Destination Immersion Blog

The home of insider destination info, travel tips and things Azamara

Big, Beautiful Barcelona

Abroad Lee Abbamonte

Barcelona is one of the five best cities in the world. As far as I am concerned, this is a fact, not opinion. Barcelona has everything you want a world-class city to offer. Barcelona is cool, historic, fun, interesting, trendy and everything in between. Whatever your taste, you can find it in the city of Gaudi.

barcelona-1

The reason I love Barcelona is because it combines so many great things but as a guy who loves cities and beaches, Barcelona offers some of the best urban beaches in the world – right up there with Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Cape Town. Walk down along the beaches of Barcelona and soak up the sun, culture and some great seaside restaurants and bars.

Follow that by heading up La Rambla when you hit El Monumento a Colón. La Rambla is one of the most famous and fascinating streets in the world to simply stroll and people watch. Street performances are the norm and they are some of the best I’ve seen anywhere in the world. La Rambla is lined with street side cafes that I would never recommend the food but there’s no better place to get a pitcher of sangria and just relax as the world walks by.

Barcelona

At the top of La Rambla is Plaça de Catalunya; the heart and soul of Barcelona. This is the main square and where everything originates. It’s a bit touristy but a great meeting place and starting point for wherever you want to go in Barcelona. Then head up Passeig de Gracia to the fashionable mecca of Barcelona for some great shopping, dining and nightlife.

For the best views and a place that many tourists neglect to visit, head up to Tibidabo. It’s easiest to grab a taxi and head up and when you do, make sure to hike all the way to the top of the church for panoramic views and a sense of how big and beautiful Barcelona is.

Then there is Gaudi.

Barcelona is known as the city of Gaudi and the great architect and artist has many spectacular buildings around town but none more famous than La Sagrada Familia. This is the most famous landmark in Catalonia and a must see attraction for tourists.

Barcelona

If you read me regularly then you know I am a huge sports fanatic. FC Barcelona is one of the world’s biggest and most important soccer or football teams. You can go to a game or at least do the Camp Nou experience where you can actually go on the field and in the locker rooms. There are also plenty of interactive exhibits and it’s very cool for sports fans. You may even run into Lionel Messi! Força Barça!

FC-Barcelona

Azamara has many landings and departures in and out of Barcelona, including these itineraries:

Aqualina With An Italian Twist

Guests have always enjoyed the delicous Mediterranean cuisine featured in our Aqualina specialty restaurant. Now, there are even more delectable options. We’re introducing a brand new Italian menu!

Aqualina will switch between the classic menu guests know and love, and an exciting new Italian menu, every five days. It’s the perfect excuse to indulge not once, but twice, during your cruise. Enjoy this sneak peek at the new appetizers, soups and salads. We hope to see you in Aqualina soon!

Gnocchi al Pesto

Gnocchi al Pesto

Homemade gnocchi with fresh basil sauce and toasted pine nuts.

Prosciutto con Melone Meli Melo

Prosciutto con Melone Meli Melo

Prosciutto with melon meli-melo, port wine gelee and parmesan mini grissini.

Vitello Tonnato

Vitello Tonnato

 

Seared tuna loin wrapped in veal crust, and served with venere rice salad.

Scallops Prosciutto

Scallops Prosciutto

 

Prosciutto-wrapped scallops served on a cauliflower-garlic puree and drizzled with balsamic.

Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci

Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci

 

Ricotta and spinach ravioli with tangy tomato sauce and porcini duxelle.

Vellutata di Granchio

Vellutata di Granchio

A rich and meaty crab bisque soup.

Giardino Dolce Zuppa Di Piselli

Giardino Dolce Zuppa Di Piselli

Garden sweet pea soup, garnished with fried shaven fennel.

Sicilian Tomato and Onion Salad

Sicilian Tomato and Onion Salad

A salad of tomato, vidalia onion and homemade farmer’s cheese.

The best part? This is just a taste of the menu. You can look forward to sampling other mouth-watering dishes like crab bisque, truffle risotto, and limoncello souffle. There’s a reason our food is so AzAmazing – Azamara Club Cruises Corporate Executive Chef, Robert van Rijsbergen! He created this new menu, based on the bold flavors of the Italian ports we visit. Read a Q&A with him here.

Aboard the Azamara Journey – Part Four

Az the World Turns

Our last ports-of-call: Dublin, Dartmouth, Guernsey, Southampton

Dublin

Dublin

Dublin, a delightful city. People are free and generous with their sense of humor. You can tell they like to laugh. We took a morning walking tour of town given by a Dubliner named Claire. We visited various highlights including the immense and gorgeously landscaped Stevens Park. Throughout town we pass statues and monuments memorializing famous Irish literary figures such as James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The museums are free, there’s the National Library where one can do genealogy research, and there is great shopping. In fact, Dublin is the only stop on this cruise where I’ve purchased anything: two plaid wool scarves and two wool winter hats. We had a midnight departure so Peter & I went ashore after dinner. We came across excellent bands playing in the streets and handsome happy youth everywhere.

Read full post

Looking Ahead to Osaka

adv-abroad-lee-abbamonte

I have written thousands of blog posts on my own site and for countless others all over the world but this post is a first for me. I am writing this blog post about Osaka, Japan and I have never been there before. I will be going early next year with Azamara, but for now it is one of the few major cities on Earth I have not been to. That said, I think this will be fun and I definitely look forward to writing another after I visit Osaka.

Osaka-1

Read full post

Aboard The Azamara Journey – Part Three

The pace of port visits is picking up on this cruise onboard the Azamara Journey. We’re visiting a new port, strike that, a new world every day now.

Liverpool is not at all what I expected. It’s alive, modern and vibrant. Liverpool has a mix of history and ultra-modernity that works. It also has one of the most beautifully designed waterfronts I’ve visited by sea. There’s a lovely pier dotted with modern museums, such as the Tate Liverpool, and historical buildings, as well as interpretive signage and even bicycles to rent by the hour.

Read full post