Shore Leave in Barcelona
January 27th, 2018 | on the road
I’m sometimes asked whether a captain has time for a shore leave now and then. Yes. He does. In consultation with his deputy, the staff captain, he sometimes can enjoy a short break. However, he never moves far from the ship. Safe is safe. But a lunch at a restaurant – preferably recommended by the local pilots – is a welcome interruption of board routine or a small tour through the respective port city. Barcelona in Spain is one of his absolute favorite cities. Here you can read the captain’s shore leave recommendation: “7 hours in Barcelona”
“From the port you’re going by taxi to the market “Mercat de la Boqueria”. You should ideally arrive no later than 9 am, then it is wonderfully “empty”. Stroll through the magnificent market, marvel at the displayed fish, sea food and exotic fruits, stands with only mushrooms and edible flowers and so on. Schedule 30 minutes here. There should always be enough time for a quick Café solo!
On foot, you go further to the “Granja M. Viader”. Granjas are milk bars in Spain, so cafés in the modern sense. The “M. Viader” was founded in 1870 and is simply charming. Here you take a sweet breakfast (try e.g. churros con chocolate, horchata or ensaimadas!) There are of course also hearty varieties. Although the Granja invites, you should not stay more than 60 minutes there.
On foot you’d cross the Ramblas back to the metro station “Liceu”, from where you go further to the church “Sagrada Familia” (L3 to “Diagonal” – there change to – L5 “Sagrada Familia” – the 10 ride ticket T-10 for about 10 euros).
You should necessarily buy online tickets for the Sagrada beforehand for your required time (e.g. for 11 am or 11.30 am), otherwise you have to wait, if you’re unlucky, for hours. Visit one of the two towers. I never have joined a guided tour. I felt fine with enjoying the basilika on my own. The world famous basilica of Antoni Gaudí (construction from 1882 up to today) is a “must” for Barcelona from my point of view. Schedule about 1.5 hours for it.
Leaving the Sagrada Familia you take the metro (L5) to get back to “Diagonal” station, then pass the magnificent Boulevard “Paseo de Gràcia” to “Casa Batlló” and “Casa Milà” (both again by the architect Antoni Gaudí) back to the “Plaça de Catalunya”. Here you can take a snack in the Café Zurich and look at the many partly originally dressed tourists strolling along. Or you drink Horchata (Orxata) in “Planelles Donat”, a traditional pastry shop since 1850, or enjoy an ice cream there and buy the nougat speciality turrón.
At 3 pm you should leave and stroll through the winding streets south towards the port. Maybe you stop over at the “Catedral de Barcelona”. I usually look at churches only from outside, I don’t want to disturb the faithful, and enjoy the hustle and bustle on the forecourt.
You should necessarily visit the gothic quarter (“Barrio Gótico”) and try some tapas. I can very much recommend the specialty of „Bar Celta Pulperia“ called “pulpo a feira” – a phantastic octopus dish. A recipe for this you’ll find here.
From there, head back on board – full of fresh impressions and culinary delights. Barcelona is a great city and has so much more to offer than the Ramblas!”
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