Vacations have a beginning and an ending. The beginning of a vacation is awesome.
The ending of a vacation not so much. Oh well.
We spent last evening getting ourselves packed up. The Disney folks have a debarkation process all laid out. But it still required us to pack and to get ready to leave the ship.
This day was Saturday, August 30th.
Breakfast was served at 7:15am and we needed to vacate our stateroom by that time. Our last meal with the serving team was very nice. They had become our friends over the past week. It was a bit sad to say goodbye.
Leaving the ship was much easier than boarding. No queues. No waiting. We took our few luggage bags with us and just walked off the ship.
We met Christian outside the debarkation point. He was our driver for the day. He was a German guide in a Spanish city driving an English-speaking family from Canada.
Christian worked out just fine.
Christian took us out to Montserrat. This area is situated about a 90-minute drive from Barcelona. There is a monastery at Montserrat which includes an expansive array of hiking trails in the unique, serrated mountain range. There are many smaller buildings that are connected to the monastery through an expansive set of trails such as the one pictured below (click on the image for a larger photo).
We began our tour of Montserrat by walking through the main cathedral. We were there before the crowds so we had no issue going through to see the black Madonna, a major highlight of the monastry at Montserrat.
We then followed one of many trails that ascended to approximately 1,300 metres. Fortunately we started the climb only a few hundred metres lower. The walking trails were all paved with a stone and concrete mixture and impressively lined with perfectly laid stone walls. Perhaps the monks did not have too many other distractions when they built these trails. Here are a few photos from the hike.
After Montserrat, Christian drove us back to Barcelona where the first order of business was to take in some lunch. We ate at Catalana and sampled some local Spanish food: flautas and tapas. Excellent meal.
The afternoon was spent touring the various sites around Barcelona: Park Guell, several Gaudi buildings, the Olympic grounds, the coastal area and the historic city.
As the afternoon passed, we started to fatigue. I think we were now a bit overwhelmed by all of the tours in Europe. So much to see and so little time to see it all. We did take time to see the Sagrada Familia. This is a Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudi. Although the construction of the church began in 1882, Gaudi became involved in 1883 and worked on the project until his death at age 73 in 1926. The church was less than a quarter complete. The latest timeline to complete the church is now 2026. I hope to go back when it is finished. If I am still on the planet.
Here are a few photos of Sagrada Familia.
We returned back to our hotel to check in. And then over to Las Ramblas to find a restaurant for our last dinner in Europe.
Okay, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. Matthew really wanted an American cheeseburger.
After we finished our meal, we decided to return to the hotel and rest before the trip home.
Here is a family shot overlooking the city of Barcelona.
I was not feeling at all well that afternoon and evening. After our dinner, I really needed to get back to the hotel and rest. I had originally hoped to spend the evening walking the streets of Barcelona and taking pictures. Not to be. And I was disappointed as we made our way to our room.
But, with my camera still at my side, I pointed up towards a building just before the turn into the hotel and took my last photo of Barcelona and my last photo of our European adventure.
Our vacation was a truly wonderful experience.