Monday, January 23, 2017

Barcelona, Spain

The ship left Cannes on Thursday evening and set sail for Barcelona, Spain. During the night, there were 8o knot winds and seas officially classified as "Rough". Our room was midships ("near the middle" for landlubbers) and remained fairly comfortable. Passengers close to the pointed end or those near the rear of the ship did not fare so well and had developed highly exaggerated tales of derring-do by breakfast the following day.

See Slideshow

December 8th was the following day. Unbeknownst to us latter-day pagans, this is the day for the celebration of the Immaculate Conception - a big deal in Spain and other western European countries. Building on my unchallenged ignorance and using powerful computational skills, it soon became apparent that there was nowhere near nine months between December 8th and December 25th - just 17 days in fact, so what gives? Turns out that the Immaculate Conception is nothing to do with the conception or the birth of Jesus but refers instead to the conception of Mary by her parents, Saints Joachim and Anne. This leads right away to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Feast Day on September 8th. Another long cherished misconception dashed!

But what about Christmas Day? Just another gap in our education and another feast we have missed all these years - The Incarnation of Christ, also known as Annunciation Day, is March 25th, the day the magic deed occurred and, as fate would have it, exactly nine months before Christmas! So it all came out OK in the end.

Back to Barcelona. It was thronging with people enjoying the festival, the weather was excellent and there was a lot to see. We spent our time in the Gothic Quarter, the old town area comprising mainly medieval and some Roman buildings lining the narrow streets and numerous squares. Generally a great day.