Magic in the Med: Aug. 10-17 TONS OF PHOTOS!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by texasgirl29, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Let's try this again, I've written this first installment twice and in my jet-lagged stupor deleted it both times!

    Here's the cast of characters:
    From Waco, Texas:
    JoAnn (me)
    Paul (dh)
    Stephanie (dd16)
    Rachel (dd13)

    From San Jose, California:
    David (fil)
    Norene (mil)
    Brian (bil)

    Tuesday, August 6
    Our flight was scheduled for 5:45 p.m. out of Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) and we live in Waco, about 2 hours south. Because I-35 is notoriously bad, we decided to leave extra early about 10 a.m., have lunch and mosey on over to the airport. In addition, there was a Homeland Security high-risk thing going on, so it seemed best to err on the side of caution.

    No problems on I-35 but the metroplex was a hot mess of contruction and detours. The GPS was totally befuddled and we couldn't even find the exit to get some lunch. We decided we'd just go ahead and head to the airport.

    Paul had already made an on-line reservation at the Parking Spot for off-site parking. theparkingspot.com We had not used this service before and we were very pleased with it. We were assigned a covered parking spot at $11.50 a day. Paul backed into it while the shuttle driver waited, we boarded and we were off.

    DFW is a very nice airport. It's bright and airy. There are colorful mosaics on the floors and sculptures and other artwork. Free wifi and lots of USB ports and electrical connections. We checked in, got boarding passes, passed through security and had lunch at Au Bon Pain. Then settled in for the afternoon with our myriad of iPads, Galaxies and iPhones.

    [​IMG]

    David, Norene and Brian arrived from their San Jose flight, and we were excited to be getting closer to time to board.

    Except it wasn't.

    The monitor said the flight was scheduled for 5:45 but now moved to 6:00. Then it creeped in 15 minute increments to 6:15, 6:30, 6:45...

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the crew made an announcement that the plane was delayed because the ground air conditioning wasn't working and the cabin was too hot.

    [​IMG]

    Once we got in the air, the plane's air conditioning would be fine. So, we settled in and it was hot for a while but cooled down once airborne.

    Norene and Brian are happy to be on their way

    [​IMG]

    As are Stephanie and Rachel:

    [​IMG]

    In all the years of flying, I don't recall seeing such a dour-looking flight attendant as we had. Paul dubbed her "Hilda." (sorry to all the nice Hilda's out there....) She never smiled and looked like she really didn't like her job.

    Paul moved to the back row of seats and was able to sleep for a few hours. The rest of us didn't get any sleep.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Wednesday, August 7
    We landed in Madrid at 10:45 a.m., an hour late, and were given special express passes to get to our connecting flight to Barcelona. The route through the airport was convoluted to put it nicely -- we went down passageways, up and down elevators, through security -- and got to our gate with no one there. Nada. Zippo. No one to ask. No departure/arrival board. We frantically looked around and found an information desk and were told our gate had been moved. More stairs and a shuttle bus. Just in time, we boarded the Iberia flight.

    At last, Barcelona. I was too jet lagged even to sing "Barcelona!" a la Freddie Mercury.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wixz_r7v51E

    There are lots of taxis in Barcelona fortunately -- A taxi picked us up and I showed him the paper that said "Tryp Apolo" Ah - Apolo! he told the other driver. He zipped through the streets and arrived at our hotel on Avinguda del Paral-lel. We had reserved a family room. It's not the Waldorf Astoria, but it worked for us. A master bedroom and a sort of bonus room with two beds for the girls.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You have to put a card in the slot when you enter the room to get the lights and AC to work. Except the AC was not very cold. We called the front desk and requested someone take a look at it while we went out for a bit.

    The hotel is in a good location if you don't mind a bit of walking. It's about five or six blocks from Las Ramblas. We walked over there and looked at some of living statues, the beautiful street lamps, the graceful balconies.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Wednesday, August 7 continued

    Back at the hotel, David, Norene and Brian had had a little nap and were ready to eat dinner. We all walked back to Las Ramblas and the passed through to the Placa Rieal. This is a beautiful square with restaurants all along the interior corridors. In fact, it appears that everyone eats al fresco in Barcelona!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A word about water, before I go any further. In the US, when you want tap water, or you're trying to economize, you say, "I'll just have some water." In Europe, "I'll just have water" will get you a beautiful bottle of water and a glass. No ice. Sometimes they ask you, "Naturelle? No gas?" meaning, no carbonation? And no, it's not free -- about 2 euros. Also, a basket of bread will set you back about 1.2 euros per person.

    [​IMG]

    Seeing how it was our first meal in Barcelona, I had the four cheese pizza and a glass of wine:

    [​IMG]

    These lamps were the first and only pieces of public art commissioned by the town council to the struggling new artist, Gaudi. Aren't they beautiful?

    [​IMG]

    I love the gorgeous touches everywhere:

    [​IMG]

    Somebody was tired.... time to go back to the hotel:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. disprincess4ever

    disprincess4ever DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    607
    yay another med report!!! Keep up the good work. :cheer2:
     
  6. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thanks for stopping by. Loved your report, too!
     
  7. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Wednesday, August 7 continued
    Dont' you just love jet lag? Went to sleep, got a good couple of hours and then I was awake. I looked out the window and I could see the Apolo was a beehive of activity about midnight. It wasn't sound that woke me -- it was all pretty quiet -- but I could see a club on the first floor with a ropeline and guys in yellow talking to prospective customers. Pairs of young people walking by. Finally fell asleep about 2:30 and slept for five more hours.

    About the bathroom at the Apolo. Being an American, I have no idea what one does with a bidet, so that seemed kind of wierd but oh well. The water from my shower flooded the floor, so after that I was very careful to seal the shower curtain. No shampoo or conditioner -- we had to go to the local convenience store and buy shampoo, conditioner and sunscreen.

    [​IMG]

    I liked this little plaque in the pavement in front of the store:

    [​IMG]

    More details on the streets:

    [​IMG]

    And why don't we have lovely store fronts like this?

    [​IMG]
     
  8. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thursday, August 8

    Every morning, the Texas part of the family went across the street to the Dino Pan coffee shop for breakfast. (The California Stringers had breakfast at the hotel as part of their room rate.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Fortified with "xocolate" and "caffe con leche" we walk down to the Columbus statue and get the Turtistica HOHO bus. These are the turquoise colored double-decker buses. I waffled back and forth over the red Barcelona City Tours or the city-sponsored Turistica buses because they were comparable in price and the routes. Both could be purchased online but the red ones required me to give my passport number and that just made me a little bit --- um, I dunno, trepidatious. So, I went with the blue ones.

    [​IMG]

    And I have to throw in this photo cause it's one of the few I'm in:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. kel585

    kel585 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Great report so far, we also sated at this hotel in Barcelona! 2 family rooms! Did the job for us :-) Looking forward to the rest of your report!
     
  10. Magic 2013

    Magic 2013 Enjoying Life

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    17
    We were also on your cruise and had a great time. Your off to a great start and I'm looking forward to reading your trip report. :banana:
     
  11. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thanks Kelly-Marie! We really should have had a meet-up!
     
  12. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thanks! I'm enjoying writing it -- get to relive it all over again!
     
  13. cforsythe

    cforsythe Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Messages:
    212
    Great job so far!!! Can't wait until you post more.:goodvibes

    My DH and I leave one week from today to go on the last Med cruise before dry dock.
     
  14. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thursday, Aug 8, continued
    The HOHO bus trip was pretty long, even if you just stay on. I've seen where people say it was 2 hours -- nah uh! There are ear phone jacks with a variety of languages for you to hear the commentary. It was not too crowded during the morning as people were more enthusiastic to get on and off but as the afternoon went on, more got on than got off.

    We drove past fountains, balconies, cherubs, taxis, flowers, lamp posts. When you're from somewhere that considers anything prior to the American Civil War to be ancient, it's amazing to see buildings from several centuries ago still in use.

    We picked up the bus at the Columbus statue. Here he is staying, "Go thatta way!"

    [​IMG]

    A couple of cool public artworks near the water front:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Catalonia flag was displayed from many windows and balconies.

    [​IMG]

    Love this building -- they just don't make 'em like this anymore!

    [​IMG]

    And fountains! They just make everywhere seem so much cooler.

    [​IMG]

    I have a thing for lamp posts:

    [​IMG]

    Need a taxi anyone?

    [​IMG]
     
  15. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    You will have a great time! I'll look forward to your trip report!
     
  16. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thursday, Aug 8, continued

    I hope y'all are not getting tired of all these pictures. Seriously, I didn't take nearly as many as Paul -- he takes pictures of everyhing!

    [​IMG]

    The view from the Museu Nacional D'Arte de Catalonia!
    [​IMG]

    Me and Paul:
    [​IMG]

    Stephanie:
    [​IMG]

    David, Norene and Brian:
    [​IMG]

    Back at Las Ramblas, Brian wanted a photo with one of the living statues. I think it was just a bit too real for him!

    [​IMG]

    lunchtime on Las Ramblas! Is there anything better than al fresco dining?
    [​IMG]

    Love this dragon!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Messages:
    15,980
    Following along. :goodvibes
     
  18. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thursday, August 8
    The Boqueria

    They have it all!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now, a word about the chili lady.

    As you can tell, we walked around and snapped quite a few photos of the stalls and the sellers. When I walked by the stall with chilis, the lady stuck up her arm and said, "No! Por Favor!" Sheesh. My photo snapped before she spoiled it.

    But right behind me was my 13 year old daughter, Rachel, happily taking photos of stuff. When I looked back for her in the crowd, she was not there. I made my way back to the chili stand, and the chili lady had her by the arm, scolding her and demanding something. Not sure if she was demanding she give over her camera or what. I went back and grabbed my daughter and pulled her away. Later I thought of all the things I could have/should have done. Shame on this woman for grabbing a child, detaining her and keeping her from taking a photo in a public place (not a photo of the lady just the chilis)

    So, if the mood strikes you, be sure to take a photo! Take several!

    [​IMG]
     
  19. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Thursday, August 8

    OK, back on the bus.... we drove past Sagrada Familia. (We have tickets, purchased online, more on the inside later).

    I've seen many photos of it, and I knew it was still under construction, but until you actually see it in person, it doesn't really strike you that this is a hard-hat construction area. Cranes, scaffoldings, people everywhere. I'd love to peek into the future when it's functioning solely as a church, a quiet house of prayer. Right now, it's a manic beehive.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And yes, if you want to go in, you really need to purchase tickets on line.

    [​IMG]

    We ended the day of driving and walking with a tiny sprinkle and a rainbow:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. texasgirl29

    texasgirl29 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Friday, August 9
    Sagrada Familia

    If anyone asked me, "What are you looking forward to the most in Barcelona?" I would answer, "Sagrada Familia." I watched the segment on CBS 60 Minutes, I've got the app on my iPad, I've read all about it on-line and in guide books.

    We ordered the entrance tickets and audio guides online. We just had to be at the entrance during our time slot, then wait in another line for the audio guides.

    In retrospect, I would not have ordered the audioguides.. there are just too many people milling about, too much confusion. I didn't really get anything out of it.

    I think you get a better appreciation of how incredibly radical Sagrada Familia is after visiting some of the other churches in Europe which are crammed full of centuries worth of statues and paintings. Those churches are beautiful and obviously well loved, but they are dark and have years of soot and tears. Sagrada Familia is L-I-G-H-T! It's simple, it's bright, it's airy, it's full of color and sunlight. But it's also quite full of people who are wandering and staring. I wish I could see the affect on people once it becomes a full-time worship space.

    What would be helpful is to read up in advance on the style of the outside of the building. I didn't understand why one side was so stark, and the other like a giant melting blob. They look like two entirely different designs but they are meant to provoke entirely different moods.

    We took the metro to Sagrada Familia. If you stay at Tryp Apolo or a nearby hotel, getting on the metro is very easy and getting to the church is very direct. When you emerge from the subway, the church is right there.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  21. jedijill

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

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    6,244
    Great start! I loved Barcelona and hope to go back some of these days.

    Jill in CO
     

Share This Page