Mediterranean Cruise Day One – Barcelona

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Hello one and all!  I know I’ve not blogged in literally forever, but I’m back!!!  Since I last wrote I’ve retired from my job as a bedside RN in Neonatal Care after 35 years.  For a while, we hope to do some traveling, and my plan is to document it here.  In mid-September we did a 12 night Mediterranean cruise, embarking from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.  We had cruised at least 5 times before, (Alaska, Mexico, New England, Panama Canal, Caribbean) so I felt like we were “seasoned cruisers”.  We booked this trip back in March and did LOTS of research about our ports of call prior to the big day.  Another exciting thing was that we cruised with our neighbors, Brian & Paul.  Here we are, pictured above with all our stuff (which I struggled to put into just two suitcases per person, one big and one carry-on) packed into Brian and Paul’s car.  We decided to take the shuttle down to SeaTac airport instead of driving and paying to park for 17 days.

It was a very long trip.  This is an understatement.  We knew it would be grueling and for a couple of “older folks”, it was.  If you consider the time getting to Seattle, the time waiting to catch our overnight flight to Amsterdam, the flight TO Amsterdam, and the flight from Amsterdam to Barcelona, the total travel time was about 21 hours. We arrived totally exhausted, but determined to stay awake until the normal local bedtime… which we succeeded in doing.

We arrived 3 days prior to our big cruise which was intentional.  We wanted some time not only to explore Barcelona, but also to visit with John’s son, David (who we hadn’t seen for over a year).  He lives/works in London UK. He arrived from London just minutes after we arrived from Amsterdam and we met up in the airport.  :)  It was so great to get to have a couple of fun days with David!  First stop was our hotel, Hotel Indigo Barcelona.  Now I cannot take credit for finding this gem of a hotel… hubby did the research on this and we were all very pleased.

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Here is our room…. absolutely LOVELY and modern.  The bed was honestly the most comfortable hotel bed I have EVER slept on…. could this be because I was one very weary traveler?  Possibly, but this really was one great bed!

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Here is a view from our little balcony, looking down onto the busy street below.  We were on Floor 2, which in Europe really means the third floor.  They count the ground floor as “floor 1″.  My apologies to all who already knew that little piece of info.  We read on Trip Advisor that some folks complained about the street noise, but we weren’t bothered by that since the windows are triple glazed and did a good job of blocking out the all day and all night traffic.

Our first order of business, after securing our rooms was to get something to eat.  David got a recommendation from the front desk clerk for a non-touristy place for Tapas.  It was only a few block walk… which would have been NOTHING for normal people, but we were SO tired and my bad leg was also SO tired, that it seemed further.  Just for the record, I’ll say right up front that my bad leg was literally a PAIN IN THE….. well, hip, the whole time.  I now will fully admit that I should have had the replacement surgery back in March when I wanted it – no matter WHAT kind of implant they wanted to put in!  Yet, one cannot go backwards, only forwards, so I did the best I could with what I had (a degenerated hip joint).

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We sat outside at this nice, busy, non-touristy restaurant.  The weather was divine!  About 75 degrees here in the early evening (about 7 pm or so).  Oh, at this point I will mention that Europeans – or at least folks in Barcelona – normally eat dinner quite late…. like 9 or 10 pm.  That may be why this place was not yet filled to the max.  Anyway, it was here that I had my first CAVA (Spanish sparkling wine, mostly produced right here in Catalonia) which was delightful.  It seemed that it was the tradition to start dinner with Cava everywhere we went.  We had Tapas (an assortment of interesting appetizers) but unfortunately I didn’t snap a photo of them.  You will see later on that I enjoyed taking photos of meals…. but I digress.   It was also here that I had my first real Spanish Sangria!  Yum!

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Here’s a nice shot of David, just chillin’ over the Tapas and wine :)

After dinner we began our walk back to Hotel Indigo.  On the way we came across a place that I HAD to document! What the heck??

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It’s the OBAMA British Africa Pub.  They apparently serve “Ales, Stouts, Gin, and Rhum”.  I know this is not a great photo, but I snapped it while walking across a busy street.  Looks like an interesting place, eh?  Then we saw “him”.  Mr Obama himself, just lounging outside the establishment….

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No surprise, hubby had to go sit with “him” for a while.  I can only imagine what John may have said to our President.  Hmmmm.

From here, we dragged our sorry behinds to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.  We would need it as the next day was an all day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat.  Montserrat was where I nearly kicked the proverbial bucket …. but more on that next time!

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