Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Barcelona and the French Riviera!

So we finally met up with Tommy at the airport in Paris en route to a weekend in Barcelona. What an unexpected surprise Barcelona was! My sister in law had always said to me how much she loved Barcelona but I never even really read up on it much, concentrating all of my time reading up on London, Paris, south of France and Italy. We LOVED Barcelona and would go back in a heartbeat!

We stayed at a beautiful hotel, Le Meridien, in an awesome location right off of La Rambla which is the big bustling avenue. We were directed across the street to a restaurant called Bar Lobo for an amazing lunch of authentic Spanish tapas! SO good that even the kids ate thinly sliced tempura eggplant and loved it. And real sangria... oh the joy of the real deal!

We hopped an open top hop on hop off bus tour to get a great overview of the city but most especially to see all of Antoni Gaudi's amazing architecture!

Including his most amazing feat that has yet to be finished, La Sagrada Familia

Then we headed off to the Park Guell, also one of Gaudi's amazing architectural feats

After a day of the hop on hop off bus tour you can see how enthralled Drew is 
with all of the sight seeing!

La Rambla avenue just outside of our hotel
beautiful area to walk by day or by night

One other reason to love Barcelona? Fantastic spanish wine for CHEAP!

We headed out for dinner and the kids were really enjoying each other's company...

well I was certainly happy to have reinforcements in the name of Coach Hoke back in my corner!

more pics from the park...

I'm a little out of order in my days but you get the gist...

Expensive dinner out on day 2 in Barcelona. I tried to find authentic paella but was unimpressed.
I should have gone for one of the places with signs out all over the streets instead of a "shee shee" type place... oh well we will just have to come back!
This is a city that we will definitely return to!

Cheers Barcelona! See you again next time!


We slept in, had a fabulous breakfast at Le Meridien then loaded up all of our luggage (it was a LOT since it was a 16 day trip for the kids and me...) then headed to our Mediterranean cruise onboard
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas!

Huge very cool promenade with...wait for it... a WINE BAR! Yippee!!!

and a pizza place and Ben and Jerry's! Something for everyone!

Drew turned the big 17 on this trip so I surprised him with some birthday decor in his cabin

Drew being his usual goob self

We had the perfect setup with the kids in a balcony cabin and we had an adjoining junior suite which was very spacious and the balconies connected for one huge balcony!
Even more fabulous when we could CLOSE the door connecting us from the bickering kids! Ha!
Sunday we departed Barcelona and got the bad news that we would not make port in Marseille
where we had a fantastic wine tour booked to Provence. What a disappointment.
Ferry strike in Marseille. UGH. Everyone in Europe strikes at the drop of a hat we discovered but they really know what they're doing to strike during high tourist season!
So we spent a day at sea which as it turned out was a very needed rest from all of the touring we had been doing!


We arrive in Villefranche, France!


This looks like it came off of a postcard but I took it with my iphone if you can believe it!

We tendered in to shore and walked to the beach

the beaches for the most part in the south of France and Italy are all rocky - no sand. Makes it
slightly less fun walking to the water and back! OUCH!

lunch at a seaside cafe and I finally got my moules et frites... mussels and french fries!

we sat under an orange umbrella which is why we look like oompa loompas!!

then we walked through the village of Beaulieu sur Mer

I could live here... easily

back to the ship to clean up for dinner and have a glass or two of wine on our balcony!

Tomorrow we head to Italy and La Spezia!!

Au Revoir France!

A Bientot!

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