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Old 02-22-2012, 11:11 AM   #211
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to add to our trip report...you were there....
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:14 PM   #212
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Now that he computer is fixed, we had Spanish lesson #2 last night. The flash cards we made were a big help, and I think we all well-digested the first set. The second set is a little more difficult. DD really gets into writing the cards herself, which I think is awesome!! She grumbles about actually siting down to start learning, but really gets into it once we're there! I'm thinking that I'm going to send her to a Spanish camp again this summer. We sent her to one the month before the last med cruise so as to expose her to some of the language and culture, but she was so little that not much stuck. I think it might go better this time !

I also heard back from an email I sent out to one of the apartment renting services they have in Barcelona. I think this is the way we're going to go for our pre-stay. DH is excited about being able to go to La Boqueria (the market) on Las Ramblas and being able to shop and cook!! (he's quite the chef!)

My dad went to a travel convention in the Bay Area last weekend and got to hear Rick Steve's talk on his "Europe through the back door" topic. He got a lot out of it, it seems. When I told DD that my dad did this, she sucked in her breath and said "THE Rick Steves? The real guy??". Too funny! My 8 year old is a groupie!!
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:37 PM   #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post

I also heard back from an email I sent out to one of the apartment renting services they have in Barcelona. I think this is the way we're going to go for our pre-stay. DH is excited about being able to go to La Boqueria (the market) on Las Ramblas and being able to shop and cook!! (he's quite the chef!)
So do tell. We're only going to be there 1 night pre, aren't you only planning to be there 2?
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:49 PM   #214
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So do tell. We're only going to be there 1 night pre, aren't you only planning to be there 2?
Yup. Paying for 3 nights at an apartment is cheaper than 2 rooms for 2 nights. On the flip side, we'll likely only be there for 1 night, and then a hotel room will likely be the better option.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:33 PM   #215
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The last sea day....

....is there anything more depressing? Sigh. All that anticipation leading up to the cruise, then poof! You're on the last sea day and have to pack. But, you're still on the ship and technically still on vacation!

So, I'm sitting here looking at my scrapbook and pictures trying to recall what we did that day. Sean and I were pretty organized with packing. We had all the formal/semiformal wear packed up first thing in the morning, then went about packing all the stuff we wouldn't need until we got back to San Francisco. Then, we whittled down what we'd need to wear the following morning off the ship. The magnets came off the door (that made me very sad), took down the shoe organizer, and contemplated the shell of what had been our home away from home for the last 9 nights.

Shutters. We'd gotten one of the 10 photo credit cards and had a few photos left to get, so we braved those crowds () and finished that out.

Return the kid's club bracelet.

Look at the tip envelopes. We had pre-paid the tips, but ended up putting cash in on top of what we'd prepaid. The service is that good!

Pool.

Show that night was "Remember the Magic". Sigh. How can I forget such a memorable vacation? I did insist on booking a dummy date while onboard. After the first few days, it didn't take much convincing Sean that this was a good idea. On last summer's Alaska cruise, I had that puppy filled out the very first day!!

Dinner.

Till We Meet Again. What a nice show! In the Atrium, all the characters are out and about, and after a song and dance, you can take pics with everyone milling about:





Bed. Sleep? Not so much. Some rowdy pre-teens were literally running and screaming in the halls. Fortunately, we didn't have to be at breakfast until 8am since we had late dining. The morning we disembarked was so depressing that I have NO pictures of it. None. Jel0511's family was flying out that morning, but Mindy & crew and Cliffside's family made plans to meet at Mindy's hotel that evening to have dinner.

We had paid for transfers thru DCL back to Le Meridian. This part was a little confusing, as it wasn't clear which bus we needed to get on. I was really glad that we'd done this, as the taxi line was looooonnnnnggggg! Eventually, we did end up at the hotel, as did all our luggage. We still had an entire day in which to explore Barcelona!
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:34 PM   #216
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oh...

I almost forgot! On that last sea day, we took a small detour to Marseille! Some poor person had fallen and broken a hip, and had to take an ambulance off the ship . Hope they had insurance...
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:40 PM   #217
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and..

this was our last towel animal:

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Old 02-25-2012, 11:03 PM   #218
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Barcelona on the flip side..

So, with several hours until dinner, we decided that we'd brave the train system and head over to Parc Guell. Using the Rick Steves book and trying to figure out the translation on the ticket machines, we managed to purchase a multi-ride ticket. I don't see it in the scrapbook, so I must have thrown it away. I did get full use out of it, so more on that in a bit...

I have no idea on where it was that we ended up, but we did finally manage to make it to the Parc. After a hike from the train station...no kidding....it was up a hill so steep that they had installed escalators!! Here's a pic after we were on the way back. See the escalator to my right?



The Parc itself was very unique. It was initially supposed to be a gated housing community...with Gaudi's own unique design:















And look at that view!!!:



After having done the fat tire bike tour 10 (11?) days prior, it was really neat to look around the city and see recognizable landmarks.

As it was still very hot, we decided to head back to the hotel. We never did get to see Casa Mila or Casa Batillo. Something to look forward to next time, right?

Eventually, we again took the train to Mindy's area of town. We ended up having dinner at a sports bar, of all places!!



After dinner, all 3 families headed back toward Las Ramblas, as they hadn't yet really gotten to see it at its finest. This is where we got full use of our multi pass. One person went thru the turnstile and handed it back to the next person and so on until all the uses were empty. I just pulled up my credit card info for that day, and it looks like in the morning, we bought individual tickets, but figured out by evening that a multi pass was the way to go. One was $5.36, and the other was $10.14. Not sure which was which. I think it also varied on if you had to change lines, as well. I didn't seem to save a train schedule from Barcelona, but we managed!!!

So, it was time for one last Gelato on Las Ramblas. Tasty, but it was sad to say goodbye. I just realized that I need to go back and edit a previous post, as Jel0511 was still in Barcelona with us (she left earlier than the rest of us out of Vancouver last summer...). Who know that one internet board would end up creating such friendships?

Our flight left the next morning, again connecting thru Zurich to San Francisco. There was no Business Class upgrade this time . The food and wine was still pretty darn yummy in spite of that. We ended up with an amazing view out of the airplane:



Our view over Greenland!!!
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:29 AM   #219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post
....is there anything more depressing? Sigh. All that anticipation leading up to the cruise, then poof! You're on the last sea day and have to pack. But, you're still on the ship and technically still on vacation!

So, I'm sitting here looking at my scrapbook and pictures trying to recall what we did that day. Sean and I were pretty organized with packing. We had all the formal/semiformal wear packed up first thing in the morning, then went about packing all the stuff we wouldn't need until we got back to San Francisco. Then, we whittled down what we'd need to wear the following morning off the ship. The magnets came off the door (that made me very sad), took down the shoe organizer, and contemplated the shell of what had been our home away from home for the last 9 nights.

Shutters. We'd gotten one of the 10 photo credit cards and had a few photos left to get, so we braved those crowds () and finished that out.

Return the kid's club bracelet.

Look at the tip envelopes. We had pre-paid the tips, but ended up putting cash in on top of what we'd prepaid. The service is that good!

Pool.

Show that night was "Remember the Magic". Sigh. How can I forget such a memorable vacation? I did insist on booking a dummy date while onboard. After the first few days, it didn't take much convincing Sean that this was a good idea. On last summer's Alaska cruise, I had that puppy filled out the very first day!!

Dinner.

Till We Meet Again. What a nice show! In the Atrium, all the characters are out and about, and after a song and dance, you can take pics with everyone milling about:





Bed. Sleep? Not so much. Some rowdy pre-teens were literally running and screaming in the halls. Fortunately, we didn't have to be at breakfast until 8am since we had late dining. The morning we disembarked was so depressing that I have NO pictures of it. None. Jel0511's family was flying out that morning, but Mindy & crew and Cliffside's family made plans to meet at Mindy's hotel that evening to have dinner.

We had paid for transfers thru DCL back to Le Meridian. This part was a little confusing, as it wasn't clear which bus we needed to get on. I was really glad that we'd done this, as the taxi line was looooonnnnnggggg! Eventually, we did end up at the hotel, as did all our luggage. We still had an entire day in which to explore Barcelona!
So while you were doing all that, we actually also took a lazy day. We went as a family to the Buena Vista theater and saw the Sorcerer's Apprentice and then of course played our Last Bingo on the ship. Kim didn't get into the bingo as we did, but we're big bingo players. DH usually wins at least one game on the ship. One time it paid for all our bingo playing for the entire cruise. We were also those people that were still packing as they pick up the lugguge.

Dinner with our servers was sad for the last day. Francin and Malwyn were extraordinary and it was sad to say goodbye. My DH still keeps in touch with Francin on FB and sadly she left DCL to pursue being a butler in South Africa.

Who can forget the adult show on the last night? It was the pub crawl of course. If you just want to go have fun and laugh, make sure and catch the pub crawl in Rockin Bar D on the last night. It is hysterical. If you go to youtube you can see ones that people have taped.
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WDW - Oct 2000 - offsite, WDW August 2002 - All star music resort, ,WDW Port Orleans, WDW May 2006 Old Key West, WDW Nov 2007 offsite, DCL Magic 11/1/08, MNSSHP 10/31/09, DCL Magic in the Med 8/18/2010, Wonder to Alaska 8/23/2011, NYC to nowhere 6/15/2012, NYC to Bahamas 8/25/2012, 9/30/2012 Dream Cruise, Magic to Greece 6/15/2013, Disneyland Nov 2013, Fantasy Eastern Caribbean 8/23/2014
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:33 AM   #220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post
I almost forgot! On that last sea day, we took a small detour to Marseille! Some poor person had fallen and broken a hip, and had to take an ambulance off the ship . Hope they had insurance...
Yes, the funny part about this stop was that it was early on this sea day. We were going to sleep in because, as Kim stated earlier, this cruise was jammed pack with activity with not enough sea days in between to relax. So we were really tired. At about 7 am, my DS woke us all up and told us we were in Barcelona. As I'm laying in bed trying to get my wits about me, I was very confused. Either we were all so tired that we slept through an entire sea day and we still had to pack and get off the ship with all our luggage within an hour or something else was up. Getting up and looking outside, I realized this did not look like Barcelona.
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WDW - Oct 2000 - offsite, WDW August 2002 - All star music resort, ,WDW Port Orleans, WDW May 2006 Old Key West, WDW Nov 2007 offsite, DCL Magic 11/1/08, MNSSHP 10/31/09, DCL Magic in the Med 8/18/2010, Wonder to Alaska 8/23/2011, NYC to nowhere 6/15/2012, NYC to Bahamas 8/25/2012, 9/30/2012 Dream Cruise, Magic to Greece 6/15/2013, Disneyland Nov 2013, Fantasy Eastern Caribbean 8/23/2014
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:35 AM   #221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post
So, with several hours until dinner, we decided that we'd brave the train system and head over to Parc Guell. Using the Rick Steves book and trying to figure out the translation on the ticket machines, we managed to purchase a multi-ride ticket. I don't see it in the scrapbook, so I must have thrown it away. I did get full use out of it, so more on that in a bit...

I have no idea on where it was that we ended up, but we did finally manage to make it to the Parc. After a hike from the train station...no kidding....it was up a hill so steep that they had installed escalators!! Here's a pic after we were on the way back. See the escalator to my right?



The Parc itself was very unique. It was initially supposed to be a gated housing community...with Gaudi's own unique design:















And look at that view!!!:


We didn't get to see the Parc....would like to get there on this trip if possible..was on my list of to do's....also want to see the fountains.
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WDW - Oct 2000 - offsite, WDW August 2002 - All star music resort, ,WDW Port Orleans, WDW May 2006 Old Key West, WDW Nov 2007 offsite, DCL Magic 11/1/08, MNSSHP 10/31/09, DCL Magic in the Med 8/18/2010, Wonder to Alaska 8/23/2011, NYC to nowhere 6/15/2012, NYC to Bahamas 8/25/2012, 9/30/2012 Dream Cruise, Magic to Greece 6/15/2013, Disneyland Nov 2013, Fantasy Eastern Caribbean 8/23/2014
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:45 PM   #222
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Hiya!

I got to rehab my computer again yesterday, but I now know what it was that caused it to lock up: The Spanish language program! I just finished downloading a patch from the manufacturer's website, but before I launch it and try to use it again, I'm going to back up again just in case! In the meantime, yesterday I got to go out and play with my camera! This is what it looks like here on a sunny day:



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Old 02-29-2012, 09:24 AM   #223
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Quote:
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Getting up and looking outside, I realized this did not look like Barcelona.
Nope. Unfortunately, Marsaille looks like Newark, NJ.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:20 PM   #224
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In case you were wondering too....

Geography is not my strong suit. Let's leave it at that.....but, I got to wondering what the official boundaries were that separate European Turkey from Asian Turkey. Here's a map I found on world atlas.com:



The Dardanelles Strait, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosporus Strait are the dividing line. So.....we'll be docking in Asia! The Bosporus Bridge:



Connects the European portion to the Asian portion.

A tidbit for today :good vibes.
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Last edited by MinnieDiva; 02-29-2012 at 01:21 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:07 PM   #225
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So yesterday I got the weekly Rick Steves email and he was announcing a travel festival of sorts for April 14th. Sigh. We have conflicting plans that day, but on a bonus note, the rest of April's class schedule was posted and I signed us up for 2 classes at the end of April! The first one is an art/art history type class and the other is the art of making French crepes. Yum. It does not, however, tell us if we'll get to participate or taste.

This Saturday is our class on Rome...so I'm way looking forward to that. This week they're having a special on Spain maps and books, so I'm interested to see if there is a good map of Barcelona there.

Facebook really ticked me off (again) by limiting my feed...yesterday I missed the February blowout on one of the day packs their store carries. $5. I am in the market....

Ok, y'all. I see that you all are out there reading/viewing my thoughts.....but no one is speaking up to help me feed my planning obsession. Hello? Please let me know I'm not the only one out there that's thinking about next year....
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