We arrived in Barcelona on another overcast day. It was as if the world was as sad about us leaving our wonderful cruise ship. But alas, Barcelona stood waiting to be explored. We decided to tour via the “hop-on hop-off” bus with three 2-hour routes covering the city highlights. A two day pass would enable us to be quickly transported to key areas and allow for a possible second visit, if the site warranted. We boarded the two-decker open-topped bus next to our hotel (how convenient, I guess it pays to stay at the Ritz – really) and we were off. Our first stop was the historic Gothic area of town. Big plazas and narrow winding streets enticed us to go further.


Interesting side streets in the Gothic area

You never know who or what is looking down on you, in the alleyway!


Front of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

We enjoyed a visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The 7 Euro price of admission was worth it as it greatly reduced the crowds and enabled a leisurely exploration. But the rest of the city beckoned, so we headed out and back to the bus stop.

The church has a simple architecture, very pleasing to the eye.

The church has a simple architecture, very pleasing to the eye.

The stained glass in this church is exceptional.

The stained glass in this church is exceptional.

With the fresh air around us, the open air bus was a delightful way to see the city…. until it began to drizzle. At the next stop we chose to switch to a bus that had a covered top.  Although the cover limited the views upward and outward, it was more pleasant than getting wet. The temperatures continued to  drop, the wind picked up and the drizzle turned to a downpour.  Cameras were put away for safety. It was now too late to go below, as it was packed. Now at the furthest point from our hotel, 90 minutes across town, we found ourselves huddled under the flimsy roof tarp. Around each turn, the rain pour over the roof and across the seats. Beautiful Barcelona had become a raw and miserable endurance event. Dismayed we took very few pictures, but we still had two things going for us:

A hot shower and a second day in Barcelona.

We awoke late to rain… As soon as the pavement began to dry we were back on the bus and headed to the Barcelona icon La Sagrada Familia basilica. We soon found that the bus system was over capacity and people were lined up at each stop. Those that dared get off the bus had a minimum of a 30 minute queue awaiting them to get back on. Similar queues wound around each site’s entrance, and views of the mobs inside did not motivate us to brave the queues. Hours later, the only thing we accomplished was waiting for the bus. We had seen nothing.

Not everyday works out for the photographer. And our two days in Barcelona were a bust!

It may be all about the light, but a few breaks along the way wouldn’t hurt.