Nice and relaxing travel home
05.11.2015 - 27.11.2015 27 °C
Days 52 and 53
We checked into the same hotel on the Ramblas that we had two years ago, Flor Parks, as we loved the location.
We didn't do too much other than a visit to the Sagrada Familia a church designed by Gaudi, and later a park that he designed.
Replenishing toiletries and needed items before the cruise and then it was time to board the ship.
Days 54 - 69
Cruise from Barcelona to Cape Canaveral on the Norwegian spirit.
The ship held around 2,000 passengers and was an older renovated vessel. We had a balcony room on the ninth floor. There was a mixture of ages, most being 60 and older but a few young families and a couple of 30 something's as well. Most were from the UK, then USA and Canada followed by Europe. We got a great deal of just over $1,000 for the 16 days.
Overall the cruise was fine, but not the best we have been on. 16 days and not much in the way of lectures or daytime activities on sea days. We had music trivia once in a while which was fun. The evening entertainment was fantastic for the most part. Food was okay but very limited in vegetarian options and a lot of dishes were very salty.
Staff was outstanding, friendly, helpful and happy. They were from all over the world but lots from the Philippines, Serbia, Caribbean islands and India.
Our first stop after a couple of sea days was Madeira Portugal. We had pre arranged to have a driver take us around the island which was very hilly, lush and beautiful. A stop was made to take a basket ride down the hill which was an old tradition and lots of fun.
Our sea days were spent trying to find a lounge chair and alternating between sun and shade reading and listening to music on the top deck. The weather was hot and sunny most of the trip. A few days were a little choppy so the tiny pool was closed a number of days, but I only went in once anyhow.
One of the entertainers was a hypnotist, but she also practised hypnotherapy. Nadeen had a few workshops on pain management, weight loss and positive thinking. She met with me privately and helped me with working on healing myself which is fantastic. She also did a session with Lana. Nadeen is a very gifted talented young woman who has a huge heart and wants to help everyone. We bought her self hypnosis program and will continue to work on healing myself.
After six sea days we reach the Caribbean, visiting the island of Antigua first. This island had the most beautiful beach, white sand and turquoise warm water. We did not particularly like the island itself however, it did not have a lot of charm, in my opinion.
Next day we hired a cab and spent it driving around St. Kitts and again visiting a beach.
St. Maarten the following day, same routine and then finally St.Thomas the U.S. Virgin Islands.
They were all nice, great to swim in the ocean and see the islands but none that I would return to.
This is me dancing with the locals again.
Our last two days at sea were a bit rougher the closer we got to Florida, and on day 17 we arrived in Cape Canaveral for our early morning tour to NASA.
There were around 30 of us who signed up for the tour to NASA and the Kennedy space station. On the way our guide pointed out many birds and alligators in the waterways at the side of the road. The skies opened when we arrived and walking from the bus to the ticket booth we got drenched. Inside the building is quite cool to keep the space shuttle and other items from falling to disrepair as the humidity is very high here. Being drenched and cold was a bit uncomfortable for the first part of the tour but it was all so fascinating we quickly forgot about it. Our guide was excellent and we learned a great deal about the space program and the previous launches.
We went on the space shuttle simulator, a very jarring experience. I would not want to do that too often as it really shook you up quite a bit, but fun to do once.
The bus dropped us off at the Orlando airport and we picked up a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV for our Florida exploring. A stop at Publix, the local big grocery store and we arrived at Lana and Cheryl's condo which is right across the road from our place. They have a one bedroom which they are happy with. We are staying in Sarasota on Crescent beach for five nights.
We are staying in a studio at the Tropical Resort and we are very happy with it. A short walk down a lighted path and we arrive at a long stretch of powdery white sand beach. It is very beautiful
Day. 71 Lana and Cheryl and I walked the beach for a while. The sand feels like flour and apparently never gets hot, always cool to the touch.
There is an art fair in Sarasota this weekend so we all explored the many stalls for a couple of hours. I bought two pair of unique earrings and an art card. Some very beautiful and interesting photographs, paintings jewelry and metal and glass works
Day. 72 Ana Maria island was explored today. Lana Cheryl and I set up our beach chairs and relaxed on the sand for a few hours while Doug drove around exploring the area. It was a bit windy so not too warm but we persevered. It was much warmer than home that is for sure.
Today we drove south exploring one of the long Keyes, Venice and area surrounding. Some of the land is so narrow there is waterfront on both sides of the street. Many very high end exclusive neighbourhoods. It seems all the beaches in this part of Florida are gorgeous.
Lunch in Venice and then a drive back. Doug and I went down to the beach to watch the sunset and enjoy the full moon in the clear night sky.
Lana Doug and I went to the Mote Aquarium to take a boat tour with the hopes of seeing manatees and dolphins. It was too windy to see either unfortunately but we did see many birds, mangroves and interesting sights on our one and a half hour boat ride. The marine biologist on board was extremely knowledgeable.
We enjoyed a wonderful Asian fusion lunch at P.J. Changs and then went back to pack and prepare to leave.
Upon re confirming our flight I find that instead of leaving at 6:30PM we have been changed to 7:15AM!!! No notification!! So we had to change our plans and scramble to get everything in order
3AM wake up to leave by 4. Our flight left on time, first stop Phoenix and then a quick connection to Vancouver. We decided to keep the hotel in Vancouver for the night, even though we could have made the ferry. We went for dinner and had a great visit with Reese.
Day 76, Friday, November 27, 2015.
Reese drove our truck to Vancouver for us so we were able to get home without any problems. A quick visit to see Doug's sister after breakfast and we arrived back in Coombs around 4PM. The weather today was cold but clear and beautiful. What a gorgeous place we live in. We were treated to a wonderful dolphin show on the ferry ride home!
What an amazing adventure we had. Every place had its own unique special charm and we loved it all.
It is however great to be home and connect with friends and family again. Thanks for coming along with us. Until next time...........