There is a train direct to the Barcelona Cruise Port, from very near our apartment. So getting up at a comfortable hour (when it's light outside) we can enjoy that last breakfast, put or stuff the rest of suitcase contents into our luggage, look around for what escaped earlier tries to scan for possessions, and maybe half an hour later be looking at a very large building near the water's edge, with uncounted hundreds of passengers milling about. We have boarding passes and passport, and the credit card info you have to provide before your room key can be issued. And most likely some evidence of negative Covid-19 test results. Sigh.

Do you remember that splendid, moving hymn by Horatio Spafford (if you know it, you also will know the author and the deep meaning of its original composition). Earnestly I hope we'll be able to observe, too, that "It Is Well With My Soul." Not in fear about the voyage, but in hopes for a time of balm for us both. So out there, on the other side of that hulking building with slow-moving lines of people trying to smile, is our ship, Holland America's Oosterdam.

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Welcome aboard

Saturday - Saturday

November 5 - 19

Oosterdam       is more than three football fields long, just over 100 ft wide, with 11 tourist-accomodating tiers—hundreds of onboard places to explore as allowed

Across the Atlantic

Barcelona to Florida

Fourteen days

5-19 November

Iberian Ports

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Sunday

Cartagena

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Belle Époque structures are here on everyday street corners.... Right across town on yonder hill is a fortress constructed by the Moors .... Nearby are well preserved Roman ruins. All of which want to be explored by foot: pedestrians rule here.

Malaga

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Sweeping beaches, a high-status, grand cathedral, and cool parks to walk in, in silence. More of a big city feel compared to Cartagena.

Monday

Tuesday

This is one of my favorite travel photos, ever. Partly I think that's because it does not concentrate on the usual grand subject matter, but rather it shows pleasure in the presence of grandness. Ice cream enjoyed next to the magnificent Seville cathedral. Good-ness.

Cadiz/Seville

Tuesday

But a grand place does need to be shown; here's the inside of Alcazar Palace.

Wednesday

Lisbon

Grand, old, and hilly Lisbon. From recent experience, I would use words like Vibrant, Lively, Robust, Quaint to describe my impressions. We look forward to revisiting, by whatever mode: bus, taxi, or tuk-tuk.

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Funchal in Madeira, and San Diego in California. They simply belong together. Whether the similar climate, the nearness to the ocean, the quintessentially Portuguese neighborhoods, or the sunny optimism in the culture—we do look forward to visiting abundant gardens here. Oh, and trying a little of that famous dessert wine named for the region.

Funchal, Madeira

Friday

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une fois encore