Europe, North America · 10 Days · 61 Moments · May 2017

danielle's adventure in Barcelona, Spain

5 June 2017

And thats a wrap. After an amazing trip we headed to the airport monday morning for Danielle to head to Pittsburgh and Ben to head to Budapest for work. The only travel story is that we got to the airport around 930am for 1pm flights with the intention of getting all our bags checked with two airlines and grabbing breakfast once we got thru security. Well bens flight was with Lot airline, Polands # 1airline. They apparently had no other flights that day so they didnt even open up a ticket counter until 1045am, 90 min before ben was supposed to board. But it all worked out and we were able to grab a bite before security and some wine after security. So we said our goodbyes and headed on our ways.

4 June 2017

Dinner of tapas in barcelona with hot chocolate for dessert! The hot chocolate was so thick it tasted like they just melted a hershey bar.
Walked up a massive hill to park guille. The hill was so steep at points there were escalators. We were told there would a castle with gorgeous stain glass but we quickly realized the park was huge and as soon as we reached the higest point and took some picks it started to rain... and then pour... we started our walk back to the hotel with the intention of grabbing a cab and literally couldnt find one... also couldnt find a nonsketchy bar to duck into so we trudged 2.5 miles back to the gran hotel torre catalunya soaking wet. What adventures on the last day!
Lunch at Tragaluz. Hands down one of the best meals we've ever had. Started with tomato and toasted bread with olive oil and maldon salt and a puglian burrata (mozerella cheese with a soft center) and tomato salad, for our entrees ben had a filet mignon with potato mash and squared potatos; danielle had suckling pig with creamy avocado and grilled onions. For dessert we had foamy creme brule and mate cheese and ice cream and fruit and honey.
When nothing in a town opens before 1pm on sundays you have to find other stuff to do.
We stayed on the boat as long as possible but they gave us the boot.

3 June 2017

Last night on the boat consisted of a Jimmy Buffet tribute set by Kelly Goodrich, a Puss in Boots siting, and the karaoke all star championship
Ben writing thank you notes to Allan our assistant waiter and Winsome.
Our last stop of the cruise was Marseille. The cruise ship didnt provide free transport from the boat so we shared a taxi with a lovely couple from Galway Ireland. Marseille was described by our guidebook as a gritty old port city and thats what we found. There were fish and flower stands along the water. The town only had a couple of "points of interest" so we mostly just strolled along the water and went into a French sweet shop. Then we had lunch at one of the many outside eating establishments around the water, got some gelato and called it a day.

2 June 2017

Second to last night in the dining room was formal night! After dinner we wandered the boat for something to do. James Brown (not that one) was playing depressing music in the bull and bear. There was dancing under the stars by the rooftop pool but it was cold and windy. We tried olive or twist but it was like a depressing hotel lobby. Finally we found som karaoke with some super lively people... we didnt sing but we had alot of fun watching others.
After a day on shore came back a little early to get some swim time in!
Nice (French Riviera). We took a train from Villefranche-sur-mar to Nice. Walked around the streets then had a ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette at an outdoor restaurant. We then walked to the water where we found a very rocky beach and we put our feet in the water. We then walked down the beach and found a beachside bar/club where we had a beer while looking at the Mediterranean. The bar we had a beer at felt like a private club.. you could rent a chair and umbrella for €16 a day, but they were happy to take €8/beer from us. Also, we saw our first topless sunbather!
Villefranche-sur-mar was our port city where we could take a train west to Nice or east to Monaco. The biggest draw of Monaco is the casino and marveling at the rich and famous, so we decided to head to Nice. The Ville was a super cute seaside town with lots of restaurants overlooking the yacht filled inlet.
Our first tendering (taking a small boat to the port)
Taking an easy morning before going into Nice
We are only pretending to go for a run. Great views from the boat this morning!

1 June 2017

The port of La Spezia, with the Alps off in the distance to the right. Just about ready to push back from Italy and head towards France!
Wine tasting in Tuscany. A case of wine is being shipped to PA 🤗🤗
Couple of pics of the alps we passed on our way to the next excursion
Leaning tower of Pisa. We opted not to do the picture of us holding it up.
Largest Bapistry in Europe.
The first building is for baptisms, the second is a church and the leaning tower is a bell tower. They were built when pisa was wealthy and thats why 3 buildings were built instead of one. All 3 buildings are actually leaning, but the tower is the most noticeable.
This morning is Pisa. This is our tour guide Andrea.

31 May 2017

Our "my time" dining room, Galileo. We got to preselect our dining time and get our own table (dont have to sit with strangers). Our waiters names are Johnathon and Allan.
We like to have beers waiting for the ship to leave port after long days
Civitavecchia is an ugly industrial port, but even though they say all roads lead to Rome... this is the closest port 😂😂
The last stop of the day was st. Peters basillica in the Vatican. The line was super long and we didn't have much time to do too much so we ate gelato and had Peronis and walked around gift shops until it was time to head back to the boat.
Our second stop of the day was supposed to take us to the trevi fountain and Spanish steps but ben and i decided we couldnt leave italy without eating pasta so we did what the Romans would do and found a little restaurant off the beaten path where we got home made mozzarella with thin sliced ham, home made pasta and red wine. It was amazing and we had no regrets about missing the tourist spots.
Our first stop was the Colloseum and ancient ruins district. We were advised we wouldn't have enough time to wait in line and see the Colosseum so we toured the Roman Forum after walking the outside of the Colosseum. We listened to a Rick Steves audio walking tour while we walked through the ancient ruins and saw where Julius Ceasar was stabbed to death (beware the ides of march)! Apparently, all of these things in Rome weren't built in a day.
Today is Rome! We did an excusion called Rome in a Day. We take a tour bus to 3 parts of Rome and then are on our own at each spot. Our tour guide's name is Massimo and he gave us alot of insight during the bus ride from port and around the city.

30 May 2017

We ended the night with a towel shaped like a duck and turned our room into a movie theater for office christmas party (which we made it halfway thru before falling alseep)
Needed a poolside drink after a long day on land!
Walked through Naples, eating gelato. Then, returned to the terminal to meet up with the boat.
Guided tour through Pompeii, an ancient city that was destroyed when Vesuvio erupted in 79 AD. Way bigger than expected... huge city.
Pizza lunch in pompeii
Hiked up Mt Vesuvius which was 1.5 miles each way. It was super steep and really rocky. When we got to the top we had a snack of bruchetta (€1) and wine (€1.5)
Before our excursion we waited in an auditorium, then boarded a bus and immediately took a bathroom break at a museum. It was crowded.

29 May 2017

After retreating to our room to rest up and play rummy we headed back to the boar and bear for live music and drinks
Watched the sunset on the deck
Awesome mexican dinner at sabor. Had margs, guace, couple apps, tacos, quesadilla, and loads of desserts
Pre dinner drinks at bear and bull
Wines around the world!
After lunch watched a belly flop contest
Passing some islands in the middle of the Mediterranean
Day 2 at sea: Fitness on a boat

28 May 2017

Before dinner we visited the mall area and got lanyards and singed up for wine tasting then went to an english pub and had beers. Then went to dinner at my time dining at Galileo ben at seafood spaghetti and 2 shrimp cocktails and chocoate cake. Danielle had ceasar salad and speghetti pompodoro and peach cobbler. All was good. Lots of malbec was had at dinner. Lovely dining room. After dinner we called it a night!
We explored the boat and saw all the different pools. Then we got lunch with the Workmans at the windjammer and ate a hotdog and a glass of water. We had another poolside margarita and enjoyed the poolside. Then was the safety drill. We had to go to floor 4 section B09 (the best tumor) and stand really close to people and it was loud and multi lingual and all the languages were there. But that ended and it was vacay time. Then we met WinSome the floor mom who gave us our bags. Then we went back to pool and there was a line dance party with Madagascar. Then we saw wave riders and played putt putt and ben won.
View from the poolside bar (the sqeeze)
Our room for the week
Got on the boat!
Got to the dock and waited
After a lazy morning catching up on sleep.. ben went to granier for apple pastries and croissants. We then packed up and headed for the dock!

27 May 2017

Group dinner at Bar del Pla. -beef cheeks -secret pig cuts -bean and salmon and tomato salad -papas frites -mushroom salad with wasabi dressing -fried cheese balls -octopus -a different kind of creme brule -red wine from DO montsant
After second food stop we went to the church... basillica de santa maria del mar... the church of the people. Saw eternal flame and red bricks honoring those killed in civil war.
Second stop... La plata. Fried anchovies, grilled sausage on tomato bread, amazing tomato and onion salad. Learned to use porron.. a drinking vessel to share and spill wine
After first food stop we saw a closed museum with columns inside, the steps of the Spanish inquisition, church of barcelona, the square with shrapnel where kids played soccer, flags and drummers, alley of women with sailors
First stop of food tour... had cavo and vermouth... plus cheese, cured meats, olives, cured tuna
Food tour- Met group at arc de triomf
Took a nap! (We only look naked)
Walked the rick Steves las ramblas path... went to via 70 and had pizza and wine, went to Mercado de La Boqueria, then to Placa Reial and sat by a fountain.
Hotel room the first night in barcelona