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Old 10-14-2010, 06:33 AM   #1
dolphingirl47
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Transatlantic Adventures

Day 1

The day has finally come to start our holiday. We booked this cruise in early October 2008. This is the longest period of time in advance that we ever booked a holiday. Sometimes I thought this day would never come.

I still had to work an early shift, but as soon as I finished work, I treated myself to a taxi to the airport. We had an early morning flight the following day and decided to play it safe and stay at one of the airport hotels.

I got to the hotel at around 4 PM and found DH Graham sitting in the lobby. He had arrived about 10 minutes ahead of me. I checked us in and made an early dinner reservation for that evening and we headed for our room.

We both ended up having a nap, but woke up in time for dinner. The airport hotel that we were staying at, has one of my favourite restaurants. It is called Sampan's and serves a mix of Chinese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine. We tend to go for one of their set meals whenever we are eating there as this gives us the opportunity to try a few different dishes. This evening was no exception either. We feasted on Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup, Chicken with Garlic and Ginger, Pork Loin with Pepper and Garlic, Beef with Cashew Nuts, Egg Fried Rice and Tropical Fruit Salad.

After dinner we decided to have an early night, but I might as well not have bothered. I was so excited that I did not sleep very much.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:36 AM   #2
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Corinna I have been looking forward to your trip report - can't wait to read about all the fun you had.

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Old 10-14-2010, 08:20 AM   #3
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Oh Corrina ive been sooooo looking forward to your trip report

Can't wait to read more
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:31 AM   #4
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You go Corrina. It was really nice meeting you on the Transatlantic Drink tastings
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:31 PM   #5
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can't wait to read more
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:56 PM   #6
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I can't wait to read some more and see some photos Corinna
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:13 PM   #7
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Can't wait to read more Corinna
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:18 PM   #8
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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I will post the installment for day two later tonight. I have now downloaded all the photos from my camera and put them onto Photobucket. I am in the process to do the same with the photos on the Photo CD that I bought on the cruise. It turned out to be not just one CD, but 3.

I have to be quite disciplined this time round as the next holiday is already in early January. It would never do not to have this trip report finished by then.

Corinna
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:27 PM   #9
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yeah I love your reports - looking forward to more tonight
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:35 PM   #10
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Wonderful ... you have started your report! That Chinese meal sounds delicious, and what a great idea to stay at the airport the night before flying, even if you were too excited to sleep !!!
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:07 PM   #11
dolphingirl47
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Day 2

We were up bright and early this day as we had to catch an 8:00 AM flight. We got showered and changed and then headed downstairs to check out. To my immense surprise, the airport shuttle was waiting when we got outside and there was only one other person waiting so for once, we did not have to walk to the terminal.

When we got to the check in desks for our airline, the lines were huge and the whole atmosphere was frantic. However, the lines were moving surprisingly quickly. I had been a little worried about my luggage allowance. We only had 20kg per person and I had packed four evening gowns, which seemed to weigh a ton as well as all my other stuff. I had weighed my suitcase at home and it was 18kg. When it was weighed at the airport, it actually came in at less than 17kg.

We also cleared security quite quickly. Graham had realized that he had forgotten to pack his Glucosamine so we headed to Boots to buy some. We had planned to get some breakfast at the airport, but the terminal was frantic and everything had long lines so we gave up on this idea. I realized that I actually had no idea when the DISboards meet, that had been organized for that evening at the Hard Rock Cafe, would be. So I went off to find some Internet access. When I came back from using the Internet, our gate had been posted. We decided to head to the gate. I knew that for other people from our cruise meet thread would be on the same flight. I looked out for them, but never saw them.

The flight was eventless. I started reading, but about 30 minutes into the flight, I had a nap and only woke up again when we were on the approach to Barcelona.

Barcelona is a modern airport and we just breezed through it. We met two of our fellow cruisers, Sarah and Elizabeth, in the baggage hall. We said "hi" and chatted for a bit before they headed off to find a taxi and we went of in search of the train station.

We had to wait a little while for the train, but once it arrived, it took very little time to get into Barcelona. The train network is modern and efficient, the trains are quick and very cheap.

As we were staying in a hotel outside of Barcelona and only had a few hours to explore, we decided to leave our luggage in the left luggage lockers at Barcelona Sants station and just to take our handluggage.



By that time, we were both hungry. When we were in Barcelona in April, we discovered a lovely restaurant near the station that served great Tappas. We had every intention to have Tappas this time round, but they had a lunch special that was too good to pass up. Graham had steak, egg and fries with a local beer and I had grilled pork escalope, egg, fried and a freshly squeezed orange juice.

After lunch, we took to the Metro. The one thing that I really wanted to see was Sagrada Familia. A number of people from our cruise meet thread had arrived in Barcelona a few days earlier. There had been a number of reports that the lines for the ticket booths were too long and that combined with the heat meant that people gave up. When we got there, the line looked manageable. So I decided to give it a go. Graham was not interested and he settled down in a park across from the church with out handluggage.

The line moved rather quickly and in less than 15 minutes, I had my ticket and was inside. Sagrada Familia is as yet unfinished and the estimated date of completition is not until 2030. It is still absolutely stunning. It is kind of strange to see heavy building equipment inside a church. I am glad that I got to see this.















































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Old 10-14-2010, 05:08 PM   #12
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I will post my goodies once I am back
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When I came out of the church, a heavy downpour was in progress. I felt a little guilty that I had left Graham in a park with very little by the way of shelter. It did not improve my mood either than somehow I managed to come out at the wrong side and had no clear idea where I was. I started to walk around the church until I saw the park where I had left Graham. He had found shelter under a huge tree. We huddled there until the shower had blown over.

We had no other real plans. So we decided to walk to Plaza Catalunya, where the meet would take place later in the afternoon. One of possible routes to Plaza Catalunya was Avenida Diagonal. I knew that there is a Lush shop on this road. I like to visit as many different Lush shops as I can. I had not written down the address, but figured out that sooner or later I would come across it.

I had completely underestimated Avenida Diagonal. This road seems to be endless. It is supposed to be one of the main shopping streets in Barcelona, but we did not see much evidence of this on the stretch from near Sagrada Famila until we turned off onto Passeig de Gracia. Needless to say, I never found the Lush shop.

Passeig de Gracia's claim to fame is that it is the most expensive road in Spain in terms of property and rental prices. In keeping with this, it is full of high-end designer shops. Apart from this, it has some architectural gems. I wanted to take some photos of Casa Mila, which is more commonly known as La Pedrera.

Just as we were coming close to La Pedrera, the heavens opened again. Fortunately we were a matter of feet away from a Starbucks so we decided to take a break and have something to drink until the shower had blown over. By the time we had finished our drinks, the sun was shining again and we set off so that I could take my photos of La Pedrera.

La Pedrera is a gorgeous apartment building, which was designed by Antoni Gaudi. The first floor, an apartment on the second floor and the roof are accessable to the public for a fee. Considering the limited time that I had available, I decided that I was quite happy to just admire it from the outside.











Once I had taken my photos, we moved on. Soon we came up to two more architectural gems. Casa Batllu is another building that was designed by Antoni Gaudi and the neighbouring Casa Amatller, which was designed by Josep Puig i Catafalch. I had to take some photos of those buildings before we moved on.











We came across some more beautiful buildings, but so far I have not been able to identify them.







We got to Plaza Catalunya about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Graham decided to sit down on a bench in the square and watch the world go by. I decided to have a look at the famous El Corte Ingles department store. I had heard time and time again that this is a must see and had kind of expected a Harrods of Barcelona. Well, I was quite disappointed. It was just a typical continental European department store much like the ones that I am used to from my childhood in Germany. I did however manage to find some eyeshadows to match one of my formal dresses and my semi-formal dress.

I joined Graham on the square. I have never seen so many pigeons in one place before. I am not normally nervous around birds, but the amount of birds in one place scared me a little.

Soon it was time to walk across the square to the Hard Rock Cafe. When we got there, people were just getting ready for a group photo. We said "hi" to some people that I recognized and chatted for a bit. Once the photo was taken, nobody really knew what was going on. Eventually a member of staff came and said they were ready for us.

A member of out cruise meet thread had negotiated special drinks deals for us. We were each given a special wristband as we came in. We were in the downstairs bar. The noise was deafening. Everybody was really excited and we had to compete with some rather loud music. Graham soon had enough and told me that he would wait for me outside. I hung around for a bit, mainly because I had arranged to pick up our embarkation t shirts at the meet and the person who had them had not arrived. There were two reasons why I really wanted those t shirts that evening. Normally we do not bother getting the embarkation photos. However, this time round, I was going to get the photo CD, which would contain every single photo taken on the cruise. So I wanted to make sure that I had the t shirts for this. The second reason was that I had assumed that I would get them and therefore had not packed a clean t shirt for the next day in my handluggage.

After an hour I gave up. I started to feel rather guilty that Graham was waiting outside and was not sure what the weather was doing. Graham was sitting on some stairs just next to the Hard Rock Cafe and enjoyed watching the world go by. When I got there, he was talking to some people from the cruise meet thread, who had arrived a bit later. I told Graham that I had heard that the family that had the t shirts was on an excursion and was not expected until around 18:30. This was only 30 minutes away and Graham said that he was quite happy to hang around. It was try for a change and a gorgeous warm evening. So I joined Graham.

Where we were sitting, we had a good view of the entrance of the Hard Rock Cafe. Still, occassionally our view had been blocked so I decided 45 minutes later to go back in to check if the family I had been waiting for had not arrived. I found them eating their dinner. They had come in through a second entrance that I did not know about.

T shirts in my possession, I was ready to go to the hotel. We had discussed to go and see the fountain show at Montjuic with some other people from the cruise, but that was not until 21:00. I was actually quite tired and with the weather being so unpredictable as well, I did not want to hang around until then. So we headed to the train station that is underneath Plaza Catalunya from where we could get a direct train to the town where our hotel was.

We did not have to wait for our train very long and it only took about 20 minutes to get there. We had just left the station when another downpour arrived. We took shelter in the doorway of an apartment building until the worst had blown over.

We checked into the hotel and headed up to our room. We saw an advertisement for a company that delivers pizza and pasta to the hotel. As we had not had any dinner, this sounded good to us. I had a quick look what they offered and then asked Graham what he wanted. I never got a reply. Graham had fallen asleep. So I decided to get ready for bed, too. Just as I was dropping off to sleep, I heard a thunderstorm in the background. I found out the next day that the thunderstorm was actually bad enough to close Barcelona airport. So we had made the right decision not to hang around for the fountain show.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:31 PM   #13
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Love your pictures!!!!!
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:46 PM   #14
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Enjoying the TR!!
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:11 PM   #15
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Subscribing!!
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