Let’s start from the very beginning……a very good place to start :)
Our cruise left from Barcelona Spain on Saturday, August 8th. We decided to go a day early, just in case there were airline issues.
We took a late flight out of JFK in New York. We left from there because it was cheaper, and they had more Delta flights. I took off work on Thursday and we had a car service drive us to the airport in the afternoon.
I am one of those people that is always nervous about being later. Because of that we got to the airport a few hours before our flight, just to be safe. Since we were there early we decided to eat dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Beers and wings before an overseas flight is always a good idea.
We flew in Delta’s Comfort Plus section, which was also a very good decision. We also got dinner on the plane, plus multiple snacks and free alcohol. We took an overnight flight in hopes of sleeping and adjusting better to the time change. Sleep was not easy though.
We got breakfast on the plane before we landed in Barcelona. It was a really great flight. I watched Selma and The Avengers in between sleep attempts.
Customs is Barcelona was the most absurd situation I have ever been in. When we got off the plane we eventually came to a long line. I wasn’t sure what it was because some people were in line and others were going further down the hall. I went to check it out and saw that the line eventually merged into a giant swarm of people. We went around the line and waited in the giant swarm for what felt like hours, but was probably about 40 minutes before we got to an ACTUAL line.
The we zig-zagged back and forth until we finally got to a customs agent. Usually they ask why you are coming into the country and stuff, but this guy just stamped our passports and let us through without saying a word! What was the line for then!?!?!
Anyway after customs we headed outside to get a cab which was another long endeavor. There was a line for regular cabs and then a free-for-all for vans. We eventually got one and headed to the hotel.
We got a room for the night at the Hotel AC Victoria Suites. It was a very nice hotel!
Europe is notorious for smaller than American accommodations. We got a room for 3 people so there was a couch, double bed, bathroom and a porch! They brought in a cot for my mom to sleep on, but in actuality the couch would have been fine I think.
After we were all checked in we met up with my aunt and uncle and then headed into the city!
The first stop was the Sagrada Família. It is a MASSIVE church in Barcelona.
It was absolutely stunning outside. The architecture was breathtaking! Sadly a lot of it was under construction and by the time we got there all the tickets for the day to go inside were sold out :(
After we decided to go on the hunt for Lladró’s. My aunt loves them and since they are made in Spain she wanted to get one. We found a shop near the church that had a good variety of them.
They were really pretty (and delicate), but also expensive! My aunt got some ballerinas though to add to her collection.
After we grabbed a cab and headed down to La Rambla.
It’s a long street that has restaurants and shops on it.
The street performers there went all out!
Since our bodies were all messed up with the time, we were STARVING so we decided to get lunch in a restaurant called Amaya.
We got sangria and the glasses were massive!
They brought out bread and a garlic butter spread. I got the seafood paella. It was delicious!
The drinks really helped though :)
After lunch we decided to wander around Barcelona.
After a while we came upon Cathedral of Barcelona. Since we didn’t get to go into Segrada Familia we decided to pay the few euro to go in. I am so glad we did because it was beautiful! European churches are so pretty.
Cheryl found an elevator that let you go up to the roof! So of course we all went.
At this point it was getting late. We wanted to go back to the hotel and change/rest before dinner. We tried (and failed) to get a van cab for all of us. They really only have small cars in Europe.
For dinner we went to Tablao Flamenco Cordobés.
The food was buffet style. They had a lot of interesting dishes and drinks were included.
You had to choose a dinner time and then the show followed. You could also just do dinner or just do a show. We did both. After dinner you went into another room for the show.
The show was fun! There were guitar players that sang and then four dancers. A few times I thought they were going to break the floor they were slamming their feet so hard. It was really cool to see traditional dancing and music.
After the show we got a cab back to the hotel. We actually found a van! I think we spent the most all day on all the cabs we had to take.
I slept like a rock. The time change plus the lack of airplane sleep helped.
The next day we got a very expensive breakfast in the hotel lobby and then headed down to the port. The traffic was insane so I am glad we left when we did. Once we got to the port we had to drop off our bags and go through a bunch of different lines to check in. It was actually a pretty smooth process. They took your picture at check-in and gave you your room keys aka keys to the kingdom.
We sailed on the Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam.
Unlike past cruises they let us go right to our room. Some of our bags were even there! We got a balcony room because I mean, how can you not. We also made sure to have a bucket of Miller Lite’s waiting in the room for us.
After about 15 minutes we had all our bags so we decided to unpack. I loved that I could unpack once for the next two weeks! We had to go to the lifeboat drill and we were the only smart ones that brought drinks with us.
After we met up with my aunt and uncle and headed to the back of the boat to watch us leave port.
There was a bon voyage party and we had some food and drinks.
That night we had dinner at one of the specialty restaurants, Taramind.
The food was amazing! I love Japanese food. We had a later reservation so by the time we were done we missed the main show in the showroom.
So after dinner we headed into the lounge across the hall, the Silk Den for drinks.
The Silk Den was not open late so when it closed we headed downstairs to see what else there was. We came across the B.B. King Club. The band was pretty good and there were a lot of people dancing. Not like club dancing.
My aunt and uncle take dancing classes so they joined in.
After a while I got bored of the music and I was exhausted so we headed to bed. It was a great first day on the boat!
The next few weeks are going to be full of cruise posts. I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!