A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: marksrtw

April 25th and Disembarked ship for stay in Barcelona

Hola From Barcelona

sunny 76 °F

Hi all,

Arrive Barcelona at 4 am this morning and disembarked around 8:30 am after a good breakfast and last minute packing as the ship partied last night with a comedy show and Dualing Piano Show called Howling at the Moon singing until midnight or so.

Did a 5 hour city highlight tour of Barcelona with 5 others and was great orientation for the city. Barcelona is a beautiful city of 1.7 million and quite sped out so will need to learn the subway and buses. My soccer match on Sunday is about 6 miles away so will certainly take subway although the game will be played at 6pm so need to make sure I'm comfortable otherwise will take taxi. Barcelona a bad reputation for pick pockets so everything will now locked in room safe and I will not wear any jewelry and only take minimal money and one credit card hidden well.

Hotel is very nice and well located near Las Ramblas the main fun street and great view from 8th floor room of Guadi's Sandgria Familia Basilica. Its the very weird shaped multi steeple very Salvador Dali looking building that they have been building only with donations for common folk so they estimate it will be completed by 2026 for Guadi's 100 anniversary of this death. Guadi also has left his mark on several other incredible buildings (former residences) and Guell Park where is house is located and a beautifil park with only a few other homes now Unesco World Heritage Sites. I was very impressed with Las Ramblas and definately want to go back to the Mercado there which makes Pikes Market look like a Quik Stop. Its incredible with fresh local meat, seafood, produce and you name it that's edible. I had fresh prawns quickly as we toured and loved them. I think this is where my Gourmet Tapa's walking tour starts at 10 am on Wednesday (yum, yum!).

Sorry for lack of photos but now that I am at hotel with high or higher speed than that ripoff ship internet and its free so will start uploading more photos of ship highlights and of course Barcelona. Next 4 days Barcelona exploration!

Adios for now - they don't speak spanish in its true sense but instead some form of their own. This part of Spain is very unhappy with Madrid seat of government and are very tired of paying taxes that get used mostly by Madrid. Sounds like Seattle vs Spokane lol!

Wow, can't keep my eyes open so will be early night for me for touring tomorrow. My cortizone shot I got before I left did not last long and man my shoulder hurts which really saps my energy but will push through and very much home sick to say the least!

Mark

Posted by marksrtw 08:22 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 9

3 More Days at Sea!

semi-overcast 69 °F

Day 9 of the 11 day voyage across Atlantic and I’m really looking forward to Barcelona now.
This morning the ship sprung a leak in one of the larger water pipes at about 3am this morning. As I walked down to the dining room at 7 am for breakfast, there where large vacuum’s still sucking water from the carpets and the main dining room on deck 6 was closed and unthinkable-the slot machines were dark without power and several elevators read out of order. Better water than fire, but now the main dining room is closed for remainder of cruise.

We are scheduled to traverse the Straits of Gibraltar tomorrow evening as we enter the Mediterranean Sea and view the European and African Continents at the same time. We will be doing it around sunset and it will be awesome so look for the pics.

Posted by marksrtw 01:04 Comments (0)

April 21, 2012

Day 8 of Voyage and finally reach land!

sunny 75 °F
View 2012 Transatlantic Titanic 100 Year Anniversary Miami to Barcelona on marksrtw's travel map.

4/21

Greetings from the Azores. We closed the Mid Atlantic Ridge under beautiful blue sky’s and glass calm seas yesterday and arrived at the green island of San Miguel, Azores and the city of Ponta Delgrada. There are many islands in this archipelago and some volcanic activity under the sea as a new island is forming not to far off shore. A lot of thermal hot springs around the island but we visited the west end of the island and concentrated on the twin lakes next to the village of Sete Cidades. Incredible nice day and the lakes are next each other with one a beautiful blue and the other green. Wonderful natural beauty and quaint little villages with steep slopes on ancient volcanoes covered in cedar and pine. They grow sugar beets, tobacco, pineapples and tea along with some lumber. Sadly, pretty high unemployment hear but not as high as their parent country Portugal. Bought a very cool wind shime carved from local wood and will look and sound great in our patio and was very cheap. We left the island just before sunset to the town waving us goodbye. They don’t see mega ships like our very often and was awesome to hear there shouts and whistles as we glided out of the picturesque sheltered harbor and felt the familiar roar of the engines and great wake of the ship I have grown so used to for the past eight days. The sunset was the most beautiful since yesterday ! I can’t wait to share the breathtaking pictures I have worked hard to compose for all of you. Venus is still directly behind the ship and bright as ever tonight and got some great pics with the sunset, the island and Venus all in the same shot.
I got smart and bought 100 internet minutes for $50 instead of paying by the minute at $1 for each minute. Have 88 minutes left so that should last me for the last 3 days at sea then free high speed internet at hotel in Barcelona so will be able to post more pics for you all and I have about a 1000 to chose from now !
Pretty tired so will close for now but will be on daily now with fresh pics and brief posts. Thanks for everyone for the kind words for my trip and the loss of our dear cat just be l left. Love and hugs to all,

Marco Polo

Posted by marksrtw 15:25 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Day 5

4/18/12
Seas have calmed and the sun is back and very intense with the reflection of the water. I’m going to get stronger SPF tomorrow for sure. Its amazing out here and a humbling felling to be traveling in such luxury but at the same time a fire, sickness or as I was thinking will running on the elliptical bike thinking about a rogue wave could change our false sense of security into something like Poseidon Adventure. But believe me I am not dwelling on the negative but enjoying the serenity which I never expected to feel so much on a ship that holds over 6000 people. I have been in the sauna many times and generally I am the only one or maybe one or two others and very pleasant conversations ensue as we look out of a solid glass wall out to the ocean. Went to Legends in Concert last night and Rick’s Mom would have loved the show. Talk about a handsome young Elvis, couldn’t get to him for a picture because of all the women flocking for their picture with the King. Madonna was great in her lingerie and provocative moves just amazing and I was blown by the Steven Tyler’s look alike complete with the big lips, long stingy hair and voice and moves that was exacting like Steven’s. I’ve been seeing Rod Stewart since the beginning for the cruise so I expected he was the look alike but must have taken the night off or maybe it’s actually Rod lol. Then enjoyed Howling at the Moon Dueling Piano show and we requested songs and sang along until after midnight (about 3 hours past my usual bedtime).

I’m going to try to send a couple of pictures but last night’s first post was $15 and I had everything pre typed and cut and paste. I took some lower quality pictures to reduce the upload time so I will give it a shot. Tonight I’m going to have Chinese food at the Shanghai Restaurant and a show called Grafitti Classic which is advertized as jaw dropping and side splitting entertainment. Google it for description but basically it’s a unique alternative to the String Quartet, with an all singing, all dancing, comedy cabaret act of classical jazz, opera, folk and acoustic music. Plan on bowling tomorrow Dad, hope your team won at league (miss the group so please say high!). Bye for now!
Hugs Mark

Posted by marksrtw 13:53 Comments (0)

Hello from Epic!

Day 4 with 7 more to go!

semi-overcast 64 °F

Ahoy family and friends its day 4 having left Miami on 4/14 at around 5pm its now 4/17. The ship is amazing and lucky for everyone its only half full so its like a Celebrity Cruise with on crew or each passenger. The crew is very friendly and accommodating and that makes all the difference in the world (right Rick, not like Destiny!). Have met some nice folks and my little blender is making some great cocktails thus avoiding the $8.00-$10.00 drink prices Woo Woo!

The seas were like glass until yesterday and I have a mild sunburn even with 30SPF. The ship diverted course and we tendered a stroke victim (rumor) off the ship at Bermuda which was nice to see the island and turns out the patient is doing well now. Yesterday around Bermuda we started into some rougher and winder weather and the boat is really rocking today with 8-10 ft swells and winds gusting to 30 mph- But not sea sick. Yeah!

I bought a spa pass when I boarded for the 11 days. It’s the largest spa at sea like some many others largest on this ship and the spa is pure bliss. Sauna’s, Steam, huge gym, and therapy pool that I will have to show in pictures to describe. Trust me, it was well worth the cost. Have been working out and running and feeling great (think its also the great sea air). Saw Blue Man Group, and Comedy Magician show eat Sushi and lobster already. This is such an incredible way to travel as we travel the 2600 miles across the Atlantic clicking one hour ahead in time zones each day. I have my hammock strung on my deck and everyone is very jealous and I can’t blame them as is rocks me to my afternoon naps and the night sky is so incredible with Orion, Venus (so bright is reflects off the ocean) and a new moon so stars are bright! I love the ocean so much and forgot just how much I missed it. Have seen whales and porpoise but absolutely no birds and all you can see is ocean. Hope no one gets ill now as it will be impossible to get them to shore quickly.

Internet is a $1.00 a minute so that is way I have not been able to post (the Scot in me!). And forget pictures until I get to Barcelona because of the long upload times. I will now try to post daily in the mornings and check for your messages back to me which I always love and appreciate. Tonight is Legends in Concert which should be fun. Please share my blog address with other family and friends if you would because I didn’t get that to very many of you before I left.

So long until tomorrow and Rick, I miss you and family and hope you are ok and getting that Kegerator working so you can enjoy some great draft beer. Remember if there is an emergency call NCL and they will tell you how to reach me quickly. I’m in cabin 12310 so no calls the better. I will call some of you when I get to Ponta Delgrada, Azores in a few days. Current ship position is 34 deg’s 08.29’N Latitude and 58 degs 43.78’W Longitude. Temp is 66.4 f, 69% humidity and winds at 43 knots from 280 degs. Adios Amigos!

Posted by marksrtw 11:09 Archived in Bermuda Comments (0)

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