Saturday, September 24, 2011

Going home


Last day of vacation. I was up early and hoping to find somewhere for breakfast, but nothing was open so I decided to head to the airport.

The airport bus was quick and I was there by 8:30. Air Canada was just opening up so I decided to drop off my bags.

The flight was oversold so I was able to be first on the bump list, they were not even guaranteeing getting out the next day but the compensation was 900 euros so I could not turn that down. Air Canada ended up bumping 11 people, and only 3 of us got out on Sunday. I would have loved another day in Barcelona as Air Canada’s expense but I guess it was not meant to be.

I ended up leaving 2 hours later on a British Airways flight to Heathrow connecting on an AC flight to Toronto arriving at 9:00.

Waiting for the bus at Placa D'Espanya

T1 in Barcelona is a a modern shopping centre, and I ended up with lots of time to look around.

Made it to London on this flight.

Terminal 3  at Heathrow is a little different as they have you wait in this inside waiting area  with no windows and then the gate area opens up 30 minutes or so before your flight.

Flight was fine , but Canada Customs was crazy and took almost an hour to get through, so I was not home until after midnight.

Heathrow, lots of big planes here.

It was a great cruise.  The Magic may not have all the bells and whistles of the Dream, but it is a lovely ship and the service was excellent. I was a little worried that 10 days on my own would be too much, but I met so many wonderful people and there was so much to see and do that there was no time to be lonely.
I was really glad that I ended up doing the DCL excursions that I did, they were all of a high standard and I had no issues with waiting for people or feeling rushed. Sure having more time at the Vatican would have been nice, but going in I knew it would be a hectic day. I would never have saw as much as I did  if I was on my own. I actually came back from this trip relaxed, but I did not do much at nigh back on the ship.

Loved Barcelona, it is such a great city. If I was to do it over I would skip Disney Land Paris and spend the extra time in Barcelona.

 Next time I will take the girls though, and look forward to seeing things through their eyes.

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barcelona part 3

I then did some shopping and got back to the hotel about 8:00 just in time to drop off my bag and head to the Magic Fountain. This started at 9:00 but by 8:30 it was a  zoo. The fountains were amazing to see, the girls would have loved it.
View towards National Museum of Art from Placa d'Espanya

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Barcelona part 2

We got back to Barcelona about 2:00 so I took the Metro. This time I was staying at the Fira Palace. I chose this hotel as it was close to the Magic Fountains and also the airport bus. The hotel was easy to find so I dropped of my bags and headed out of the Metro to go to Park Guell.

When we were in Barcelona last time the girls were exhausted and it was hot so we did not spend any time at the park so I was looking forward to going again. It was not nearly as hot but pretty overcast. The park is beautiful. I spent a couple of hours there.

On the way to Park Guell

 Escalators on the way to Park Guell

The view from Park Geull

Barcelona part 1

Saturday Sept 4, now its time to say good bye to ... I am so glad they do not have the see you real sign banner up, as that is always so sad

I had booked a DCL excursion for today that would take me to Montserrat and then drop off at one of the 4 DCL hotels. This worked out really well, and was probably the best tour that I did.

Once again it was a small group only about 20 people so we made it to Montserrat by 9:45 and there was no one at the rail station. The tour guide said this was the only DCL tour he did all summer that made it up to the Church before 10:30 and were able to get in to see the Black Madonna.

I had seen pictures of Montserrat but it was way more than I thought it would be. It is a Benedictine mountain top Monastery that I gathered is in what we would call a national park. The scenery is very rugged and dramatic. You can drive up, and there is also a cable car or rack train that takes you up. We went on the train from basically sea level to 750 meters above sea level. There is a second rack train that goes to the top at 1,000 feet but it looked like it was straight up the mountain which I did not think want to do.

The view from the train station, see how high wer are going?

At the top.

A picture of the cable car
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Palma part 3

After a quick lunch I was hoping to find the local bus that would take me up to the Castle but my notes on how to do this were not the greatest so I took the shuttle into town and went to the Cathedral which was very impressive inside. I gathered that Gaudi had worked on this church before he stared on the Sagrada Famille.

Cathederal courtyard

Palma is a very confusing place to wander and I got terrible disoriented so I decided it best when I finally found the Cathedral again to head back to the ship.

There were tons of street artists out so I got this Chinese man to do name signs for the girls. In less then 5 minutes he had 2 of them done which I now need to frame for the girls. They had this tiny little baby who I think they said was 4 months old who was so happy just laying there in her stroller. What a different life to bring up a child.

Sqaure that was full of local artists on the side.

I did go to dinner and managed to pack everything up. I did not make it to the final show, but I did hit the hot tub one more time.

note to myself Since returning home I have seen some picture who did a tour of parts of the island and I wish that I had gone to Valdemossa, I guess it will be on the to do for next time.

I was not ready to leave 7, days was way to short.

last sunset