Friday, June 23, 2023

A Day In Barcelona

man on entrance to a cruise ship

Although I have shared bits of pieces of details of our recent vacation in two previous posts, in this post I will be sharing our evening and then full day in Barcelona before we joined the cruise ship: 

(For the best view, read this blog post on my blog-not your phone (

Day 1 of our adventure started when we flew to Barcelona from Miami (our winter home) to begin our 5 week dream vacation to the French Riviera, Italian Riviera, and Israel. 

Barcelona, tourist

The cruise ship was departing from Barcelona, so we flew in a day earlier to enjoy an afternoon, evening, and then a good part of the next day in Barcelona before boarding the Celebrity Reflection at 3:00 for a 16 day cruise of the Mediterranean. 

Our charming little hotel, "Hotel Barcelona Catedral," was located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona perpendicular to the famous Cathedral, Placa del Rei, in Las Ramblas and was adjacent to many old narrow stone streets and buildings lined with modern eateries and interesting stores. 

Cathedral in Barcelona
The Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter ( not Familia)

Quaint, modest, and clean, the Hotel Catedral was a great choice because it was in walking distance through the old Gothic Quarter to the heart of the city, Plaça de Catalunya, the Palau de la Música concert hall, the Picasso Museum, and Santa María del Mar. 

Barcelona Gothic Quarter

Although we had been to Barcelona before, we decided to take a hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the sights of the city with a guided tour in English. 

Barcelona, Gaudi

We spent 3 hours touring (but not going inside ) the main sites (we had already viewed and went inside La familia and the other Gaudi sites on our last trip).

 After the tour, we spent the remainder of the first day/evening on foot checking out the La Ramblas area and of course having dinner. 

One of the highlights was the "Mercat De La Boqueria" which is world famous. It is a market with over 200 vendors who share some of the  most amazing local and imported gastronomic delicacies. It is quite a market and a site not to miss in Barcelona!

market in Barcelona

    • Mercat De La Boqueria

Being extremely tired at this point, we chose to eat dinner in a restaurant directly across the street from our hotel. To my surprise it turned out to be a Vietnamese restaurant which actually worked perfectly for me because their menu offered plenty of vegan and gluten free choices. 

The decor of the restaurant was festive, the wait staff attentive, and the food was very good. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the restaurant.

Vietnamese restaurant, Barcelona

Vietnamese restaurant in Barcelona
The decor of the restaurant 

I ended up ordering a hot rice noodle, tofu, and vegetable dish that I enjoyed. Our group of four shared some edamame and summer roll appetizers (forgot to mention we had two other friends with us). 

restaurant , dinner, Barcelona

At 10:00 PM, the large courtyard in front of the Barcelona Cathedral was lined with restaurants and at dark became a gathering place for musicians, magicians, and other street entertainers. It provided for an enjoyable evening of music, singing, and some dancing.

We spent over 2 hours listening to a large (about 80 people) volunteer church choir, made up of locals who seemed to come and go as they pleased, sing amazing songs and entertain us with dancing and stories. 

Their performance went on for many hours and it was hard to pull ourselves away at midnight- but tomorrow was another day! (they also passed around the hat for money for the church? or perhaps to cover their expenses? ) 

statue in Barcelona
Statue of Christopher Columbus  built in 1888 for the World's Fair. The monument is Called "Monument a Colon" in Spanish. Located in La Ramblas, it is supposed to be the location of where Columbus arrived on his return to Spain from  his famous voyage to America.

The 2nd day we explored the area, visited the Apple store to replace my phone charger which would not work, and shopped in a wonderful reasonable store called  "Lefties". 

For dinner, we found many restaurants that offered "Vegetarian Paella" - which was a more authentic choice for dinner in Barcelona than the dinner we ate the evening before. 

The weather was moderate (about 70 degrees) which made it extremely pleasant to tour the city.

barceona, shopping

I have to elaborate about "Lefties" the department store I mentioned earlier. 
It is a chain store in Barcelona that sells clothing. The three story department store offers stylish everyday wear for kids, women, and men, at very reasonable prices. 

dinner , man,
My husband wearing his windbreaker from four years ago
We knew about Lefties because we had shopped there four years ago on our previous visit to Barcelona.  My husband and I had purchased matching yellow, white, and blue hooded well-made windbreakers for $14 dollars each that we wear all the time and they still look brand new! The quality is great!

What a system ! All of the garments that people try on as well as the hangers and accessories go down a Shute and there is no accumulation of clothing in the dressing rooms. I have not seen this system in the US.

The store does something unique! When you try on clothing, if you are not buying it, you put it down a chute that is in your private dressing stall- end of clothing; end of mess!

Also, when you go to check out, you simply lay everything on the counter and everything automatically rings up by itself in seconds!! Then you insert your credit card- no employees!

 I bought two 100% cotton button down shirts ($6 Euro each) and two pairs of light comfortable travel pants ($8.90 Euro each). My husband bought 3 really nice peach/light green/ light blue/ sherbet colored t-shirts for $5 Euro each. We wore them all during our two weeks cruising the Mediterranean. I'll take a pic wearing them for another post.

cruise ship

Finally, we took a cab to the cruise ship and since we pre-boarded on line, we were approved to board within 10 minutes of arrival. 

snacks, ice cream, coffee

What did we do first? Grab a quick snack on the cruise ship before unpacking. 


  1. Looks like that you had a really busy schedule and fun time!

  2. A fabulous start, for sure! (And now I know how you were able to pack so lightly....)

  3. Beautiful Barcelona! It felt like I was there with you! Great photos!

  4. I can't wait to hear more of your trip. This is a city I've never been and it is beautiful. (A friend tells me it is her favorite and I can see why.) So, after all that light packing to go -- will your luggage fit all your new Leftie clothes? That sounds like a great spot! (And thanks for coming to visit!)

  5. What a great post! I have been to a lot of places, but I never quite made it to Spain. I really enjoyed reading this.

  6. Very nice - Barcelona is definitely on our travel bucket list. And your vacation sounds like a great time!

  7. Barcelona looks beautiful! I love the colorful pics of the market and restaurant, especially the lanterns. And Lefties looks like a great place to shop. The fitting room return chute and employeeless checkout sound very appealing! 🌍🌞

  8. I think I would love the Mercat De La Boqueria! Good thing you found out your charger was not working before you boarded the cruise ship. I can well imagine that those type of accessories are expensive if you buy them on board - captive market and all that ;)

  9. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip! How nice to enjoy Barcelona before going on your cruise, I know it must have been fabulous!

  10. Barcelona looks good in your photographs.

    All the best Jan


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