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Spring 2023 Vacation, Day 15; Spain, Day 10

We're Ramblan No More

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The plan for the day included another delicious desayuno at our hotel. This morning, our breakfast neighbors were two couples who had just arrived. One of them worked in the private corporate jet industry. We learned a lot of very useful things just by listening in, if we ever end up considering the purchase of a private jet.

Then, it was time to pack, check out and leave our luggage in hotel storage. And, off we went to explore and walk part of Las Ramblas, which was very close to the hotel.

Eventually, we made our way to the Catalan History Museum, which turned out to be a much larger museum than we anticipated. Although we often found the directions for getting through the museum confusing, we got through it and learned a lot in the process.

Then it was time to wander a bit more. We continued to enjoy Barcelona architecture and, along the way, we witnessed a green bird pick up a large tasty treat for lunch.

Finally, it was time to gather our things at the hotel and head off to the aeropuerto:

When we arrived at the aeropuerto, we discovered that the BA staff had not yet arrived, so we had to wait around a bit and while we were waiting around, Joseph had an epiphany. What does the British Airways logo look like?

Let us know what you think!

We are now at Heathrow and will soon--- we hope!--- board our flight to Logan.

Posted by ORWAT 17:47 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Spring 2023 Vacation, Day 14; Spain, Day 9

Welcome to the Reisert Family Death March, Deedie

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Our day began with another lovely breakfast at the Hotel 1898. Today, though, we allowed ourselves to sleep a little later and did not convene at breakfast until after 9:00---when it seemed like every other guest at this hotel had decided to have breakfast. We continue to be amazed by the sheer number of people traveling. It feels very much like the middle of summer--- and not just in the way of crowds. The temps have been on the warm side, although not nearly as warm as the temps are in other parts of Spain.

Our first big stop of the day was the Cathedral of Barcelona, which includes an elevator trip to the top for great views of the rooftops of Barcelona:

Then, we made our way to the Joan Miro museum, by way of the funicular, which was not nearly as "fun" as Joe wanted/expected it to be:

After lunch at the Miro museum, we made our way up to the top of the big hill that is the Montjuic hill. At the top, there is a castle. We found that the castle did not offer better views than outside of the castle. Alas.

After the castle, we decided that our next stop should be the Catalan art museum. We waited for a while at the bus stop, but no bus came. Then we started walking. We stopped for a little treat and then continued on. On and on we walked. I won't go into it, but it was a Reisert Family Death March for sure. Finally, we arrived at museum. The building is great and the small amount of art we were able to see was also great. We spent most of our time in the Gothic section, that includes a whole bunch of "peace on the side" paintings from various chapels (there's a Catalan "peace on the side" chapel at the MFA Boston; it's a family favorite).

When the museum closed, we made our way to the Metro and then back to the hotel, where we relaxed a bit before dinner.

Now, it's off to bed. We will try to squeeze in a bit more of the city tomorrow before it's time to get to the airport.

Today, we ended up walking about 9 miles and 29 sets of staircases, according to Joseph's watch, which he claims to be infallible.

Posted by ORWAT 21:28 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Spring 2023 Vacation, Day 13; Spain, Day 8

A Magical Mystery Day Plus One Small Disaster

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What a fabulous day we had today! It's too bad it was marred by one small disaster, which I'll get to in a bit.

We started off the day with packing and getting an early breakfast. Even though we are not moving hotels, we had to check out from our Country Walkers tour extension and into our own days of extension. Somehow, this required a move. Alas.

We were in the first in the breakfast room. After checking out, we headed to the train station and took the train for the hour and ten minute journey to Tarragona, one of the New York Times' 52 Places to Visit This Year. Thankfully, we lined up a tour guide in advance. Gemma was ready and waiting for us. She told us all about the history of Tarragona, which was a very important city during the Roman Empire. We also learned a bit more of what we were going to see during our visit, including some fun ancient Roman ruins.

She brought us into the old part of the city and then to the Cathedral, which was once the location of the Roman Temple. We also learned about Tarragona's patron saint, St Thecla. She converted to Christianity in the 1st century and then started converting others. Eventually she got herself into trouble and the Romans sentenced her to death. But, they just couldn't kill her, no matter how hard they tried. Eventually, she was killed in the collapse of a cave. But, her arm somehow managed not to be crushed, being caught on the outside of the cave collapse. The arm was purchased by the Catholics of Catalonia and the relics remain in the city. They are brought to great fanfare every September on St. Thecla day (9/23?).

We continued into the cloister and saw some turtles. After departing, we saw more ruins. Unfortunately, somewhere around this time, Deedie realized that she had lost her eyeglasses. We retraced some steps and Gemma called the Cathedral, but they were not located.

By this time, we were so hungry and tired. We wrapped up our time with Gemma and then went off to one of the areas she suggested for lunch. We found a completely charming little square with several restaurants. We picked one and, after discovering that there was a couple from Maine at the very next table, we decided to order the three-course lunch (only 18.50 euros!). I had the asparagus starter. Deedie had zucchini and Joseph had the local ham with an egg on toast. All delicious. For the main course, I had cod. Deedie had "golden fish." And, Joseph had pork. Desserts included flan for Deedie and me. Joseph had chocolate cake. We washed it all down with sparkling water and sangria. It was all so great!

Eventually, it was time to say good-bye to Tarragona and head back to Barcelona. Upon our return, we checked back into our hotel, got settled and then headed to the basement for a little swim.

After the swim and then getting ready for dinner, we went to the main dining room. Dinner is included in our room rate, but we weren't quite sure what the expect. At first, we were regretting our choice to allow for dinner to be included, but then we warmed up to our very delightful waiter who not only helped us choose a few things, but gave some tastings for wine. After dinner, though, the show really started. Our waiter introduced us to a local after dinner drink, which was absolutely delicious, although I'm not quite sure how to describe it. When that was done, it was time for a cava toast!

By this time, we were getting exhausted. It was time to head to bed. Tomorrow is our last full day in Spain (unless, of course, British Airways cancels our flight).


Posted by ORWAT 21:27 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Spring 2023 Vacation, Day 12; Spain, Day 7

How Do You Say Wow in Spanish?

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It's been a super long day and we have an early day tomorrow, so I must keep this brief. Here's the outline of the day:

Breakfast at the hotel (including a dessert section)
Walk to the Sagrada Familia-- simply amazing
Cafe for lunch
Picasso Museum
Back to hotel for rest
Figure out Travel Plans for Tomorrow (Tarragona) which have somehow turned into something a lot more complicated)
Attempt to find tapas or dinner, which also turned out to be more complicated than we thought it would be)
Late dinner at El National (fish section)

Here are a few photos:

Posted by ORWAT 21:41 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Spring 2023 Vacation, Day 11; Spain, Day 6

Ramble On (and a few grievances)

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Our morning began with another lovely breakfast at the Fontsanta hotel, except this time we had to be at our own table. The big table was taken by the new group, the cyclists. Boo.

After breakfast and then packing, we strolled around the resort:

Then, it was time to head to the airport. We were joined by two other walking adventurers who were also spending some time in Barcelona, Larry and Rita. While at the airport, we sent happy birthday greetings to Jennifer:

And, then it was time to learn that our flight was delayed. Oh, happy day. With Larry, we contacted the transfer people, to let them know that our flight was delayed about an hour. That was Grievance #1.

Upon arrival at the Barcelona airport, we experienced Grievance #2: Even though the flight attendants gave detailed instructions on how we were to leave the plane, the whole thing turned into a scrum of sorts. As soon as the "fasten seatbelt" sign went off, the jugadores de futball who were sitting at the back of the plane, made a dash down the aisle to the front. And the scrum was on. Grrr.

After retrieving our luggage, we encountered Grievance #3: no one to meet us to transfer us to our hotel. We were told that we would be met and transported to our hotel. Larry and Rita were still with us at this point. All of us were a bit distressed when no driver appeared. We wandered around, looking into various corners. Still, no driver. Between Larry and Deedie, word was shared with Country Walkers and Redpoint Travel regarding our situation. It was all rather unpleasant. Larry was finally able to get someone on the phone. After the exchange of phone calls, we were told to go to one certain place. No ride. And, then an entirely different place (some distance from the other one), where we finally connected with our driver.

We arrived at our Hotel and got a bit settled, although we felt like we couldn't completely unpack, since we are at the hotel through an extension for two nights, and then by our own arrangement for another two nights. That means that we need to move. Grrr.

After tea and a snack: off to explore! Since we are staying just off the Ramblas, we focused on this bustling part of the city. Then, we wandered over to a church and discovered an a cappella group having a rehearsal. Very lovely. Then, it was time to wander enough to get a tapa or two. And, then more walking and then another round of tapas. And, now we are back to the hotel, enjoying a nightcap.

Posted by ORWAT 20:28 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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