27 October 2015

I have brought with me:  my laptop, my iPad, my iPod, my cell phone and my Kindle.  What I have NOT brought with me is the cord to recharge them (except for the laptop, which fortunately runs on electricity!).  I also have not been able to connect to the internet in our room and there is no computer center on this ship, since so many people have their own internet devices (and for most people internet connectivity is not a priority on a cruise!).  But I trust that later today that problem will be solved.  In the meantime, I collapsed at 8:30 local time and woke up at 1 and with no internet to play with, I'll get this entry written.

I was, predictably, a long day, but I'll tell ya, this getting old business has its perks.  Wheelchair travel in airports is the way to go!  This time around, Char is also using a wheelchair, so we are quite a pair.

The Air France flight was long, but the seats were more comfortable than, say, United, so it wasn't too bad.  They had good choices for movies to play on your own viewing screen.  I was finally able to see Inside Out, which I loved.  I also watched My Old Lady, which I thought was a comedy, but was anything but and ultimately I loved it.  It was kind of a Maggie Smith marathon, as she was in My Old Lady with Kevin Kline and Second Best Marigold Hotel and also in Grosford Park, which I started watching and decided it was like a second class Downton Abby and didn't finish--but she was in that too, not quite as old as Lady Grantham, but as cantankerous.  So I watched 3 full movies, part of a fourth, an episode of Big Bang Theory and another of NCIS.  I was in a center seat, so no place to lay my head and I didn't sleep at all.  But actually, when we got to Paris, in "my time" it was 1;30 a.m., which is about when I would be going to sleep in Davis anyway, so no biggie that I had not slept on the 10 hour flight.

I had hoped that with the nice wheel chair attendants, I would finally lose my hatred of DeGaulle airport, but ultimately no,  I was incredibly grateful for the wheel chair assistance, though. We had to transfer from Gate B to Gate 2F 27 and that involved about a mile of weaving in and out, up and down elevators that we would have had no clue existed, a ride on a special bus that took us to a different building, another ride weaving in and out until we got to our gate.  Sadly there were long waits at every place where we had to wait for new chairs and new pushers and "expediency" is not in the staff's vocabulary.  We arrived at the gate to board the plane literally 2 minutes too late, so we had to wait until everybody else had boarded before we could get on.  Had there been a little less chit chat at the other end, we would have been in the preboard group.  But let it pass.

The flight over was uneventful, but we flew over some incredibly gorgeous cumulous clouds, the kind of clouds where you expected to see Disney unicorns chasing each other across the top and in and out of the puffs, the kind of clouds where maybe a stork would stop to check directions before delivery a baby elephant to its intended mother.  I should point out that I did not take a single picture in transit.  In fact, I didn't get out my camera until we arrived at the ship.

When we got to Barcelona, they loaded us onto a special truck which drove to a special gate and then we rode a motorized lift down to the ground before entering the airport to get our luggage.

There were about 4 or 5 Viking representatives waiting to greet us...there was ultimately a whole busload of people on the flight...and they led us to the waiting bus outside.  I kind of stumbled onto the bus, my knees really protesting loudly, but everyone was kind and had saved a front seat on the bus for us.  I'm not the only one with a cane and there are people here with wheelchairs, so I do fit in, though tomorrow's excursion may be a killer.

The drive to the ship gave us a bit of a taste of Barcelona, including one spectacular cemetery that made me angry that my camera was buried deep in my backpack.  It is built into the side of a mountain and just HUGE, crypts going all the way from the ground up to the top of the mountain, like some weird apartment building with tiny box-shaped apartments butting up against each other.  I hope we pass by it again so I can take a photo.  It was really quite spectacular.

We could see "luxury liner row" off in the distance, these huge floating hotels docked, and behind them the little luxury liner that could.  Though this is a huge ship compared to our river cruises, it looked like a luxury liner wannabe next to the other ships (again, sad I didn't have the camera out).

Our room is more luxurious than any we have had with Viking.


We have a balcony with a view out to the Mediterranean and that couch is full size, so perfect for me.  Very comfortable!

After we settled in, we decided to do some investigating of the ship.  We started on Deck 9 and worked our way down.  On Deck 7, we came to this small pool.

It is attached to one of the many ship's bars, so that was the end of exploring.  We went down to relax poolside and have a drink, caipirinha for Walt and margarita for Char.

We met Barbara and her daughter Elizabeth, traveling together while their husbands are at home.  Very nice ladies.  And then we went into the restaurant appropriately called "Restaurant."  We met a couple in the elevator that really made me think I was out of my league, in my sweats and t-shirt, while she was dressed to the nines in a long gown and gold everywhere.  But there were more "me-s" in the place than "hers" so maybe she was the one out of place.

We still had not seen our traveling companions Linda and Bob, but we had a delicious dinner and I started my "dinner of the night" photos.  Two guys were sitting next to us and one of them was taking pictures of his  meal too and we started talking.  Very nice, funny guys from Florida, George and Kevin.  If this were a river boat, we would probably see them often, but with a group of about 900 passengers, this may be the last time our paths cross, but I hope not.  I was so sleepy by this point I was literally dozing off briefly in the middle of conversations.

When we went back to our cabins, we knocked on Bob and Linda's door and Linda came out, in her nightgown.  They were on their way to sleep and so, shortly afterwards, were we.  Walt and I sat on our balcony for a bit and watched the full moon over the Mediterranean.

I couldn't keep my eyes open a second longer and went to the couch, where I was asleep in seconds, even without a blanket (must get one tonight). So comfortable I woke up without any back pain whatsoever.  This will be a very good trip, sleep wise.

We have put in our order for breakfast in our room at 7 a.m. and will be on the bus for our Gaudi tour at 8:40.  We're on our way...


Shrimp & crab souffle with red pepper sauce, filet mignon (rare)
and for dessert Chambourd--cake with cream with raspeberry coulis
(I didn't finish the creamed spinach, so didn't include it)

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