An EPIC Summer- 4 Months in the Mediterranean – Port 1: Barcelona
This is the first post of a bunch about my adventures in Europe.
I had the privilege to be the drummer for the Blue Man Group aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s EPIC ship, where we cruised through the Mediterranean for four months. The EPIC is basically a huge floating city, complete with enough cabins for 5,000 guests, 1,700 crew, 22 restaurants, a pool deck, water slides, a sports deck, rock wall, outdoor mega-screen club/bar/sundeck, a spa with wet and dry saunas and hydrotherapy pool, passenger and crew gyms, outdoor jogging track, comedy club, Cirque tent, casino, many bars, bowling, art gallery, Crew Bar, and of course, the EPIC theater, where Legends in Concert would perform Tuesday thru Thursday, and the Blue Man Group would perform Friday thru Monday. There was no shortage of fun to be had on the ship….
But this post is about what we did in port. We sailed the same route each week: Sunday was Barcelona, Spain; Monday was at sea the entire day; Tuesday was Naples, Italy; Wednesday was Civitaveccia, Italy: the port nearest to Rome; Thursday was Livorno, close to Florence, Italy; Friday was Cannes, France; and Saturday was Palma, Majorca, an island just off of Spain. Then it was back to Barcelona on Sunday to do it all over again. Barcelona was where the whole adventure began for our cast. We were all flown from our respective home cities to Barcelona where we had one night, followed by a 6am call the next morning to catch the bus into port, where we would first board the EPIC.
I’m currently working on all of my photos from the entire 4 months of traveling. Organizing the photos by port made the most sense to me, so this first installment is Barcelona. The photos were taken over the course of 4 months, and mostly on Sundays. After my contract was over, two members of the cast and myself decided to stay in Barcelona for several days, just to unwind, and really explore the city, and perhaps party a bit. A bit. This was the first time that we really had a chance to explore at night, which was great. By chance, our contract ended right when La Mercé was starting up. La Mercé is Barcelona’s biggest annual celebration city wide. There were huge stages with bands and orchestras playing; even more street performances, and parades than usual (and there’s a lot on a regular basis there); There was literally too much to take in, too much to see and do, and waaaaay too much to photograph. If only I could show you everything that I saw- but there was just too much. And, uh, there was the time when I left my iPhone in it’s wallet case, complete with credit cards, AND which was my only camera, on a bus in port in Barcelona…. but I’ll save that story for another post… 😉
So keep in mind, that although I’m posting a LOT of pictures here, my experience was so much more than it’s even possible to show you. The photos I have to offer are merely a smattering of what I actually saw.
I also have several more posts from Barcelona on their way, each dedicated to one specific place.
But for now, here’s my first EPIC summer post.
They are presented as a gallery, and you can click on any picture to see it full size, then click on the right or left arrows to move forward or back thru the pictures.
Welcome to BCN!
Looking down one of the many side streets off of La Rambla, which is one of the main streets in the center of town.
2 Blue Men, 3 Band Men. From Left: Peter “Fresh” Musante, Terry “Tibidaba” Tungjungyatham, Jon “Whoyagonnacall” Dusoe, Brian “the Tav” Tavener, and mî!
A beautiful market that we only got to see on the Saturday we arrived, as it was closed on Sundays, our day in BCN!
funghi and oil
Those macadamia nuts! They were expensive, but probably the best I’ve ever had!
Found this little gem: a “NO TAV” sign. Sorry Tav, you’re not welcome here…
love the buildings, and balconies here…
The Colombus Statue, and Sunday Flea Market. The Columbus Statue was a sort of meeting point. It’s a statue of Columbus pointing the way to the New World, and greets guests as they enter the city from the Port.
Plaça Del Rei, The Old King’s Palace, and the actual steps that Colombus came to after traveling to the New World…
The other side of Plaça Del Rei, known as the Capella de Santa Agata. Notice the bikes? Those are bikes that locals pay about $40/year to use. They use them for 30 min at a time, and there are parking spots all around the city, so just take a bike and go. There’s also a truck which balances the equation out, so if everyone is going to the beach one day, the truck gets the excess bikes from the beach, and returns them to locations that need more bikes. Pretty Cool.
On a random walkabout one Sunday, Terry and I heard a commotion down the street. Music, singing, and a whole ton of people…
We followed them into a courtyard where there was a huge gathering of people, with women and girls dressed in beautiful traditional Spanish dresses….
There were decorated Oxen, pulling a huge cart that had an altar of some sort, with towers modeled after those on Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – which I’ll post more about soon.
The 42nd Anniversary, of what, I cannot say, but it sure was a celebration. There were guitarists, people with tambourines, and other instruments who would burst into song, everyone clapping and singing along, as the beautiful Spanish ladies danced…
Plaça de Sant Jaume
Terry and I left the crowd, to explore some of the architecture down a quiet street…
…only to be joined by uniformed men playing marching band instruments on horseback… a Spanish horseback band?
We were literally pined against the wall as the parade made it’s way thru. So cool to get up so close to this!
After the parade, and all the excitement, we found our way into the Cathedral of Barcelona… at least part of it, and actually beat the crowd that was entering just as we were leaving!
from very ancient, to the very modern Plaça Nova- where we got to see them working on this crazy art installation.
This was a display hanging high up in a store. I had some fun with removing the colors from the background.
Jordan, this one’s for you!
New Star Wars VANS are a hit over here too!
This was a statue on the way into a store, which you had to walk through to get to a secret internet cafe out the back. I had some fun processing this pic, to give it a very otherworldly feel.
Me n Terry, grubbin! Bocadillos (like a sub sandwich on really good bread) over there are great!
My beautiful wife, Yuki came to visit for a week, so we had 2 sundays, before and after the cruise, in Barcelona. Hard saying goodbye to her…
Jump ahead several weeks, and Danilo, the Musical Instrument Tech for the Blue Man show, and I went on a bike-about- and stumbled upon the beautiful Park De La Ciutadella.
Which, of course, had a life size wooly mammoth statue.
The water in the park was really this color.
Passeig de Lluis Companys.
Me n Danilo!
Arc de Triomf!
the completed modern art piece, with Danilo Portrait!
Biking was a great way to get around in port. I bought the red & white one in Palma Majorca, our Saturday stop, and kept it on the ship, so I’d have wheels in port whenever I needed it.
Pato was in the Blue Man Band on the EPIC the contract before I was, so we met on our “crossover” week, and Janine was a singer/dancer for Legends in Concert, and became my good friend on the ship, and fellow port explorer.
Pat makes this art himself. It’s made from spray painted bass strings!
more of Pato’s art.
Pato art. Zither strings on canvas.
Vegetarian places a plenty in BCN! This was Vegetalia which had a great veggie burger, and plenty of honey!
The train system was pretty easy, and cheap. I love cities that have a good public transportation system.
BCN from the bridge to our terminal in port.
I love drum lamp.
New Canadian friends!
The photos from here on out were taken after our contract, when Brian, Terry, and I stayed in BCN for a week. So we were taking advantage of the night life. Plus, we happened to be there during La Mercé, which was very lucky, and meant that we saw some awesome music on big outdoor stages like this one!
This bread with tomato-something was everywhere, and it was great!
A Duo performing music- I couldn’t understand the words, but I could feel the passion of the music!
Love this. Old pin up art with extra added tattoos.
Pato brought us to a club-club. On a monday night, this place was goin’ off!
the Cronut: croissant-donut… wow!
the door knockers in Europe are fantastic!
Terry’s beautifuly poured espresso, or whatever this was.
Another lucky ‘just-stumbled-upon’ the Barcelona orchestra playing West Side Story in front of Gaudi’s Basilica!
A Tarantino inspired bar!
…and La Cereria! This place was awesome!
Brian, Myself, and Terry staring into our future.
yerba mate, done by a pro
Curalatodo: the “cures all” – Hot OJ with honey and spiced rum! Delicioso!
This pizza… I can’t even tell you how good it was… the crust at this place was something magical. Some kind of dough that’s even supposed to be healthier, but that didn’t really matter, cuz it was just sooooooo good!
Terry’s razzberry cheesecake.
Then on to the Absinthe bar!
pic of pics. little tiny pictures made up this bigger one.
street performer in prep.
a different street performer. She would come to life when she heard coins drop into her bucket.
Patas Bravas! …and some awesome shrimp somethingerother
quite a cake!
some experiments with a long exposure app…
inside the mammoth museam.
made of mammoth tusk.
the black madonna.
man’s early cave paintings. Art is natural human expression.
probably the best thing I’ve ever had. I just can’t describe the taste these little fishes can deliver…
train station long expo…
an outdoor market
On a bikeabout, I just happened upon a Japanese festival in Barcelona!
Kakigori- Japanese shaved ice.
A traditional game where people try to catch goldfish with this little thin piece of paper in a plastic loop-handle. If you catch it without breaking the paper, you keep the fish!
BCN skate park. This is one of the iPhone panoramic pics, that you take from left to right. A girl was walking the other way, so I only caught a sliver of her. Gotta love the digital photo glitches!
fun with long expo… BCN by the beach at night!
Back at the airport- by BCN!!