WELCOME TO OUR 2009
MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE VACATION
Spain | Posted by Don
Nov 27 2009
|Well hello from Europe! I must say that air travel is the worst. Right
after we make through security (no big deal) we hit the duty free shop for a
couple of bottles of adult beverages. Being we are flying internationally
we can do this. Moments before we leave, a little man with a little red cart
shows up with our bottles (If we only had brought some straws!) we carry our
bottles on board and pack in the overhead.
We board our plane right on time 5:30 PM and spend the next 7 hours and
20 minutes flying to Paris, Ah, gay Parei. We arrive at around 7AM Paris
time and there is almost no one around. We get off the plane and everyone
goes one way and we seem to be the only people taking a connection flight!
With several points and words like Barcelona and Air France, he knows where we get off and with a very stuffy look he says ‘c’est votre arrêt’. Which I believe means get off my damn bus.
With several checks with every one we meet we somehow finally find gate F25 in one of the largest airports in the world. Oh wait… Next problem…
It seams that the alcohol we purchased in Newark is now not allowed on the plane. It’s the same stuff that they are selling duty free about 20 feet from where we are standing and that alcohol would be allowed on the plane. So Karen shoves the bottles into her backpack and runs back to check her backpack as another bag. While Karen slugs her way through the international security process – again, I take some pictures of the Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Oh, look, Karen’s back and doesn’t she look happy?
|So we find the gate and we sit down in a normal airport gate waiting area. They finally call that our plane is leaving and we must board. So everyone gets up, gets in line, gets their ticket scanned, walks down that little walkway that leads to the plane and… get on a bus! Not just any bus, but a standing room only, sardine packed style bus where we wait, standing for a half hour, until it has been proven to the drivers satisfaction, through various attempts to pack just one more person in the bus, that it is no longer physically possible! After being driven around for a half hour we are finally dumped out in front of our plane on the tarmac.|
We arrive in Barcelona and get a cab. Our driver is unique in that he
apparently has both
the swine flu and TB and every 10 minutes coughs up one or both lungs.
(You can see the indents on the dashboard).
Both Karen and I have alcohol pads rolled up in our nostrils and hope for the best.
We are both exhausted and want to watch survivor (Thank God for Sling box).
I will try to blog more after a few hours sleep. Peace out…
I’m telling you there are no lanes of traffic, there are only
spaces too small for a scooter to get through and those that are not.
And scooters are EVERYWHERE. Well we are up for breakfast and out to see the town. I’ll blog more later.
|I wake up too early and can’t get back to sleep.
Karen’s out like a light. I try to get back to sleep watching Baywatch in
Spanish. Unfortunately the boobs are equally entertaining and it’s a no go
for the sleep thing.
Around 11AM we head out to exchange our bus vouchers for tickets. This turns into an 11 block expedition with multiple ‘do you speak English?’ conversations with the locals. I eventually find the place. To make it extra easy to find there are no street signs and they put the place underground! Nice.
The tourist bus is really a good way to see a lot if you have very little
You can jump off at any stop, go explore and hop back on the next bus.
After our excursion on the Red Line we decide to head back to our room for a little break and
then head out on the Blue line, (It covers a different section of the city.)
Back at the room, I laps into a comma (remember that can’t sleep stuff I
but Karen, the deep sleeper, decides to do a little shopping and explore while I am sleeping.
It’s 5pm (11am at home) and we head out for the spot where we get on the
Blue Line bus.
Four Red Line buses pass but no Blue… Finally…
It’s dark now but the city looks great at night.
This is a wonderful city to explore. The people, for the most part, are friendly and helpful.
We jump off the bus in the merchant section.
We are told the 4 km stretch of shops and street stalls is the longest in Europe.
Everything is pretty expensive (with a 16% VAT tax).
Karen & I being the big spenders we are buy a couple of scarves and go back
to the bus stop to wait for the Blue Line bus. We wait, and wait, and wait for 45 minutes.
|I’m not getting off that damn Blue Line bus again. We decide to let the
bus take us back to where we got on and call it a day. But wait, yet
another surprise. Lucky us, this is the last bus of the day and it stops at
the central location. Everybody off. We have a general idea were
we are (as like we're in Europe) and are surrounded by thousands of people, but we have no clue which
way to go to get back to our room. Karen asks this guy, who turns out to be
English (thank you Lord). He gives us directions but really thought it was
far too far to walk. Yeh, I bet they told that to Lewis and Clark too, so we
thanked him and started hoofing it.
Well after a few miles (all uphill) we finally start to recognize where
we are. It’s around 10PM now and we are both really tired and hungry. Karen is
determined to eat at one of the local restaurants, you know, really soak up
the local flavor. So she finds this little place and we go in, we study the
menu (all in Spanish), and then Karen, in the best Spanish she can summon,
blurts out the order absolutely perfectly. “Dose Big Macs y fries grande por favor”.
checked out Las Ramblas on foot and took the bus again. Las Ramblas in
Barcelona is approximately 1.2 kilometers long with Port Vell (near the
cruise port terminal) at the Southern most end and Placa Catalunya at the
northern most end. If you have your back to Port Vell and you are looking
up towards Catalunya along the Ramblas on your left hand side is the Raval
area and on your right-hand side is the Barri Gotic (or Gothic Quarter).
My favorites were the guys dressed as statues.
Here’s some pictures from today…
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