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Tip in Spain

Author: pakce  |  Category: Destination Barcelona Spain
We didn’t stay long in Barcelona. We arrived at 1 pm, and were due to sail at 6 p.m., so we weren’t allowed much time ashore. Nevertheless, eight tours were on offer and, since we hadn’t been to Barcelona before, we chose the “Tour of Barcelona.”

Since Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, there was a lot of ground to cover and, as we crossed the city to climb the Montjuic Hill, I did wonder if the only remembrance I would have of the place was video taken through the bus window. But, eventually, we arrived at the Parque Güell. This is situated on a hillside, giving a fine view of the city, and was intended, originally, as an English-style “Garden City”; the idea of Count Eusebi Güell.


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The Count’s dream never came to fruition, as he failed to attract the exclusive clientele he wanted, and his proposed town was to be completely cut off from Barcelona. So, he had very few takers. However, there were one or two houses, designed by one of Barcelona’s favorite sons, the architect Antoni Gaudi. One of these houses was one in which he actually lived, and is now home to the Gaudi Museum.

Gaudi & the Sagrada Familia church

It’s said that “Nature abhors a straight line” and so did Gaudi. Barcelona’s builders, carpenters and glaziers must have hated him! There are several other examples of Gaudi’s work in Barcelona, and some of these were pointed out to us on the way here.

Gaudi was also partly responsible for the city’s main landmark, the unfinished Sagrada Familia church. Construction began in 1882, but funding for it was only to come from public subscription. This dried up during the Great Depression, followed by the Spanish Civil War and the years of the Franco regime.

But, construction does continue, most money being raised from admittance charges to the inside. We didn’t go inside; our guide said there’s nothing to see. Nevertheless, one day perhaps enough money will be raised to complete the work, and, for the first time, maybe the Sagrada Familia will be seen without the surrounding cranes.

Nevertheless, it’s still a focal point for tours of the city, and our guide warned it was, therefore, a hotspot for pickpockets, and advised to leave everything we didn’t immediately need on the coach. Her advice was good; we arrived to find a tableau of a tourist, a tour guide … and a policeman. Yes, she’d had her purse lifted!

Cathedral for Saint Eulalia
Gorgeous coastline in southern Spain
That, I’m afraid, is the downside to Barcelona. I’d been pre-warned, and was only carrying some change, a 10-euro note in each trouser pocket and my passport and the card I needed to get back on to the ship in a zipped “security pocket.” My cameras, I always carry in an anonymous-looking bag, which never leaves my sight.

Our last call was at the Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Eulalia, the city’s patron saint, who was martyred at the age of only thirteen. There is a custom that thirteen geese, one for each year of her age, are kept in the cloister in her honor. However, since our visit was in December, there were only eleven, because there’s also a custom that the Bishop traditionally has two at Christmas dinner!


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Gorgeous coastline in southern SpainStretching for nearly 100 miles along the Mediterranean coast from Nerja to Gibraltar is Costa del Sol, Spain — the Sun Coast. The beautiful beaches, rustic mountain countryside, and 325 days of sunshine annually attract visitors all year round. People come to escape the winter and enjoy the variety of amenities that gorgeous Spain coastline has to offer.English is widely spoken throughout Costa del Sol, and you could easily find yourself sitting in a British-style pub watching the BBC while enjoying tapas. Choose from several seaside towns — including Malaga, the fifth largest city in Spain, or Marbella, one of Spain’s most cosmopolitan coastal towns.

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Golfing and getting around Costa del Sol

The Alhaurin Golf Resort

The Alhaurin Golf ResortCosta del Sol is a golfer’s paradise with nearly 70 golf courses, including a nine-hole par three course as well as a 60-hole world-class, tournament course. Most of the golf courses are 18 holes, and with the area’s mild winters, they’re open all year round!

Getting around Costa del Sol is easy due to a well-developed transit system. Buses take you from one town to the other for just a few Euros. The light rail system runs from Malaga to Fuengrola. Rent a car and drive the coastal road, or head into the mountains and follow the route of the Pueblos Blancos (white villages).

Day trips from Costa del Sol

Whitewashed buildings in Nerja, Spain

Whitewashed buildings in Nerja, SpainDay trips are easily arranged to some of the major sights in southern Spain. Visit Ronda and see one of the country’s oldest bullrings. Take a day trip to Seville to tour the famous Cathedral that is allegedly the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. Spend the afternoon in Granada at the Moorish Castle Alhambra. Take the bus to the sleepy little village of Mijas. Go underground at the caves of Nerja.
Many visitors to Costa del Sol spend at least a day at Gibraltar, where you can visit St. Michael’s Cave and the great Siege Tunnels. Take the cable car up the top of the rock where you will enjoy a spectacular view of the coast. On a clear day from Gibraltar you can see Africa. And if you’d actually like to set foot in the exotic African city of Tangier, take a high-speed ferry across to another continent.

Shopping and dining in Costa del Sol

Dine al fresco along Spain’s sunny coast

At the weekly outdoor markets up and down the Sun Coast, you’ll find a variety of crafts, clothing, artwork, and leather goods — practically anything you want, including the kitchen sink! The shopping in Marbella rivals that of the French Rivera. Here you will find large shopping malls with designer stores.


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International cuisine is available all along the coast — in seaside restaurants, chic bistros and family-friendly fast-food spots. In Torremolinos, enjoy Spanish food in a restaurant run by a former bull fighter. British-style pubs with a Spanish flavor dot the coast. Three-course meals are offered at nearly every fine dining establishment. And of course the seafood fresh from the

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