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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Cruisin', On a Sunday Afternoon


I think that the past five days have flown by in a blur. I will have to read my own blog in order to see whether or not I had a good time! lol

I didn't sleep well last night, again, due to nausea. Sometimes I really hate Bosulif, but I must remind myself that it keeps me alive so that I am able to travel and do the things I love.

We had noon check out, so there was no rush, but we also had a cab arriving at 11::30 am to take us to the port. It was a very short ride and the cruise line was not too crowded, so it didn't take us long to drop off our luggage, and get wheeled right onto the ship and to the dining room.

We had a table at the back of the ship, right next to a huge window; we had a lovely, very leisurely lunch while waiting to go to our rooms. It was so nice to just relax, with nowhere to be.

On the way to our room, I saw many pieces of luggage outside of cabin doors. It was then that I realized that I had done a very dumb thing; I had given the ship's luggage handlers both pieces of my luggage, meaning that I had $35,000 worth of medication floating around, somewhere on the ship. This is a huge no-no for me; I always keep my meds with me; always and could not believe I had done such a careless thing.

I kept looking out of our cabin door becoming more and more anxious when our room steward introduced herself and asked if there was anything that I needed. I told her about my luggage and my pills and she said, "I will go and look for your luggage now. It is my number one priority!"

I half believed her and half did not, as I am sure she had other responsibilities. About fifteen minutes had passed when there was a knock on our door. It was Suzanne and she said, "What does your luggage look like? I have everyone looking for it!" I described the bag and off she went. Ten minutes later there was another knock on the door. It was Suzanne, with my luggage! She is now my hero!!
Needless to say, she was the first person that I tipped in Europe! She did not even want to take the money because she said she loved her job and that she loved helping people. She was probably nearly my age and her kids think she is nuts! lol

Once I confirmed that my medication was in my little rolly bag, I proceeded to unpack my things. When I was finished, I lay down on the bed and nothing, not even the Mandatory Fire Drill was going to budge me. Joe attended and I rested. It was short and sweet and after a few hours, I was up to watch the ship pull away from the port. We went up top and I actually had a Pina Colada! Let me tell you, a Pina Colada and a cane are not best friends! lol

After the ship sailed away, it was nearly time for dinner. We went down to the dining room and there was a huge line of disgruntled people. We heard the Maitre'D announcing that the dining room was at full capacity. I was not worried, as we had reservations.

We got some pretty nasty looks and some not very nice comments as we passed through the line and into the dining room. Tip of the day; if you are going on a cruise, make your dinner reservations WAY before you get on the ship! We have reservations for every night.

After dinner we decided to go and get some playing cards from the front deck; they had already told Joe that they didn't have any but,  I really didn't believe that they did not have cards, so I went and asked and was told the same thing. Then Cindy asked, too.

We knew that this was not going to fly as we loved to play cards on sea days, and tomorrow is a sea day.

We were told to try the game room and maybe the Casino. In the game room there was a deck just sitting there, so we confiscated that deck, and continued on our quest. The game that we play, Hand and Foot, requires at least five decks of cards. We didn't bring any because of the weight of five decks, and we were packing for six weeks,  and they have always had them on-board in the past anyway.

We headed to the Casino in search of more cards and had to work our magic. First, we talked to a gal selling lottery tickets at a table; she said no, they didn't have cards, they shred them all, she was very sorry. Then she told us to hang on a minute. She called over Phyllis, and we explained our situation and told what we would like. We chatted a bit about the states and Zimbabwe. (where she was from) She asked what we were playing and we told her and invited her to join us. Once again we were told to hold hang-on and we watched her walk away.

She came back and told us to go right back to the front desk, that there would be five decks of cards waiting for us. She told us to tell them that Phyllis sent us and the assistant director told them to give us the cards! She said if they gave us any trouble at all to come and get her! Let me tell you, Phyllis knows how to get it done! HAHAHA

Don't you know we loved watching the front desk people eat crow?
When at first you do not succeed, try and try again! Sometimes taking no for an answer only means you need to find another way.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Second Day in Barcelona

First things first! I awoke to find a lovely message from my sister-in-law. She found the story behind my "rotten apple" photo which is not a rotten apple at all! It was the only surviving artifact from the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers. Here is the story that explains its' journey. Thank you for sharing, Shari!!

The Joe's and Cindy went to breakfast down in the lobby; I remained, moving slowly in the room. I did manage to eat a croissant, drink a glass of milk and down 200 mg of Bosulif before they returned.
I am pretty sure my good night's rest allowed me to actually leave the room before noon, which is impressive any day of the week for me!

We decided to do one of the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tours stopping at the La Sagrada Familia and the Parc Guell. ( I know there is a way to put those fancy little things over the letters, but I do not know how! sorry!)

Along the way, we came upon the most amazing market EVER!!! They had everything from flowers, to marzipan, to fish of every kind, to ducks with their heads still on them, to legs of animals hanging everywhere. It was so much fun just walking through; probably my favorite thing in Barcelona.

Eventually, the guys got us out of the market, on the bus, and to the La Sagrada Familia; where we were told that there were no more tickets available, much to our dismay. The outside was quite amazing, so we decided to at least walk around the entire building. Once we got to the backside, I saw a handicap entrance. I stopped and asked the gal there if there was any way to get tickets. She said "Yes", for tomorrow. I told her that we would be leaving tomorrow and she asked for "my card". I wasn't exactly sure what she meant, but I decided to hand her my Medicare card and my ID. I guess my cane was enough of an explanation because she came back with two free tickets to enter the church!

Marzipan

peppers

animal legs

dead ducks

I told her that we had our husbands with us but she said that she could only give us two tickets. The guys decided to let us gals go in, and they went for burgers and cerveza. We went into the church and found that it was not nearly as ornate and amazing as the outside. Although,  I thought that the stained glass was nice, and the architecture was kinda' cool, but honestly, I was not that impressed. I am sure that others may have been in total awe, but I guess it just was not my cup of tea and I was certainly glad that the tickets were free! lol

La Sagrada Familia






We hopped back on the bus which wound us through the streets of Barcelona enjoying all of the different sights. I must say that there are many different architectural styles represented in this city.

Shortly, we arrived at our next stop; the Parc Guell. We had no idea where the parc was, so we just started following the other people on from the bus. Not only was it far away from the stop, but it was almost all UPHILL! NOT a good walk for a person short of breath (due to pleural effusion) or with nerve pain in her feet! All I kept thinking was that I had to walk back, too!

Parc Guell




Eventually, we arrived at the Parc; you could totally tell that it was the same "mastermind" that designed both of these places, as mosaic "art" was everywhere!. We walked up to the ticket booth and were once again told there were no tickets. They said that they sell out online, please come back manana.

Well, that didn't work for Cindy, she went right to work on the poor gentleman telling him, "Do you see that lady over there? She hobbled all the way up that hill to come to this Parc. There must be something you can do!"

He told her no, but asked if she wanted to talk to his boss! lol Of course she did......and after about fifteen minutes she had two free tickets and two paid tickets in her hand. She said, "Let's Go!" lol
That's what friends are for, right??

Moral to this story is if you want to see anything in Barcelona, buy your tickets online! I can hardly believe that they were sold out as it was not even crowded in either place. I cannot even imagine what it is like during high tourista season.

The Parc Guell was also "interesting" full of mosaic areas, fountains and a lizard, and all kinds of weird columns everywhere. At first, it reminded me of Santa's Village, but later I think it reminded me more of Dr. Suess. It made me wonder if this guy's visions were drug induced! lol

We did not stay too long and I somehow managed to get back to the bus in one piece. It would be riding the bus and then dinner for me. No more touring around any more weird attractions.

Acr de Triumph
We hopped off of the bus when we were somewhat close to our hotel, and headed back to the market thinking we would get some chocolate and maybe an appetizer. When Cindy asked one of the places if she could get an appetizer at the bar, there in the market he said, "Come with me," so like a bunch of lambs to slaughter we followed him in and around and through alleys.

Cindy's Joe was sure we were going to lose a kidney! lol

Eventually, we arrived at his restaurant! Not exactly what we had in mind. We were seated at a table and a waiter arrived with menus. After looking it over, we were not impressed and just ordered cerveza and water for me.

The waiter was so MAD that he yelled at us! This is for "comida" (food), so we said we would order appetizers, or drink our drinks really fast and leave. He came back and told us to order appetizers, and to eat them rapido! lol We ordered croquettes, which were delicious, and mussels, which I was told we "OK".

The BEST one of these EVER!
He brought us the check and we were out the door. We walked a few blocks and grabbed some Wok the Walk and brought it back to our hotel and ate in their bar. THAT bartender was amazing; even brought us real plates and silverware for our take-out! Pretty funny, I think.

While we were sitting there, with guys drinking more cervezas, I started eating my chocolates. I gave Cindy her coconut one, and sang, "If you like pina coladas" and the lady at the next table said, I have been singing that song in my head ALL DAY! And LOOK, the bartender is bringing me one! We all laughed and had a nice conversation.

It was a great way to end the day.

Tomorrow we get on the ship!

Living my life, gratefully.

G'Night!

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

First "Real" Day in Barcelona

Despite our rocky start, we all decided to hit the streets, check out a bit of Barcelona and get some lunch. Our first stop was a sidewalk cafe where we had a GRANDE beer and Sangria; they were monster sized, and I shared a few sips.

From there, we asked out waiter, where he would eat! Funny, huh? We told him we didn't want to eat where the tourista's ate, so he told us about a restaurant a few blocks down and over from the Las Rambla Strip.

On our way there we saw street performers and a parade of nearly naked women, walking down the middle of the walkway with photographers, and bunches of tourists following them, and clearing a path.

Apparently, they were demonstrating for "equal sexuality?" or something like that; I must say that it was certainly interesting! I'll bet when the gals see themselves on Instagram later, they will be disappointed to see that the red glitter paint hand rubbed off of their butt-cracks! Bahahahaha

We continued walking down to the port, saw many very cool statues and lots of little shops. After meandering around a bit we were all getting tired, so we decided to go and eat, so we could go to bed.

Once we found the restaurant, it looked closed, but the door was unlocked, so I walked in and asked if they were open, they asked me if we had reservations, and I said no, but we did have a recommendation! They laughed and told us to come in.




The dinner was quite good, despite the fact that I went on the less exotic side and ordered croquettes and chicken! Both were delicious and I once again asked for leche....frio, which I believe to mean cold milk. What they brought me was a huge glass of hot milk! I said No Caliente, muy frio! He said, "Cold, milk? I said, "Yes!" lol

And guess what? Once again it came with sugar...what is with the sugar and milk??

Oh, well, I ate the food, drank the sugarless milk and downed my pills; a successful day in that regard.

As we were walking back to our hotel, we stopped at a little market, to get MILK, for the morning, I don't know what it is, but most of their milk was sitting on a shelf, not refrigerated. I just don't get it. I finally found some in a cooler, but there were no gallons, that is for sure, and weird small containers that look nothing like milk containers!

I bought it anyway, and we shall see in the morning. A croissant from the bakery and we were on our way. Time for BED, AGAIN!

Hasta Manana!

More Photos from the Day:





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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Talk About Exhaustion!!

I feel like this! All confused! 
Either I forgot how tired I was when we flew to Paris nearly two years ago, or I am just that much more fragile!

The flight was half as long, as we left from New York, as opposed to Los Angeles, but boy, oh boy am I whooped! I might have to give up on red eyes! lol

Getting our luggage and a taxi was quite easy, and since I know a small amount of Spanish, that was helpful, too.

The drive to our hotel was short but full of interesting things to look at. The most peculiar thing that I saw was a cemetery, literally built into a hillside; there were graves and rows and rows of crypts, all with windows on the end of them. It looked like a small village; a small village of dead people. I hope to go back there before we leave.

We were so tired that I truly thought that we would check in and hit the bed, but once we gave it some thought, we were afraid that if we did that, we would end up sleeping until the middle of the night and then be really screwed up, so we decided to take a walk and get something to eat, at the very least.

This having to eat, and drink milk twice a day, in order to take my Bosulif is a real pain in the tookus! We strolled the streets for a while and finally settled on a place that had a three choice meal for ten euros.

I had lasagna, white sea bass, and crema Catalana, which was a creme brulee and hit the spot! Joe had a salad and paella and some bouncy looking thing for dessert; it was alright.

I have to say that with my stomach being so wonky, I wasn't quite prepared for the bass to come to me with his tail and eyes still attached! It was "good" but a little too greasy for my taste. I think they must have dipped the entire fish in a fryer! lol

When I asked for "leche" aka milk, they looked at me like I was nuts, but brought it to me with a few packs of sugar??? It was enough food, with the milk to wash down my first dose of Bosulif of the day....blek.....being tired does not make for a happy tummy, but I felt accomplished.

yup! He was looking at me!

Paella; it was alright.

By then, we headed back to the hotel, as neither one of us could barely stay awake. When we got there, I checked in with my friend Cindy, you know the one, right? The one that told me about the 737 Max 8's crashing and being grounded!!

Well! They were to join us, here in Barcelona tomorrow! Guess where they live? Yup, that would be right! They live in Denver, the place preparing for a blizzard, with a closed airport, and canceled flights, and now grounded planes.

We were all praying that the blizzard would pass and that they would still get out of Denver in the morning, but as luck would have it, their flight was eventually canceled, too.

They spent eight hours on the phone, trying every route and airline they could in order to make it to NY by midnight the next day, to get on the same flight we were just on. Right before they went to bed, at 1:30 am Cindy tried Southwest one more time, and as she explained what was going on, the guy on the phone said, "I am going to stop talking right now."

She was confused but a minute or so later he told her that while he was refreshing his screen, there were two cancellations, and he booked them on the 5 pm flight.

While they were ecstatic, they also realized that there would be no time to collect their luggage and then make the international flight, so they switched to carry-ons and went to bed, with high hopes of making the Norwegian flight to Barcelona.

They did make the first flight and by the skin of their teeth made the second one, too. Somewhere around 5 am I woke up and checked my messages that they were truly on their way.

Our cruise leaves on Sunday, so I am grateful that we all made it here, in one piece.

I slept nearly thirteen hours and woke up feeling almost human; until I took my first set of pills. The nausea kicked my butt and I finally broke down and took a Zofran, and waited for our friends to arrive at the hotel.

Life is good, and we are in SPAIN!!

Photos from the Day:
Hotel Leonardo


Kids Playing Chess




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Friday, March 15, 2019

First Real Day; New York City!!

I Love the city. I love the history, the architecture, the Broadway shows, the food, and diversity.
Joe is not a fan, yet he agreed to take the train into the city with me, as opposed to sitting in the hotel lobby, or the airport, all day.

We took the train into the city, hopped onto the subway and headed down to the 9/11 Memorial Park. In my opinion, it is a beautiful memorial to those who died in that horrific terrorist attack many years ago. It is a sobering experience.

After walking to both tower memorials, we headed in search of a Mom and Pop Deli. Along the way, we saw some great "graffiti", the Oculus Mall, St. Paul's church and a plethora of other old buildings with great design.




Eventually, we found a deli that called our name; I had a slice of white pizza, (as any pizza with red sauce, gives me tremendous heartburn; ever since I started taking Bosulif. Weird, huh?)


And Joe had the most AWESOME sausage and green pepper hoagie EVER; the sausage was SO delicious that it brought back memories of just how good the food is, in the city. Our sausage does not taste like that in Boise OR California! The pizza was pretty darn good, too!



From there we rode the subway up to Central Park, walked through the Strawberry Field's and then decided to check out the new Tavern on the Green. It was lovely and the desert we had was quite yummy, you could tell that the hot chocolate was "Real" hot chocolate, not the type that comes from a package, but I must admit, I miss the original "Tavern on the Green"; this just did not have that elegant, special feel.


By then it was starting to get cold so we decided to head back to the hotel to pick up our luggage, and then head back to the airport to wait for our flight. We still had a long day/night ahead of us, since our plane did not leave until midnight.


Chandeliers instead of flowers.

We were prepared with noise canceling headphones just in case of crying babies, and I had my pillow and a blanket; the flight is about seven hours long which would normally be about how long I manage to sleep on a regular night at home, but by the time you get in and settled, they do drink and food service, and settle themselves down, I had watched an entire movie!

$250 one way

Much fancier than US-based airlines.

Fives hours left in a tiny seat isn't much time for "real" sleep but I thought I would give it a shot; I didn't bank on them serving more food and coffee about an hour and a half before landing.

Somewhere around 3am, I began to question my sanity, wondering what the hell I was thinking about booking this trip, but I am sure after a good night's sleep, I will feel better.

We arrived, in full sunshine, at noon in Barcelona.

Buenos Dias!

St. Paul's



Rotten Apple?




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Bricks for the Brave!!