SPAIN – April 10 - 13



BARCELONA  - received April 11

(Written by Steve)

We just spent 2 wonderful days in Barcelona and we enjoyed every minute of it. The streets, the shops and the café’s are everything you would think that Europe was all about. We are just getting ready to sail to Malaga in the next hour and that is where will end the sailing portion of this great journey. You see, we only have one body of water to cross before we will have completed an entire trip around the world. We will be writing so much more about this wonderful country (Spain) as we will be spending the next 2 months driving the roads and seeing all the wonderful sights the Spanish have to offer us. We will get off this old Gal in 2 days and then pick up a car that will take us through Portugal, Spain, France and Italy and then we will drop the car off in Spain and travel by train for a bit. We then will pick up another car and drive up into northern Europe and spend the next couple of months driving around up there. In total we hope to be driving around all of Europe for about 4 months and then, who knows. Maybe down to South Africa and then back to Japan or Vietnam and finish up in Australia. Anyways, after 100 days at sea will be entering a whole new way of traveling and we are nervously excited about doing it. Oh ya, I‘m supposed to be talking about Barcelona aren’t I? O.K., here are a few facts about this super city and we put a full story in the new section “European Vacation”.


A few facts for you:


Barcelona city, northeastern Spain, capital of Barcelona Province and the autonomous region of Catalonia, a seaport on the Mediterranean Sea between the Llobregat and Besós rivers. Barcelona is the second largest Spanish city in population and the principal industrial and commercial center of the country. The chief manufactures are textiles, precision instruments, machinery, railroad equipment, paper, glass, and plastics. Barcelona is a major Mediterranean port and a financial and publishing center of Spain.


Barcelona Province, the most populous and industrialized of the Spanish provinces, is mountainous, with fertile plains and a low, sandy coast. Agricultural products include cork, olives, grains, vegetables, grapes, almonds, oranges, and peaches. Cement and textiles are the major manufactures, and lignite and potash are mined.


The oldest section of the city of Barcelona, formerly enclosed by walls, was built on the harbor and is traversed by the Rambla, a paved thoroughfare extending from the harbor to the Plaza de Cataluña, the focal point of the city. The streets of the old section are narrow and crooked; in the newer sections they are wide and straight, and the buildings are modern. Dominating Barcelona's skyscape are the fantastic openwork spires of Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia (Church of the Sacred Family), a huge, unfinished cathedral notable for the elaborate patterns and undulating curves characteristic of its builder, the Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí y Cornet. Other points of major interest include the Church of San Pablo del Campo (914), the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, a monument to Christopher Columbus, and the nearby peak Tibidabo (532 m/1745 ft). Among the many cultural institutions are the University of Barcelona (1450), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1968), the Royal Archives of Aragón, the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum.


According to legend, Barcelona was founded as Barcino about 230BC by the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca. The region became part of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century bc; it was ruled by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD , was conquered by the Moors in 713, and was captured by Charlemagne, King of the Franks, in 801. Under Frankish rule the city and the supporting region became the self-governing county of Catalonia, or Barcelona. The region was absorbed into the kingdom of Aragón in 1137. Barcelona thereafter gained in commercial and political importance as a Mediterranean trading and shipping center. Barcelona's prosperity diminished after the kingdoms of Aragón and Castile united in 1479 and subsequently imposed restrictive trade policies on the city. In 1833 Barcelona Province was established, with Barcelona as the provincial capital. In the 19th and 20th centuries Barcelona was a center of Catalan regionalism, anarchy, and industrial unrest. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the city was the seat of the autonomous Catalan government and was a Loyalist stronghold. It was heavily bombed in 1938 by the insurgents, or Nationalists, who finally captured the city on January 26, 1939. Barcelona's selection as the site for the 1992 Summer Olympics sparked a massive municipal redevelopment program.


We will let you know what it is like to be living on land again in the next few days, until then, ciao!



Retrieved from

Once away from the holiday costas, you could only be in Spain. In the cities, narrow twisting old streets suddenly open out to views of daring modern architecture, while spit-and-sawdust bars serving wine from the barrel rub shoulders with blaring, glaring discos.

Travel is easy, accommodation plentiful, the climate benign, the people relaxed, the beaches long and sandy, the food and drink easy to come by and full of regional variety. More than 50 million foreigners a year visit Spain, yet you can also travel for days and hear nothing but Spanish.

Geographically, Spain's diversity is immense. There are endless tracts of wild and crinkled sierra to explore, as well as some spectacularly rugged stretches of coast between the beaches.

Culturally, the country is littered with superb old buildings, from Roman aqueducts and Islamic palaces to Gothic cathedrals. Almost every second village has a medieval castle. Spain has been the home of some of the world's great artists — El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí — and has museums and galleries to match. The country vibrates with music of every kind —from the drama of flamenco to the melancholy lyricism of the Celtic music and gaitas (bagpipes) of the northwest.

Full country name: Spain
Area: 505,000 sq km
Population: 42.7 million
Capital City: Madrid
People: Castilians, Basques, Catalans, Galicians, Moroccans, South Americans
Language: Catalan, Basque, Gallegan, Spanish
: 85% Roman Catholic; 2% Jewish; 2% Muslim
Government: parliamentary monarchy
Head of State: King Juan Carlos I
Head of Government: President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero