Day 9 – Monday 4th July 2022 – Barcelona day 1
The port pilot coming aboard woke me around 6 o’clock. The sun was just coming up, a big red ball heralding another hot day. The forecast is 30°C and humid. I went back to sleep and next time I looked it was 6:45 and we were edging slowly into the port. By the time I had carried out my ablutions and dressed we were entering the turning basin. We turned 180 around the ship’s axis and went astern to the new cruise terminal. Barcelona now has 5 modern cruise terminals with 2 more just being prepared for with the ground being prepared.
Only two cruise ships in port today, us and Costa Smeralda. Because it’s a port day the restaurants all open 30 minutes earlier than usual so you can eat before the excursions depart. Back to my favourite this morning, Rice Krispies and a P&O breakfast (egg, bacon, sausage, black pudding and hash browns, but no tomato for me). As my ‘Panoramic Tour’ of Barcelona didn’t leave until ten I had plenty of time to do a quick ‘good morning’ post on GP.
One thing about a modern cruise terminal, they have the nautical equivalent of air bridges and make getting off and on board ship a doddle, especially for those in a wheelchair. Even the coaches were bang outside the terminal. Very informative tour guide pointing places of interest. We had a couple of ten-minute stops for photos. Then the bus drove around the Goudi Church of the Holy Family. This Catholic Cathedral has been under construction for 150 years and only 8 of the 12 apostle towers are complete with 4 more after that to be built, I wonder if it will ever be finished!?
Then on for a stop at the Natural History Museum with magnificent panoramic views over the city. It was here that two women in our group had bags unzipped and purses stolen. Fortunately, both only had a few euros on them to buy a drink or an ice cream while out. No credit cards or passports were lost. Finally a tour through the Olympic park before returning to the ship just after one, well in time for my lunchtime hot dog.
I think I will have an easy afternoon by the Serenity pool as loads of people are ashore. I wonder how many will be down to dinner tonight as we don’t sail until 6 o’clock tomorrow evening.
A very empty restaurant this evening, ours was the only occupied table on our waiter’s section. He and his assistant waiter rushed us through dinner, they were going out on the town when they had laid up for breakfast service. Anyway, I enjoyed chicken soup, breaded fillet of place, with diced fried potatoes, carrots and broccoli followed frangipane tart with custard and ice cream. Then a beer and bed.
Day 10 – Tuesday 5th July 2022 – Barcelona day 2
Just after seven when I woke this morning, I’m in no rush as I only intend to get the free shuttle bus into the city centre and have a walk around. The restaurant opened for breakfast at 07:30 and when I got there at ten to eight there were only six people there! I was put on the same sharing table as the last few mornings and within a couple of minutes the same people who I have breakfasted with for most of the cruise arrived. Anyway I decided to have a little change this morning, I stuck with the Rice Krispies but ordered a mushroom omelette with bacon. The waiter placed the plate in front of me, took off the cover and the omelette was there but the bacon was missing! He sent the assistant waiter scurrying off to the kitchen and was back a minute late with four rashers of the excellent back bacon.
I caught the quarter full shuttle bus into the city. It drops off at the Christopher Columbus statue at the bottom of the Ramblas. Had a stroll up the street to the shops at the top, wandered about a bit, found a bar for a cold beer and headed back to the statue to get the bus back to the ship. I had an hour on my balcony before lunch and heard the man in the next cabin on the phone to room service. ‘This is Mr Xxxxx isolating in cabin Xxxxx. Please can I have a beef baguette, a mug of coffee and a bottle of Bells’. That’s a more interesting lunch than my ham and egg salad and mug of PG Tips. Back to the balcony for a bit more reading, now on to book four.
Nice lazy afternoon reading and snoozing. They appear to be chasing a passenger as they have called for her to check in with reception. This usually happens if their electronic system says someone is not back on board as sailing time approaches, sometimes it doesn’t register their cruise card properly when they come back on board. Well, we have sailed so I don’t know if the woman is on board or left behind.
Off to dinner where I expect the talk to be about the cricket and tennis. Politics is avoided like Covid! Anyway, it was tomato soup for me tonight followed by Chicken Milanese (with cheese and tomato topping) someone suggested it looked like a chicken pizza. Then apple strudel and custard for dessert. A most enjoyable dinner. Oh, I almost forgot coffee and mint cream chocolates (rather like Elizabeth Shaw mint crisps). Off to the Crows Nest bar for a swift half before bed. There is some sort of show going on on the stage between the two main pools with a number of singers and dancers prancing around. The music is so loud I have no idea what it is so I will give it a miss and enjoy the more refined atmosphere of the piano in the Crows Nest.
Day 11 – Wednesday 6th July 2022 – At Sea
This cruise will soon be over, only one more port of call before a run of sea days back to Southampton. I always sleep with a gap in the curtains so I can see the sun come up, but I was woken up around 2 am. At first I didn’t realise what had woken me but then a huge flash of lightening lit up the cabin. We appeared to be edging around quite a large thunderstorm, although where we were there was no rain and I couldn’t hear the thunder, but lightning in the distance was spectacular, both sheet and forked.
Another different table for breakfast, but the usual crowd all arrived within a few minutes! Apparently, only one other person had seen the storm otherwise I might have thought I had been dreaming it. I so enjoyed my mushroom omelette yesterday that I decided to have the same this morning but with hash browns and black pudding. They don’t put omelettes on the breakfast menu anymore, apparently when the restaurant is busy they are too much hassle, as they have to be cooked to order. But when, like this morning, they are not busy they are happy to cook them.
The sky is very overcast this morning, but the sea is calm with just a very slight swell (not a white horse to be seen) and it is pleasantly warm, according to the TV it is currently 75° but will be getting up to 80° latter. It is a question of sitting reading on the balcony or grabbing a seat around the adults-only no music ‘Serenity’ pool.
The ‘Serenity’ pool won and I found a nice comfy seat until lunch. Although overcast it was still warm out of the breeze. Popped in to the buffet for lunch. I wasn’t very hungry so I had a bowl of mushroom soup, very tasty. That didn’t quite fill the hole so I had marmalade sponge and custard. I then went to sit on the balcony and started reading my fifth book. This time it’s a Jack Reacher, they are usually good for a bit of death and violence but I’m disappointed none in the first few pages before I dropped off. I was rudely awakened by the Officer of the Watch announcing that there was a pod of dolphins on the starboard side. The must have been 50 of them riding the ship’s wake and leaping for the sheer joy of it.
Formal night tonight so it’s best Bib and Tucker. I have taken pictures of the menu (attached below) so you can see what you would have chosen. The amuse-bouche was a little cup of cold leak and potato soup! I then had the pâté, followed by asparagus soup. For mains I went with lamb cutlets and lamb shoulder, it was super. Dessert just had to be Baked Alaska. Finally coffee and chocolate truffles. I am told the seabass and the duck were both excellent by other people on my table.
In Part 5 – Cadiz and the journey home.
© WorthingGooner 2022