There wasn't much opportunity for posting on this trip as internet access was scarce and free time to blog was even more rare. Traveling on a cruise ship has many advantages, but shipboard internet connections are typically very slow. Also, contrary to cruise travel stereotypes, the type of cruise adventures we take don't usually offer much downtime. From sun up to sun down we are constantly walking, hiking, or otherwise on the move. This is the first of many posts to come with details and photos of this amazing trip.
Our trip started with a brief announcement from the flight crew in Newark after a brief power outrage on the plane. Apparently "it is normal and happens sometime." That's not really something you want to hear before taking off for an 8 hour flight. All went well however, and we actually landed in Barcelona 45 minutes earlier than planned.
We were lucky to secure Economy Plus seats with extra leg room. That's always a nice perk with United and our status. Unfortunately, the touchscreen of my seat media player wouldn't recognize my touch. Kenn could navigate it, but 90% of my attempts did nothing. I got tired of asking Kenn to change the volume or channel and eventually gave up and read.
We flew over Montserrat on our approach to Barcelona and I was lucky enough to have a man behind me tell his seat mate or I'd not have known. I looked out the window in time to see the monastery on top of the mountain "carved by angels with little golden saws." That decided for me our third day in Barcelona would be a day trip to explore Montserrat. The Barcelona airport was very efficient and one of the fastest customs and passport control experiences we ever had. There really weren't any lines to speak of and we flew through to a cab and to our hotel in 45 minutes.
The Barcelona Touristic Hop On/Hop Off bus was our friend on that first day. Since we arrived at the hotel long before we could get our room, we left our bags and hopped on the bus. A 2-day ticket gave us unlimited use of the system which included 3 routes, covering a large portion of the city. Hopping on the red route from near our hotel took us in a large circle around the upper part of the city and allowed us to stop and see several sights. A set of headphones were included with the ticket price for use in the multi language audio guide provided via a console at each seat. This was a great way to keep ourselves awake and forestall jet lag while learning about the city.
Three days in Barcelona was barely enough time to see and do all we wanted. We were always on the go and trying to be as fast and efficient as we could about our time.