Tag Archives: driving

Driving through Spain

Good thing we had the ear plugs in our ears because the announcements to get off the boat came on really early at 5:30 am on September 7, 2012.  The cruise ship was in Barcelona, Spain.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 7:30 am.  We got breakfast at the buffet.

When we came back my iJen sign I made was gone.  I got mad coz I didn’t take it down and that one of the housekeeping took it and threw it away.  Ivan asked Aires about it and said I was really mad.  He said they had to clean.  They could have took it off and asked if we wanted it or not.  He said his assistant probably took it and he’d ask her.  I never got an apology which I thought was bad and never got my sign back. 

Ivan and I packed everything up.  We left the Carnival Breeze at 9 am.

We got the bus to the circle in Barcelona.  From there, we got the Metro Diagonal.  We walked to Avis.  Ivan set up a rental car months ago online.  It was easy picking it up.  We got a cute little Citroen C3.  Small cars are very common in Europe.  Unfortunately, the car was manual (stick) so I wouldn’t be able to drive since I don’t know how to drive manual.

We put our backpacks in the car and then we were off to Glories Mall for the Carrefour.  Ivan bought a USB internet stick at Orange. We also picked up some food. 

At 12:20 pm, we started driving.  The GPS was confusing and so were the roads of Barcelona – so we got a bit lost.  We started driving towards Montserrat.

A few hours later, we were at the bottom where the train was to get up to Montserrat.  We parked the car and then took the train up to Montserrat.  It was beautiful going up. 

Montserrat is famous for the monastery and the boys choir.  Unfortunately, we missed the boys choir but Ivan read that it gets super packed when the choir is singing, so no big deal that we missed it.

The views were so beautiful up there. 

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On top of a building, we took some great pictures of the mountains.

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We visited the monastery and walked around. 

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It’s really pretty inside.  The mountains are so lovely. 

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We also checked out the shops.  There were lots of stalls practically selling the same things: fig cakes, cheese and dried fruit.  We got more than our fare share of free samples. Ivan found a shop and bought some baby bell cheese.  We also bought a postcard and a fig cake.  It was time to head back by the train to the car. 

It was time to hit the road this time towards Cadaqués.  Salvador Dali once lived near this little fishing village.  The roads were windy.  I think since we have a small car I feel like all the turns we take since it was making me a bit nauseous.. also, manual seems to be jerky and I’m not used to that. 

We came upon Cadaqués which is beautiful with all the white buildings. 

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We checked in to Hotel Misty.  We used the free internet in the lounge.  The lady at the hotel said that it was 10 minutes to the village and 10 minutes to the Salvador Dali Museum House.  Ivan said should we drive to the museum and she insisted it was really close by and there was no parking.  She gave us a map and a list of events.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I were getting hungry.  The walk to the village was 10 minutes away.  We walked around to find a good place for dinner. 

Dinner was at L’Hostal de Cadaqués.  We got a freebie of pork and a fried quail egg on bread. 

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Since Ivan doesn’t eat meat and I do sometimes I got to eat both of them.  We ordered patatas bravas (Ivan’s favorite), cod fritters, goats cheese salad and monditos with crab and pineapple.  Lil Dave had banana fritters, monditos with bananas and chicken and a banana soup.  The food was really good.

We walked around and found a big square.  There was a table with a few people heating up the rum with lemon peels and some kind of spice. 

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We listened to the music while we waited for the rum to be ready. 

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This place is very authentic since most of the menus are in Spanish, Catalan and French (France is very close by) . There were not many menus that had English on them.  We got the rum drink which was 2 Euros per cup.  It was very tasty and reminded us of mulled wine. 

There was a traditional Catalan band playing the latest hits (I presume) on a stage next to the water.

It was a lovely night out.  We walked further along and found better restaurants than the one we went to.  We were too hungry to walk further though.  We’ll have to check one of these restaurants tomorrow.

We had a long day and were knackered (tired), so we went back to the hotel to get some rest.

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Spongebob in Monaco

On September 6, 2012, Ivan and I had the buffet breakfast.  The boat was in Monaco which is the prettiest port.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I got off the boat at 9:30 am. 

We wanted to get a small car to rent (like a golf cart), but it didn’t look like the company had any (it’s by Stars & Bars).  We walked to the one right by the cruise ship.  This company had a big red car with 4 seats for more money.  Andres and Caroline came off the ship and wanted to rent a car as well.

The 4 seater was a lot more powerful.  We thought that we’d make a lap and come back for Andres and Caroline.  I noticed Mark and Clare walking and Ivan told them to jump in.  We drove around with the music pumping out, and Ivan talking corners like he was on the formula one track! (which in actual fact he really was!)

We drove by the other rental place and they had more cars.  Mark and Clare jumped out to rent one.  We told them we’d be back to see if we could find Andres and Caroline.  There wasn’t a sign of them – so either they didn’t get a car or they had already taken off.  We thought it was weird since we would probably see them pass by. 

Ivan drove us to where Mark and Clare were renting the car.  We took off towards the Monte Carlo Casino hoping that we’d see Andres and Caroline since Ivan told them they should head there.

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Ivan brought along the iPod and the speakers.  He pumped up the music and we drove around the city pissing off all the locals with our music.

At one point, we lost Mark and Clare since we went down a part we weren’t supposed to or it was a bus lane.  Monaco is really small so we thought we might find them again. 

We did find them a few minutes later.

I drove for awhile so Ivan could navigate us around (I’m not that great with maps). 

Ivan started driving again.  He started driving down a small street which I think was only meant for pedestrians, but of course Ivan didn’t care.  A car was coming right at us.  He was backing up.  We went one way and though Mark would follow suit, but he didn’t.  We lost them once again.

Ivan drove us around more.  We chilled and took some pictures near the heliport.

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We drove by the palace and saw the Scottish couple walking around.  

We took a couple of pictures at a nice park area.

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Later on, we found Mark and Clare again.  Their car was really low on gas which wasn’t enough for half a day like they bought.  We drove to the car rental place.  They told the lady about it.  Ivan mentioned that they should get a refund since it didn’t last the whole time and they got some money back.

Mark and Clare joined us in our car.  Ivan asked if they went to the palace and they said no.  Ivan dropped us off, so we went up there to take pictures.  You can’t park right by the palace for safety reasons – the French police go mental.  We saw the guard marching outside the palace. 

We ran into Andres and Caroline.  They had parked the car since they didn’t know how to get to the palace.  I’m sure they were given a map, but maybe they didn’t check it out.

We hopped in and went to a great place for a picture that Mark and Clare didn’t go to.  Monaco is just gorgeous.  I love the view of the marina and all the boats. 

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It was almost time for us to board the boat.  Mark and Clare jumped out before the rental car place to take some pictures.  We said bye.  Ivan and I returned the car. 

We went to Stars and Bars to try to use the free wi-fi.  It was pretty slow though. 

We boarded the Carnival Breeze at 1:30 pm.  It was packed everywhere for lunch since it was the last day and everybody wanted to stuff their faces before leaving the cruise ship.  Lil Dave went to meet up with his monkey friends at the monkey buffet.

I told Ivan the Italian place looked really quiet.  So, we had lunch at Cucina del Capitaco which is free for lunch and dinner you have to pay a fee.  You can pick your pasta, sauce and ingredients.  Ivan and I got red clam sauce with pasta and shrimp.  It was delicious with the red clam sauce.

We went to listen to Timmy Pierce at the pool – he has a great voice.

We checked out the Art Auction for the champagne but the free champagne was already all gone.

Ivan and I went next door to the Thrill Theater.  We didn’t know that you could pay a fee of $14.95 for unlimited rides for the whole cruise per person.  If we had known we would have purchased it.  We went on Spongebob and Mumble’s Wild Ride for $7.95 per person.  We had to put on 3D glasses – it was big enough to go over my eyeglasses.  It was 4D with water spraying at you and things poking you.  We really enjoyed it.

It was time to chill in the jacuzzi for awhile. 

Later on, we got ready for the show.  Ivan went to see the show Latin Nights.  I was late and only caught the end of it.  He thought it was a great show.

Ivan and I each had the crab cake for a starter which was tasty. Most of our meals on Carnival are very tasty.. every now and then a dish isn’t the best. I had the vegetarian Indian meal for my main course which was delectable.

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For dessert, we shared the diet apple pie which was pretty tasty also!!

We took pictures with our tablemates. 

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We had lots of fun with Mark, Clare, Andres and Caroline.

Some of the couples went to the casino.  Ivan and I were tired so we headed off to bed.  We put in our ear plugs since tomorrow we knew there would be announcements really early in the morning to leave the ship.

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