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Looooong trip report of our Mediterranean extravaganza and the Celebrity Edge

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This will be my trip review from our Celebrity Edge cruise from 6/22/19 to 6/29/19.  I have never posted any kind of review before, so please be easy on me as I may skip around too much or skip over other items unintentionally.  I took over 2,500 pictures on this trip so it’s taken quite a while for me to sort through them.  I’m also a little later starting this than I hoped because I’ve been sick.  I think I picked up some kind of virus on the plane home so I got sick 4 days after getting back and spent close to 4 weeks fighting an upper respiratory viral infection.  Does anyone else get sick every time they fly?  It seems to happen to me almost every time over the last few years, I guess my immune system is not what it used to be – just another joy of getting older I suppose.  Anyway I digress.

 

Most likely this will include much more detail and pictures than some may want, so feel free to skip through to posts that interest you.  If you are looking for a short and sweet review this definitely is not it.  This trip was just the two of us (myself and my wife), we have been married for 17 years and have traveled quite a bit; mainly land tours but this was our 7th cruise.  We tend to rise early and as a result go to bed early as well – if you are looking for a lot of details about entertainment and shows on the ship then you will be disappointed. 

 

We booked this trip in July of 2018 so waited almost a year for this vacation to finally arrive.  Although in a way that was almost necessary so I could have enough time to prepare.  I am a huge planner and tend to find almost as much enjoyment in the planning stage as the vacation itself.  I also tend to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive with researching and reading reviews to find the perfect hotel/tour/ship/restaurant, etc.  I will never claim to be “normal” (whatever that is), and instead try and embrace my idiosyncrasies – so please bear with me! 

 

I closely followed the build of the Edge and enviously read about other’s plans once booking opened, but I didn’t pull the trigger until last summer.  I just couldn’t stand not having a cruise booked on the Edge because it seemed to have everything we were looking for.  There’s been a lot of negative comments about the ship on Cruise Critic but very few of the negatives seemed something that would bother us, and actually many of them were actually positives for us (i.e. we LOVED the infinite verandah).  Different strokes for different folks I guess!

 

Our itinerary was as follows:

Day

Date

General

Wed.

6/19

Fly to Barcelona

Thurs.

6/20

Arrive Barcelona (9:00am)

Food tour (4:00pm)

Fri.

6/21

Barcelona

No tour booked – HOHO bus tour planned

Sat.

6/22

Board cruise ship

Sun.

6/23

Valencia (docked 7am – 9pm)

No tour booked – visit City of Arts & Sciences

Mon.

6/24

Ibiza (docked 8am – midnight)

No tour booked

Tues.

6/25

At Sea

Wed.

6/26

Marseille (docked 7am – 6pm)

Independent tour company – Marseilles & Cassis 9am – 4pm

Thurs.

6/27

Nice/Villefranche (tendered 7am -8:30pm)

Celebrity excursion – Nice, Eze, & Monaco Discovery (8am – 4:30pm)

Fri.

6/28

La Spezia/Florence/Pisa (docked 7am – 7pm)

Celebrity excursion – Pisa & Lucca Highlights (9am – 4:30pm)

Sat.

6/29

Debark ship (Rome)

Private Tour – p/u in Civitavecchia and tour of Rome (8am – 4pm)

Sun.

6/30

Rome

Food tour (11am – 2:30pm)

Mon.

7/1

Fly home

 

*Spoiler Alert – we missed our flight home and ended up getting home on Tuesday night instead of Monday night.  First time in my life I have ever missed a flight.  This made for a really fun day at work on Wednesday with no day off to recuperate.  Ugh!

 

 

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Can't wait.  Loved the Edge (sailed Caribbean in March) and the Mediterranean is still a dream for me so looking forward to hearing about your trip.

 

Love your pictures, the first one of the ship in all its glory is beautiful!

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Jewel of the Seas was "parked" next to Edge in Naples when we were there at the beginning of June.  I literally ran off JOTS to get a closer look at Edge.  We are sailing on Edge in December so I was anxious to see her up close and personal.  Now I'm anxious to read your review...

P.S.  When we sailed to Barcelona several years ago for a Equinox Med cruise, we missed the connection in Heathrow so lost an entire day in Barcelona.  Like you, it was the first time I'd missed a flight.  II'll just need to get back to Barcelona sometime soon.

Looking forward to your review.

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06/19/19 – Fly to Barcelona

 

The day is finally here!  Our last night was hectic and crazy finishing packing and taking care of last minute loose ends.  The worst part of any trip is leaving my fur babies – they knew something was up as soon as they saw the suitcases and it breaks my heart to leave them.

 

Dexter, the most spoiled 5-year-old in existence:

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Peter (our sweet 2-year-old):1614518251_IMG_1543(2).thumb.JPG.3677a4a535194f7c19be4477a0294438.JPG

 

 

Parker, our blind special-needs kitty that has more courage than the other two put together:

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Our flight left St. Louis at 12:45pm.  We of course had to start the trip properly with a beverage at the airport and I found an interesting wine (in a can?!?) that I liked and will have to try and find again:

https://shop.unionwinecompany.com/products/underwood-riesling-radler

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We had a layover in Newark and passed the time with a snack and of course another beverage.  I liked that our gate consisted of tables where each seat had its own screen where you could order beverages and food.  You ordered and paid on the screen and then someone would bring your order to you.

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When we got on the plane in Newark (nonstop to Barcelona) I was aggravated to find that United Airlines switched planes on me.  When I booked the flights back in September I carefully selected our seats (remember my OCD about planning) and the setup of the plane was two/four/two (2 seats by the window, 4 seats in the middle, 2 seats by the opposite window).  But when we boarded the plane we found a different setup of three/three/three.  So not only were we seated next to someone else, but we were in an alcove in the center of the plane RIGHT next to the bathroom.  So one of us was stuck in the middle seat and the other on the aisle right next to the never-ending line for the bathroom.  No ideal.  My tip would be to check your seat assignments again in case the plane is changed.  Lesson learned.

 

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1 hour ago, poffles said:

Love your pictures, the first one of the ship in all its glory is beautiful!

 

Thanks!  I'm not the best photographer as you will soon find out.  These are the best I managed to take over a two week period 🙂

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1 hour ago, lola2013 said:

P.S.  When we sailed to Barcelona several years ago for a Equinox Med cruise, we missed the connection in Heathrow so lost an entire day in Barcelona.  Like you, it was the first time I'd missed a flight.  II'll just need to get back to Barcelona sometime soon.

 

How terrible your missed an entire day in Barcelona.  That's just an excuse then to get back sometime.  I suppose I should be grateful our mishap happened at the end of the trip instead of the beginning!  Thanks for following along...

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06/20/19 – Arrive in Barcelona

 

We arrived in Barcelona on time at 9:00am.  We made it through customs and found our luggage with no issue within 30 minutes.  We made our way down to the taxi area and even though there was a huge line it moved quickly.  I had pre-printed a paper with the name and address of our hotel in case we had a problem communicating with the driver, but this turned out to be a non-issue as my broken Spanish and his broken English meshed well together.

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I found a lot of great reviews of this hotel on various boards and also Trip Advisor.  What ultimately sold me was the location (centrally located just a couple blocks off of Las Ramblas) and the “tentempié”, or snack area right next to the main lobby where free breakfast is served in the morning and complimentary snacks and beverages are served all day (sandwiches, wraps, nuts, sodas, etc).  We saved a ton of money with this, as we could easily walk back to our hotel and have a snack and cold drink whenever we were hot or tired and needed a break.

 

Our room was not ready right away but we left our bags and roamed around a bit.  The hotel provides you with a complimentary portable wi-fi hotspot to carry around with you which is also a nice perk.  This actually ended up being a lifesaver for us as for some reason our phones never got service in Spain.  We never had a problem in any other country, so who knows what the problem was.  I only snapped a couple of photos around the neighborhood.

 

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Our room was ready within an hour.  The majority of the rooms at this hotel are set up a bit strangely in that the bedroom and bathroom are together in one room, but on the other side of the hallway is your lounge area with a couch and hammock. 

 

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This might work great for families, but I wasn’t sure how much we would like this setup (visions of dashing across the hallway in my bathrobe turned me off), so we booked a garden suite where everything would be together and included a small balcony.  The suite that was VERY spacious for Europe and we were quite comfortable.  Strangely enough I didn’t take any photos of the room, so here’s some of this room from their website:

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There were hooks all along the walls (see far right in the bedroom picture) which added character but also was extremely handy as we could hang purses, shopping bags, clothes, etc. and keep organized.  Also provided were plush comfy bathrobes and not-so-comfy plastic shoes/slippers. 

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Camper is also a brand of shoes and the hotel must be affiliated because they gave us a card for a discount at the Camper shoe store a block or two away.  We never made it to the store but others may be interested.  There was a turn-down service each night and they would leave bottled waters on each side of the bed which was a nice touch.  They also left these pins on each pillow the first night; not sure what it’s supposed to mean but of course I took a picture anyway.  Maybe someone reading this knows?

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Enjoying your review very much.  I think that you're a fine photographer and love the pictures of your fur babies!  Thanks for taking the time to compile this.

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We stayed at Casa Camper when it first opened and loved it! 

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4 hours ago, cricketgirl said:

06/19/19 – Fly to Barcelona

 

The day is finally here!  Our last night was hectic and crazy finishing packing and taking care of last minute loose ends.  The worst part of any trip is leaving my fur babies – they knew something was up as soon as they saw the suitcases and it breaks my heart to leave them.

 

Dexter, the most spoiled 5-year-old in existence:

IMG_1521.thumb.JPG.31350a0769e19188809879b95bdce604.JPG

 

 

Peter (our sweet 2-year-old):1614518251_IMG_1543(2).thumb.JPG.3677a4a535194f7c19be4477a0294438.JPG

 

 

Parker, our blind special-needs kitty that has more courage than the other two put together:

IMG_0142.thumb.JPG.d4ea4c894d14c51dd5ee0677f264df57.JPG

 

 

Our flight left St. Louis at 12:45pm.  We of course had to start the trip properly with a beverage at the airport and I found an interesting wine (in a can?!?) that I liked and will have to try and find again:

https://shop.unionwinecompany.com/products/underwood-riesling-radler

IMG_2431.thumb.JPG.80b2fc7273434ba746e231e99d09d9c8.JPG

 

 

We had a layover in Newark and passed the time with a snack and of course another beverage.  I liked that our gate consisted of tables where each seat had its own screen where you could order beverages and food.  You ordered and paid on the screen and then someone would bring your order to you.

759233615_IMG_0115(1).thumb.JPG.715f9cdbaeaa185e9c1b3da37e8a4e19.JPG

 

 

When we got on the plane in Newark (nonstop to Barcelona) I was aggravated to find that United Airlines switched planes on me.  When I booked the flights back in September I carefully selected our seats (remember my OCD about planning) and the setup of the plane was two/four/two (2 seats by the window, 4 seats in the middle, 2 seats by the opposite window).  But when we boarded the plane we found a different setup of three/three/three.  So not only were we seated next to someone else, but we were in an alcove in the center of the plane RIGHT next to the bathroom.  So one of us was stuck in the middle seat and the other on the aisle right next to the never-ending line for the bathroom.  No ideal.  My tip would be to check your seat assignments again in case the plane is changed.  Lesson learned.

 

 

Know it too well --- we leave 2 fur babies (mum and daughter rescue cats) , 2 fish and a bling goldfish we have in our care. The worst part of the holiday is leaving them !!!!!

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The hotel has a rooftop terrace with an honesty bar which was very convenient.  We enjoyed relaxing here after a long day of sightseeing.  There was an indoor (air-conditioned) and an outdoor area.  I only took pictures of a portion of the outdoor area.IMG_0202.thumb.JPG.56c617772e83e0b667f7a47d4929c35e.JPG

 

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06/20/19 Barcelona continued – Private Food Tour

 

 

We took a food tour a few years ago in Paris that turned out to be one of the best tours we have ever experienced.  Since then we tend to book a food tour in almost every new area we visit and are rarely disappointed.  We like to book the food tour as early as we arrive somewhere as possible, because the walking will give you an overview of the area, get you somewhat familiar with your surroundings, and anyt local specialties you taste that you love you can order at other places during the remainder of your trip.  I booked a private tour through WithLocals.com.  This is the first private tour we have booked, usually we tend to book small group tours.  But the place/price/time was right and I liked that we were able to read the bios of available guides and select who you wanted.  The description of the tour was as follows:

 

Barcelona’s Favorite Food Tour: 10 Tastings

“Dive into the amazing Barcelona food scene!  All your 10 delicious tastings have been carefully selected by our locals for you! From the most popular goodies to unique Spanish flavors, you’ll get a taste of the best treats in the city!  Get your taste buds ready to enjoy 8 authentic local bites and 2 traditional drinks for the perfect Spanish private tasting experience delivered by your favorite local foodie.

Kick off your private food journey at a local family bar, where most locals head to for a delicious bite of Churros and relaxing drinks. Wander around the Raval district head to the oldest outdoor bar in the city and taste the best Patatas Bravas in Barcelona. Top off your tour with a cold glass of wine in the hip Poble Sec neighborhood. Can you imagine anything better than that?

Your local food experience includes authentic Croquetas, the famous Iberian Ham and a glass of vermouth. All these amazing tastings are included in the price of the tour, so all you have to do is relax and enjoy the delicious pastries, savory treats, and local drinks.

Thinking it can’t get better? Think again! You can also see stunning and unique spots in the city and enjoy the true Spanish vibes. Get insights from your local friend and enjoy Barcelona as a local yourself!”

 

We were given instructions to meet at the Placa Del Pi in front of Santa Maria del Pi church.  This was a 10 minute walk from our hotel (a perk of obsessive-compulsive planning).  We are both sticklers for being on time, so left really early in case we got lost and needed extra time to find the place.  It was a charming courtyard and we sat in a café for a cocktail until it was time to meet. 

 

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The church was beautiful, although my amateur iPhone camera skills do not do it justice.  Not an excuse, but the window was covered by some kind of tarp so I didn’t get the best picture.

 

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Our guide Tomas was right on time at 4pm and we were off on our food tour!  First we stopped at a small restaurant for churros con chocolate and ensaimada (a Majorcan spiral-shaped pastry made with sweet yeast dough and topped with powdered sugar).  I’ll never complain about starting with dessert! 

 

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We then stopped at a local turrón shop and I must have been overly excited because I only took one picture.  Spanish turrón is a sweet treat made from a mixture of honey, eggs, sugar, and toasted nuts.  There were various tastings and hundreds of flavors to choose – we ended up purchasing two boxes to take home and are still enjoying them today.  One was pistachio and pumpkin seed and the other was some kind of chocolate caramel.  They really are delicious.  You can read about the store we visited here:  https://www.vicens.com/en/torrons-vicens/quality-tradition-innovation/

 

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On our way to our next stop we cut through a market and Tomas told us a bit about the neighborhood.

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Our next stop was a memorable one.  We visited a tapas place called Mendizabal and tried pan con tomate (a tradition Catalan dish of toasted bread with tomato), a glass a sweet vermouth, and our favorite dish of the night, patatas bravas.  Patates braves according to Wikipedia is “a dish native to Spain, often served as a tapa in bars. It typically consists of white potatoes that have been cut into irregular cubes, then fried in oil and served warm with a sauce such as a spicy tomato sauce”.   Food is of course subjective, but we both fell IN LOVE with this and felt it was the best thing we ate in Spain.  This one in particular had a smoked paprika and garlic oil sauce topped with crème fraiche and chives – unbelievably delicious!

 

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We then strolled a few more blocks and as Tomas gave us an overview of the neighborhood I snapped photos…

 

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Our next stop was at a funky hip hotel, Barceló Raval.  Really a neat place.  We first went through the lobby and then up the express elevator to their rooftop terrace for a drink and the unbelievable 360 degree views!

 

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Posted (edited)

06/20/19 Barcelona  – Private Food Tour continued

 

We then headed to our final stop, with me of course taking more photos than one would think humanly possible.  I’m lucky I didn’t trip as I certainly couldn’t have been paying much attention to where I was walking.

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Our final stop was a tapas bar in the Poble Sec neighborhood, which was lined with cobblestone streets of bars and cafes.  There was a huge spread of pinxtos (skewered tapas) along the bar, and we were told we could select three each.  The all looked incredible, but everything was written in Spanish and we had no idea what anything was – our guide told us to just ask him if we wanted detail about something, but he went down to the other end of the bar and was talking so someone working there so we felt a bit odd making him come back and explain the dishes to us.  We did ask the bartender about one or two, but it was difficult to understand him as my Spanish is not the best.  What we selected was good, but nothing amazing.  Perhaps if we knew what we had to choose from we would have made better selections.  But it was still good, and we received a glass of cava (sparking wine) here as well.

 

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This was the end of our tour.  We enjoyed it and had some good food and drink, and just the tasting of the patatas bravas was worth the cost because I love finding a new dish to try and re-create at home!  To be honest I’m not sure if we would do a private food tour again, our guide was nice but it was a little awkward feeling like you had to constantly make small talk for three full hours.  The group food tours we normally take include about 10 people and you all kind of get to know each other a bit throughout the tour and by the end have a sort of camaraderie; I think that’s what we missed a bit on this tour.

By this time we had not slept for almost 30 hours and were jetlagged to top it off (neither of us can ever sleep on a plane), so we decided to call it a night.  We walked back to the hotel, stopping at a grocery store on the way and bought a container of sangria – this was our nightcap enjoyed on the rooftop terrace for the next two nights.  I took a few pictures on the way back (I’m always fascinated at what is sold in grocery stores in other countries).

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Edited by cricketgirl

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I want to gooooooooooooooooooooooooo ......  you make this look all look so good, interesting and fun and you haven't even set sail yet!

 

You sound like me, hate to be late for anything so end up super early, SUPER planner, can't sleep on a plane (envy others so much on this one)

 

And OMG your cat Peter, my cat is the spitting image (sorry to side track your review but had to show you) though he is the older and bigger version of him.  Mine, Kosmo, is about 10 years old and about double the size LOL but he is such a sweetie and a gentle giant.  It is always hard to leave them behind (him and his bro Skruffy).

 

Thanks for taking the time to do this, I know how much work it is.

Kosmo.jpg

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Cricketgirl,

 

Looking forward to your review.  We are on the Edge November 1 so I am eager to read every review that appears.  Thanks for taking the time to do it.

 

Regarding getting sick from planes....

 

 I NEVER get on a plane without antibacterial wipes. I wipe the tray, the screen, the buckle, the window shade raiser thingy, the armrests, and the air vent where you touch it. When I get to the hotel room I wipe the handles of everything, the REMOTE, the phone. You get the idea. Got sick heading out on a trip once and learned my lesson. I don‘t care what people think. I dont get sick when we travel. You can buy boxes of the wipe packets on Amazon.  BTW, i I also use them to clean hands after touching and holding menus. We go to restaurants and wash our hands before sitting down, then touch those nasty menus that are never cleaned and covered with germs. So now we order and then everyone inconspicuously uses a wipe to clean our hands again. I promise I’m not a germophobe! Just trying to not get sick while traveling.  

 

Joanie

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06/21/19 – Barcelona

 

After a full night of sleep we woke up refreshed and ready to explore Barcelona!  We had no specific plans today, and decided to take the Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus tour.  I believe there are two different companies that offer this, we chose BusTurístic because their route seemed to cover the most area and offer the most stops.  There was also a stop that was very close to our hotel just off the Las Ramblas.  They have three routes (red, blue and green) the buses come by each stop every 5 minutes or so which made it very convenient.  Tickets were 30 euros each for the full day 9am to 8pm, you can buy a ticket right at the bus stop and they take credit cards.  The green route is seasonal (April through November), and I believe they offer discounts for multiple days.  You can find more info here:  https://www.barcelonabusturistic.cat/en

 

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The buses are double-decker with an open top.  They hand you ear buds as you get on and each seat has a plug-in where you can choose from multiple languages (looked to be 12+ choices).  The pre-recorded commentary will tell you about the sights you are seeing – we rode a lot and saw a lot throughout the day and felt this was a great way to see the city.  Some of my pictures aren’t the best because the bus was moving, but we could get out and explore whenever we wanted to see more.  I have to commend the bus drivers – the buses are huge and the lanes are so skinny!

 

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06/21/19 – Barcelona HOHO Bus Tour cont.

 

The architecture is just stunning.  We went back to our hotel at some point to grab my portable charger, have a snack & cool drink, and then freshened up for round two.

 

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06/21/19 – Barcelona HOHO Bus Tour cont.

 

At some point we stopped for lunch.  I had a specific place I wanted to try but when we got there they were closed, so we ended up at a cute outdoor café.  I ordered pasta with mushrooms and DW ordered the special which came with a pasta and then steak frites.  And of course we had sangria.  Everything was very good.

 

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Our bellies full, we headed out on the green route, which takes you by the beach.  It was a gorgeous day and tons of people were taking advantage of it.

 

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06/21/19 – Barcelona cont.

 

We then headed back to our hotel to relax for a bit.  After a while our stomachs were calling so we walked around a little while before heading to dinner.

 

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We wandered around a market for about an hour, fascinated with the array of offerings.  I bought a ton of spices here!

 

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06/21/19 – Barcelona cont.

 

There was a really nice couple we met in our hotel that was also going to be cruising on the Edge.  They told us about a restaurant where they had eaten the night before called Bar Lobo which they highly recommended.  So we found our way to Bar Lobo for dinner on our final night in Barcelona.  I must have really been hungry because I only took a picture of our cocktails.  I know we ordered a few tapas but I can’t remember exactly what we had – I do remember that everything was delicious!

 

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The décor here was very interesting – lights made out of books and then some strange wall art relating to wolves (aka lobo).

 

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After dinner we strolled along Las Ramblas, purchased some gifts for friends and family, and had some yummy gelato and then sangria on our rooftop terrace.

 

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2 hours ago, poffles said:

OMG your cat Peter, my cat is the spitting image (sorry to side track your review but had to show you) though he is the older and bigger version of him.  Mine, Kosmo, is about 10 years old and about double the size LOL but he is such a sweetie and a gentle giant.  It is always hard to leave them behind (him and his bro Skruffy).

 

Wow we certainly seem to have a lot in common, and its amazing how much our fur babies look alike!  Kosmo is adorably handsome 🙂

Thanks for sharing!

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1 hour ago, GeorgiaPeach51 said:

Regarding getting sick from planes....

 

 I NEVER get on a plane without antibacterial wipes. I wipe the tray, the screen, the buckle, the window shade raiser thingy, the armrests, and the air vent where you touch it. When I get to the hotel room I wipe the handles of everything, the REMOTE, the phone. You get the idea. Got sick heading out on a trip once and learned my lesson. I don‘t care what people think. I dont get sick when we travel. You can buy boxes of the wipe packets on Amazon.  BTW, i I also use them to clean hands after touching and holding menus. We go to restaurants and wash our hands before sitting down, then touch those nasty menus that are never cleaned and covered with germs. So now we order and then everyone inconspicuously uses a wipe to clean our hands again. I promise I’m not a germophobe! Just trying to not get sick while traveling.  

 

Joanie

 

This is great advice and even though others may think I'm a germophope I will definitely be following your advice going forward.  The virus I picked up coming home was really a doozie and I've learned my lesson now about not wiping things down!

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On 8/13/2019 at 9:46 AM, cricketgirl said:

I am a huge planner and tend to find almost as much enjoyment in the planning stage as the vacation itself.  I also tend to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive with researching and reading reviews to find the perfect hotel/tour/ship/restaurant, etc.

 

Lol, me too! Glad I have a compatriot in the Planning Department. Great review!

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