Sunday, February 24, 2013

Travel: Mediterranean Cruise Day 1

For fear that you may think I am one-dimensional and only talk about my house, I'm going to switch gears a bit today {and for the whole week for that matter}. We have been very blessed in our lives to have the opportunity to travel to some pretty incredible places. Traveling is one of our strongest passions, and although we get to travel a lot for work, we also set goals to travel on our own time as well.

We're on a new adventure this week, but I thought I would bring back some trips of the past. When I switched blog services and websites, I opted to remove a lot of personal information - including a lot of our travels. So, I plan to bring back some of the posts with more of the personal information removed. Hopefully someone out there finds it interesting/helpful/inspiring. I know prior to leaving on any trips I read about other's adventures {pros and cons} to ensure our trip can be mostly full of 'pros'.

I'm starting with our favorite trip of all time: a Western Mediterranean cruise we took in July 2010 for our fifth anniversary. I will feature a new stop on our Mediterranean cruise each day this week. Given that I took 2,104 photos on this trip alone, hopefully, there is something for everyone.

On this trip, we spent three days in Barcelona {Spain}, a day at sea, Naples {Italy}, Civatevecchia {Italy}, Livorno {Italy}, Villefranche {France}, Provence {France} and then ended back in Barcelona.

And now, my travel journal resurrected {with some editing/cutting of photos}. I will focus on day one in Barcelona today and then the other days there and each of the other ports each day this coming week.

Barcelona Day 1 Highlights:
  • Exploring Las Ramblas
  • Cafe con leche
  • Estrella with limon Fanta
  • Pizza at Rossini in Placa Reial
  • Taking in all the beautiful architecture Europe has to offer
Journal of events:
Please keep in mind I took pictures of nearly everything on this trip so I wouldn't forget a thing {hey, you don’t take 2,104 photos sitting idle}.  So please be patient with the photo overload.
We left Omaha on Thursday, July 1 around noon and did not arrive in Barcelona until nearly 9:00 a.m. on July 2.  We had a four+ hour layover in Atlanta so we headed to the Delta Sky Club to hang out {so much nicer than just sitting in the main area of the airport}.  We got a lot of reading done.
Thankfully, upon arrival at our hotel {Hotel Pulitzer}, they had our room ready so we were able to drop off all our stuff and begin an exploration of the city.  Here are some pics of the hotel and our room {which was really tiny but very nice}.  We had to insert our cardkey into the wall once we entered the room to get the lights to turn on.  There was then this little station near my nightstand where you could dim the lights are turn them all off in the entire room.  I love weird little things like this!  The hotel was in the perfect location and centrally located to everything we wanted to visit.

As tired as we were, we knew we had to stay awake for as much of the day as possible to keep the jet lag at bay.  We explored Placa de Catalunya which was just around the corner from our hotel.  We had lunch at Bar Estudiantil, across from the University of Barcelona campus.  This is where we tried cafe con leche for the first time.  It sounds like coffee and milk but they use more of an espresso blend and it is SO good.  I just wished they made venti sizes instead of the tiny little cups they had there!

We then caved and took a two or three hour nap.  It was brutal trying to wake up {I think our bodies thought it was bedtime}. We explored our hotel’s rooftop, had a drink in our hotel’s bar and then took a stroll down Las Ramblas, the touristy pedestrian road with restaurants, street performers and vendors, unlike anything I have ever seen before.  We had read numerous tales of pickpockets and gypsies in this area, but we did not encounter any problems.  There were literally thousands of tourists on this road and so much to see.  Our favorite had to be the man that looked like a baby in a stroller ~ he was hysterical!

We had amazing pizza at Rossini’s in Placa de Reial. It was such a beautiful night and the atmosphere was amazing: little kids playing soccer in the plaza, World Cup fever from numerous countries, grown men playing hackeysack together all surrounded by such a beautiful building and a fountain in the center.

We finished off the nights with drinks on our hotel’s rooftop to enjoy the perfect weather and the beautiful views of Barcelona.

This may seem like a long narrative and tons of photos, but honestly, this was one of our least eventful days of the entire trip because we were so tired.  It only grows in craziness from here!
Stay tuned for Day 2 in Barcelona tomorrow!

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