TRAVELSCRIBBLES is a blog featuring travel reports, advice, and idea sharing for those interested in both domestic and international exploration.

Roger Sauer and his wife Donna have spent years traveling the world but have many places yet to see. You can follow their past and current travels here as well as post comments and questions about places they have visited.

Roger and Donna travelled to New Zealand and Australia in September, 2013. They will be in Paris in September 2015 with a train trip to Nice and Barcelona. They will then be aboard the Disney Magic (again) for a transatlantic cruise to Miami. Follow their travels on Twitter @rsauer3473.

Donna and Roger own Disney Vacation Club memberships at Old Key West and Beach Cub resorts in Walt Disney World. They also have other timeshare interests in Maui, Cancun, Orlando, and Palm Springs.
Feel free to contact them at 503-585-3473 if you would like rent one of these properties.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

European Trip and Transatlantic Cruise Part 4

VOULIAGMENI - September 12, 2010
A lazy day at the hotel. After some obligatory laundry in our sink, we splurged some Starpoints on a breakfast buffet, our first such meal in Europe. There were hits and misses: Donna loved the Greek pastries, while the smoked salmon and fruits were devoured eagerly by me. We should have avoided the eggs and meats as they were cold as was the non-attentive service. I had to get a manager to get a coffee refill.

The next six hours were spent digesting our meal by the pool under cloudy then sunny weather. I tried my swim goggles off the dock into the sea and saw many small fish- nothing interesting like in Hawaii.

We had music accompanying us as there was a large wedding underway on the fifth floor. This one floor below the lobby and all floors cascade down the hill; we are on the third floor on the south wing.

Donna has been spending time looking at our Barcelona guidebook checking out restaurants and activities. It appears we will have good sunny weather there through Thursday, then have a chance of rain on Friday. As we leave on the cruise Saturday, we can handle this.
VOULIAGMENI- September 13, 2010
Our last day in Greece began with a walk down into town to the deli for a few snacks. We also stopped by a bakery and checked out a menu for a restaurant recommended by the lady we spoke to yesterday. We also stopped by the adjacent hotel to get some cash out of the ATM for the cab ride and other expenses.

Later we sat by the pool and read and swam. I tried the sea again but the water had a lot of small debris in it carried in by the currents. I was able to see a very large jellyfish however floating near the surface. As there are warnings out about Portuguese man o'war jellyfish, I kept my distance.

We ate lunch in our room, began packing our bags, and relaxed in the late afternoon before a final glass of wine in Greece and a light dinner. As we need to catch an 8:50 AM flight, we need to be up at 5 AM to get ready. We have decided to take the Aerobus into Barcelona from its airport.

ON THE WAY TO BARCELONA - September 14, 2010
Strictly adhering to the international code of taxi operators, our driver got us to the Athens airport in record time traveling 85 MPH. The flight on Aegean was fine and we were served breakfast, wine, and coffee. Barcelona Airport is modern and huge and it seemed we walked miles to the luggage pickup.

The most efficient way to get to our hotel in the center of the city was to take the Aerobus which had ample room for both people and luggage. It took about 40 minutes to get to our stop at Placa de Catalunya. We dragged our bags though the busy square down Las Ramblas, the main pedestrian mall where our hotel, the Le Meridien, was located. A very modern hotel, the service was slow and, of course, our room was not ready. (It was about 12:15 PM).

Fortunately there was a Carrefours in the same building, so we set about shopping for lunchtime snacks. We returned to the hotel and waited until 2 PM for our room.
Our room on the 3rd floor is very much like an Aloft room, very modern, though not as spacious as that in Greece. after putting our things away, we headed for Las Ramblas where flower stalls, small snack carts, and performance artists hold forth on the pedestrian mall while a variety of restaurants and shops line the perimeter. Donna picked up a few things at a shop called Uissos. We also went to Hard Rock Cafe to look around.

Our hotel does not have a pool but rather a lovely rooftop patio/sunbathing area on the 6th floor. We checked it out and thought it might be a nice place to have a glass of wine in the evening.

We ate a light dinner in our room then went out to check out more of Las Ramblas. We stopped in the large public market called La Bouqueria. The stalls were filled with fish, candies, baked goods, and fruits.

BARCELONA - September 15, 2010
Our first full day in Barcelona began with a stroll through the La Bouqueria market. We then walked the alleyways of the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). The streets are very narrow, much like those in Venice. As it was early, not many shops were open yet. One that was open was a shop called Caelum (heaven in Latin) that sells food and craft products made by nuns and monks.

We came upon a square with a large cathedral under construction then arrived at a major thoroughfare. Donna was looking for a couple of shops she had read about. We found some but, again, most were closed.As it was near lunchtime and we were over a mile from the hotel, we stopped at the market and picked up lunch. After eating we climbed up to the 6th floor to sit out on the rooftop patio.

Later we reemerged on the street and walked further down Las Ramblas. There ware many colorful and imaginative street performers. We found an authentic Irish bar, Flaherty's, down one street so we stopped and each had a beer and shared an order of cheesy fries.

A few more shops were visited and we found a wooden toy for Caidin at one.
Traveling toward Placa De Catalunya we got a schedule and map for the tour bus we will take on Thursday. Back at the hotel we climbed the stairs to the patio again and had a glass of wine. We spoke with a couple from Houston about our travels.

The photo above was taken from our roof patio.

BARCELONA- September 16, 2010
We had a busy day as we took tour buses around the city. The first bus took us down to the port and then over to Montjuic, a large hill to the west where there are museums and the site of the 1992 Olympics. We also saw two buildings designed by the Barcelona artist Gaudi.

The city was originally like many Mediterranean cities a Roman outpost during the reign of Augustus in the years before Christ.

The city was largely improved after it held it's 1929 World's Fair and the 1992 Olympics.

After lunch we took the eastern route that took us by the beaches on the Mediterranean and to Gaudi's unfinished cathedral Sagrada Familia. It is a tall and lofty church in a style that appears very modern despite its being designed in the 1920's.

Though these descriptions are brief, the art we saw was magnificent.

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