Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trip Notes # 10 - Barcelona, Tossa De Mar (Spain) And Paris

May 22, 2018

Destination: Barcelona

Fabulous Cuts Of Meat And Other 
Goodies, Specialty Drinks, etc.

Lots of festivities throughout the ship - getting ready for the unveiling of the "Inaugural Plaque!" 

In keeping with the inaugural excitement and surprises, Flamingo dancers joined the ship in Palamos (Spain) and entertained us during the evening.

There was the unveiling of a plaque listing the passenger's names that sailed on this inaugural voyage. 

During and following the unveiling ceremony, more drinks flowed, food stations were set up with even more delicious items than could be imagined. (We "picked" at our dinner that evening).

The cruise is ending and we may be at a point in our lives where longer cruises might be okay. We'll see...

We met some interesting passengers. In fact, we have standing invitations to see new friends in Germany, Israel and several U.S. locations. Something for us to consider.

Entertainment during this trip was good: Typical song and dance, concert pianist, comedian, etc.

Throughout the voyage, there were "finishing touches" occurring at each of our stops.

Crane Lifts Framework For Pool Cover

 During a port visit, we came across a surprise advertisement: 
 Guess Who? 

Getting Ready For Another Festive Dinner:

Another Caloric Bedtime Surprise .

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Tossa de Mar, Spain

Tossa de Mar has been our post-cruise destination for the last five days of our trip. Tossa is a unique beach area with a cove that has very little tidal activity. This small village (or town) is located on the Costa de Bravo - about 90 minutes east of Barcelona.

Tossa is a very special place: Small, intimate. Our hotel, overlooking the beach area, takes less than a minute to walk from our room to the water. The boardwalk facing the cove from one end of the beach to the other and into the small town takes 10-15 minutes to walk the entire area.

                                           View From Our Room 

Water is always calm and it seems to be the scuba-diving Mecca of southeast Spain. The water is crystal clear! 

Diving takes place every night
Divers Use Strong Underwater Flashlights To See Where They Are Going

Life is a bit slow during this time of year. Ironing table cloths keeps the mind going and also offers a little bit of physical activity. 
 Most importantly, Tossa de Mar sits at the foot of a very old walled, intact area - almost 1200 years old! 
Walled Town - Short Walk From Our Room

Not too much to do other than strolling on beach and checking out coves...

Or, looking for sea glass...

Or, stacking up rocks...

Or. taking a "selfie..."

Or, exploring the walled town...

Tourist season hasn't started - we have the entire place to our selves. Pedestrian areas are quiet - The tourist craziness will begin in a few weeks and keep going until October.

Checking Things Out

Great View!

Inspiration = Creativity

Dinner in Spain is always a little rough. Restaurants opening up around  9:00 PM is not uncommon. A restaurant in the walled area that was closed at 6:00 PM was willing to open up for us at 7:00 PM. 

Waiting For Restaurant To Open Up

There was a lot of flexibility with the menu. Most dishes were fried. There were types of fish or seafood that seemed unappetizing and/or there were ingredients that we didn't like. The restaurant prepared everything that we ordered -  just as we wanted. Everything was looking good: price fixed menu - appetizer, entree and dessert. However, little did we know that the local "muscles appetizer" was so much food that we couldn't finish them - and then, the entree arrived.

Many of the dishes were for two people. The restaurant was willing to cut our two fish dishes in half. This meant (at half the amount) both of us were still served a good size fish, loads of potatoes and vegetables - enough food for four people. 

Our "left overs" dinner turned out to be perfect for the following night where we could eat and watch the beach life from our balcony. 

Dinner Supplemented With Locally Gown/Made Goodies From Farmer's Market And, Of Course, A Bottle Of Local Wine  

Left over "liquids" from ship. We drank the champagne and wine. The heavy-duty booze was given to the hotel's night manager - a really nice woman who was very helpful in answering questions about touring. Wow! She was so excited and very thankful!


Tossa is perfectly located to visit other nearby towns. Girona is surprisingly a large city. However, it's unique in that (like many Europe towns) has an old town: Walled area going back to Roman times, narrow passageways and an area that still has a Jewish identity dating back to pre-Inquisition times.


Coffin Covers ------------------------------->

Old Menorrahs

We happened to visit Girona during its annual "Flower Festival." Visitors from all over the world - including Japan and China came to Girona to see how artisans put together flower arrangements. 

Children got involved with art projects: 
Fish Made From Plastic Bottles - Very Clever 

                                       Fish Made From Cup Covers

Jerry still loves his manhole covers...

The local countryside is known for a variety of agricultural products. Wine happens to be one of the items: 

The center of a round-about uses "cork-art" to promote the local wine industry.


Near Tossa de Mar (and Girona) is Figueres - a somewhat nondescript town except for the fact that it houses the Salvador Dali Theater-Museum.

Visiting this place was a true, trip hi-lite. As is in most cases, once we learn about an artist, we find that famous artists (such as Dali) used different techniques, explored different media and eventually choosing an approach that would make them famous. 

Huge Painting: People In Front Show Perspective of Size

We had a totally incorrect perception of Dali's skill sets. We always thought his work as - strange. Yes, it is a bit different. However, he also produced some wonderful conventional work.

A study in moustache styles...

There was another part of the museum that focused on Dali and jewelry. Many of the pieces, much like his painting were beautiful as well as unique:

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The Catalan countryside is a wash of color. Wild red poppies (as well as other wild flowers) are growing everywhere...

Our last couple of days in Tossa happened to be a weekend holiday. People from Barcelona had a "get away" fun time. Weather was perfect. Specialty stores opened up. By mid morning, good (draft) beer, strong coffee and pastries, yummy tapas as well as unique snacks were inviting to everyone walking the narrow streets.

This may look like french fries and thin slices of ham. Actually, the "fries" are homemade bread sticks.

Time For A Morning Picture

Our last night in Tossa de Mar was - special. Earlier in the day, we were walking in town and happened to go into a local market. Fresh orange juice was being squeezed. Over the juice, we started talking to "a local" who happened to be a retired Swiss. He introduced us to another nearby (everything is nearby) market where homemade, gourmet food (takeout) food was prepared and where excellent local (and inexpensive) wine was sold.

Loaded up with a wonderful selection of different items, we returned to our hotel and a had a great balcony dinner.

Our type of "dining" may not be for everyone. Yes, we do like to eat out. However, it's fun for us to explore and find local, home-made food that we can eat on a balcony - overlooking something special, enjoying a good bottle of wine and, if lucky, have an added perk. We were entertained below our balcony by a singer (with keyboard) -singing all sorts of romantic ballads.  Yes, we also danced a bit on the balcony. Fun!

What a wonderful way to end the trip!

Lit Up Walled Town Is Quite A Sight At Night

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Paris and Home:

We dodged two bullets! Air France is still striking intermittently. Quite a few (cruise) passengers were effected and had to change their travel plans. Fortunately for us, pilots for I-Hop at the front end of our trip and JOON (also a subsidiary of Air France - Barcelona to Paris) did not strike.

 Jerry had fun watching planes from our Sheraton Airport room. 

Dinner at Paul - from of our favorite airport places - soon to be replaced by McDonald's. 

Jerry's Favorite Paris Lounge
 Air Tahiti Nui Shares Lounge With Cathy Pacific

Flight home was another culinary delight 

The snack before landing was just perfect - A delicious chicken salad concoction was served with a perfectly balanced desert.

Silly us! We didn't realize that "the salad" was an appetizer. The main entree followed and following that was the cheese dish and following that was the real dessert. 

We rolled off the plane!

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Following our trips, we compare and contrast. Adventures and experiences are discussed. We consider other areas to explore.

We can hardly wait to see what next comes our way. 

"All our bags are packed...we're ready to go...leaving on a Jet plane..."