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Old 02-01-2012, 04:24 PM   #16
MinnieDiva
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hold for debarkation and more Barcelona: June 27, 2013

The Plan: Tour booked with Barcelona Day Tours for a trip from the port to Monserrat and a Cava winery: http://www.barcelonadaytours.com . Total cost $752E. This one required a $50E deposit as well. Takes care of pick up at the port (avoiding that horrendous taxi line) and drop off to both of our hotels. It's full day excursion, and the following is copied and pasted from our reservation:

The price includes your own driver, English speaking guide, transportation, petrol, toll roads, parking, admission to the site of Montserrat, admission to the Cava visit, and all taxes. You will have time to explore the place and take photos and if you wish to do the full day trip you will also get a chance to discover the largest Cava producer in Spain (winery) and taste the Catalan version of the French Champagne.


Our morning started off a bit oddly. As I said before, the bonus to having late dining is not having to get up at the crack of dawn to eat on debarkation day. However, one of our servers was missing…something had called our assistant server home. It was sad…didn't get to say a final goodbye! It took forever to get our breakfast, but we eventually had to get off the boat as the tour company was awaiting us and we had to go get our luggage. This ended up being quickly accomplished. Breakfast long= easy to spot bags and fewer people to share space with.

Our shuttle was waiting for us as we exited the port. It was HUGE.



Remember I told you about the outrageous taxi line?



Our guide was lovely! She was from Poland, had been in Barcelona about 20 years, and had been a tour guide for something like the last 18 years. As we headed toward Monserrat, she gave us narration about what we were seeing. The drive took about an hour…maybe even a bit less. The driver stopped a bit before to give us a good spot to take pics looking up at Monserrat.



We wound our way up the hill and were given instructions on what we would feasibly have time to do in our allotted time in Monserrat. I really had no preconceived notion about what it was that we would see, but there was a little village up there…a farmer's market-like area, shops, a few restaurants, and some hotels. It was so pretty!




The views of the surrounding scenery were pretty amazing, too, My Dh wanted to hike up the mountain a ways to get to some monument we could see in the distance, but had a limited time to do so. Me, my DD, and Mindy's son went partway, but turned around as we were slowing things down and my husband was determined to get to this place (don't remember it's name). Well, it turns out that the reason we didn't see it was that the sign was itty-bitty and we missed it. Instead, DH got all the way up there:



Yep. Up to the very top. He was a bit sweaty on his return. We did take this pic, though, facing back toward Monserrat:




We headed then into the church. There were people EVERYWHERE. All of us were in agreement that we'd forgo the Black Madonna. But, my dad zoomed in and got a pic of it:



After more pics inside the church, it was time to get some lunch. We opted for a cafeteria-like place so that everyone could quickly get what suited them. Whatever it was we ate, it was sufficient. All I remember at this point was that there was Coke light and my daughter had spaghetti. Yep, in Barcelona. Go figure.

We went down the mountain a different way than we came up, wrapping around the hill and heading what seemed to me to be further inland. They took us to a really, really lovely little Cava winery. Family run, small-production, with a house that was centuries old. http://en.artcava.com

We were a bit early, so we wandered around the grounds waiting for our guide:



Olive tree in the back:



The guide was one of the owners. We got a full on description of what Cava is, how big it is in Spain, and how culturally and regionally significant it is to the local residents. Evidently, once you "chose" your favorite wind to drink, you stick with it.

Inside:







We ended the tour in a tasting room and got our glass of Cava to sample. It was lovely, very dry, which for me was a bonus. I'm not much into the sweet wines. We bought 3 bottles to take home and I'm happy to report that they all made it without any damage!

Tour over, we got back in our vehicle and headed back to Barcelona. Mindy and family were dropped off at their hotel first…time for the sad good-byes….we were beat and had plans to head back to our hotel, get a quick dinner, and sleep! Now remember…we stayed our final night at the same hotel Mindy stayed the very first night. I liked it…very clean and had what we needed, but the room we were in must have been right above the restaurant, as the noise was the clang of plates, silverware, with the low hum of people talking. But, I was so tired that it didn't matter. I'd say that I would absolutely recommend the hotel with the caveat that you might need foam earplugs. The cost was good for what we needed and it was comfortable.
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Last edited by MinnieDiva; 10-20-2013 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:25 PM   #17
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hold for the sad trip home...: June 28, 2013

We fly with dad back to NY, then he heads one way and us another .

How to know when it's time to go home? The day before at Monserrat, I went in and had the attitude "ok, let's take the picture and get out of here". 16 days of vacation and I needed a vacation from my vacation.

We were able to arrange with the hotel to have a taxi ready at 7 or 7;30 to take us for our 10 am flight. Check in was a breeze and we departed on time. Mindy had issues, I believe, but I cannot remember why….

The bad part of going home (other than sadness that it was all over), was the heinous layover in New York. 6 hours. Then a delay. Ug. Dad had a 3 hour layover with a small delay. The weather was impeding flights going out .

I have no pictures of going home. It's too sad to document. I do recall getting some sleep , thankfully, as we had a 2 hour drive back home once we got to Seattle.

Jetlag lasted at least a week. I was an early bird for quite a while. My CD from Shutters was missing pictures and it took a really, really long time to resolve that. And when the 2nd disk came, a few of the pictures had borders with the wrong date. Sigh. Use with caution. The beautiful thing is that I have a TON of pics I was able to send out to family members.

I did book a dummy date while on board (no-brainer, eh?), and FYI, it took a weak-ish after I returned for it to be confirmed. They were overwhelmed in many ways, I guess. DCL seemed off their game….there were reports of cabin issues that went unresolved, not just once, but 3 times. But that is not my story to tell. It's good that the Magic got an overhaul this fall…she needed it.

Hopefully, this TR helps all you planners out there. I had fun writing it, just hated having to finish it. I want to go back in the worst way, but it's going to have to wait until 2015 as next summer is planned and booked.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:27 PM   #18
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hold for the extras or pics I can't otherwise fit in.
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"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:48 PM   #19
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Ok..I'm in. Subscribed away...I'll add comments as I feel necessary
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:10 PM   #20
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I am in! We are scheduled for June 8th. I will wave to you as I disembark. We plan to tour before and after this trip. It is going to be so expensive, but sooo worth it! We have never been to Europe. I am a sponge and want to learn a lot. Little scared about the language barriers when we are out and about away from DCL. I have OCD, too...especially when it comes to planning. I will take any tips you can give!
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simbasmom2 View Post
I am in! We are scheduled for June 8th. I will wave to you as I disembark. We plan to tour before and after this trip. It is going to be so expensive, but sooo worth it! We have never been to Europe. I am a sponge and want to learn a lot. Little scared about the language barriers when we are out and about away from DCL. I have OCD, too...especially when it comes to planning. I will take any tips you can give!
Too funny! I'll be looking for the wave! We have friends doing the June 27th cruise we'll be waving at when we get off. They were on the last 2 cruises with us. In fact, it was their fault that Mindelmouse's family and ours went to Alaska last summer.

So, funny you should mention the language issue. You hear that Barcelona is English-friendly. I didn't agree. I have a theory about this, though. Don't Europeans go "on holiday" in August? So the ones that were working in Barcelona while we were there might have been a bit disgruntled that they were working and not on vacation? I don't know, but it was a challenge for me. To the point that I'm thinking about getting that language program at Costco (not Rosetta but similar) to brush up on my Spanish. I took it in college, but clearly was floundering. One of the realizations I had traveling over there was that we do our society a disservice by not introducing and maintaining language education from an early age. Kinda sad...

So today, I went to the library, and got 3 travel books, one on Greece, one on Turkey, and Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports. So, I'm lucky in that Rick Steves is from this area. His store (which I've been to) and his classes (that I have yet to attend), are all about an hour and a half drive from my house. He has a Facebook page on which he posts deals occasionally. I just got a dvd set of 8 shows..."Mediterranean Mosaic" for $5 with free shipping!!! LOVE his info! Used his mini-books for Barcelona and Cinque Terre last time; I tore apart the books, removed all the lodging info, and then had them bound up by Office Max so as to have minimal weight for packing. Which reminds me that I need to go figure out where I put it....
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:54 PM   #22
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Subscribing as well .... can't wait for this cruise to arrive .. !!!
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:08 AM   #23
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Subscribing as well .... can't wait for this cruise to arrive .. !!!


Stayed up far too late reading the Mediterranean Ports book....
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:04 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post


Stayed up far too late reading the Mediterranean Ports book....
thank goodness for you....I just can't do it....too much time to be excited about a trip....not that I'm not excited...I just have so many more things on my mind...like where will I be living, working....will I still be married???? or possibly broke with all the Disney cruises
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:39 PM   #25
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This was how we celebrated booking the cruise: Spanish wine, Greek yogurt, and Muesli (I love that stuff!!)!


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"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:38 PM   #26
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I'm in! I did the Med in May 2010 and was disappointed with the new itineraries. Wish they would have combined Venice and Greece. I priced them out but just too rich for my blood (but then again I got in on the $999 deal in 2010!) so I will live vicariously through everyone else's reports!

Jill in CO
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:40 PM   #27
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Double post.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:13 PM   #28
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Really looking forward to your trip and if DD loves our upcoming 3-day as much as I hope she does, hopefully we'll be on this some day. It sounds amazing. My daughter, now 9, adores Italy so interested to see how your son enjoys himself.

Happy Planning!
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:37 PM   #29
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Quote:
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I'm in! I did the Med in May 2010 and was disappointed with the new itineraries. Wish they would have combined Venice and Greece. I priced them out but just too rich for my blood (but then again I got in on the $999 deal in 2010!) so I will live vicariously through everyone else's reports!

Jill in CO
Didn't the last minute airfare kill you? That's what I would be worried about if we were to try and wait until the last minute...

Oh, and we lived in CO Springs for 8 years prior to moving to WA. Did you know....snow can actually fall vertically, not horizontally??

Quote:
Originally Posted by sherpasmom View Post
Really looking forward to your trip and if DD loves our upcoming 3-day as much as I hope she does, hopefully we'll be on this some day. It sounds amazing. My daughter, now 9, adores Italy so interested to see how your son enjoys himself.

Happy Planning!
Looks like you're on the Dream in 2 weeks! Have fun! Our DD was with us in 2010 and had a great time! A lot of the sites were over her head, but when she was cranky and out of it at Pompeii, I related it to dead people and she suddenly got into it!
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"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:59 PM   #30
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I had so many things I wanted to get done today, but I made the mistake of posting the picture of the wine, yogurt, and Muesli, and ended up going thru photos from 2010. I ended up loading them to Photobucket, so if you are so inclined to look thru a thousand pics from a random stranger, here's the link:

http://s1236.photobucket.com/albums/ff449/skamerrill/

Otherwise, perhaps I should back up a bit and introduce myself and my traveling party?

As I said, I'm MinnieDiva (Kim) and I have a Disney problem.



I work (sort of) so we can travel. If I worked more, perhaps I wouldn't be sitting here typing this? Hmmm, but I digress. I'm married to DH (Sean):



And we have one daughter (Ashleigh):



My dad (Jerry):

Dad retired last year, and I've been trying to get him to travel with us for a while. He lives in CA, so we see him 3-4 times a year and FaceTime quite a bit.

We currently live in the Pacific NW, closer to Canada than Seattle. We've been here for 4 years after the previous 8 years in Colorado. I'm originally from the Bay Area, so the West Coast is home for me. I'm really happy to be back near the ocean again.

Our 1st Disney cruise, as I said yesterday, was the Med in 2010. I booked the 10-night cruise and told Sean after that we were going. We'd planned on going in 2009, but the move here set that back a year. And, after DCL announced they were going back there, it was a done deal, right?
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"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
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