My husband and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary last March and we just returned from a cruise in the Mediterranean to celebrate the occasion. We started in Barcelona and visited Gibraltar, France, Italy, Montenegro and Greece. Because some of my family are not on social media, I decided to post some of the highlights of the trip here.
We departed from LAX on May 31st and landed in Barcelona, Spain on June 1st. We flew with KLM and had a connecting flight in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, there was weather delays in Amsterdam and our second flight was delayed by several hours. So instead of arriving to our hotel at 1 pm, we arrived at 4 pm. We had purchased Parc Guell tickets for 5 pm in advance. Of course we had to go to the Park despite our jet lag. We hired a cab and were instantly transformed to being inside a computer game — narrow one way streets with mopeds and cars parked on both sides of the street with barely enough room for the taxi to pass did not intimidate our driver… he sped through the narrow lanes and David and I exchanged amused glances. I felt like I was an active participant in our favorite original xbox game called Midtown Madness 2. We enjoyed Parc Guell despite our jet lag (or at least have pictures to prove that we were there). After an hour looking around we returned to our hotel where we collapsed into a heap on a comfortable bed to take a nap.
Pictured below: KLM flight and Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain.
Tapas is something I researched before arriving. We are not big fans of shellfish and snails and had studied up on some of the names of foods so we would know what we were ordering and what we wanted to avoid. As Americans, who like to eat dinner around 5 to 6 the thought of eating after 9 pm was an adjustment.
The staff at the hotel were helpful to directing us to a good tapas restaurant a short block from the hotel after a refreshing 2 hour nap and shower.
Pictured below: Bar Velodroma where we enjoyed our tapas. The waitress Natalia was wonderful at guiding us with our selections. It was a lot of food, I have to admit, but we are so glad that we had this culinary experience. We had small red peppers the were stuffed with cream cheese, local cured ham and cold cuts with toasted bread that was spread with garlic and tomato, potatoes brava (fried potatoes with two different sauces) Sandwiches with olives and Manchego cheese (locally sourced) Bomba (again fried potato with a center core of meat with sauces), croquettes and finished with Catalonian Crema for dessert. It was a wonderful evening in Barcelona. We fell into bed at 11:30 pm – completely stuffed and weary from travel.
June 2nd was the day we were to board our cruise ship. We did not know what time the shuttle would take us to the port in advance, and we had purchased timed tickets to see the La Sagrada Familia church, but our scheduled shuttle did not allow that before embarkation. If we ever are in Barcelona again, we will be sure to visit it then. We did however get up early enough to grab a cab and go to the popular La Rambla shopping and tourist area. We had heard that this area was a popular place for pick- pockets, so we took a bare minimum with us. But we really did not need to worry, as we were there early enough, that the crowds were low. Some of the stores were still closed, but the market (Boqueria) was open and we spent a little time walking around and eating a second breakfast (this is normal in Barcelona – the hotel had a wonderful breakfast buffet that we had taken advantage of, but we did buy ham and cheese to munch on as a mid morning snack before returning to the hotel for our cruise transfer.)
Pictured: La Rambla, Boqueria Market, Ham and cheese
Transfer to the cruise ship was at 10:30 am so we took a cab back to the hotel from La Rambla to get our bus to the port. Embarkation was easy with little waiting. The Crown Princess was an impressive ship that holds over 3100 passengers and 1400 crew members.
Pictured: Crown Princess (by Princess Cruises) Our cabin (A322) was a balcony room on the Aloha Deck with a comfortable bed. We enjoyed the departure on deck with other passengers and live music. Departed port 10 pm. The end of a happy day.
Next Port: 25th Ann. Cruise Part 2: Gibraltar (part of the United Kingdom)