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Old 06-11-2013, 07:29 PM   #1
Tracerr00
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Med Cruise June 1 - No Freaking Out! Update 6/17

My name is Tracy and I went on the first Med cruise of the season out of Barcelona with my 13 year old daughter Eilee (rhymes with smiley) and my sister Diane. We had an amazing time and I'd love to share our experience with you! My sister journaled most nights which is what I should have done in order to remember things but I didn't! So this report will be done entirely by questionable memory (and photos to jog said questionable memory!).

I booked this cruise in January of 2012 - a year and a half ago and it was so long ago yet I never seemed to have enough time to prepare! Eilee and I have done some international traveling but my sister has never been out of the country before so I was excited to take this trip with her. In my mind, my motto for most things is "don't freak out, things will work out the way they are supposed to" and I had to remind myself of this a few times during our trip! So join me for my review and I hope that if anyone has their first Med cruise coming up, that my info will be helpful!

Coming up...Barcelona!

Last edited by Tracerr00; 06-17-2013 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:00 PM   #2
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Hey BFF, I'll be following your trip report too because it will certainly be more funny than mine. And you have a better camera.

I just lost my audience.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kikids View Post
Hey BFF, I'll be following your trip report too because it will certainly be more funny than mine. And you have a better camera.

I just lost my audience.
Vince plays on a softball league so he's gone right now and I know that will be my only chance to get this thing started because he's in yard work mode! After I post a bit I'm going to head over to finish reading yours!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:48 PM   #4
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Day 2, Barcelona

We were very tired and back in our room by about 8 pm after stopping at Dunkin Donuts so we'd have some breakfast. Don't judge, we don't have Dunkin Donuts where we live, ok? We were staying at Hotel Pelayo which was a little less expensive because it was not right on Las Ramblas, yet it was only about 1 1/2 blocks away from the top of Ramblas. I really liked it, it looked like our room had been refurbished recently and it was very clean. The front desk staff was very helpful and friendly. There was a safe in the room. In other hotels where we stayed in Europe, we had to leave the key at the front desk when we left and this was no different. So at 8 pm, we knew that it was very early back home...like 1 pm in the afternoon so we didn't want to go to bed quite yet. So we stayed up as late as we could but we were all so tired. Diane and Eilee slept well but I was wide awake the majority of the night and it was terrible because I didn't want to get up and wake the others so I could read or something. We had a full day in Barcelona on Friday so we decided to take the HOHO bus after we ate our donuts!

It was a great day with lots of Gaudi!! I'm a new fan for sure and I ended up liking Barcelona so much more than I ever thought I would.
Here are some things I saw on the tour. Casa Battlo


Sagrada Familia - which is gorgeous by the way!! I could have walked around and stared at it all day. I wanted to go inside but the line was about 3 years long.


We were approaching the stop for Parc Guell (a beautiful Gaudi park which you MUST see) and the narrative on the HOHO said that it was a "pleasant walk up the hill". About half way up we decided that it was NOT a pleasant walk. I don't know if you can tell but it's a darn big hill.

But it was well worth the hike!!



Eilee and me!


I knew that this thing/lizard/dragon existed inside of Parc Guell but we'd taken an immediate left once inside the park so I missed it, right in the middle of the whole darn park. I wouldn't let anyone leave until I found it. And here it is


The HOHO also took us here. I saw lots of people running along the water and I wished that I could get out and do that too. I'd love to run here! But we never got a chance to come back to this area until we boarded the Magic and at that time and for the rest of the cruise, running completely slipped my mind.


And then our HOHO ended at Placa Catalunya which is very pretty as well.


By then it was getting pretty late. So we went to the Boqueria and ate lots of things like empanadas and fresh fruit and fresh juices. It was a great way to end the day and also very inexpensive!

Up next - boarding the Magic!!
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:50 AM   #5
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Fabulous reporting! Thanks for sharing! I actually teared up at the photo of you and your daughter. I am going on this cruise in August and because my daughters are 17 and 19 it may be the last time we all go away together. I am SO taking as many pictures with them as possible!

I am presuming you were on Swiss air. They are my favorite cross atlantic airline. Don't you love the chocolates?

We don't have dunkin' doughnuts here either, only cheap imitations. You just gave me something else to look forward to

Can't wait to read more!
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by debsters41 View Post
Fabulous reporting! Thanks for sharing! I actually teared up at the photo of you and your daughter. I am going on this cruise in August and because my daughters are 17 and 19 it may be the last time we all go away together. I am SO taking as many pictures with them as possible!

I am presuming you were on Swiss air. They are my favorite cross atlantic airline. Don't you love the chocolates?

We don't have dunkin' doughnuts here either, only cheap imitations. You just gave me something else to look forward to

Can't wait to read more!
Have fun with your daughters!!! You will have a blast! I totally loved this cruise and it was so fun to spend quality Mediterranean cruise time with my daughter and I know that she’ll remember it forever. I also made her take lots of pictures with me which you’ll see coming up!

We did fly Swiss and the chocolates were awesome. I may or may not have stolen Eilee's while she was sleeping. And let me just say that there was no shortage of food on the flights either! As for the Dunkin Donuts – I think it was right next to the Boqueria and they were fabulous. I kind of like going to US chains in Europe because then you can read their menus and they have things with English names like “Boston Cream” and I don’t have to grunt and point. I will make a confession right now. During the HOHO bus ride we stopped at Casa Battlo and I was soooo hungry that I ate at McDonald’s because it was right in front of me and I knew what I was getting. I’d vowed not to eat at McDonad’s or BK and such but I couldn’t help myself! I’m so ashamed.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:05 PM   #7
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Day 1, Barcelona

Our trip to Barcelona would take us from Minneapolis, to Chicago to Zurich to Barcelona (cheap flight, hence all the connections. Ok, not actually cheap but cheaper than others). We left on a Wednesday and I picked up my daughter from school at noon and she would be missing the last few days of school. She didn't seem to mind! We boarded our flight and while we were on the plane, the captain came on and said that due to lightning in the area, they had to wait to finish fueling and final preparations. Every time lightning was spotted the crew had to leave the area and wait for three minutes. We were delayed for at least 45 minutes. Don't freak out, things will work out the way they're supposed to! So we finally pushed back from the gate and we were on the tarmac yay!! And then we sat there for quite a while and the captain came on and said that President Obama was now in Chicago on Air Force One and the entire airport was shut down so we had to wait. I think it was at least another half hour. We only had 2 hours and 20 minutes between flights so I was getting freaked out!! We finally took off and when we landed in Chicago we didn't have much time to spare. How did I not know how hard it is to navigate O'Hare?? It took us quite a while to get to the other terminal and we got to the gate when they were boarding with barely enough time to pee and get on the next flight but we made it!! The flight to Zurich was fine and all of the seats on the plane had personal entertainment systems so that really helped pass the time. I watched a few movies and TV shows. Our flight to Barcelona from Zurich was quick.

I'd prepaid for a private shuttle because I knew we'd be tired and wouldn't want to try to find our way around by taking the Aerobus from the airport. We used Sun Transfers. The instructions said that if you have checked bags, send one member of your party ahead to find the driver. We'd planned for me to go ahead and Eilee and Diane would grab the bags and I'd come back after I'd found our driver. I went through the automatic sliding doors and found the driver immediately holding a sign with my name on it. I told him I'd go back to get the others and he said "You can't go back in there. It's secured". So I waited and tried not to freak out. I waited and waited and waitied. He said that he could only wait one hour after our flight landed and we had only 10 minutes left to spare. I was about to leave when I spotted them on the other side of the sliding doors peering out. I ran over and waved and luckily they saw me in the huge crowd of people! We got to our hotel by about 3:30 pm and we changed and went out to explore Las Ramblas.

Here is my daughter on Las Ramblas with the first of many, many gelatos.


We found the Boqueria


It was bigger than I'd imagined! There was so much to look at.


And check out these juices for only 1 euro. They were excellent by the way!


We were hyper aware of what we were doing and who was around us due to all of the things I'd read on the internet about pickpocketers in Barcelona. So when we went out, we only brought a small amount of cash with us. We decided to grab some dinner after walking around for a while and we found a small restaurant on Las Ramblas. We shared some tapas and paella and cokes. We watched our budget because we hadn't brought that much money with us. When we got the bill...we were 50 cents short!!! How embarrassing!! I tried not to freak out. We spoke with the host (I'm guessing he was the owner) and he had us talk to his wife who said that it was fine and I promised to go back to the room and bring 50 cents to her. On our way back, my sister and I were discussing the bill and we realized that they overcharged us for the paella by 5 euros!! So then I didn't feel so bad and I didn't bring the 50 cents back. But the next day we made a point to look the other way and walk to the other side of the street to avoid eye contact!

We made it to Barcelona and it was a good day with only minimal freaking out. I'll take that!

Next up. Barcelona day two!
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracerr00 View Post
My name is Tracy and I went on the first Med cruise of the season out of Barcelona with my 13 year old daughter Eilee (rhymes with smiley) and my sister Diane. We had an amazing time and I'd love to share our experience with you! My sister journaled most nights which is what I should have done in order to remember things but I didn't! So this report will be done entirely by questionable memory (and photos to jog said questionable memory!).

I booked this cruise in January of 2012 - a year and a half ago and it was so long ago yet I never seemed to have enough time to prepare! Eilee and I have done some international traveling but my sister has never been out of the country before so I was excited to take this trip with her. In my mind, my motto for most things is "don't freak out, things will work out the way they are supposed to" and I had to remind myself of this a few times during our trip! So join me for my review and I hope that if anyone has their first Med cruise coming up, that my info will be helpful!

Coming up...Barcelona!
Can't wait to catch up with your report!!!
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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Signing on to follow along. My DD wants to eat at that McDonald's as it was mentioned in one of the travel chanel shows that they serve a kiwi on a stick. Oh well, who can figure the mind of a 12 year old.

How was the HOHO bus? Still trying to wrap my tiny little brain around it. I'm scarred from Rome 30 years ago. I got lost due to the bus system, so buses make me nervous.

And, thanks for the tip on la Boqueria, I think that is where I will eat. My DW wants to go walk around there. I'm now thinking - dinner!

Thank you.

We will be going mid summer.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:46 AM   #10
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Fun report! Can't wait to hear more!
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21 day trip report LIVE from Amtrak, Disneyland & EB Repo through the Panama Canal!
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:18 AM   #11
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Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I love your photos!
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