Saturday - Saturday
November 5 - 19, 2022
We will of course have to accept potluck in whichever taxi driver we get, as we're bundled away to the Barcelona Cruise Port—else a 42 minute walk from our apartment. So after getting up at a comfortable hour (when it's light outside) we can enjoy that last breakfast, with relative calm packing and less frantic stuffing of the remaining suitcase items into our luggage. Calmly we'll look around for things our earlier scans missed, then close the door of our rental for the last time. And maybe a quarter hour later we will find ourselves outside a very large building near the water's edge, among many hundreds of eager passengers who are trying not to fidget. But we are relatively relaxed, there, having boarding passes and passport, and the credit card info you must provide before a ship's room key may be issued. And most likely we'll show some evidence of a recent negative Covid-19 test. Sigh.
Do you remember that splendid and deeply stirring hymn by Horatio Spafford (if you are nodding, you also will know the author and the deep meaning of its original composition)? I hope earnestly that at that step-aboard moment we'll be able to observe, too, "It Is Well With My Soul." Not in fear about the voyage, but in hopes for a time of balm for us both. For out there, on the other side of that hulking building with slow-moving lines of people trying to smile, our ship awaits—Holland America's Oosterdam.
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
Good old Holland America. I think that if such a thing were possible, I enjoyed this cruise even less than expected. Garish design hatched, I think, to keep inebriated peeps happy and drinking still more. And there's the matter of the $500+ extra these seafaring bean counters have of mine, and have been promising to return for the past six months plus. No real apologies, certainly no interest paid. Only something like, "Oh gee, thanks for your patience; we'll get to it when we get to it."
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.
Sweeping beaches, a grand, high-status cathedral, and cooling, peaceful parks to walk in. Arguably there is more of a big city feel, here, compared to Cartagena.
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 in a dish.
But a grand place does need to be shown; here's the inside of Alcazar Palace.
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 even a punishing tuk-tuk.
This vehicle is a tuk-tuk.
Ecological electric motor
Nary a shock absorber to be found anywhere
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 sampling a little of that famous dessert wine named for the region.
A magical wake trails behind, during every languid moment of Oosterdam's route from Portuguese Funchal to Ft Lauderdale several days later. Time to relax, time to be stimulated (Michele) and time to fight boredom (me).