10.19.2012

Day 1-3 :: I'm going to Europe!!

Haven't had a hot free meal on a plane in years and it was good + Free Wine
Day 1-2 was basically spent traveling to Europe.  After an anxious night of triple checking my luggage, tying up loose ends around the house and very little sleep I headed to the airport very early on Thursday morning for my 6:30am flight.  I was freaking out because I took the wrong parking garage card for Mj's job where I was planning to park my car and I had to find airport parking at the last minute.  It wasn't until I made it onto my flight on time that I was finally able to relax.  I had a 4 hour flight to Chicago, a short 1 1/2 flight from there to Toronto and then the worst one of all was 8 hours to Barcelona.   Normally I want as few lay overs as possible but with that many hours of flight time the extra lay over was welcome so I could escape and stretch my legs.  I spent the first leg reading magazines and half sleeping.  The 2nd leg was nice and short. The 3rd leg just really sucked.  It's way too long to be sitting upright, cramped, exhausted and unable to move around.  I guess they don't want anyone starving to death so at least they're willing to feed you with no extra charge on International flights.  Eating kept me occupied and I watched two movies.  United has a really good selection of new releases and you have your own screen on the seat in front of you.  It was my first time seeing what Business class looks like.  It's even better then 1st class so instead of being the usual 2nd class I got to be a 3rd class citizen crammed in coach. 
Ick!!!!
I left home on Thursday morning my time and arrived in Barcelona on Friday morning around 8:30am Europe time.  I got my first passport stamp in customs, got my baggage and then waited for Mj to arrive on his flight in from Stuttgart.  He spotted me first and it was soooo good to see him and be together again.  I'd missed him so much.  Of course I felt all ragged and worn out from traveling and I probably didn't look all that cute but oh well.  Our vacation together had finally begun.  It took us a while but we found our hotel shuttle and then checked into Hotel Frontair Congress.  It was in this random sort of industrial area and I knew that but it was close to the airport and had a shuttle.   It was basically a one night pit stop to rest up before the cruise so as long as it was clean it would do.  We both took naps and when we woke up took the hotel shuttle to Placa De Espana which is a central area of the city and then looked for a place to eat.  We actually saw someone get mugged a couple minutes after we got off the shuttle.  The poor guy was yelling "Stop, Stop!!" and sprinting down the street.   The rumors were true.  I crossed my bag over my chest and held it a little closer.  We found a place to eat.  The Tapas on the menu were unlike any Tapas I'd ever seen so I played it safe and ordered Pizza.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really good either.  I guess that's what I get for ordering pizza in Barcelona.  Mj got the Brave Potatoes (very spicy) and something else.  We made our way back to Placa De Espana and waited for the city bus that would take us back to our hotel.  Thank goodness Mj was able to figure out when we should get off.  I was still sort of in a tired haze so it was pretty much right back to bed.  Day one in Barcelona was not so exciting but that's okay because I knew we'd be back.

The next morning we took the 11:00 am hotel shuttle to Placa De Espana.  From there the plan was to take the metro to the Drassanes metro station, walk to the Columbus Monument and then take the Blue Bus to the port but it was pouring down rain.  Hard.  We hustled out of the shuttle and Mj waived down a cab so we could get out of the rain.  The cruise port was a mad house.  There were wet people running every where and wet luggage all over the place.  We could hardly find anyone to take our bags and when we did she just said to leave it there and someone would get it.  We ran inside to check in.  We got our sea pass cards, made our way onto the ship and this is when it felt like our vacation truly began.  We didn't have access to our room yet but we were able to eat which was just fine because we were starving.  We hit the buffet at Windjammer.
[Photo Source]
Our cabin::One of the  most comfy beds I've ever slept in.
Excited to be on ship
After that we explored the ship; Royal Caribbean International Liberty of the Seas.  It's HUGE, like 3,500 people huge and really nice!  It's like it's own little city.  At around 3pm we were able to go to our room.  It's tiny but they do a great job of making sure that there is plenty of lighting and storage.  I had plenty of room for toiletries and there was room for our luggage.  The shower was tiny but even in the bathroom there was plenty of counter space and a little cabinet to put toiletries.  My luggage came first and I started unpacking.  Mj had some illegal alcohol he'd picked up abroad so his was confiscated and delayed.  He didn't get it until well after the emergency drill meeting.  By 5-6 pm I was really tired.  We took a nap and woke up in time for a welcome aboard variety show and then went to dinner at 8:30pm in the formal dining room.  After that we were ready for  bed.  The bed in our cabin was so comfortable and it's pitch black with the lights out so I slept good.  When we woke up the next morning we would be in France.

First Stop:  Aix En Provence, Italy

21 comments :

  1. Sounds so exciting so far! I can't wait to read more! :)

    And I would be so scared if I saw somebody get mugged! I can't believe that happened right in front of you!

    Lauren
    http://laurensweetnothings.blogspot.com/

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  2. This was so fun to read! I'm excited for more!

    And I've heard so much about muggings in Europe, crazy that one was happening right in front of you!

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    1. I had heard about it too but never expected to actually see it go down OR have it happen to use of course.

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  3. Looks like it was a fun trip. Looking forward to reading more about it.

    I have never been on a European cruise before. Just a Caribbean cruise. A couple of our friends just got back from a European cruise and it sounds like so much fun. I'd love to one day go on one.

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    1. I had only been on a Caribbean cruise before as well. I really love cruises. It was a good way to get around to multiple cities.

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  4. Yay! The Europe posts have begun! Traveling is so tiring and especially when you have such a long flight. I hate sitting on the airplane that long and get really moody and restless. It's a welcome trade off for getting to go to Europe though! You and MJ are so cute together! : )

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    1. Thanks! Long flights are the worst. I was so dreading that part of the trip. I just kept telling myself that it would be worth it while I sat there suffering!

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  5. Your trip sounds so much fun! I can't wait for the next installment. I am glad that y'all are able to spend sometime together.

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  6. I bet you looked like a sight for sore eyes to him! I'm sure he missed his wife :) That ship is HUGE. The cruise we went on only held 700 people!

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    1. Yes, it is huge! 3,500 people huge. I got lost on it nearly every day.

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  7. That looks like SO MUCH FUN. I can't wait to go to Europe. Looking forward to the rest of your recaps. Long flights are the worst - I get SO antsy after a couple of hours. And they are so hard to sleep on.

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  8. I can just picture the two of you meeting for the first time in a long time... So romantic!!!

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  9. I'd heard all the warnings about being robbed in Spain but luckily none of that happened while we were there...

    Sorry about all the layovers but the trip, so far, seems worth every stop!

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  10. glad it wasn't you that got mugged!

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    1. I know. That would have sucked. We came home with just about everything we left with minus money we actually spent on things.

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  11. The pic of you two on the boat is precious!!! Christmas card!:)

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  12. That looks like the same cruise I took two years ago. Did you fly a Domestic carrier? I highly recommend flying an international carrier for longer flights(better seats,space and food). When I went to Barcelona I flew Iberia(AWESOME SAUCE). When I went to Dubai I flew Emirates, highly recommend. They've been voted the top airline in the world a few times! Did you make it to the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona?(very busy part)

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    1. We did fly Domestic as I had to book Mj's return flight which he didn't get to pick as it was booked by the Military on their dime. Foreign is definitely something to consider in the future. Did not make it to Las Ramblas that night or when we came back.

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