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Long Review of Reflection October 1-12, 2018 Western Mediterranean Cruise

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Port #5 for us was an overnight for October 8 and 9, in Barcelona, Spain.  We barely scratched the surface here, and I would love to come back again someday! 

 

Our day started with this beautiful sunrise.

 

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Oh dear, those are dark clouds out there and our luck seem to have run out of perfect weather.  We did not come in to port till 11:00 today so we had a leisurely breakfast at Tuscan Grill. 

 

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We enjoyed watching us come in to port.

 

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These people more than likely had a special invite to be on the bow as we came in.

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We packed up for our day and our plan was the Hop on Hop Off Bus with the three different routes and to do

them all maybe getting off for some food in there somewhere.  We got in line and were out, bought our shuttle tickets

and on the first shuttle.  The Hop on Hop off Bus was the same place this bus drops you off so that was very easy.

The bus was 30 Euro per person.  You are given earphones and a map.  Earphones are plugged in to a spot at your seat and you dial up what language you want.

 

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This was actually a little later in the tour as it was raining a bit when we got on so the retractable roof was over the top.  We so much more enjoyed the roof off. 

 

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The vendors put their wares out on blankets on this street.  On Las Rambles later we saw some of this but if a policeman happened by they folded up shop very quickly.  Must not be allowed on Las Rambles.

 

We had no problems getting on the bus later when we did get off for food, but at this stop not all people were able to get on.

 

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The buildings and architecture varies so much in Barcelona!  Here are some examples of the things

we passed.

 

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Gaudi's are completely different than anything else. 

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We were getting hungry so we got off in Playa Catalunya and found a place to eat on Las Rambles called Nuria.

 

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They had wonderful Sangria

 

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The people beside us had a Paella so my husband had a vegetable one and it was delicious.

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I was very thrilled to get to use a bathroom.  It is so hard to find one without it being somewhere you eat or a big attraction which you have bought tickets for.

 

After some nourishment we boarded the bus again and were lucky to get on as it was crowded!

 

 

 

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This looked like a community garden.

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We finished all three routes and decided to head back to the ship.  The weather looked like it was turning ugly and a big rain seemed to be coming.  We caught our port shuttle back and once in our room the rain let loose and came down hard.  We were so glad to be all snug and warm in our room. 

 

My notes say the show tonight was a Cabaret, but I do not remember it.  We covered a lot of territory on the bus, but felt like I just wanted so much more and not to be sitting on the bus.  Still, it was a great overview and made us even more excited for our big day tomorrow seeing Sagrada Familia with 9:00a.m. tickets.  It would be an early morning so off to bed. 

 

 

 

Edited by ROWSE

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On 11/3/2018 at 2:11 AM, AidenL said:

Nice review, thanks for posting! 

Thank you so much for reading along!

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For our second day in Barcelona we woke up early, had breakfast in the buffet, and met another Cruise Critic Couple by 8 a.m. in the Cafe Bacchio. We had agreed to share a taxi over to Gaudi's Sagrada Familia as we both had pre purchased 9a.m. tickets.  The cab ride went perfectly and cost each couple about 11 Euro. 

The weather was not so perfect.  It was raining and there was thunder and lightening.  I would never stand outside in thunder and lightening at home, but I did to get into the Sagrada Familia.

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We had our rain coats, but wished we would have brought those umbrellas that were still sitting in our cruise ship room.  Everyone was so nice in line that even though we ducked under this large umbrella for a little bit the couple who had been behind us in line let us right back to the same spot when the big rain stopped. 

 

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We went through security and one of us went to get our audio guides.  We took a few pictures outside.

 

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The details are just breathtaking!  The bummer for today was that due to the bad weather, our Nativity tower part of the tour was closed for the day.  I paid extra for this and they said just to write online where I had bought the tickets and they would refund that amount.  Well, if any of you have had this happen and got refunded, I would love to know how.  They will not answer any of  my e-mails and I tried several times.  I guess we are just out the 14Euro which isn't the end of the world, but that is not suppose to be like this, it was no fault of our own, I would have much rather gone up in the tower than have the money back!    

 

Inside was so beautiful!

 

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 This was a sculpture of Antoni Gaudi.  He spent 40 years creating this church and it will

be many more till it is finished. 

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While we were inside we could see the rain was coming down in torrents now.  We were so lucky to be snug and warm

inside!  I felt so bad for those people out in the lines with later entrance times. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More pictures outside Sagrada Familia...

 

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Note:  For those of you adding pictures to your review, I am sometimes able to load so many and other times it

gives me a warning that I can only add 48.23mb.  This group of pictures above is not that many, but it seems

it collects from the prior posts until you get out of it.  If I go back to my page 1 and then come back to this page 2 and start to post again that seems to clear it.  New system glitches apparently.  I have to say I do love the new system for picture adding even with this glitch.  I use to have to put my photos in Google photo, which took forever,  and then do fancy downloading.  Now I can just add from my computer iphoto after I put them on my desktop.

 

Edited by ROWSE

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Outside of Sagrada Familia...

 

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Gaudi was on his daily walk to confession in 1926 and was hit by a tram on June 7 and later died on the 10th.  He was 73 years old and is buried in this masterpiece of a church.  Sad end to such an amazing man!

 

After our time at the church we decided to go explore more at Placa de Catalnya and we found the metro right in front of the church.  This was our first time on the metro so we had a steep learning curve but was finally able to get on the right side of the track for the direction we wanted to go.  This is underground so hard to tell.  Finally on the train.

 

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We had to switch trains at one point and it was such a long walk down this tunnel that we thought we might be walking there.

 

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Once at the stop we had a devil of a time getting back out of the metro.  We did not realize you go back out a turnstile.   We thought they were only going in.  After some odd elevator rides and ending up back where we started we realized our mistake.  It was a bit of a panic feeling, as asking for help did not seem to get us anywhere.  Looking back it was so easy if we realized about the turnstiles. 

 

Some pictures from the Placa de Catalunya area and Las Ramblas.  By now we had blue skies! 

 

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Wandering this street we decided it was time for some lunch.  We love out of the way places and wandered down this little alley type area. 

 

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This was our waiter and possibly the owner I was talking to.  We hit the jack pot here!  He later told us they usually just have local families come in not the tourists.  He treated us like royalty and included so many things for us that we didn't even order.

 

This is the menu...

 

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We chose the vegetarian menu choice.  This included wine and I had red my husband white.  He brought us soup even though it wasn't part of our meal but it was amazing!

 

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Then our salad was white asparagus, orange, cherries, dill and citrus mayonnaise dressing. 

 

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Up next was pasta with truffle cream, crispy onion and roasted cherry tomatoes.  Love those home made noodles!

 

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He brought us champagne in there as well.  Then he told us to trust him on the dessert and brought us two instead of one of a banana cake with chocolate and a cheese cake.  IMG_1734.thumb.jpg.e5da46cebafe866174783bad88ec523a.jpg

 

This feast was only 15 Euro a person.  We will remember this time and this place forever!

 

 

Edited by ROWSE

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3 minutes ago, singinalot said:

still following along and loving your review.

Oh thank you for letting me know!!!  I wish I was doing this all again, it was so fun! 

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This is a menu that is outside the la lluna.  It is a true treasure and I hope more of you can find it.

 

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We wandered the rest of Las Ramblas having so much fun people watching.  This was our last view before we headed for the port shuttle T3.  This is slightly less than the cruise ship shuttle. 

 

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We left port at 5:00 and watched off our balcony as the darker clouds were coming in again.

 

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That night we played trivia followed by a little nap and then hit the 7p.m. show of magician, Matthew McGurk which included his wife Kateanna doing aerial acrobatics.  They were an adorable couple! 

 

Dinner followed where we had to have a beeper for the longest wait of the cruise.  The dessert tonight was this tasty Baked Alaska.

 

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Tomorrow would bring our one and only tender port of Villefranche. 

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On 11/5/2018 at 3:21 PM, Silkroad said:

Rowse, I just found your wonderful review, and I’m following along😊

Thank you so much!  This is definitely a work in progress! 

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We were greeted on October 10, with the port of Villefranche and beautiful sunshine as we anchored out in the bay.

Our plan today included a ship's tour of a visit to Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo, and finished with Eze.  It was an eight and a half our tour so I felt better using the ship's tour this time.  

 

Off our balcony.  This was the most beautiful port area of the cruise! 

 

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We met in the theater today at 8:45.  It wasn't long before we were headed to the tender and a look back and we saw

Sarah, one of the ship's officers we had dinner with in the Tuscan Grille.  She is adorable!!

 

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Photos as we rode the tender.

 

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We were directed up a hill to our waiting bus and it is beyond me how they fit in that tiny little spot, but that was the case all day long.  Kudos to Patrick our bus driver for fitting in to tiny spots.

 

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Our first tour was a walk around Nice.  Our tour guide Natalie gave us some information and walked us around, then

we had a good amount of time on our own. 

 

This is Natalie.  Of course she was french, but I could understand her easily.  I loved her accent!

 

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This was our tour bus and they were very comfortable, but I did get stuck at a spot that was hard to view out the window.  I could tell that once we were in a seat others on the tour felt that was your assigned seat.  Would never want an argument over something like that, so we took "Our" seat every time. 

 

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WELL, there seems to be a glitch as I had these pictures in the saved but took them out as they are for father ahead in the review.  Ignore the last two pictures!!! 

 

 

 

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Edited by ROWSE

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Nice, France was our first stop and literally it was just over the hill from Villefanche. 

 

Natalie brought us to a beautiful square that seemed the center of town.  Then we walked toward the ocean.

 

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The streets here were lovely and there was a farmer's market.  IMG_1764.thumb.jpg.d0aa93b420544bd9692f2bce8c93a1db.jpg

 

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When it was free time we headed to the water!  IMG_5463.thumb.jpg.a098deb5b8af115ad428ef98bc38fa65.jpg

 

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The water here was the bluest we had seen in any of the ports.  It was starting to get windy and storm clouds were moving in.

We then walked toward a beautiful park area.

 

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There was a double decker carousel.  I have never seen one quite like this!

 

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We went for a yummy apple turnover at a eatery and was able to use their bathroom.  Again, it was hard to find one.

We walked back toward the open square we started at.  There was a beautiful fountain area with water changing all the time.

 

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The metro runs right through town.

 

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Why yes, we did love Nice!!!

 

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I stumbled upon your review today and have so enjoyed it so far.  I've jotted down quite a few tips that I will keep in mind for our cruise next year.  I plan to find the restaurant where you ate in Barcelona - it looks DIVINE!  Thanks for all of your details and pictures.  Keep 'em coming!

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48 minutes ago, cricketgirl said:

I stumbled upon your review today and have so enjoyed it so far.  I've jotted down quite a few tips that I will keep in mind for our cruise next year.  I plan to find the restaurant where you ate in Barcelona - it looks DIVINE!  Thanks for all of your details and pictures.  Keep 'em coming!

I am so glad you found my review!!  That restaurant was so fun!  I hope your cruise is as wonderful as ours was!

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5 hours ago, floridaag said:

Love Nice and Eze

I loved them too!  It was a shame our weather was so bad at Eze as I would have loved to see that Botanical Garden.

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After leaving Nice, we had some traffic to contend with but we slowly made our way to Monaco.  There was no border crossing here, it was just that you were suddenly in Monaco.  Wow!!! 

Our bus parked in this huge garage and we went up some very iffy elevators.  Lucky we made it to the top!

 

Such a beautiful view.

 

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There was a huge Oceanographic Museum, which I would have loved to explore but not enough time.

 

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Lovely church where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier was married

 

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We walked up to the Palace area

 

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This was the view off that area

 

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Monaco continued...Another picture of the palace and you can make out the guard in the little room beside the door.  I think they have a changing of the guards which would have been fun to see.

You are not to step past that chain and we witness someone cutting across getting quite a scolding and for once it wasn't me.

 

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We went down a couple streets and they are so cute with shops.  There are vary narrow cut throughs as well.  

 

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Time for a bite to eat.  This tour did not have a lunch stop it was a grab and go thing.

 

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We walked the cliff edge park and it was so windy!  IMG_5526.thumb.jpg.23758982991f7d736dadb9d4a27f3998.jpg

 

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Now it was time to move on to Monte Carlo.

 

On the way up to the Grand Casino we could see the skid marks on the road from the Grand Prix.  IMG_1835.thumb.jpg.7bf4b20223c6f6746e6aef90c9d17aae.jpg

 

The Grand Casino entrance and area around it...

 

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We were able to go into the foyer of the Grand Casino after having our bags checked but to go into the gaming area was a 17 Euro charge we were told.  We passed.

 

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Apparently you can rub something on her for good luck! 

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We wandered and found a nice little park then headed back to the bus to meet everyone.

 

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Our last stop of the day was the village of Eze which dates back to the 4th century, and the weather had really turned ugly.  Huge winds and rain.  We did make it without a down pour at least.  Just such a cute place and I would have loved to see it in the sunlight.  I had read it was quite a walk up to the village but it was fairly easy! 

The walkways in the village did get very slick however.

Our leader Natalie walked us through much of it and then we had free time.

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At the top was an entrance to a botanical garden which is what we see below in this picture.  It was so windy we

were actually afraid to go try to see it.

 

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We loved this little church!

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It was time to head back to the port to tender back to the ship.  The white boat with the blue is our tender.

 

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I missed the welcome sign earlier in the day so it was a goodbye sign for us today.  Loved

everything about our tour!

 

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That evening on board we had a lovely dining room dinner, went to the 9:00 show which was a Tom Jones type

singer impersonator, and I forgot to write down his name, my apologies!  Next up is our much awaited La Spezia, which we would see the amazing Cinque Terre. 

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Enjoying your descriptions and photos very much😊 We’ve been to Villefranche sur Mer twice, but haven’t taken a tour. The first time we hopped on a train to Nice, and headed to the Chagall museum (one of my favorite small museums in Europe). The second time, we had torrential rain, which made our exploration of Villefranche sur Mer’s hilly, cobblestoned streets less carefree than we’d hoped😉 Your photos of Eze are lovely. The little church is a charming gem. It’s too bad you had less than ideal weather. I guess that means you’ll need to return😁

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14 hours ago, ROWSE said:

 

 

Lovely church where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier was married

 

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I believe they are also buried there

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On 11/5/2018 at 4:27 PM, singinalot said:

still following along and loving your review.


That goes for me too!
I particularly love the photos from Nice etc as the one time we had a stop there, on our Emerald Princess cruise in October 2015, the Captain heeded the weather conditions ashore and sailed on by. Several people died on land due to flash floods.

I hope to visit the area on a future cruise.

Thanks for sharing ROWSE!

Norris

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