From Galveston to Rome: Magic Transatlantic/Med Trip

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by gotomu212, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. MomoMama

    MomoMama Mouseketeer

    Mar 28, 2013
    I really enjoy your trip report!

    Limbert was our server too. We said good-bye to him the day you got on the ship. He brought us extra plates of dessert too... he was great!:thumbsup2

    Looking forward to the part 2!
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  3. keighttf

    keighttf Earning My Ears

    Nov 18, 2013
    Your trip report was great, hilarious. I love traveling and reading about traveling. I have just recently booked a 4 night on the dream, our first cruise ever. We have been to WDW many times and Disneyland Paris but never DCL. As I am obsessed with traveling and travel planning I have now decided we need to go on all of the DCL itineraries, including a transatlantic, even though I don't know for sure that we will even like cruising as we have never been, haha.
  4. gotomu212

    gotomu212 Mouseketeer

    Sep 2, 2010
    Day 16
    June 1

    Did anyone wonder what happened to me?; worried I fell off Notch Trail in the Badlands? (Side note that almost did happen.) I just got so busy and kind of forgot I hadn’t finished this. Then someone commented on my old report yesterday, and I felt bad for not finishing. I don’t know if the report was helpful for anyone, but at the very least maybe I can entertain a few people with our zany week in the Med.

    So when we last left off, we had just completed the Transatlantic cruise. Our luggage was mostly packed, I was a little seasick (probably from the fish at dinner), and we went to bed.

    We woke up with Barcelona outside the window! Our shore excursion met at 7:45 so we were up early. Carlos ran up to Topsiders to grab a breakfast tray, while I randomly and chaotically threw our last unpacked items into bags resulting in this lovely conversation “uh Deann have you seen my socks?”, “oh I packed them”, “well that’s a problem”, “do you have to wear socks?”, “seriously? Yes I do”, “why don’t you wear your sandals?”, “because I don’t want to”, “okay well figure it out and um not quite sure where I packed your sandals either”. Carlos was not speaking to me by the time we met our friends in Sessions for our tour that went to Montserrat and then dropped everyone at the hotel Disney.
    We got our numbers and followed the tour leader out through the atrium, past the big white hands, and into the port. Customs was really easy since we didn’t have any bags. Carlos got into a long discussion with the official in Spanish and there was lots of laughing by the official (Carlos may have been trying to get them to keep me; I have no idea but apparently there were no takers) and we went out and got on our marked bus.

    (Just FYI for those on similar B2Bs. There was an option for all B2Bs to meet as a group at 9, disembark together and reboard by 10:30. Since we’d been aboard for 2 weeks I didn’t feel like an extra 3 hours on board was worth it for us.)

    Montserrat is an Abbey about 40 minutes outside of Barcelona. It’s a really pretty drive out into the hills and then you see one hill that’s not like the other. The name literally means serrated mountain. The bus drove us to a little train. It was a 15 minute ride straight up the side of the mountain. This site is really cool. It’s a working abbey and a tourist spot, but it’s also very lively with the locals. We saw a lot of hikers, bikers, and rappellers. We got a quick overview from the tour guide and she handed out “refreshment tickets”. This was apparently a very big deal because she mentioned it on the bus, then waiting for the train she told us to make sure we got our ticket, then she showed us where the cafeteria was, then at the end when we were regrouping she asked several times if we had used our refreshment ticket. Thinking that this magic ticket must buy us something incredible I was disappointed to know we could get a bottle of water or small soda with it.

    The Abbey is home to the Black Virgin which is a statue of a black Virgin Mary that was discovered in a cave near the Abbey several hundred years ago? I’m not sure I have all the facts straight. The Abbey people were very excited about it, they told us we had to see it and that we should get in line now because it was so short, and like sheep we all ran over and got in the line without really knowing what we were going to see. The line was 20 minutes long, but you were suppose to be completely silent for the entire time. Believe it or not we were able to keep two 5 year old boys silent for the whole 20 minutes while in this line. My question is why couldn’t the 70 year old couple in front of us shut up? We got some good silent chuckles out of watching the boys stare at them and make disappointed frowny faces while pointing to the silent sign. When we got up there the statue was there with a little glass cut out where you can touch her. I’m not catholic, but you know when in line for a religious icon, do as the Romans. Carlitos and I touched her and moved along. Carlos, who is catholic, did some sort of thing, and then proceeded to take a lot of pictures. Afterwards we went back to the front of the cathedral and there was a local drum/dancing group associated with St. George there. It was the first time they had performed at the Abbey. It was amazing to listen to them and watch them proceed into the Cathedral, and it made me imagine what Cathedrals used to be like when they were the center of a town and not just a religious house.

    After sitting through a little of the service we left to walk around. The area has hiking paths and bridges and we found a really nice quiet courtyard with a fountain a little outside the Abbey walls. It was really peaceful and we relaxed for a few minutes before we remembered our refreshment tickets and ran off to see what kind of magic elixir awaited us. With our Dasini water in hand we noticed a local farmer’s market with the most incredible cheese ever. I didn’t think they would let us take it back on the ship or I would have bought a gigantic wheel. As it was we got multiple samples at each little tent. We met the bus and drove back down to Barcelona on a little city tour.

    We were dropped off at the hotel and went out on the street to hail two cabs. Our friends were a little worried not speaking the language on how to get to the ship. Carlos was giving them the Spanish translation. I thought that was overly complicated and came up with a couple of pantomimes on “we (point to group) need to go to boat (water/wave signs), Mickey boat (two giant ears on your head plus the water/wave sign), at the Port (whistle noise). Carlos rolled his eyes at me, but then we all got a laugh when the driver spoke Barcelona’s catalan Spanish and couldn’t understand Carlos. My hand signals saved the day- until the driver said I speak English. Oh never mind.

    We checked back into the ship in Port and were onboard by 2:00. We all went up to Topsiders for lunch. The energy on the ship is weird for back to backs. After being on board for 2 weeks, we had the drill down. The newbies were a little confused in line, had to double back for stuff, wandered the room looking for a table. They were excited but also a little harried from having to get to the ship and everything that goes with starting a vacation. It was just a little jarring for us and I felt like I should be more enthusiastic about the little shrimp.

    After lunch we went to check out our new room. We had moved from the veranda down to Deck 2. I couldn’t really justify the veranda when we were going to be off the ship so much. As an added bonus our room was right over the freight entrance for baggage. You read the stateroom reports and always think people over exaggerate the noise issues in their rooms. These people had not. It was normally fine, but when they were bringing luggage on or off it was insanely loud. The last night when we got into Barcelona I was dreaming over and over of thunder.

    We unpacked and then Carlitos and I went up to Deck 4 for the going off party where we were met with an infestation of ladybugs. Carlitos thought it was awesome. After the going off party, Carlitos and I decided to go to the show while Carlos relaxed in the room. Carlitos fell asleep before the show even started. I could not wake him up to save my life and considered asking for medical help as this was clearly some kind of coma. Instead I carried him from the third row all the way back to the room in heels (and oh thanks lady that jumped ahead of me into the elevator and then didn’t hold the door open- that was nice of you).

    After 30 minutes in the room, he was still passed out so Carlos carried him to dinner with us. We put two chairs together and laid him out; he didn’t even stir. The other little boy passed out within 2 minutes too, so our table kind of looked like Jonestown. We were in Animator’s Palette. We had the same table and same assistant, but now we met our new server Sana. He was excellent and so nice; although I felt a little bad for him. It’s like showing up to a party that’s been going for several hours. You’re super psyched and ready for fun and everyone’s like “oh you should have been here 2 hours ago when Brian did the worm, we’re all kind of thinking of moving on soon.” I think he was constantly worried we weren’t enjoying ourselves and we were always saying no you’re great, it’s us not you.

    I got the ahi tuna appetizer (good), butternut squash soup (good), and the mushroom risotto (good too). I ordered the sundae without the walnut cake or other nut and then we carefully instructed Sana on our Trio experience and how Limbert always had one for each of us, except one night and we had to recount that story while our assistant said “oh that night was just terrible wasn’t it Mrs.). Sana promised that he was on it. The boys slept through the entire meal.
    Carlos lugged Carlitos back to the room….where he promptly woke up and told us he was hungry. Of course. We ordered him room service and passed out.
  5. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

    Jan 17, 2005
    So glad you are back to finish up! I'm still chuckling at the Jonestown comment. Hopefully the magic refreshment tickets weren't for the purple koolaid.

    Jill in CO
  6. figment52

    figment52 <font color=royalblue>Oh man, I checked out the we

    Apr 28, 2003
    I just found this today and read from start to finish. I am so pleased you came back to fill in part 2 of your trip.
  7. linetbo

    linetbo DIS Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    OMG, it was fun!!!! Cant wait for more....
  8. gotomu212

    gotomu212 Mouseketeer

    Sep 2, 2010
    Day 17
    Sunday June 2nd

    Today we were sailing into the Gulf of Lyon. The seas were really high, but because we were basically surfing on the waves there wasn’t much rocking. We were up at 9, trying to start a trend of waking up before lunch. We grabbed a quick breakfast and stopped by the Port Adventure desk to book a Barcelona tour for debarkation day. This time it was just for us (sad face) but it was still overly complicated for some reason. It worked itself out though.

    We walked around Deck 4 for awhile but it was a little too cold and windy. We were really killing time until the Castaway Club reception. I know, I know we had just been to one the week before- but there’s cheap champagne and cookies! This time we got to stay long enough to hear about the updates planned for the Magic (spoiler there’s an Aquadunk and the rooms are going to leak during the first few cruises. Just kidding).

    We dropped Carlitos off at the Kid’s Club and told him to soak it up since our port intensive days were about to start. Carlos and I went to the Florence and Rome lecture. It was actually a cool overview of both cities and got us excited about going. Fun fact did you know they are actually straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa? It’s not as lean-y as it used to be. I’ve been to Italy before (I went the summer before my senior year of high school with my older sister who lived in Germany with her army husband. We did an Italy tour with an USO tour group which included a couple of single army guys- let me tell you that is the way to see Italy!! I was pretty sure this visit would be a lot different…for everyone’s sake I guess it better be.) The France lecture was scheduled an hour after the Florence/Rome one so we chilled in the room for an hour and then went back to be edu-macated. This one wasn’t as good. That should have been some foreshadowing for us.

    Carlitos wanted to stay in the Club where he was involved in high stakes Uno. My kid is a ringer with the Uno. An hour later he was out, and we went up to enjoy the pool. It was much warmer and we spent the rest of the day relaxing and sipping the cocktails (well only I was sipping the cocktails, you know pool safety, Carlos needed to stay sharp. To be fair every time the drink guy came by I forgot to order Carlos a drink, then Carlos would look over and say hey where did that drink come from? Did you grab mine? I’d say oops. It’s amazing how many times this happened).

    Tonight was formal night, yet again, so we went down to get ready. We went to the ventriquest show tonight. It was actually really funny and a little racy. At some point the Captain made an announcement that we were going to arrive in Villefranche tonight around 10:30 for a medical emergency.
    Dinner was in Animator’s. I got the blue cheese and walnut cake which was just okay, the coronation mixed leaves-my notes here say it was “hard to eat” but I have no memory of this and can’t imagine how leaves could be hard to eat unless they were like maple leaves. Sorry that one’s going to be a mystery. I also got the butternut squash pasta which I loved the week before but this time it wasn’t as good. To be honest all the food was slightly off from the week before. Some of that could have been food fatigue on our part, but they also switched out a bunch of galley crew too. I also got the Auroa Sundae which my notes say was weird. I guess I didn’t take very good notes this night.

    After we finished dinner we were anchored at Villefranche. This is a tender port and you anchor pretty far back from the shore. The shore lights were all on though and it was really beautiful. They were just starting the anchor and evacuation process which took about 45 minutes. I stayed out enjoying the air and the lights and more and more people came out to watch what was going on. It was actually kind of sad and I felt bad for watching afterwards. It didn’t look extremely serious (clearly we were taking our time here) but to see the family with their suitcases and I’m sure they were scared and worried and their vacation had taken a turn, anyway I wish I hadn’t watched I’ll just say that..

    I went back to the room to meet the guys and we went to bed early for the next 4 days of early morning excursions. Carlitos has decided to also keep a journal on his post it note pad he got for an FE so that was fun and as a bonus our room is being wall papered with post its that say things like “swimming”, “mouse”, “ice cream”.
  9. NOKA06

    NOKA06 Earning My Ears

    Sep 25, 2012
    We are so glad you are back!! My husband and I have really enjoyed your report. Thank you!
  10. braysmommy

    braysmommy DIS Veteran

    Dec 10, 2010
    Thanks for coming back to finish! Love your report and we will be doing the B2B this May so can't wait to see what you did for Med excursions.
  11. linetbo

    linetbo DIS Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    I want to know that too.
  12. Grumpy's Wife

    Grumpy's Wife Dollar Tree gal here

    Jan 28, 2005
    It looks like I'm late to the first cruise but just in time for the B2B portion. Thanks for sharing, I'm enjoying reading along.
  13. lawyergirl

    lawyergirl Mouseketeer

    Jul 28, 2004
    Subscribing! Because you're hilarious and my kind of people...

    ... Plus I wasn't on either of your cruises, so there's no chance that my antics will make it into your trippie. BONUS! :)
  14. gotomu212

    gotomu212 Mouseketeer

    Sep 2, 2010
    Day 18
    Monday June 3rd

    Ahhh the French Riviera- azure waters, F Scott Fitzgerald sipping cocktails with Hemingway, Grace Kelly, the Canne Film Festival, in short life as it was meant to be lived…..and us. We were ready to live the high life, who knows maybe we’ll accidently rub shoulders with George Clooney today, maybe one of the still available European princes will happen upon me in a garden and rush off with me (my husband just pointed out that all the available European royalty are way too young for me and I’m being a little creepy---hmm), maybe we’ll have the day to surpass all other days in memory.

    We greeted this amazing morning with a ton of hope, the call for room service breakfast was right on time, this morning we actually had an assortment of muffins instead of one, they forgot the Fruit Loops but whatever Carlitos needs to learn to eat croissants and drink coffee at 5 if he’s going to fit in with his new royal cousins. Okay so it’s a little overcast and the water looks more gray than blue, but I’m sure the sun is going to come and this day will be one for the record books. We grab out bag and schlep our soon to be royal selves to Rockin Bar D for our excursion. We had booked a full day excursion- Monaco, Monte Carlo, and Eze. Our friends were on the same excursion- so there would be people to console Carlos as I rode away with the prince in some sort of luxury car and/or horse drawn carriage.

    We got our stickers and headed off to the tenders. After a short ride to shore we were hustled through a building, along a street, and through a tunnel to the bus parking area. This was a little unorganized and they really move fast. If you aren’t on the ball you’re left standing there saying “where? What? Follow which lady in red?” and have to run off through the tunnel by yourself. As you can guess we were those people, but again this is the French Riviera- romance, mystery, bus fumes from 20 buses idling in the same tiny parking lot.

    We board and set out for Monaco along a gorgeous coast road that climbs over the bay. If you’ve ever read Tender is the Night you can picture yourself in a 1920s convertible off to explore the nightclubs –that was my happy place to escape the fact that our bus was a little noisy and full of non-prohibition era children. Once you get to Monaco, they let you out in a parking garage and you ride up an elevator, then an escalation, then a long hallway, then another escalator, and emerge high on the cliff at the Museum of Oceanography. We didn’t get to go inside, but the building is beautiful and has a little yellow submarine out front. From there we walked past the homes of Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie. The guides point out the roof lines and one half of an upper balcony so kind of more like stalking royalty than sightseeing. Our walk ended at St. Nicholas Cathedral. It’s a beautiful church, but it’s also the resting place for the royal family. You fall in line and file past the grave stones, most notably Princess Grace’s. They still put a bouquet of flowers on her grave every day. This might be a good time to mention that they are OBSESSED with Princess Grace here. Her picture shows up everywhere and is still mentioned on billboards and signs for all types of different events, shows, memorials, products.

    After the Cathedral we walked to the Palace. I was unaware that our excursion included an audio tour of the Palace, but our bag was searched, we were given a headset, and were pointed down a hallway, so off we went. The inside of the Palace is beautiful. I can’t say enough how incredibly beautiful the rooms were. More amazing the ceremonial rooms on the tour are still in use today. You get to see the throne room, and the room where they sign birth and wedding certificates for the royals, the reception rooms they still use for formal events. It’s hard to describe but the rooms aren’t large, so the walking area into the room allows you to be right up in the middle of everything rather than standing behind a rope line 50 ft from any action. My only complaint is that you have to double back at one point and it can be a little crowded. I caught my arm on a huge door handle and almost took out a 200 year old vase in my flailing. It was all very un-princess like and I had a ginormous bruise on my arm from the whole sordid episode. I can only assume that’s why a prince did not approach me to talk just then.

    After the Palace tour you have free time to wander around, grab lunch, do some shopping. The square was getting really crowded as we got close to the changing of the guard. Honestly I’ve seen a few changing of the guards in my days and you know, you see it once, you’ve seen it a hundred times. We decided to skip the show and headed down one of the little alley ways to grab an early lunch. We settled on a sidewalk café and Carlitos decided to take the camera and photograph everything in the narrow street. I hate to say it but some of his pictures were the best of the trip. We people watched and a local told us the story about Monaco’s founding. Did you know it basically was a bunch of soldiers who dressed up like monks, snuck into the town, and then slaughtered everyone? That’s why the coat of arms is two monks holding up swords. That’s a nice tale for the kids. We also learned that the royal family gets special license plates for their cars. Everyone else in the principality has a different license plate so you can always tell if it’s a royal stealing your parking space or one of the lesser billionaires. Less you think this is a big deal; there are over 5,000 members of the royal family.

    After lunch we wandered around. The principality is really walk able. We got some beautiful pictures of the palace from a distance and could even see down onto the Grand Prix track in adjacent Monte Carlo. Heading back to the meeting place, we ran into our friends in this large garden and the boys played some sort of spinning game that made them fall down a lot, while the ladies of the group got locked in a public bathroom. Thank God the public bathrooms in Monaco actually have attendants that come to your rescue. We all rode the escalator back to the bus for a short ride over to Monte Carlo.

    This was the part that Carlos was excited to see. He’s wanted to go to Monte Carlo since he was a teenager. He did mention that he had always envisioned the trip a little differently. When I asked for specifics he said “well I thought I would be single, I didn’t anticipate their being so many kids including my own, and I definitely didn’t think I’d be following behind some guy holding a giant mouse ear paddle in the air”. Point well made. The bus parks at sea level in another garage and you have to make your way up to the casino. There’s quite a little hike to get there- maybe a 10 minute walk uphill, and up some steps. Physically it’s not bad unless you have a stroller- which about half our group had. We did like the sign advertising insurance for “your jet or super yacht”. Not just any yacht, a super yacht. We took a picture in case we’re ever in need of jet insurance. I’m sure my future prince husband will appreciate my thriftiness in insurance comparison shopping.

    After what felt like ascending Everest we reached the casino square. It’s just like you see in the movies, except full of tourist, and not as full of young royal princes or celebrities. We had an hour and a half of free time here. Our guide suggested that the adults with kids tag team and leave one parent with the kids while the other goes into the casino and then switch since the inside is something that has to be seen. We wandered to a little park across the square with our friends and that’s when it started to rain. At first it was a heavy drizzle and I still don’t know how it happened but we separated from our friends. We’re wandering around in the rain but we still are set on having fun. We went to a nice scenic water overlook, but it’s raining, everything is grey, and the concrete is so slippery I almost fell three times. Since there’s nothing to see we decide to go back to the main square. “Is it lighting up?” “No, I don’t think so, that’s just lightning.”
    There’s not a lot to do in the square if you have kids. There’s Hermes, and Channel, the Casino, a hotel that you’re not allowed to enter, and an ice cream stand. This is really where the wheels start to come off our trip. We go and get in the line for ice cream. Remember it’s still raining and the line has about 20 tourists in it. We’re finally the third in line from the front, and to speed things along Carlos takes Carlitos over to the glass to show him the options. Anyone who has kids, babysat kids, been a kid, breathed on this Earth knows that picking out an ice cream flavor can take FOREVER. So normally while in line we’ll figure out what Carlitos wants so when we’re up we’re on the ball, can quickly order, and save the line a 5 minute decision process. Well apparently things don’t work like that in Monte Carlo. The lady behind the counter stops everything to walk over and tell Carlos there’s a line. Carlos speaks a little Italian and a lot of Spanish so he had to translate everything to me. Basically ice cream lady says “There’s a line”, and Carlos says “Yes, I know. We are in line, but I’m showing my son the options.” IC lady “You are cutting in line.” Carlos “No, my wife is in line, we aren’t ordering now.” IC lady “Well I know that, but these other people don’t, step away from the glass or the police will come.” Carlos “The police will come for what?” IC lady “For stepping out of line.” Carlos “Don’t the Monte Carlo police have better things to do? Did James Bond handle all the crime and now the police troll for arrant line behavior?” IC lady “I am not smiling.” Carlos comes back to me and I’m like “Hey what were you and the ice cream lady talking about.” He gave me a look that said not now, we may be going to jail in a foreign country. Since that’s actually not the first time he’s ever given me that look, I didn’t press. We get up to the counter and Carlitos gets the vanilla ice cream just to show we’re conformist and don’t mean any harm.
    Now we have an ice cream, it’s raining REALLY hard, and we have nowhere to go. We walked over to the casino steps and there was some posh shop there with a little tiny awning overhanging one of their display windows. We crowd in, but there wasn’t room for three so Carlos suggests he’ll go into the casino and check it out. He goes off while I try to look inconspicuous and keep Carlitos from getting any finger prints onto this glass store window in case they make the Oliver Twist like waifs move along. I caught our reflection in the glass and we look like drowned rats. This might explain why none of the young royals are hitting on me yet.

    Right across from us is a souvenir shop. This shop has a pretty large patio in front (maybe 30 ft by 30 ft) and it’s covered by a giant awning. It’s torrential rain at this point and about a hundred people have gathered under the awning to escape the rain. This includes all those people with strollers and babies. Suddenly, the souvenir employees walk outside and yank the cord on the awning. It rolls back dumping all the water that’s collected on top of it onto the people, kids, babies. Think gallons and gallons of water being thrown on people. I asked a few of the people on our bus later if the employees said anything or asked them to leave…nothing. I cannot image dumping water onto babies in strollers, ever, but apparently “they did not like people standing there”.

    Carlos comes out raving about how amazing the casino looked inside. He said it was beautiful and incredibly gold. The murals were enormous works of art. I in turn regaled him of stories about watching a near drowning of 100 people. Carlitos announced that he did not like Monte Carlo. We still had 20 minutes until we were supposed to meet, and we huddled around our tiny store window watching for the ice cream police. Our guide arrived, talked to us for 5 minutes and then suggested we just walk back down to the bus. I was a little hesitant to go without the group since I didn’t quite remember where the bus garage was, but whatever this was miserable. Walking down the hill on slick pavement surprising resulted in zero near fallings. I think the universe said this woman is close to snapping, we shouldn’t push it.

    The parking garage also had a gift shift which seems really weird to me, but I like to collect a Christmas ornament from everywhere we visit so we headed in. I found a nice ornament for about 8 Euros. We go to pay, Carlos pulls out a credit card, gift shop lady (who may be a cousin of ice cream lady) tells him that they won’t run a credit card for less than 20 Euros. Okay fine. He pulls out a 20 Euro bill. She now actually grunts at him and informs him that she doesn’t want a 20 Euro bill. It’s just too big. At this point I’m like what is going on here? Translation? Carlos says “she doesn’t want to take the 20 Euro bill, but I don’t have anything smaller.” He’s looking a little unsure thinking he should go put the ornament back or maybe buy something more and push the total closer to 20 Euros.

    I swear normally I go with the flow, when I’m in a foreign country I try to blend in, I do everything in my power not to be “The American” (always said with a sneer). But, Jesus we just wanted to buy an ornament, we have cash, she is a store clerk whose job is to sell things and collect money, this shouldn’t be a big ordeal. I grabbed the 20, put it in her hand and said “here you go, this is what we have, is there a problem?” She gave the loudest sigh ever, and grudgingly made change, then asked if we wanted it wrapped up like it was a huge imposition. Oh yeah. I’m not walking around with a glass ornament in my hand all day. What is wrong with everyone?

    With my hard won ornament we trudged off to the bus where we may or may not have left someone behind. It was all really sketchy. The guide counted us all three times, looked distressed, made a phone call, counted us again, and then we drove off. Carlitos passed out from the excitement while we headed to Eze.
    Eze is this tiny village, accessible only by foot, that’s frozen in time. It’s suppose to be beautiful and peaceful and one of the best spots on the Riviera. Our bus pulls into the parking lot at the base of the hill. If possible the rain has actually become harder. I cannot see out our window at all. Carlitos is passed out. We have to climb something like 100 steps to Eze, and a mountains worth of rain runoff is cascading down the stairs. Carlos said he’d carry Carlitos. Clearly that’s not going to work. I volunteered to stay on the bus with a sleeping Carlitos while Carlos went up. Hey maybe I can take a little nap, this will be nice. As soon as everyone leaves, Carlitos wakes up and wants to be entertained. With what? I have a soggy piece of paper, and a wet jacket. We played the worst game of I Spy ever.
    After 45 minutes Carlos comes back and said Eze was amazing. He loved it, he wished I’d been there, but yes I would have wiped out climbing up so it’s probably better I stayed. Then he asked if I had a nice nap.
    That was the end of our tour. Our bus headed back to port through Nice. The rain gradually tapered off, but it was still gray and dreary outside. We weaved through Nice and suddenly we’re stopped. Apparently the road we were on was closed to only one lane for maybe half a mile but there were no signs and no one stopping traffic. This is a tiny winding road. There are cars behind us. We can’t back up at all, and our bus is now also blocking a parking lot exit. We sat there for over 20 minutes. Our whole group was spread out on the bus after Eze. I was on the left side with Carlitos. Carlos was in the very last row on the right. John was in front of him a few rows, and April was on that same side but a few rows ahead of me. Those on the right side got to see the parking lot show. Apparently a couple was stuck in the parking lot who were very very very angry about being blocked in by our bus. I was on the left side and missed most of it but I guess the woman yelled at her husband/boyfriend about it until he got out of the car and yelled at our bus driver who basically said what do you expect me to do. Then the woman was not satisfied that her husband/boyfriend had sufficiently spoken to our driver so she made him get out again. When that didn’t work, she got out and yelled hysterically at our driver. Then she got in her car and yelled at her husband/boyfriend until he got out of the car to punch our bus.
    Meanwhile on the left side of the road, there were two little people walking along the street. They approached an older man who was using a cane and must have said something that he didn’t appreciate it. He started yelling at the little man, while the little woman started dancing around him laughing. Then the old man started hitting the little man over the head with his cane while the two little people laughed hysterically. I cannot make this up. I have no idea WTH was going on in that street. When I told everyone about it at dinner Carlos and John were very upset I didn’t get their attention during the little person/cane fight. I asked what they expected me to do since they were on the opposite side of the bus and separated by about 6 rows. Plus they were watching the parking lot couple drama. They informed me that everyone knows that when you see a fight you are suppose to stand up and yell “fight, fight” until everyone you are with know to look. That didn’t see like something young princes would have asked of me.

    The traffic jam ended when our guide ran down the half mile road, stopping cars from driving up the hill until our bus could come down. Our guide literally used his body as a barricade. I’m sure he was thinking let this horrible day end, please. Finally we got back to the little parking lot, and dragged ourselves to the tender and back on board.

    We dried off and went to Parrot Cay for dinner. I got a tuna appetizer, the plain salmon with a baked potato, and we skipped dessert. Martin was very concerned about all of us for skipping dessert. Exhausted we all left to go to bed.

    I want to add that I know this sounds like a complete Debbie downer disaster of a day. I’m sure the French Riviera is absolutely wonderful, and others who have visited have had amazing times with and without running off with a prince. The rain definitely didn’t help us; it just set everyone on edge and once things went downhill they kind of spiraled. In all fairness we can laugh a lot about our time there. With travel, your impressions are so often colored by your individual expertise, but it’s always an adventure no matter what! I am so happy we can say we visited the area and while we wouldn’t go back and wouldn’t discourage anyone from going since I’m sure no one could have had a zanier experience than we did.

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