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Old 07-04-2013, 09:07 PM   #946
MinnieDiva
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Originally Posted by JimmyJackJunior View Post
Thank you so much for the navigators.
You're welcome. I need to dig thru stuff to find the next 2 in sequence. I'll try to scan some more tonite.
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Back to the Med 2013 Greece Itinerary. We're back!!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2871334
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:19 PM   #947
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Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post

You're welcome. I need to dig thru stuff to find the next 2 in sequence. I'll try to scan some more tonite.
I have all of them in order. I'll be home in a little bit will scan and send to you Kim to post
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:34 AM   #948
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More Navigators...

Athens, Kusadasi, and Mykonos links up under their respective posts on page 1.
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Back to the Med 2013 Greece Itinerary. We're back!!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2871334
"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:00 AM   #949
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Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post
****We are now at the point where I am filling in trip details. Please skip forward to read about my OCD planning over the course of the last year and a half**** (6/13/13)

hold for travel day to Barcelona: June 12-14, 2013

The plan: Fly from home to CA, stay overnight with dad and head up early the next morning to SFO to fly to Barcelona!!

June 12th: Ecstatic to start our vacation! I woke up at 6am to a cat pounding on a door. So, I got up and enjoyed a leisurely morning before DD got up and Dh got home from work. We had some packing to finish, DH had to mow the yard, and had errands to run. To add to this, Mindy pointed out that we needed International Driver's permits in order to rent the Go-Cars that was our plan for our day in Barcelona. 8 people in little yellow cars toodling around the city? Yeah, you know that's gonna be a great picture!! What surprises me is that I forgot about this. Not a detail I would usually miss. So in the midst of last-minute preparations and Mindy constantly messaging me because she was at work and didn't want to be there, I figured out that we could stop by a AAA office on the way to the airport. They do same-day permits and do have the ability to take pictures there. A form is available on line and I had all that pre-filled out so that the process would be quicker. Some fabulous friends offered to take us to the airport...this is no small drive, either!! It's a solid 2-hour drive to SeaTac. It was very nice of them, and I'm trying to figure out what to bring home for them!!!

We get to SEA and get thru security, take the tram to the gate...............and find out the flight is delayed. By 2 hours. Grr. So we wandered back to the main terminal and had a lovely dinner at Anthony's.(yummy seafood place local to this area). Finally got on a plane (the issue was we had to get a new one due to mechanical issues) and arrived in San Jose about 9:30 pm. Long day. We had a nap...had to get up at 2:50 to make a 3:45 Super Shuttle (which was 15 min early!!!) and zipped up to San Francisco. Security was light, as was the ticket counter (did I mention we're 1st/business??) and had to wait until 5am to get into the lounge. Where I am now. .



We board in about 30 minutes for our flight to JFK. Based on the weather report, I'm thinking we'll be delayed there for a while...Mindy is in NJ and is flying out of Philly today and tells me it's pouring . Many on our board/FB page have had issues. Saturday looms lie the pot at the end of the rainbow!!! More later...

We got onto the plane at JFK and.....got texts (after we were seated) that our plane was delayed. What? A text? Yeah. And the flight crew and captain of the plane were asked about this and they didn't have any knowledge of this yet. Amazingly...the texts were correct and we sat there waiting to take off. I think it was about 7pm that we finally made it to the top of the queue and headed out. Turbulence was pretty light the entire flight, IMO. We were tired, but hngry and all of us eagerly awaitied dinner (and a bit of wine) so we could sack out a bit. I want to say that I maybe got a 3-hour catnap, which is an improvement over most of the times I travel. I guess that whold sleep deprivation thing from the previous night kinda paid off . They started doing a breakfast service about an hour and a half before landing, but I wasn't hungry and just drank a bunch of coffee and water. I have some lovely pictures from the plane that I will insert at a later date!



Seing as how we were an hour and an half delayed on our start, we only landed about 45 minutes late. Customs was a breeze and we headed down to baggage claim to get our luggage. In the meantime I went to call the apartment. This was interesting. First of all, I've never dialed an overseas number, so I had to ask an employee which series of numbers to call. I'm sure they thought I was an idiot, but there it is, right? And the phones are strange. Nowhere could I see how much a call was. I had 2E coins, and they really give you a limited amount of time, as I got hung up upon. More on this experience in a bit.

Taxi experience? Easy-peasy! Walked out, no line at all and people directing customers to taxis. We went in a little van...so 4 people, 4 large pieces of luggage, 3 carry-ons, and 2 camera bags. Showed the address of the apartment and off we went. Total cost $30E (rounded up from 29E). Included in this was the time we spent waiting in traffic
Ok - so I decided that I would just comment on Kim's posts and copy and they post at the end, so then everyone can see both together.

So we on the East Coast were leaving from Philadelphia, supposedly one hour after Kim's plane left from JFK. So we started our day, I was working from home, we had gotten the majority of the packing down the night before. At about 11 am we went to AAA to get our international driving permits to drive the GoCars (joy), then we went got a bit of lunch and went home to complete the last bit of packing. Weather wasn't terrific and I was sure our flight would be delayed, but alas it wasn't. We went, on schedule, to pull the kids out of school at 3 pm and were on our way

Philadelphia here we come

We got to the airport checked our luggage in quickly and got through security in minutes and went to a very crowded gate area to wait.

I had been texting Kim and knew her plane was delayed. I think we took off on time, and we arrived the next morning in Barcelona 1/2 an hour ahead of schedule.


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Old 07-05-2013, 12:31 PM   #950
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Thanks for posting the pictures and navigators. We're heading out next week for the next cruise to Greece. Were there any entertainment or organized on board activities that you really enjoyed?
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:34 PM   #951
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Thanks for posting the pictures and navigators. We're heading out next week for the next cruise to Greece. Were there any entertainment or organized on board activities that you really enjoyed?
Other than the shows and entertainment we really only did the last day of the art of energy entertaining that was great (a "chopped" type competition between two of the chefs. We had two private tastings which I set up for our DIS /FB group for mixology and wine tasting that were a blast. Other than that we had some private get togethers.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:15 PM   #952
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Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post
hold for pre-cruise Barcelona tourism: June 14th, 2013

The plan: We're scheduled to arrive early am, 7:30-ish. We have an apartment reserved, originally for 2 nights, but was able to change it to 1 night as our original flight plans changed with an incredible American Airlines deal. Was thinking of keeping both nights so that we could check in and have someplace to store the luggage and shower if needed, but the company was willing to work with us to have an early check in and just do that one night. Our plan is to rent Go-Cars: http://www.gocartours.es. We figure that will keep us awake and engaged thru the day.

Tickets have been booked for entry to La Sagrada Familia here: http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/sf-eng/?lang=0
You are asked to reserve a time slot. We chose 12-1, to ensure there would be no issues with flight delays.


Reality:

The only issue we had with the apartment was that there was no one to answer the phone number provided. I called the other number and someone said that there would be someone available after 9am. Really? So the moral of the story is be clear about early check-in arrangements. However, all worked out ok as we got to the apartment...just before 9...and they had an office there!! Yea! So a potential issue became a non-issue!!

The room was very nice (reminds me that I need to take pics before we leave...) and wi-fi was included and fast! There was a complimentary bottle of wine, a bottle of water (big one) and a Nespresso machine. We ended up using the washer and dryer (in response to the board post that the dryers on 6&7 are broken) and while functional, they are noisy and slow. But....clean clothes for all.

Pics of the apartment:







After a shower, we met Mindy and family at La Sagrada Familia and wandered around there for an hour or so. I mentioned this somewhere, but Mindy and I ran into each other last time at this location, so funnily enough, we ran into another family we've gotten to know on here and FB....in fact it was the family that is going on the Rome and Athens excursions with us!! I'm so used to her real name from FB that I'm not sure of her name here...I think it's wvflu? Any way...hi Lisa!!!




So off to hydrate and caffinate at Starbucks, to Mindy's hotel so they could get rid of stuff and take their luggage to the room, then we were going to take a taxi to the go-car location.....until we walked right by an alternate office right by the hotel/Sagrada area!!! They were able to rent us the cars from there, saving us time and effort. Or so we thought.

So.....here's my thoughts on the cars. DON'T RENT THESE. Mindy will lambast them in her own post, but my 2 cents are the following: they suck. Ok, let me elaborate. The GPS is inadequate. I was routed to a plaza (that I knew from the 2010 bike tour). No cars are there except taxis in a very limited area. A tolerant policeman tweeting his whistle and pointed my the correct direction. Rolling his eyes, I'm sure. We all got separated, so dad and I went back to the place we rented them and waited, calling Mindy's phone to let her, at least, know where we were. DH and Mindy's son came back to wait on everyone, so Dad and I went back out to at least recoup some of the cost of the tour. Horrible. Routed down 1-way streets, completely lost....traffic. Ugh. There will be a you-tube video of me getting stuck in an intersection yelling back obscenities at rude drivers. While we eventually did get a tour around town, I expressed my displeasure (after Mindy going ape.... on them) and got half my money back. Wait till you hear her version. It tops mine.



So we ended up back near our apartment for dinner. The kids (and adults) were soooooo tired. We had Spanish food (paella and other stuff) and Sangria (YUM!). Then: bed. That needed to happen in the worst way. All but me slept thru the night. I woke up about 1 am, but went back to sleep. Dad slept until we routed him out of bed at 0830 after we got back from Starbucks. Last load of laundry in the dryer now...need to go get water and wine to stash in the carry ons. The plan is a 10 am taxi to the port.
So I wrote my whole story and as I was adding the last picture the Disboard shut down on me...how frustrating...Let's try this again. Just so you're aware, since we were with the Merrills every day from here on out, I'm gonna just be embellishing on Kim's trip report and adding things that I did differently.

As I said in the last post, we arrived in Barcelona at 8:00 a.m. Actually 1/2 an hour early. Since I knew Kim left late, I thought there was a possibility that we would see each other in the airport ( you have to understand the long awaited anticipation of seeing our friends from way across the country again.) But, alas, our luggage came, we didn't see them and I later found out they had been there and already left probably about 1/2 ahead of us. We, like Kim, went outside easily hailed a minivan taxi and made our way to the Hispanos 7 Suizas (32 Euro cab ride). The hotel is one block away from La Sagrada Familia and very nice. It has a balcony, two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and two full baths.
View from the balcony:

I, in my infinite wisdom did not think to take pictures of the room, hopefully Kim did because she stayed there at the end of the trip. Of course our room wasn't ready yet, it was only 9 a.m. and check in wasn't until 4 p.m. so we dropped off our luggage and set off to find breakfast and alas look what we found:


We sat at Starbucks leisurely drank our coffee and had breakfast and then with 1/2 an hour to spare before meeting the Merrills we went off to La Sagrada. There's a nice little park across the street with some vendors. I don't think Kim mentioned this but buy your tickets to go inside online before you go. It will save you a long wait. We just walked right in.

Ok, so now here it is my dissertation on the GoCars. DON"T DO IT!!!!!!! I don't know if I've mentioned it previously but I probably did everything I could pretrip to talk Kim out of this No dice she really wanted to do this. I was a bit nervous about driving in Barcelona traffic while tired from being up for over 24 hours but I did it. We were quite a site, 4 yellow cars leaving the garage. It was Sean and Sam, Kim and her dad, Me and Ashleigh and then Jim and Haylee. Well at the first traffic light, Sean went, followed by Kim and then I got a red light. Which would not have been a catastrophe in most situations, however my GPS/Tour Guide system didn't work. When the light turned green I proceeded and Sean and Kim are nowhere to be seen. I have no idea where they went and they assumed I would just follow the directions. I pulled over, Jim followed me and I told him the problem, at which point he told me he had the same problem until Haylee hit something and it worked. No such luck for me. So I was going to follow Jim until we found everyone because at this point we had made enough turns that I wasn't sure where the garage was to go back.
After driving down one way streets the wrong way and into pedestrian plazas (because we were following the navigation system) we drove up to MontJuic. On our way up we saw Sean and Sam coming down, so they turned around and met us in a parking lot (did either of us mention that there is no reverse on these cars, so you can't go backwards unless someone pushes you?) He told us he had lost Kim. A few minutes later Kim called us and we decided to go back to where she was. The idea was Sean would lead (should have re thought that) and Jim would follow me...well we were fine for a bit but then we hit a round about and I got caught by a red light and again, Sean didn't wait...so I had no idea where he got off and again we were lost. I pulled over, Jim took the lead. After about 30 minutes he realized that the GPS was taking us back to MontJuic. So we pulled over so he could look at a map to get us back, since we were both riding with kids. He figured out where we should go and started off. Alas my car wouldn't start up again. Not knowing if Jim would realize I wasn't coming and if he did, if he could get back to me, I called the number that Kim had called me from and told them my predicament. They kept insisting that I tell them where the GPS last told me I was and they would come pick me up. They would not understand the fact that the GPS didn't work and I had no idea where I was. Finally Jim came running around the corner, (he had left Haylee and the car with a nice woman from Toronto that had stopped to ask about the car) and came and got my car started.

We followed his navigating via the paper map and got to the general area of the garage (different place from where we picked the car up from) and then after being directed into a parking garage and not being able to get up the ramp without the parking attendants help and driving into a pedestrian plaza where two police officers were coming towards us ( a nice tourist who spoke English and Spanish explained we were lost because there was no marking on the alley that the Go Car place was, we got back.

Now starts more fun. After asking how our ride was I said awful and the girl told me I should have come back and they might have been able to do something but since I had their car all day what were they supposed to do? REALLY!!!! I didn't want to have their car all day. I spend the entire d trying to get back to where I started. Now forgive me if I seem like I have no patience at this point, because I didn't. I was tired (up for over 24 hours), frustrated, scared and angry. It was not a time to give me more grief. I asked to speak with her manager who told me that there was nothing she could do. She had called the other location and after speaking with them asked why I didn't let them pick me up and informed me that my friends said that they had a wonderful time. I lost it. I told her that I was going to slam the company on Trip Advisor (which I did) and that she'd hear from my attorney (which she did Jim). Knowing I was too frustrated to be rational, I told Jim he should deal with it and walked out to the curb.
Jim came out 15 minutes later. They had brought out the man who was there when we rented the cars and he agreed to refund the cost of my car and 1/2 of the cost of Jim's. That was nice but it was still an awful experience. The taxis and buses are not happy they are sharing the road with you and people laugh and take pictures as you drive by. We waited for Sean and Sam to meet us (they walked from the other location - which wasn't close) and then we all waited for Kim. Just as we were all about to leave, she showed up none to happy as she said.

Here's a picture of where we all had dinner that night.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:40 PM   #953
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thanks for posting the navigators. We are on the next Greece/Turkey cruise and they will help a lot.

ellen
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:59 PM   #954
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnieDiva View Post
Athens, Kusadasi, and Mykonos links up under their respective posts on page 1.
Quote:
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thanks for posting the navigators. We are on the next Greece/Turkey cruise and they will help a lot.

ellen
Ditto!!! We really appreciate it!!! So glad you had such a great time!
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:05 PM   #955
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Mindy, your description of go cars had me in stitches. When I looked them up before the trip, my first reaction was there was no way is drive that itsy bitsy thing in Toronto let alone Barcelona. Heck no!!
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:50 PM   #956
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Do you know if galley tours were available upon request from Guest Services? I know these have been "hit or miss" if they are still offered; I got to do it on the Fantasy in January and would love to do it again.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:18 PM   #957
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Do you know if galley tours were available upon request from Guest Services? I know these have been "hit or miss" if they are still offered; I got to do it on the Fantasy in January and would love to do it again.
They had them for platinum cruisers on the Dream in October but generally they are usually not available anymore. I didnt hear of anyone having one this cruise.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:24 PM   #958
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Mindy, your description of go cars had me in stitches. When I looked them up before the trip, my first reaction was there was no way is drive that itsy bitsy thing in Toronto let alone Barcelona. Heck no!!
The driving of them was actually quite fun. It was the lack of directional sense that was not.
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Back to the Med 2013 Greece Itinerary. We're back!!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2871334
"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3004870
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:26 PM   #959
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thanks for posting the navigators. We are on the next Greece/Turkey cruise and they will help a lot.

ellen
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Thanks for posting the pictures and navigators. We're heading out next week for the next cruise to Greece. Were there any entertainment or organized on board activities that you really enjoyed?

Y'all are welcome.....and....
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Back to the Med 2013 Greece Itinerary. We're back!!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2871334
"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:26 PM   #960
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Navigators!! ALL ARE UP!!

I posted the last 3 days under their respective posts on page 1. Happy planning!!
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"Dreamy" 15th Anniversary TR!:
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