

   

   

I have put in too many photos of the Palace of Catalan Music and La Sagrada Famillia; but I had to put them in to remember them.  By having them in this review, we can always easily go back and remember the beauty of these places.

That night we went to a restaurant named Santa Anna (http://www.restaurantsantaanna.com/en/), just a short walk from the hotel.  The TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews were mostly very favorable, so we gave it a try.  Carol reminded me that the sandwich shop had also had some favorable reviews.  I think those must have been for the beer, not the famous sandwich; since it was primarily a bar.  Santa Anna had a typical Spanish food menu.  I had read that their paella was very good.  Since I didn’t feel like seafood, I ordered a chicken paella and Carol ordered a steak.  Carol’s meal was OK, but the steak was tough. The paella was outstanding.  It was served in a very large cast iron skillet.  It was so delicious.

   

   

Once again, we had avoided a day with rain.  The forecast had been most inaccurate and we were most pleased about it.  Unfortunately, the next day’s weather forecast did show a lot of rain and we would be on a tour out of town.  Hopefully it would also be an inaccurate forecast.

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