Disney Magic in the Mediterranean-6/7-6/14/2014

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by woody64, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. woody64

    woody64 Mouseketeer

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    Because I've enjoyed and learned from other trip reports I thought I would do one of my own in the hopes it would help someone else.

    This cruise was the Magic sailing the Mediterranean from Barcelona on June 7th, 2014. The cast is me, DW, DS(19) and DS(15) from the western burbs of Chicago. All excursions were purchased thru DCL and we can't say enough about the guides, bus drivers and everything about these excursions. We went thru the ship so we would not have to worry about making it back to the ship in time.

    We had late dinner seating and I will have very few pictures of dinner and zero pictures of what we ate except on one excursion.

    Photography is a hobby of mine and I did take a lot of pictures and will include some in this report. The edits of these pictures are rough so please suffer through them, including some quick HDR shots.

    Enough disclaimers, on with the show.
     
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  3. woody64

    woody64 Mouseketeer

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    We chose to fly over a day early (thru Frankfort) to make sure we didn't miss the ship. We are very thankful we did this because we had some delays in Chicago. Unfortunately, United Airlines decided to put some bags on our flight that did not belong to anyone. Of course they discovered this at the end of the runway...back to the jetway, unload the bags, repeat trip to runway and takeoff. This cost us 2 hours and our connection in Frankfort. Not off to a very good start!

    We were booked on a much later flight than originally scheduled and finally made it to Barcelona 4 1/2 hours later than intended after a 19 hour journey. We had barcelonadaytoursdotcom pick us up(thankfully I was able to get a hold of them and tell them of the delay) and waited about 15 minutes for them to arrive. Once we met up with our very nice guide, we walked outside, loaded the bags in the van and started our private 4 hour tour of Barcelona.

    Our guide informed us that because we were so late we unfortunately missed our “skip-the-line” tours of Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia (United will be hearing from me on this) so we could kind of choose what we wanted to do. My oldest DS mentioned that he would like to see the stadium where FC Barcelona plays so that became stop 1. On the drive we were given a history of Barcelona and had important sites pointed out to us. The driver parked out in front of the stadium and stayed with the van (and our bags) while we explored the exterior of the stadium, which seats 100,000, and made a shopping trip into the official store.

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    When we were finished we reboarded the van and did a driving tour of Barcelona. We stopped and took pictures at the '92 Olympic Stadium and Torch-site of the coolest torch lighting I have ever seen. Google it to find out how they lit it.

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    We stopped outside one of Gaudi’s houses to take pictures and then it was on to La Sagrada Famailia. All I can say is that you must see it. Our only regret is not being able to go inside but gives us reason to go back when it is finished…in 16 years!

    One of the houses Gaudi built
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    La Familia Sagrada-notice the differing styles as they are on opposite sides of the building
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    After walking all around La Sagrada we boarded the van again and set out for Park Guell. We again were not able to enter because we missed our time and they did not care why we missed it. We looked through the fence and did some shopping across the street and set out for our hotel.

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    Our driver dropped us off at our hotel, the Hotel Regina, which was ½ block from Placa de Catalunya and La Rambla. The hotel was great! Great location, clean, and a big room that could hold all 4 of us! We dropped the bags and went in search of food down La Rambla. We ended up getting some really good pizza (not sure if it was really good or we were just really hungry) down one of the cool, narrow streets in the Gothic section. We wondered around some more and hit the hay early, 8:30 pm, after being up for about 24 hours.

    La Rambla
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  4. Disneymadhouse

    Disneymadhouse Always planning a Disney holiday!

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    Looking forward to reading! We are on the Magic in August :goodvibes but luckily as we are in the UK we won't have such a long journey!

    Claire :)
     
  5. mrslfc

    mrslfc Earning My Ears

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    Looking forward to reading the rest of your trip report we are on the Magic in August :hyper:
     
  6. pascalstongue

    pascalstongue DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to reading your report. We are on the last Med cruise this summer, can't wait!
     
  7. woody64

    woody64 Mouseketeer

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    Having gone to bed so early, I was awake at 5:30. Finally around 6:00 I decided to get up and go take pictures. Some of the best light of the day is sunrise so I was going to take advantage of it. I picked up a map from the very helpful front desk and headed out down La Rambla.

    I do have to warn you if you are an adult male walking down La Rambla by himself at 6:15 am. While I never felt unsafe, I was very uncomfortable because the ladies of the evening that were still looking for company were stationed along La Rambla and very aggressive, even grabbing my shirt sleeve. Looking back now it is funny but it wasn’t at the time.

    After fast walking the gauntlet down the entire length of La Rambla I arrived at the Christopher Columbus statue and took some pictures. From there I wondered around the Gothic section including the rebuilt Roman Aqueduct Arch and the Cathedral.

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    After hustling back to the hotel to make sure I wasn’t missed I arrived to find…my crew still asleep. After everyone woke up, showered and repacked we set off down La Rambla which thankfully had none of my previous friends in sight. We wondered around the Gothic section some more and sampled some wonderful pastries. It was then time to head back to the hotel and grab a cab for the Magic.

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    One quick word about La Rambla. It was a great street to wander down but parents of younger kids just be prepared for your children to potentially see some interesting things for sale. There are vendors selling anything from cannabis seeds to seeds for anatomically correct vegetables and flowers with very descriptive packaging. My teenagers thought it was funny and took pictures of some of the packages. I did too but will not post those pics here.

    After a quick 10-15 minute ride to the port (about €15) we were dropped off right beside the Magic. One note here is DO NOT try and walk from downtown to the port. There is a big, long bridge you must go up then down to get to the ship. We did see several people doing this and they looked miserable…except the one child trying to ride a four-wheeled suitcase down the hill!

    There were lots of porters there to take our bags and then we were in line to have our passports checked. After a short wait there we went thru the metal detectors and then in line to check in and get our keycards. A short line for Castaway Club members and we were checked in and having our picture taken. Note, the photographers are not allowed to take a picture of you with your camera like at the theme parks.

    The next thing we know our name was announced and we were back onboard the Magic! We last sailed on her in February of 2004 and she looked as grand as ever. We ate lunch upstairs, walked around and reacquainted ourselves then went down to our room. On the way down we bought the water bottle package so we would have water with us on our long excursions.

    After the muster drill it was time for the sail away party. We were up on deck 10 and had a great view.

    Miguel leading the party!
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    The Catalan and Spanish flags
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    After the party we had late seating so we just relaxed in our stateroom and around the ship. We didn’t feel like going to the first show in the theatre so we skipped it. For dinner we were on the LAC so we were at Lumiere’s. We were seated with a really nice family from Atlanta and greatly enjoyed dinners with them and comparing stories of what we each did every day. Our Server was Vitor from Portugal and his Assistant Sammie from Italy. They were very friendly and nice throughout the whole trip.

    After dinner the other three went back to the room to chill while I headed out to O’Gills Pub and Fathoms for the Match Your Mate Game. A couple of notes here, Miguel (el Sugar!) did a great job throughout the cruise hosting the late night activities. He was energetic, friendly and a very quick wit with adult themes. For those people that think it is kid friendly 100% of the time…it’s not and that’s what I love about DCL. If you get a chance please check out the Match Your Mate Game (like the Newly Wed Game but with couple married for varying lengths). For reference, the final question was where is the wildest place you and your mate have ever “discovered the magic”. Enough said.

    After that I decide to take some pictures around the very quiet ship and then it was off to bed.

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  8. Princess Clayre

    Princess Clayre Mouseketeer

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    Great report so far, you take the most wonderful photo's.

    We decided a while ago that Las Ramblas does not sound like somewhere we would want to visit and your report seem to back up what we thought.
     
  9. cscream13

    cscream13 Mouseketeer

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    You truly do take wonderful photos! I've been looking for recent photos of the reimagined Magic, and I will certainly keep following this trip report - I cant wait to see what else you've got for us!
     
  10. DISGRL13

    DISGRL13 Mouseketeer

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    Wow, Woody64 what a great trip report!! Thank you for all your information and insight on your trip! We are going on the July26th Med cruise. Your photos are AMAZING! Thank you so much for posting. Reading and seeing your pictures is really getting me excited for our trip. I can't wait to read more! :cool1:
     
  11. lulubelle

    lulubelle <font color=darkorchid><marquee> I am Miss Klutz W

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    Following along to your most excellent start! :thumbsup2
     
  12. MadamG2U

    MadamG2U Mouseketeer

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    We will be on the Magic in August. So looking forward to this vacation. Your pictures are beautiful. Looking forward to your next installment.
    MadamG2U
     
  13. woody64

    woody64 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for all the kind words. It is nice reliving the memories and hopefully I can help someone out with insights or questions. Now, on with the show!

    Day 2 (Sunday)– At Sea
    Our first full day on the Magic started…late. We all slept in until about 9:30, which never happens at home. We were on deck 6 with a room with a balcony but with the curtains closed and the a/c on it was cool and dark. It felt great to recharge and we were so happy the itinerary was laid out this way. We ate breakfast, changed into our swimsuits and headed for deck 10. We pretty much stayed here most of the day, grabbing pizza, chicken tenders and ice cream from the various places on deck 9. We also enjoyed the beverage service on deck 9 outside of Cabanas. It had all the Coke products with glasses, tops and straws as well as water. The boys did their own thing and I think went and saw the newest Captain America movie. My wife did attend the shopping presentation and received some good information about shopping in all the ports.

    Adults Only Pool
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    Kids water play area
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    Family pool with video screen where we watched movies
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    A note about the last picture. I had read about the mug deal for beer on the ship. I am a beer drinker so I took advantage of it. You buy the mug and for the length of the cruise you drink 22 oz. of beer for the price of 16 oz. It was a good deal in my book. Also, you could turn in the mug when you are done and they would give you a token to use the next time you wanted a beer instead of carry around a dirty beer mug.

    Tonight was formal night. We did not bring any real dressy clothes because of the long trip. We boys were all in khakis and nice short sleeve button down shirts while my wife was in a dress. There were people WAY more dressed up than we were including some in tuxes and sparkly ball gowns. We also saw people in shorts and jeans. It didn’t matter as everyone was having a good time. The lighting on Deck 4 was fantastic so we took many family pictures and I took these as I thought they might make some cool shots.

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    One note about the dress for any dinner during this cruise, the dress for dinner was extremely casual. We saw anything from jeans to shorts and t-shirts and it didn’t bother us at all. In fact, towards the end of the cruise we would wear shorts and a polo shirt to dinner. Hopefully this won’t bother anyone but we enjoyed that each family could dress how they chose.

    As always there were tons of picture opportunities before the show/early seating. We took pictures with one background and then headed to Walt Disney Theatre for “Twice Charmed”. Word of warning, they are serious when they say no pictures/video. Several people tried and they were immediately asked to stop. It was a cute show that we enjoyed.

    Here is some information for Disney Vacation Club members. Stop by the DVC desk every night and you might win little gifts. It was a fun little thing to do and the people there were so nice.

    Dinner tonight was formal night at Animator’s Palete. We originally had scheduled to go to Palo but were told by our servers that tonight was the special show in AP so we cancelled our dinner reservation at Palo to see the show. We were very glad we did this as we loved the show. I will not tell you more, as it was a great surprise to us what they did and want you to have that same experience.

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    Loved the dishes!
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    After dinner the family went to the room and I went to O’Gills/Fathoms. Tonight in Fathoms was Kyle Knight and Misty. They do magic and illusions and were really good. I would recommend seeing them if you have a chance.

    After that it was back to the stateroom, read a little on the balcony and then time for bed. Tomorrow is our first stop!
     
  14. Disneymadhouse

    Disneymadhouse Always planning a Disney holiday!

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    Hi, loving your report :goodvibes

    Can I ask do you still have your navigators that you could post pics of? I am particularly interested in the character meet and greets.

    Many thanks

    Claire :)
     
  15. Cousin Orville

    Cousin Orville Inventor of Air Cooling

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    If you get a chance, I hope you'll reconsider. Las Ramblas is one of the great walking streets of the world. Just for another perspective, I've been to Barcelona (and down Las Ramblas) a couple of times and guess I've missed some the more colorful parts. Many families are strolling around. Just not at 6:15am. :D
    Incidentally, I too woke up early and walked down Las Ramblas a couple of years ago looking for some coffee. It must have been just after 7am. Found Starbucks, but it still wasn't open yet! Talk about a culture that wakes up late and stays out late.
     
  16. Cousin Orville

    Cousin Orville Inventor of Air Cooling

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    We're flying out next week for our cruise out of Venice. I've been debating shorts vs pants in the main dining rooms. Thanks for you persecutive. I'd rather just wear shorts on the mdr nights, but will probably bring pants just in case it's too cold in there.

    So is the show always your first night in Animator's Palate? I'm going to try to book a 2nd palo dinner, but don't want to miss the show either.
     
  17. woody64

    woody64 Mouseketeer

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    I totally agree. Even if my kids were younger I would not miss walking down La Rambla. I think only because my kids are older did they notice some of the more colorful things for sale. Off of La Rambla is the cool Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria that has just about everything and anything for sale and was fun to walk around and see things we don't have at home.
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    It appears like yes it is the first night. We definitely missed not eating at Palo but we are so glad we went to AP that night.

    I will scan them and start posting as well.
     
  18. woody64

    woody64 Mouseketeer

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    Day 3 (Monday) – Villefranche, France
    Sorry for the long post but trying to add what I think are helpful details. Today we have our first excursion planned – Highlights of Monaco & Monte Carlo. This tour was meeting at 12:30 pm so we were able sleep in again. I was first up so again went upstairs and was greeted with a great view of the harbor. This is the only port we have to tender at so we were not docked but had dropped anchor.

    Some artsy/fartsy shots I liked
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    After taking some pictures and having breakfast, we leisurely got ready to go ashore. We packed our bottles of water, passports, Key to the World cards and tickets and then we were off. Because we were leaving the ship a little later we did not have to go to the WD Theatre for tender tickets. As soon as we checked out there was a tender ready to go so we were off to France!

    The ride was a short 10 minute, very calm ride to the port. This ride also was a great chance for pictures of the Magic. Once we walked off the tender there was a Disney photographer there to take your picture. After you leave the port building we crossed the street and we were in the cool little town of Villefranche.

    From the tender
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    We walked around town and then along the sidewalk to take a look at the beach. We were very glad we brought our water because it was HOT! We found a little store that sold water and snacks so we picked up some big water bottles and some of the best cookies chocolate covered cookies!

    One of the streets...loved the building colors!
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    Another note I should have added earlier. On advice from a friend that travels to Europe frequently, we used an ATM in the Frankfurt airport to get some euro’s to use for our small purchases like the water and snacks. He told us the exchange rates were good this way and better than converting US cash to euros.

    We walked up towards the fortress and then it was time to join our tour. Because it was later in the day we actually met at the port, not on the ship. It was kind of chaotic but soon we were headed to our bus.

    We then drove to Monte Carlo and the world famous casino. Once you enter Monte Carlo you drive on the street where the Grand Prix is held and go past the start/finish line which is cool. Because the race was only a few weeks before they were still taking down the stands. We then drove to an underground garage to park the bus.

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    Once you exit the bus we walked up the ramp and made our way to the front of the casino. This walk is about 10-15 minutes long but almost entirely uphill. The cool part is you walk right past the hairpin turn in front of the Fairmont Hotel. We stopped several times to have things explained to us about Monte Carlo and to make sure no one got too tired.

    Up to the casino-notice the red/white curb from the race
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    Once we reached the casino we had about 30 minutes to wander around. We walked down to see the front of the Opera House and then a little farther to look over Monte Carlo and take some pictures of the yachts docked at the pier. We then went to the gift store in front of the casino. We then made our way back down the hill to meet the bus. Did I mention it was HOT?

    Casino
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    Opera House
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    After re-boarding the bus we drove up to the area of Monaco where the Palace is located. Once we parked you walked to an escalator (loved how our guide pronounced this word), which then took you to an elevator. After you exit the parking structure you are in front of the Scientific Centre of Monaco. We were then given a choice to continue following the guide up towards the Cathedral or wander on our own. We chose to continue following the guide.

    We followed her up to the Cathedral and then to the Palace. During this walk (gentle slope up to the Cathedral where it then flattens out) our guide did a great job of telling us all the facts about Monaco. We were then allowed about 90 minutes to wander on our own.

    Cathedral
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    Palace
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    We wandered over to the right of the Palace and there is a great view overlooking the marina and Monte Carlo.

    Great view of Monte Carlo
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    We continued wandering the narrow little streets and found a little restaurant to eat lunch. It was pricey but we were hungry and the sandwiches and pizza were really good.

    We next worked our way down to Saint Nicholas Cathedral and went inside. This is the Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III. It is also the burial place for many of the Grimaldis including Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. It was beautiful inside so if you are there you must visit the inside.

    Princess Grace's tomb
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    Inside the Cathedral
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    We then worked our way down to the bus, boarded and headed back to the ship. One common occurrence on the bus rides were naps. We all napped at some point on almost all the buses. Don’t feel ashamed to do the same thing as we were definitely not the only ones.

    Down the hill in front of the Fairmont (on the right)
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    We took a different route back and skirted the edge of Eze (which our tablemates said was a neat medival town to explore) and then to some hills with Nice in the distance. The guide and bus driver were nice enough to stop along the road to get some good shots of the Magic and the harbor.

    Magic
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    Panorama of the Magic in the harbor
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    Before you knew it we were getting off the bus and headed back to the ship on the tenders. We arrived back onboard around 6:00 so we decided to skip the movie Maleficent in the WDT and went to deck 9 for ice cream instead!

    We then went back to the room and a couple of us went down to O’Gills. They had a great Irish/folk trio playing and I felt so bad because we were the only ones in there. We enjoyed going down to O’Gills after getting back on the ship most days because they have some good munchies. They always had fixings for nachos, chicken wings, veggies and dip, and other finger foods. It was a nice change from the food available on deck 9.

    We had our first dinner at Carioca’s tonight and we liked the new theme. We had been in this space before but way back when it was Parrot Cay. The food, service etc. were very good but have no idea what I ate that night.

    Because we missed the earlier show of Maleficent we went to the Buena Vista Theatre for the 10:45 show. Another note here. My DW and youngest DS don’t like 3D movies. The Maleficent showing in the WDT was in 3D as a word of warning/excitement while the BVT was not. It is a great movie and glad we saw it.

    Now off to bed with the next stop La Spezia, Italy!
     
  19. disneygirl1213

    disneygirl1213 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for the wonderful review. We are headed to Barcelona for a 12 nt. Med on July 23rd. One of the things that has been worrying me a bit is the long transfers on the tour buses to reach the excursion destinations. Do the buses have bathrooms? When I called DCL to ask they said probably yes, but didn't sound too confidant. Nothing's worse than trying to get your child to "hold it"! thank you!
     
  20. DJinPA

    DJinPA Earning My Ears

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    Okay- I don't think I am replying correctly, Disneygirl, we went on the 12 night med in June and did the majority of Disney tours (Villefranche, La Spezia, Naples, Sicily, Corfu, Dubrovnik) and there were no bathrooms on any of the tour buses. Great trip, great tours, and often tour guides would direct you towards 'toilets', but none on the buses.
     
  21. disneygirl1213

    disneygirl1213 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you about the bathroom info. See, I really had a feeling that they were not giving me correct info. at DCL. It seems like they would have been able to ask someone who knew. Well, I guess an hour bus ride is doable, but a 2 hour drive to Monaco with no restroom would be rough. I will keep that in mind! Most people would probably never think of such things, but 2 members of my family suffer from IBS and always worry if they will be somewhere without access to a bathroom -- even more so if in some way they would need to inconvenience others.

    By the way, your photos are just gorgeous!
     

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