Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Friday, Saturday, Sunday – November 3-5, Barcelona, Spain

Crazy, jet lagged fueled sleep.  The room seems to have been quiet.

It's a beautiful day in the capitol of Catalonia.  Maybe 70s with very few clouds.  Perfect walking weather.

The hotel offered breakfast at the nearby Farggi’s Café (just a few steps from the hotel).  The chit we were given included a breakfast sandwich, a muffin, a juice, and coffee.  The place was very popular teeming with young folks.  We, or course, had no idea what any of the sandwiches were (I knew some of the Spanish words but there were other "unknown" things on some of the sandwiches).  We asked the girl behind the counter to point out the veggie items – there were a couple of cheese sandwiches and one cheese and veggie combo.  We both opted for same cheese sandwich – some kind of soft cheese along with a red material that might have been a red pepper spread – plus a chocolate muffin.  Freshly squeezed orange juice (yummy) and coffee / tea.  The sandwich was OK and the muffin a bit too chocolaty but, protein is protein.  At least, there were options and everything tasted OK considering.  Not going to find waffles and cottage cheese in Barcelona.

Our plan today was to walk off our jet lag by heading in the general direction of the beach. There were lots of shops and restaurants along the way.  One very unusual item at one of the restaurants was the empanadas stamped with their contents.  Hope they didn't use magic marker.

Empanada Labelling

This route eventually took us to the Parc de Ciutadella. 

Parc Entrance

Government Building in the Parc

The Parc is home to a zoo, a lake, a children’s area and the Catalonia Parliament (where all the recent political stuff must have been happening). It was built as part of the 1888 Universal Barcelona Exposition. 

We were hungry and had checked out a lot of restaurants along the way but nothing that we would have liked. 

Across the street from the Parc we found a Greek Restaurant, Dionisos, that had some lunch specials.  Ellen had the falafel and I had the veggie plate (dolma, falafel balls, Greek salad, pita, some olives) with a Mythos beer. All in all, lots of food and pretty good.  We also ate on the outside tables right across the street from the Parc.  Lunch with a view.  Nothing like a Greek restaurant in Spain.

Mythos Beer

After lunch, we went to the Parc – we didn’t go too far into the ground (saving my steps) but got a good sense of the size of the grounds.

Another structure built for the Exposition was the Arc de Triomf, which is connected to the Parc by a long promenade (perhaps at one time grass but now dirt).  I couldn't even see the Arc as I gazed down the promenade.

The Promenade

We walked to the Arc, which is an impressive structure.  From the picture above, it looked like the walkway was deserted - as you got closer, though, there were lots of pedestrians and a lot of kids.  Some vendors were selling their wares.

The structure was in great shape so I am thinking that it has been maintained through the years.

We noticed that the Arc is located at the crossroad of several streets once of which is Ronda St. Pere, the street where our hotel is located.

The Intersection of our Street

It looks like we did a full circle route on this walk (that never made it to the beach).  While walking back to the hotel, we came across an upscale Asian spa, which offered all sorts of beauty treatments including massages at 30 Euros.  We took advantage of this even though no one in the place spoke any English.  The massages were great and just what we needed to neutralize the soreness from the plane ride (I could actually feel the sore spots in my back).

The hotel was just a few blocks from there and soon we were back in the room resting up for dinner.  It was a big walk and my back and legs seemed up to the task - at least today.

Tonight, we are having dinner at Bonatappa, (I had both the name wrong, which confused Google, and the location, which confused me).  It turned out that the restaurant is just a few blocks down from the entrance to La Rambla.  Last time we ate here, we over ordered.  Tonight, it was Gazpacho and Margherita Pizza (with mushrooms).  They were both very good as was the Sangria.  We stayed in the restaurant for a while (you can stay as long as you want in a lot of European restaurants until you ask for the bill – no one is in a hurry to move you out).  I should mention that La Rambla and all of the restaurants along the street were teeming with people.  This night, there was minimal police presence although one guy was being patted down by the Policia at the entrance to La Rambla.

Still pooped from the trip so back to the hotel to watch awful Spanish TV and read.  This time we stayed up a little longer.


Embarkation Day

Another strange night of tossing sleep.  

We were a little more knowledgable about the food at Farggi’s Café this time.  We both had the Veggie plus cheese sandwich (cheese – maybe provolone) plus lettuce, tomato, and lettuce.  The bread was really good.  This time out, I had a blueberry muffin and a Café Americano instead of a latte – much better.  The juice again was the best part.

The hotel called a cab for us to get to the port – last time the ride was negotiated at 5 Euros – this time is was metered and it came to 16 Euros.  It took our driver a while to find the Azamara Quest (he even said he checked and it wasn't here - Oy) – I spotted it from the bridge leading to the port.  There were seven ships here today but five of them were big ones (docked at the large terminal) and only two were small - berthed where you can walk off into the city.

We checked in pretty quickly and had lunch up in the Windows Café – salad, veggie burger (not so hot), very spicy Pad Thai.  As I recall, this is our usual welcome aboard lunch. 

I dropped off my computer in the room – Cabin 4005 – this is a good location - near the forward end of the deck (away from the main lobby).

We spent some time up on Deck 5 – it was a warm day in Barcelona with light winds.  Beautiful.

Mont Juif

After the drill, I met with Activities Manager, Matt Belsey, and ran through a tech check with George (the AV Manager), we had dinner in Discoveries Dining Room.  Anna, the hostess from Poland, was there and a lot of ship staff recognized us – it was nice to be back.  I had a Cesar Salad and the salmon on croute special.

Jose Vilarinho (from Portugal) is the Captain and Tony Markey is the Cruise Director (Russ must be on vacation).  Christine Milburn, Tony's wife, is on board for this journey.

There was no Welcome Aboard Show – instead, the ship put on its full Production Show – “Who Wrote the Songs”.  Except for returning Daniel, the singers and dancers were new to us (Kevin, Amanda, Abbey, and the Eastern European Dance Duo, Alex and Alina).  The show was still entertaining even though we have see it many times.  Amanda does have a great voice.

Still tired, we are back in the room ready for our Westward Trek across the Pond.  Because of the recent Hurricanes in the Caribbean, we cannot stop there as we near Miami.  Instead, we are spending several days docked at Hamilton, Bermuda.  We'll have to see how that works out.


The room is quiet - that's the good thing about staying with some of the other guest entertainers - they tend to be quiet with rare exception.

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