Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 8

In case you missed it: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

June 11 and 12

June 11th was at Sea.  Following are pictures of the sky and ocean throughout the cruise not just the 11th.  Sunrises and sunsets at sea are worth watching.

June 12 Kotor, Montenegro

The approach to Kotor is worth getting up for.  How a ship maneuvers through a narrow channel to arrive at this beautiful location is something to experience.  David and I decided to stay on the boat and just take in the scenery because we wanted another day of relaxation.  Kotor reminded me of Austria – beautiful hills surrounded the bay.  We woke early enough to watch the sunrise as we approached.

Pictured below: Sunrise as we approached Kotor, Montenegro, scenery, relaxing on the balcony, panorama off back of boat, and other scenery pictures.

Next Part 9: Corfu


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25th Ann. Cruise Part 3

In case you missed part 1 and part 2

I am writing this at 2 am because jet lag is not a kind friend… so excuse errors, I will do my best to catch them.

June 6

After another relaxing day at sea, we were in Marseille, France.  To be honest, I did not have very high expectations of this city.  And much to my surprise this city was enchanting and completely captured my heart.  The highlight of the trip was a 10 minute photo stop at Longchamp Palace and Fountains, which is now used as a museum;  the buildings and fountains are amazing! From there we stopped at Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, where we had quite a few stairs to climb to get there. Our reward: breathtaking views of the city and port below! The tour we took was arranged through Princess Cruises and our guide Olivier was informative and helpful.  I scoured my brain to remember the few French phrases that I had learned in 9th Grade.  French people have a reputation for being aloof and uninterested in speaking English, but I found that if you smile and make an effort to speak to them that they are very accommodating.  The few phrases I knew came in handy when we ordered Nutella Crepes for lunch in the city center.  We had 20 minutes of free time and I had scoped out a little crepe shop from the bus as we passed through.  We returned to our ship and were still a little hungry so we indulged in the afternoon tea that was available on the Crown Princess.

Pictured below: day at sea, Longchamp Palace (3), Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille,  wild poppies, enjoying Nutella crepes, a drive past an Arc the Triumph, yachts, afternoon tea on board the Crown Princess.

Next Part 4: Portofino, Italy.

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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 2

In case you missed part one.

June 4

We enjoyed a day at sea and recovering from jet lag before docking in Gibraltar.  We enjoyed exploring our ship and started to become familiar with locations of dining rooms.

Gibraltar is on the tip of Spain and part of Great Britain.  From here you can see the continent of Africa on a clear day.  The biggest tourist attraction is the Rock of Gibraltar which you will recognize from the Prudential advertisements.  On the rock are Barbary Apes.  These monkeys have been known to confiscate bags from tourists in search of food and have a reputation to sometimes climbing and even biting people.  (I have issues with Lorikeets landing on me at the San Diego zoo, so the thought of a monkey bothering me was going to cause me to need some mental health treatments.) We decided to not make ourselves a target for these thieves and took only a hidden money belt with some money and a credit card. We took the tram to the top of the rock and must to our surprise (near disappointment): No Monkeys!  We enjoyed the view of the Rock and took some pictures.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the restaurant and asked the waitress for recommendations of a good fish and chips place in town.  She declared Roy’s on Main Street to be the best place in town to get an authentic tasting, where we would head next.  As we were about to leave to go down the hill we saw two monkeys.  I managed to capture a picture of them not being too nice to each other and I had a healthy respect for these critters.  Gibraltar is delightfully British with classic red phone booths and authentic fish and chips.  Our time in port was pretty short and soon we would depart for Marseille, France.

Pictured: day at sea, Rock of Gibraltar, Barbary Apes, red phone booth, grave yard, and fish and chips.

Next: Part 3


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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 1

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.

Day 2:

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)