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      We arose dark and early and went to buy gas—diesel at €1,044 per liter  = $21.50 for 15 liters. For all the travel we did, we didn’t really go many miles. Picked up some Cheetos “Pandilla” and Coke for the road. [Pandilla turned out to be nasty little ghost-shaped chips, sort of puffy and tasting like rice chex with salt. Why ghosts? Maybe left over from Halloween?]
     Returning to the hotel, we ate a lavish breakfast while watching a cruise ship steam toward Barcelona—ours? Can’t be sure.
     We returned to Barcelona, getting horribly lost by following the signs and directions at the airport, but, by leaving the rental in the lot—no attendant—and checking it in inside, we got it turned in before the deadline. Inside the terminal was an enormous burro statue with chunky legs. We wandered like lost burros until we finally found someone who told us to hop the bus to the next terminal. This was a bus ride of 2-3 miles!
     Once in the terminal, we found the tour people with ease and checked in our suitcases, and had time to spare for a coffee.
     I ducked in to the airport chapel to express my gratitude for all our blessings. The chapel was as plain as could be—non-denominational I guess you’d call it; I called it ugly. But in the back, there was a baptismal font. I can’t figure that out. Just in case someone suddenly pops a baby while traveling and needs it baptized while changing planes?
      The bus trip to the harbor was quite scenic, including an amazing view of the back of Montjuic. We had visited the museums on Montjuic when we were in Barcelona a few years ago, but had no idea that the entire backside of the mountain is a graveyard. The near vertical cliff has been carved out into tombs, some with glass doors! Perhaps there are complete rooms of tombs behind the doors; it was hard to judge how large the doors were, so it may be individual tombs. I can imagine going out on a Sunday to sit at the door and watch Granny slowly rot away. A lovely family outing. On the lower slopes, there are monuments and elaborate tombs, some looking quite old. The way the light glinted off the glass doors, it is easy to believe in ghosts. And not the Pandilla kind.
     This was our first cruise on a full-size ship and we were stunned at the size. And ours was the much smaller of 2 docked. I can remember in the 1960s when the QEII was aging that everyone was saying cruising was dead. [Like when cable TV came along, the wisdom was that movie theaters were dead.]
     Checking in was aggravating. We filled out a form confessing that we had had a cough/ runny nose in the last 7 days. We were told to sit down. We waited and waited and waited and waited, finally being joined by a family with a small daughter. By that time we had been waiting for an hour watching people go onto the ship hacking and coughing and sneezing. We realized that we had been the ONLY people out of thousands to tell the truth. When the doctor finally arrived to certify us, we were furious. I told him that we now realized that we should have lied like everyone else. He told us to wash our hands a lot; then he tried to give us the 3 passports of the other family! Near as I can tell, the doctor is on board mainly to care for the crew, because his office hours were very brief for passengers.            
     Once aboard, we made ourselves relax. The cabin was quite spacious; bigger than the captain’s cabin on a frigate in Lord Nelson’s day! We had a balcony, a sofa, a shower/ bathroom, desk—and a very strange bed with the foot-end corners rounded off, to make passage to the balcony possible. But our feet kept sticking over then end. We lay about for awhile, curtains drawn, and Ron’s 2 suitcases arrived.
     We dressed for the safety drill and sat around in one of the bars hearing how to evac the ship. As we were there anyway—coincidence?—we had a daiquiri. Golly, I hadn’t had a mixed drink in 3 months, since we’d traveled to the mountains last summer. ‘Bout time.
    Down to dinner, we found a group of Irish folk at our table: one family of mother, father and 2 grown daughters from Cork, and a married couple from Belfast. They assured us they had been friends since meeting on a cruise 25 years ago, when they had been seated together because they were all Irish-- by some poor fool who didn’t read his newspaper to know that the southern and northern Irish were then engaged in killing each other. We were thankful that no bloodshed ensued, although if verbal barbs and quips could kill, we’d all be bled out and dead.
      We did a little window shopping, looked at lost luggage, watched a little TV, and finally my suitcase arrived. Storms on the Med, so the Captain changed course to sail between Majorca and Minorca, the Balearic islands, rather than the usual, more southerly course. Apparent winds had risen to 54 mph. [Apparent wind = true wind + forward motion of the ship]. Amazing bow waves, glowing slightly in the lights from the ship. Our ship did wallow [aka, roll] which surprised me for a ship that size, with modern stabilizers and other tech.
     We left our balcony door open 3 inches and enjoyed the waves and wind, though we were plenty high enough not to get wet.
[12-12-09] for photos, visit
www.bucklesfamily.net
http://pics.livejournal.com/carolbuckles/