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Goals; Cruise Part 1 (Barcelona & Cannes)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I returned yesterday from my Mediterranean cruise vacation, I had a blast. I went with SF and hiking buddy SpunkyLB; she loves cruising and her DH can’t travel. The weather was lovely and warm, with a few rain showers. I feel rested and relaxed, and I enjoyed the focus on art, archeology and history. We traveled to Barcelona (Spain), Cannes (France), Florence and Pisa, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, Ravenna (also in Italy), and Dubrovnik (Croatia). I had never been on a cruise before, and it was my first time visiting these destinations.
On the fitness front, I did pretty well on most goals.

1. No snacks – achieved
2. Improved sleep – achieved!
3. No alcohol – well, we had 4 alcoholic beverages in 20 days. So alcohol intake was moderate.
4. I ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, and made healthy food choices overall.
5. My biggest problem was overeating at meals – portions were large and the food was good. I did not overcome the temptation of large portions of delectable food. AND I ate dessert.
6. We exercised daily, with lots of walking and hiking. I stretched daily. I did strength training every other day, which is really good for me.
7. I broke my energy drink habit! I will make a huge effort to NOT backslide on this bad habit.

We flew to Barcelona, Spain, where we had 2 days and nights in Barcelona before the cruise began. Barcelona is a beautiful bustling city with distinct neighborhoods. We stayed in the Ejempla District, very close to iconic architect Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral, La Sagrada Familia. In fact the cathedral spires were right outside our window. Gaudi never expected the cathedral to be finished within his lifetime; he always responded that his client, God, did not have a deadline. From our hotel window, it was really interesting to watch the construction; the workers were like tiny ants on the huge scaffolding, and how the huge cranes operated with such precision.

View from hotel window

There were huge long lines waiting to get tickets to tour inside La Sagrada Familia, and we did not want to wait for 2 hours in line. So we viewed it from the outside. That may have been a wrong decision; during the cruise a couple told us it was the highlight of their trip to go inside; the space was filled with light, art, and unusual grand design. (From the outside I did not appreciate it as much. It is huge and overpowering; and the cranes and scaffolding interfere with the design)

We traveled around by Metro (underground), and walked throughout Barri Gotic (gothic district). This district is built on top of Roman ruins; the Roman walls are visible.

By Roman wall

Barri Gotic

We enjoyed walking through the narrow alleys. We found the Picasso museum in La Ribera (our goal) but it was not open on Monday. We really enjoyed the lovely Catedral de Seu (constructed between 1300 and 1450), which contained an incredible collection of artwork.

Bell tower

Cathedral interior

Ducks in monastery courtyard

These 3 buildings were nicknames La Manzana de Discordia (the apple of discord) because they were so controversial when they were built. The central building is Casa Batllo, by Gaudi.

We toured La Pedrera, an apartment building designed by Gaudi. He did not like right angles and square spaces, and was heavily influenced by the forms of nature. Wow. Very unusual apartment building!

Mural and window grill from central lobby



I loved the paella in Spain. Spunky LB did NOT like it; she really prefers traditional American food. She was shocked that the shrimps were still in their shells; they looked like giant insects to her with their little legs in the rice. We both loved the sangria, which is a mixture of red wine and fruits (that’s why I didn’t meet my no alcohol goal!)

Barcelona from the ship

We joined our ship, Serenade of the Seas, and cruised overnight to Cannes France. We walked along the promenade along the beach. Unfortunately it just poured rain on our first (morning) hike; we returned to the ship for lunch. We then took the tender (boat) back to Cannes and walked the other section of the promenade in the afternoon, the rain was more intermittent.

Ship from Cannes promenade

Cannes harbor

Spunky LB and I had both purchased new rain coats – but the weather was so warm we couldn’t wear them. An umbrella was much more comfortable!

I'll close with a couple of pictures from on board the ship, and I'll post another blog soon!

Dressed for dinner!

Ship interior
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have never been on a cruise before either, but I think you chose a very good one! A cruise is one of those things that remains on my bucket list; I am so happy for you that you had such a wonderful time. Thank you for blogging about it and for sharing your photos. Isn't the mixture of the old and the new just fascinating? Oh yes, the "museum closed" status has caught me many times! It is just impossible to always be in the right place on the right day. :)

    1673 days ago
    Wow-what an adventure of a lifetime! You look so happy and I can see why! What gorgeous scenery, cruise ship and places to go! Glad you had a great time! emoticon emoticon
    1677 days ago
    What an enjoyable trip! I've had others tell me about it, but I got a different outlook with your description. Thanks!
    1683 days ago
    Ohhhh this looks wonderful! I am sorry it rained in Cannes though. I have never been to Barcelona, and now I really want to go!!!
    I think you did well with your goals... Lots of good new habits and improvements, and the overeating is difficult to fight when the food is so good!

    1683 days ago
    Very nice, thanks for sharing. It looks beautiful and I think it sounds like you did a great job while you were away. Way to go!
    1683 days ago
    Hi Alison,

    I've been anxiously awaiting your return to hear about your trip, and am SO glad that you had a great time!

    Congratulations on getting so much exercise, and for not drinking energy drinks. I think you did really well.

    Your pictures are beautiful, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I've been to Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Pompei, but the rest of your cruise will be new to me.

    Try not to get re-stressed too quickly!

    Gail emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1684 days ago
  • DR1939
    Loved the pictures. You did very well on your goals.
    1684 days ago
    First of all, you did GREAT during your cruise! I have cruised several times and I know exactly what you mean about the meals~large and delicious. And I have such a sweet tooth, that skipping dessert is out of the question~lol! I think making healthy choices and avoiding large portions at the buffet helps counter-balance the larger dinner.
    Secondly, thank you for the amazing pictures and description of your 2 stops. You are like a virtual tour guide! I look forward to seeing the rest of your trip :)

    P.S. You look wonderful in the pictures!
    P.P.S. Did you cruise with Royal Caribbean? We are planning a Mediterranean cruise May/June 2014 or possibly 2015. Would love details about your experience traveling those countries via cruise ship vs. staying there and travel via railway

    1684 days ago
  • YMWONG22
    emoticon emoticon
    1684 days ago
    Welcome back! It looks like it was a wonderful trip.
    1684 days ago
  • 144AUTUMN
    keep up the good work!!!
    1684 days ago
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