Cruise Specialists hosts Steve and Wendy Bodenheimer are continuing to share their journey with us from aboard the 2016 Holland World Cruise. Previously they shared the experience of navigating the Panama Canal, sailing the Pacific in to French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong,Vietnam,Thailand,Dubai, Jordan, Israel, Italy, Greece and finishing the Mediterranean with Spain.
As many times as we have been to Barcelona, we always discover something new. It remains our favorite big city, always leaving us feeling we didn’t have enough time.This visit, we decided to try and stay away from the heaviest tourist areas, like the Sagrada Familia Church, La Rambla or the Gaudi inspired Park Guell, but many of our guests headed out on tours to take in these must see sights. We headed out on foot and climbed up to the hill of Montjuic, which overlooks the harbor right above where our ship was docked. This is a wonderfully diverse area and we walked for miles visiting some new places including: the Olympic Stadium and its many fields and buildings, where the 1992 Olympics were held; a superb cactus garden, hanging on the side of the hill; the Castel de Montjuic with its massive walls, cannons, and moat; the Palau du Sant Jordi – another giant building with spectacular grounds; and the beautiful botanical gardens.
Then it was on to our second and final port in Spain, Cadiz. Many people take tours from here going to Seville, the beautiful capital of Andalusia, which is full of museums, parks and cathedrals. Last year, we got on the train and visited Jerez de la Frontera – “The Sherry Capital of the World”. It’s the Napa Valley for sherry with dozens of tasting cellars, and a very beautiful city all on its own.
But this day, we decided to revisit Cadiz itself. It’s the perfect walking town – flat and laid out with a promenade that makes its way all the way around the peninsula. It’s very hard to get lost here. There is a café on almost every corner. There are beautiful old churches and theaters, majestic statues, and monuments in many of the parks and plazas. The inner old city is a network of small alleys and narrow streets and yet you always seem to walk out into a plaza that gets you back to main streets.
We stumbled upon an incredible food market, selling every imaginable variety of fresh fish, meats, cheeses, and produce. This was a place for locals but what an amazing resource – it all looked wonderful. And then there is the beach – gorgeous! It goes on for about 3 miles in length and is very wide. The shallow water runs out quite far, so it leaves hundreds of feet of flat packed sand that is easy to walk on and with almost no debris. There were only a handful of people during our walk but judging by the number of restaurants and apartment buildings lining the shore, it’s probably very busy in season.
One very noticeable thing about the Spanish cities we have visited – they are always clean. Not only do they pick up the trash, but they literally wash the streets. It just seems to be the culture not to litter. Wish we could bring a little of that home with us!
Spain is just a wonderful place to visit and we will always look forward to returning!