After leaving Austin Texas Saturday morning at 7 a.m. on our flight to Spain, we arrived in Barcelona Sunday morning around 10:30 a.m (Spain time) and secured a taxi to take us to our hotel. Unfortunately, after being loaded into the taxi, we found that the driver spoke no English. We were barreling down the road trying to figure out how to tell him where to go — had told him it was off La Rambla. We wrote the address for him (Hotel Raco Del Pi, Calle Pi 7), but he still did not seem to understand. He spoke over the radio with his dispatcher and still there was no beam of understanding. We gave him the phone number to the hotel and he finally got directions from there. Now we were on La Rambla (a few blocks over from the hotel) and this taxi driver stopped on the street and motioned for us to get out. He unloaded our four suitcases right there by the curb and pointed toward the direction of the hotel with an indication that it was a couple of blocks over. This rather unnerved me, being in a foreign country with no idea of what we were getting ourselves into.

Dutifully, we gathered our belongings — jackets, totes, two large suitcases and two smaller ones, thankfully on wheels — and walked in the direction indicated to us. After walking around what may have been in circles for hours, asking four or five different people for directions and being told it was five minutes (everything we discovered in Barcelona is five minutes), I had had all I could take and told Robyn we would just stay at the first hotel we came to. We went into the Hotel Colon that was on the corner of La Rambla and told the manager we needed a room because we were not able to find our hotel where I had reservations. He told us that he could only offer a room for one night, but was concerned that we would still have to pay for the reservation at Hotel Raco Del Pi, so he made a copy of the streets in that area and drew a line to where our hotel was located (yes, just five minutes, and it really was). After lunch there at the Hotel Colon restaurant and refreshed, we continued on with this treasured map in hand and found the Hotel Raco Del Pi right away. We got checked in about 1:30 p.m., went to our room and took a nap. So much for first impressions of a foreign country. Fortunately, that was where our bad experience ended and we found Barcelona to be a delightful place.

– IMG 0074

Robyn and I had supper at the sidewalk tables of the Bar Del Pi that evening, just down to the end of the street. Lovely ending to a very trying day.

Written on November 19th, 2011 , Cruises

At the time of posting this, my daughter Robyn and I are in the air on the second leg of our journey flying from New York where we change airlines and continue onto Dublin for a change of planes at 5 am to Barcelona Spain.  We will be staying at a hotel just off La Rambla for five days before boarding the Carnival Magic heading to Galveston Texas.

This is the little ol’ boat we will be on for our cruise out of Spain to Galveston. For more info go here:  Carnival Magic

Written on October 22nd, 2011 , Cruises

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