Sunday April 28 (cont.) to May 1

Sunday April 28 (cont.)

It was great to be able to Skype my mom for her 86th birthday. The internet connection on land was much clearer and faster than on the ship. Also managed to speak with our daughter, Aine, who just returned from a trip to St. Barts.

We had lunch on the top of the mountain where the cable car landed. The ride was about 2 miles long and up 1,037 above the see. On the way back to the ship we stopped at McDonald’s for the WIFI. Dennis was curious and tried a single burger; it tasted just like those in the states.

We made it back to the ship around 5:15 P.M. and at 45 minutes later we set sail (minus 4 passengers). The Cirque Dreams is the best show I have ever seen. The performance stage was within feet of our table. The opening skit involved a contortionist and a large champagne glass. This twenty-odd year old woman bent, stretched, and positioned her body to extremes. There were tumblers, aerialists, jugglers using cabbages and French breads (since it was a dinner theater, there was a food theme). I, and almost every other woman, particularly enjoyed a very sexy act with an Adonis-type aerialist and a bathtub. Two acrobats fell when the ship swayed, but managed to complete their skit. The clown/ring master was key to the evenings performance, he involved members of the audience in various acts and orchestrated the troupe’s movements.

Monday, April 29

The 8-ft. swells made the stateroom creak and kept me awake most of the night. The lack of sound sleep and forwarding the clock on hour made me groggy and slow this morning. No desire to exercise. Hopefully I will feel more ambitious later today.

Dennis photoed our receipts with the cell phone (so as not to use the batteries in the camera). On our last trip, we kept all the receipts and many faded before we recorded them. The photographs makes it easy and don’t require extra space in our backpacks or needing to mail them home. Uploading the files to Google drive ensures that they are not lost.

We played with our suitcases trying to determine how best to carry our bike gear and baggage off the ship. We eliminated two cases. Once we buy bikes and get the bags mounted, we will need to rearrange the contents according to whether we are biking or hiking. I will be happy when this is all sorted out.

We will each have a backpack, a belly bag, a hand back, and two suitcases when we disembark. I hope customs is as easy as it was when we landed in Barcelona two years ago; I would hate to have to open everything.

After dinner, we watched the movie The Impossible, the true story about a family’s survival of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, how they were separated by the tidal wave, and then found each other. Really good acting. After the movie, we passed the Rock of Gibraltar. From our balcony and through the mist and dark, all we could see was a looming shadow. This is the second time I pass the monolithic limestone promontory; the other time I flow over it on my way to Morocco, more that 43 years ago. Neither time did I really get to see it.

Tuesday, April 30

With all the eating and lazing around, I had no ambitions for excising. I rationalized the day off saying that I will soon be burning calories as I peddle around Spain. We dedicated a good portion of the day to sorting out our bags and clothes. Until we are ready to put the saddle bags onto the bikes, we will be living out the the backpacks. We put together a suitcase full of street clothes and then gave the case to Milka, on of the women working on the ship as a waitress. She will either keep the clothes for herself or send it to her extended family in the Philippines. I wonder how men there are there with size 15 feet.

During our stay on the Epic, we spoke with many of the crew, many of which have been with NCL for 10+ years. This is one of the cruise lines that has accommodations for married couples, allows pregnant women to complete their contract, requires only 10-hour work days, and seems to treat the personnel well. Everyone that we spoke with seemed happy to be working for this company. The fact that NCL treats its workers decently is a reason for us to sail with them again.

Last night we watched another Legends presentation. The impersonators included Adele, Tom Jones, and Tina Turner. It is amazing how these actors look, act, and sing like the characters they are portraying. After dinner, Dennis spent a few bucks at the slot machines. Since neither of us are gamblers, we had to ask an attendant how to play the games. It doesn’t take long to spend $10, even at the two-cent slot machine.

Went to bed around 11 P.M., ending our voyaging. Tomorrow we begin a new adventure: trying to buy our bikes in Barcelona.

Wednesday May 1

Dennis awoke during the night with vomiting and has been sick all day. It took all his strength to disembark. We carried sea-sickness bags and with had to stop often for him to use them or get strength to continue. He was so pale and haggard looking.

Once off the gangplank, we had to lugged our suitcases about a quarter mile to the custom’s building. We each had a back pack and a belly bag. Dennis dragged two suitcases while I had one and a shoulder bag. Lots of luggage for two people going on a bike ride. Several of the bags have bike gear which will be added to the new bikes.

Once we got outside, there were no ATMs. Without the local currency, we could not ride the bus nor, I thought, take a taxis. I walked to the next terminal and got in line for Western Union, only to find out that they only transfer money not withdraw it. Finally, after about 45 minutes, someone suggested getting a taxis and asking them to stop at an “automatico.” So I got in line for the taxi and tried to explain what I needed to do. As she was looking for a the ATM, I asked if she took credit cards, which turned out to be the solution. I wish someone had explained that process prior to wasting all that time, especially with Dennis so sick and waiting for me on a bench.

When we got to the Pension Palacio where were are staying for one night, Dennis could hardly climb to the second story, which in Spain, is the third floor up. I got him into bed, carried all the luggage to the room, and then went to the pharmacy for anti-vomiting medication.

While Dennis slept, I found an ATM and went looking for a room for the upcoming nights. There are none! Today is May Day, a European holiday causing an influx of tourist to the city this week. I went all over this end of town looking for an affordable room.

Discouraged, I returned to the pension. Since Dennis was feeling a little better, we walked to a tourist office to see if they could help us locate a place to stay. There is one, but far away. Fortunately, a fellow pilgrim from our 2011 Camino walk, offered us to stay with her in her studio for a few days. I imagine it will be crowded, but I think we can make an arrangement.

We also contacted a store about purchasing bikes. We placed a tentative order and will confirm it tomorrow after checking out another store; Dennis would like to see if we can get touring bikes rather than off-road ones.

If all goes well, we will pedal out of Barcelona on Sunday.

About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

I am an award-winning author of the “Woman On Her Way” book series, writing about my travel adventures. For more information on the books, please visit janevblanchard.com.

I started the “Woman On Her Way” travel blog in 2013 to share my experiences as I explored 13 countries with my husband, traveling by ship, foot, bike, bus, train, and plane. Dennis and I continue to make memories and hope you will enjoy following along.

Subscribe to My Journal