SOVEREIGN 24th September 2016 (part 2)
Saturday 24th September 2016
I was up and breakfasted in my La Rambla hotel when the gunfire started. Yes, real gunfire, and I could see from my balcony the smoke getting nearer and nearer. Nobody seemed to be panicking so I asked the receptionist what was happening and she told me it was Barcelona's Saints' Day and weekend, and this was part of the celebrations.
The gunfire continued and the noise reverberated amongst the other tall old buildings around me; soon I could see the men in their white shirts, black trousers and red sashes nearby where they turned into a side road and into another part of the Gothic Quarter behind me. At the same time there was more activity from the other direction and a procession arrived. It was stilt-walkers, wearing huge and decorative costumes, walking up the middle of La Rambla, accompanied by various other people in costumes. I understand the stilt-walkers represented all the Saints of the city - there were dozens of them! The costumes were amazing and wonderful to see and musicians seemed to be accompanying them too.
As the procession passed and turned into the Gothic Quarter behind me, following the gun fire, I checked out and left the hotel and walked down La Rambla in the sunshine to get the local bus to take me to the cruise terminal. There I met several fellow travellers, and could hand in my small suitcase (such a novelty after so much travelling with a rucksack!). We are to sail on the good ship SOVEREIGN, belonging to the Spanish brand PULLMANTUR. That done, we could return to the city and enjoy a harbour tour on the little OMNIBUS. As well as several cruise ships in port, we enjoyed seeing a little vessel tucked away in Port Vells fishing area of the port. CONSTANCIA had delightful lines, and I later discovered she was built in 1947 at 210 gross tons as a yacht named BREMEN.
Two of us walked back to the ship so we could take photos on the way, queued to check in at the terminal and once on board could head for Deck 11 and buffet lunch. Our fare is all inclusive on this ship and we were all happy to start enjoying the Spanish Cava.
Soon it was time for Boat Drill; we sailed out of Barcelona in the late warm sunshine and I could take photos of the GNV vessel Stena Nordica which I saw in the distance at a very remote part of the harbour.
Our group of 14 had been allocated first sitting dinner, at two tables, at 7.30 p.m. which suited us nicely. Our venue for meeting after dinner was the Sky Bar on deck 14, otherwise known to us as the Viking Crown Lounge for the rest of the cruise. That was the end of an enjoyable first day.
Ships seen: Sovereign, SNAV Adriatico, Eurocargo Genova of Grimaldi, Super-Fast Levante, Navigator of the Seas, MEIN Schiff 3, Constancia (a small attractive vessel built in 1947 at 210 gross as the yacht Bremen), Omnibus for the harbour tour, Independence of the Seas, London Express container ship, Stena Nordica with GNV
To be continued...