Austin to Barcelona

austin-to-barcelona

As usual, I've put the cart before the horse.

I told you all about all about the shippy parts of the cruise, and even told you about our first port, where we visited Monaco and Monte Carlo, but I didn't even tell you about the first leg of our trip and how we even got there, yet. 

Isn’t life just the craziest thing sometimes?

We got to the Austin airport and ran into my son’s friend from high school, who also happens to be his college roommate! We had some fun chit chat about the odds of running into them there, and got to even have lunch with him and his mom before we boarded our flights.

How freakin’ random is it that they then headed to the same gate as us?

Y’all! We were on the same flight!

Our first leg was from Austin to Charlotte, where we would then change planes bound for Barcelona, and they would change to their flight to New York.

Crazy, crazy, you guys.

 
 

We landed in Barcelona and, ohmygosh, that airport was insane because of the taxi strike. Lines were stacked up at the valet counters with a bunch of pissed off, loud, and extremely animated Europeans looking for taxis or shuttles, which of course weren’t running because of the strike.

Here are the highlights from our overnight stay in Barcelona:

  • Our super-expensive, yet not-at-all fancy van arrived and got us to our hotel, the Acevi Villarroel, without a hitch.
  • The room was a two-level situation, with a tee-tiny bedroom on the top level, along with a bathroom (and a bidet!), then a spiral death-wish staircase of straight-edged marble steps - with no railing, mind you - that led down to another bedroom and bathroom, where the boys stayed. (The safety hazards in this room would never fly in the U.S.)
  • Restaurants in Spain close in the afternoon and don’t open back up for dinner until 8 or 9pm, because they aren’t as dependent on their next meal like Americans are, and since we’d been up for more than 24 hours, we were starting to get frail and weepy (by “we” you know that I mean “me”).

We found a corner cafe that, by the grace of God, opened at 5pm, and where exactly zero workers spoke one word of English.

  • It didn’t matter that we don’t speak Spanish because in Barcelona they speak Catalan, which is kind-of a blend of Spanish, French, and Italian (who knew?), so we’d have been just as shit outta luck as we already were, even if we were Spanish speakers.

We had one heck of a time trying to describe to the waiter what we wanted to order for dinner. I’d like for you to picture me gesticulating wildly with my hands to describe “big, juicy burger,” while shouting all the describing words, which, by the way, don’t translate from English to Catalan the louder your voice gets.

  • After traveling for more than 24 hours, it felt delicious to walk in the sunshine and stretch our legs out. We found a little playground set down in a courtyard-type area in the middle of some apartment buildings, so Cody got to run through there and play for a bit.

I wish I’d kept taking pictures because a few little boys came and joined him after I put my phone away. I wonder if Cody will remember playing on that playground with a few little local Barcelona boys?

  • We slept like rocks in beds that were sub-par, but it sure felt delicious closing our eyes that night.
  • European hotels don’t do continental style breakfasts (at least, this one didn’t), and we didn’t have to be at the ship until noon, so we had the morning to tool around and walk the streets of Barcelona again to find something breakfasty before checkout.

We found another corner cafe that served a better-tasting Americano than any American coffee shop in the history of coffee shops.

Man, I loved Barcelona so much!

We definitely need to go back there and explore some of the must-see places, but for this trip, it was perfect to go to places that the locals go to.

 Outside our hotel, waiting for the taxi to pick us up and take us to the Disney Magic

Outside our hotel, waiting for the taxi to pick us up and take us to the Disney Magic

 Our first night abroad! Found a cute corner cafe where nobody spoke one damn word of English.

Our first night abroad! Found a cute corner cafe where nobody spoke one damn word of English.

 Mark waiting for coffee after our first sleep - still feeling jet-lagged!

Mark waiting for coffee after our first sleep - still feeling jet-lagged!

 The 18-year-old enjoying some French toast

The 18-year-old enjoying some French toast

 Stretching his legs on a public playground tucked into a courtyard

Stretching his legs on a public playground tucked into a courtyard

 The 9-year-old loving his sugar-dusted pancakes

The 9-year-old loving his sugar-dusted pancakes

Here's the post on how we prepped for the trip, including all the places you'll want to read up on and research if you're planning a Disney Cruise.