Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TPThursday Capturing The Four Seasons

The seasons in photos. . .

I hadn’t given seasons  much thought  until Leigh from Hike Bike Travel invited our participation in another blogosphere event; this one sponsored by

At our house we have two seasons, ‘Travel and No Travel’.  It is from that perspective I offer views of the four calendar seasons as we fondly recall from our travels::



A January evening in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii



An April day on the island of Naxos, Greece


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A July morning in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.



An October morning in Spain’s Andalucian hillsides.

When you capture the memories of the seasons, what do you picture? 

This is my contribution to Travel Photo Thursday created by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. If this is your first visit to TravelnWrite, stop by again Saturday for Washington Weekend.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Travel Tales: ‘La Tuna’ solves that Seville Mystery

DCVegasSeville2011 164It was late one night in Seville, Spain. The bar filled with robed musicians. . . from where they came, their reason for being there, a mystery to us. . .

Two weeks ago I wrote about searching for that elusive Spanish ‘duende’the  devilish Earth Spirit that captures  -- if you are lucky -- the souls of both performers and audience members with riveting emotion. (Click the blue link to read the original post.)  We found it among a group of musicians we'd happened upon who seemed as mysterious to us as the 'duende' itself . . .

DCVegasSeville2011 243

I asked if you’d had similar experiences. Your response was fabulous:

Heather at Lost in Provence wrote that a similar concept exists in Bali.  Called ‘Ngayah’, is applies to more than the just the arts.

Inka at GlamourGranny Travels said while in Galicia she “went in search of ‘morina’ that atavistic longing of the Galegos for their ‘tierra’.”

And then my blogosphere friend from Jamaica Marcia Mayne at Inside Journeys wrote that it had sparked a memory for her; of a similar experience in Spain:

“We just happened on it in a restaurant. There were maybe 4-6 guys playing various instruments, a bucket or vat of sangria that we kept drinking from and singing along.

I remember that it was so much fun, we stayed until the restaurant closed around 1 a.m. or so. Even now, some 20-30 years later, I can feel the warmth, the camaraderie of that evening. We told our professor -- we were in Spain to study Spanish - and I remember him telling us a bit of the history of the Tuna but from the link you sent, I see it's been around for 700 years - impressive! I doubt we knew then that we were part of something so quintessentially Spanish.

I hadn't thought of the Tuna for a long time. In fact, the name was on the tip of my tongue as I wrote my comment. I wasn't sure I'd remember but just before I finished, it came to me and I decided to Google it.”

Marcia’s Google search solved our late night Seville mystery. Here’s one of many videos on You Tube of . . .yes, indeed. . .La Tuna. 

Like modern-day pen pals, Marcia and I began sending each other information about La Tuna and Lorca, the Spanish poet I quoted in the first post. One find was a web article that explains these troubadours have been around since 1215, the time of King Alfonso. 

DCVegasSeville2011 253The members were university students who in the beginning used these traveling performances to pay for their education; today it is an activity steeped in history and keeps alive the tradition of the medieval minstrels.

DCVegasSeville2011 200

"The duende….Where is the duende?

Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odor of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things."
--Federico Garcia Lorca

Thanks to Marcia at Inside Journeys for use of her photo and content used in this post.  Hope you'll come back on Monday to see whereTravelnWrite will be Meandering to then. . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TPThursday: Spain’s “La Fiesta Brava”

Today in History, a regular feature in the Seattle Times, began Tuesday with:

“1947: Legendary bull fighter Manolete died after being gored during a fight in Linares, Spain; he was 30.”

Bullfighting, ‘la fiesta brava’ ; the centuries old cultural icon of Spain is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ topics these days among tourists and locals alike. But still it is interesting that 65 years later, the death of  Spain’s famed young matador, Manuel Laureano Rodrigues Sanchez, -- better known as Manolete* – is still worthy of note on an international scale.

Although we spent several weeks in Spain last year, we didn’t  attend a bullfight; not as a political statement, but out of a desire not to watch an animal – or perhaps human -  be killed. 

But that isn’t to say we weren’t fascinated by the importance of the bullfight to this country’s culture and history. After all, the first recorded bullfight in Spain was in 711 AD at the crowning of King Alfonso VIII.

CelbcruiseMadrid 237

Our stay in Madrid was during its May Fiesta de San Isidro. A highlight of the many celebrations the fiesta encompasses are the bullfights in its Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas – one of the largest bullfight rings in the world.

CelbcruiseMadrid 236

Bullfights, or corridas, take place almost daily during the festival and many were televised for the enjoyment of the masses, much like football and baseball games in the United States and soccer (futbol) in Europe.
(Look closely at the two photos above and you’ll  see I photographed a television screen.)

CelbcruiseMadrid 222

I photographed this sign in Madrid promoting toreras (female bullfighters)  because I thought it was something new. Silly me, they’ve been around for centuries  -- yes, centuries -- I’ve since learned.  Even the famed Manolete shared billing with a female during a  1930’s bullfight according to one internet account.

DCVegasSeville2011 268

In Seville we joined a tour group visit of  the famed Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza (Paseo de Cristobal Colon 12, Tickets for the tours can be purchased at the box office there.

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This 14,000 seat edifice is one of the largest in Spain and hosts fights every Sunday from Easter Sunday to early October.

DCVegasSeville2011 269

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Our multi-lingual tour guide explained the history and the procedural aspects of bullfighting to the handful of people on the tour. The tour concluded with a stop in  the on-site bullfighting museum.

DCVegasSeville2011 276

The museum is a walk through the corridos history– walls filled with paintings, sculptures as pictured above, the outfits and equipment worn by some of the more famous bull fighters as well as a tribute to the more famous bulls as well.

We spotted one of the most clever pieces of street art we’ve seen on our travels while in Madrid. It seemed the perfect photo to end this Travel Photo Thursday post:


A couple of notes about bullfighting in Spain:
Barcelona’s leaders voted to end that city’s 600 year tradition of bullfights; its last bullfight was held  in September 2011. The first recorded bullfight there was in 1387. 

*Manolete, was considered by some to be Spain’s greatest bullfighter.  A book by Barnaby Conrad, “The Death of Manolete” has just been republished. Conrad also produced a You Tube video called The Day Manolete Was Killed.

If this is your first visit to TravelnWrite, hope you’ll come back again for more: Travel. Tips. People. and Places.  And now you can find TravelnWrite on Facebook

Thursday, March 1, 2012

TP Thursday: A Spanish Food and Wine Fest

Food and wine. What’s a trip without them?
In Spain, a country known for its many festivals, we created our own food and drink fest everywhere we traveled last year.

In Madrid:  A trip to our favorite Cervecerias, Los Gatos on Calle Jesus, 2., phone: 914 29 3067) became an almost nightly ritual during our week-long stay. 

Our dinners – tapas and pintxos --were often eaten standing at the wine barrel table under the watchful eye of  “Satchmo” Louis Armstrong and next to a tribute to bullfighting that included a matador’s pink cape.



In Osuna:  We followed the suggestions of our hotel owner and visited Casa Curro, at Plazuela Salitre, 5, phone 955-820-758 where we found a dizzing array of choices ….. all in Spanish which made our dining a fun adventure.




Another night ate at Meson del Duque on Plaza de la Duquesa, 2, phone 95-482-2845 where we let the staff choose for us and were delighted with the culinary artistry. This dish in the shape of bull horns is battered and deep-friend shrimp served in a special dipping sauce. This place was so incredibly good we may go back just to eat there!


In Barcelona:  When not eating food, one of our favorite past times was looking at displays of it.  And one of our newly-discovered favorite places to do that was the Santa Caterina Market  (Avinguda de Francesc Cambo, 16) a few blocks from the Gothic Cathedral.   Its undulating roof is a mosaic made up of 325,000 Spanish tiles. (It isn’t the more well-known market on Las Ramblas.)


I’ll close with a toast to Spanish Cava. It’s  Spain’s version of  champagne; a bubbly glass of happiness. There’s no better restorative for sightseeing sensory overload than a tall flute of it served with a side of salted Spanish Marcona almonds.


Have any tapa favorites in Spain?  Where do we find them?  And remember, it's Travel Photo Thursday so serve yourself a helping of some great destinations and photos by visiting Budget Travelers Sandbox. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Celebrity’s “Connie”: Solstice-ized and Sanitized

Happy Thanksgiving all from off the coast of Africa. . .

I’d been thinking about that chilled glass of champagne on the silver tray – the one the staff member would hand me as I stepped aboard the ship last Sunday afternoon.

That experience, last spring, was my first impression of Celebrity’s Solstice ship and it had set the standard for my expectations for the Constellation. We are heading back to the United States aboard “Connie, an older, smaller ship than the one we sailed in the spring, but one that has been refurbished, ‘solsticized’, to feature “Solstice class” amenities.

solsticetransatlantic 001 That glass of champagne  – as well as  the chilled bottle of champagne and roses that would be waiting in the room – is standard fare for Concierge Class on this cruise line.

But as I have written before about experiences on this trip, sometimes what you expect and what you get are two different things.

Boarding in Barcelona

We knew something was up when we were greeted at the port by women in health-care smocks squirting sanitizer on the hands of arriving passengers before we went through the security gate, the first step in check in.

Another pair squirted more sanitizer on our barely dry hands as we entered the check in line, where additional staff were wiping down the check-in counters as each  guest completed check-in.

Somewhere along the line we were handed the letter explaining that on the previous cruise, from Istanbul to Barcelona, a number of passengers had been stricken with a gastrointestinal illness. . .the ship was undergoing extensive sanitization as a result.  Tips for washing hands to for preventing illness were printed on the back.

barcellonaandconnie 012 And as a result of that process, we were told, boarding would be delayed and’ once on board, our rooms would not be available until 5:30.

We were offered unlimited amounts of canned pop and bottled water, potato chips and other packed treats. We waited with other guests in a makeshift waiting room-- better recognized as the baggage claim room of the terminal -- for three hours in our case.

barcellonaandconnie 011 When called to board ( 3 p.m. for us) we were again given another round of hand sanitizing as we left the room.

As I stepped aboard the ship that is our floating home until December 3rd, instead of that champagne I’d been thinking about,  I got another dollop of hand sanitizer.

barcellonaandconnie 013 We did get to our room at 5:30 and found it a no frills, pretty bare basics place: bed and paper cups.  Our weary – but cheery --room attendant explained that not everything had been sanitized and would arrive the next day.

It is now Wednesday (and with luck I’ll get this posted on Thursday) and our room is back to normal. We got the champagne bucket Sunday evening, the bedding on Monday and flowers Monday evening.  Paper cups were replaced with glasses. Our ice bucket is filled.

Enhanced sanitation continues though as everyone is well aware we will soon be at sea for seven days  -we are still receiving generous dollops of hand sanitizer at every turn.

barcellonaandconnie 014 We are secure in the knowledge that staff members worked their tails off  to make sure the ship is as clean as it can be.  Our cabin attendant, Isabelo, began his work day Sunday at 5 a.m. and ended it at 10:30 p.m. (Makes our wait time rather insignificant by comparison.)

We popped the  cork on that champagne Tuesday evening and I had that glass of champagne I’d been dreaming of. . .we lifted our glasses to “Salud!” (Health!) and Isabelo!

I should note our adventures didn’t stop with boarding; on Tuesday afternoon our captain informed us that the Portuguese had announced a strike for Thursday so our stop in Funchal is cancelled. Stay tuned for where we ended up going. . . we are entering an area of the world with sporadic internet connections. . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Costa del Sol: Dog Days of Autumn

malagamarbella 045 Our last full day on Spain’s Costa del Sol is living up to its name.

The Mediterranean sun called out for a long morning stroll. As we walked towards Marbella our relaxed pace and the slow-paced beach activities could best be described as one of those memorable Dog Days of Autumn.

malagamarbella 048 We watched dogs play in the ocean.  Then sipped cafe con leche at a beachside cafe and watched the waves wash over the brown sugar sand.

The water was so clear we often paused to remark on rocks, shells and the shifting sand.malagamarbella 047   We also pondered how a week could have slipped past as rapidly as this one has done.

We have a bit more sunning to do this afternoon, a final cocktail hour with our friends, dinner at one of the many nearby beach cafes, and then it will be time to pack.

Our friends fly back to London tomorrow and a few hours later we board our train for Barcelona, to begin the next  phase of our Spanish adventure. 

We’ve enjoyed this beach getaway - even with its few days of rain - and now that the sun has returned, we understand the draw of the Costa del Sol.malagamarbella 046

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Malagan Madness

Or, sometimes the best laid plans fail. . . and snaps become snafus. . .

The Snap
Those of you following along on our Spanish travels last heard from us saying we were off to meet friends who were flying to Malaga then drive to our current location, Marriott’s Marbella Vacation Club.

Sounded pretty simple when I wrote it. . .but as we’ve learned with travel, not every experience is what we think it will be.

The plans were determined weeks ago:  we’d meet at the Avis Rental Car counter in the Malaga airport after they had collected their bags.  We’d gone so far to find a map of the airport on line and located the rental counter – before leaving Kirkland.

A friend in Kirkland had flown into the airport a couple years ago and told us it had been a snap. So. . .
. . .we spent the night in Malaga and caught the high speed Metro train out to the airport. A snap.

The Snafu
The Avis rental car counter we were first told was downstairs in the secure arrivals area - a place accessed only by those with airline boarding passes; then we were told it was in the garage area with the cars.  Our friends’ flight was a bit delayed so we decided to wait outside the secure arrival gate and catch them as they came through and all four would find the rental car.

Their side of the story is that just before that gate where we were waiting (and where we'd been told every arriving passenger walks through,  there was a huge sign saying “Go no further, rental cars downstairs” so we waited outside the gate and they waited downstairs. And we waited. . .and waited.

Finally I dug out the directions for using our cell phone and successfully used my Seattle Verizon phone (which was programmed to make international calls) to call an English cell phone from Spain.  Our friends answered and said they were at the rental car kiosk – but we thought they were at the one in the garage. . .Avis was the last rental car agency in the garage so think of a couple of football fields to access it.  As we set off to where we thought they were, we chatted again by phone.

And then the phone quit working.  I would dial their number and the phone showed, “No Access Emergency Calls Only”.  They could call us, but got voice mail.  We were still football fields apart.

Joel rented the car and began putting our bags in it only to realize it was too small for our bags, let alone for two more people and their bags. 

Thus began an hour of switching cars, and setting off in search of our friends (this is a large airport with three terminals); they’d decided to search for us and we had the Avis counter clerk on alert for ‘friends’.  Our friend got to the counter we’d been at minutes after we set off searching for him. . .it was just luck that we saw each other across the crowded garage as he was returning to his starting point.

A few hours later than planned we set off in our larger car. . .well, make that truck.  (We’ve seen several bread and laundry delivery vans that look just like us):

malagamarbella 022

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TP Thursday: Andalucian Enchantments

osuna 010

Spain comes to life about 7:30 each evening. Strolling to cafes, tapa bars, shopping and visiting all begin following the afternoon siesta.  But even with people beginning to reappear, we often found ourselves on deserted plazas or taking  routes that lead us down empty cobblestone streets in both Seville and Osuna.

The Main Square in Osuna, a gathering place for young and old in the daytime sun, emptied at sunset when the autumn chill made it too uncomfortable to sit around visiting. But it's emptiness made it the perfect place to fall under the spell of Spain's enchantments.

Travel Photo Thursday is the creation of Budget Travelers Sandbox so be sure to take a look at all the photos there. And I am posting this on Wednesday evening in Spain as Thursday will be a travel day - hopefully it is Thursday somewhere or will be soon. . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

A donde va? Osuna!

“A donde va?,” asked the rotund bus driver as I stood at the Seville bus station. “Osuna a  la once (own-say).” I answered.

osuna 001[ “Where are you going?” the bus driver asked. “Osuna at 11,” I answered.]

And 30 minutes later at precisely 11 a.m. we were off on our second phase of this Andalucian Adventure.
Osuna is located an hour and a half from Seville, nestled into the Sierra Sur foothills; an agricultural and  university-town. 

osuna 005 Signs  remind visitors that we are in one of the towns on “La Ruta de Washington Irving.” (Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra” is set in Granada but  begins with his trip from Seville to Granada through the Andalucian countryside.)

We came here not for the town, but for the hotel that called out to us during an internet search back home several months ago. More on the hotel in the next post. . .today is about the town; a place quite popular as a base for hunting and fishing trips in the surrounding areas.

Although Lonely Planet’s “Spain” guidebook devoted a portion of a page to the town it didn’t prepare us for the enchantments that it held.  Enchantments, remind me of Don Quixote’s travels – so it seems fitting that we are under their spell in a hotel that is on Plaza Cervantes, named for the author of the fictional character.

The first thing we noticed was that prices here are so incredibly inexpensive that we pause each time a bill is presented. . .”It can’t be THAT cheap, can it?” we ask ourselves.  (For example, two caffes con leche (cafe lattes) with a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice was 3.5E this morning - $5.)

osuna 009 We’ve wandered cobble-stone streets racking up double digit miles on the pedometer passing blocks of mansions dating back to the 1700’s; a church built in the 1500’s, a university with centuries of history. Plazas, fountains, squares; gathering places for young and old. 

And then there’s the olive oil factories that fill the air with the smell of olives and olive oil. Those, too, will be written about later.

And then there’s  the Roman ruins. . . We are headed out to see them this afternoon – obviously way too much to see and do!

Hasta manana!

Note:  We’ve enjoyed using our Spanish – limited as it is – but it wouldn’t be necessary to speak the language to visit this area. 

The photos in order: from the bus arriving in Osuna, one of the many “Ruta” signs in town and a view from the university parking lot out over town – the large building in the distance is a hospital.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Night and Day ~ Day or Night?

Travel days make a tumbled, jumbled mess out of one’s body and mind.   The longer the journey, the longer it seems to recuperate from it.  We left our home Tuesday and arrived at our hotel in Seville some 22 hours later.

Our routing was an overnight flight from SeaTac that arrived in London at noon (about 4  a.m. our body time).  A significantly long layover there gave us plenty of time to travel from Heathrow to Stansted Airport some 60 miles away for our three hour flight on Ryan Air flight to Seville. . . 

seville 008
We were awake and ready for night life as I mentioned before but found ourselves sitting on our balcony sipping a glass of wine at 2 a.m. with the three street cleaners who came by providing our entertainment.
We awoke yesterday at 11:30 a.m.  But getting into the swing of Seville life we dutifully took a siesta and then headed out for the night. To bed at 1 a.m.  The days and nights are now falling into a pattern of day and night, night or day.

seville 010 Sunday is another travel day. We leave this town of just under 800,000 people with far too many places that we still didn’t have time to get to; but are eager to begin exploring Osuna, population 45,000, some 90 miles away.  Tomorrow we travel by long distance bus – a journey that will take only two hours to complete.  We will arrive in time for siesta and then it will be time to start exploring. . .

Hasta Osuna ~

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Rain in Spain. . .

.  . .is falling in Sevilla this week.  But it isn’t about to dampen our visit!

The sun has returned momentarily and is shining during the afternoon siesta hour; I write this post while drying out my shoes and feet that got dampened in this morning’s rainstorm.

seville 003 We arrived in Sevilla (seh-VEE-yah) during the normal dinner hour – 10 p.m. – Tuesday evening.  However, we quickly learned that rainstorms curb the late night activities. The tapas bars in our neighborhood were closing at 11:30 p.m. so by the time we got to our hotel, dumped the luggage and headed out, we had time for some wine, cheese and olives  and called it a day.

The rain which welcomed us Tuesday, let up Wednesday and returned full force last night and this morning.

seville 001 Seville is spectacular – even when soaking wet.  (The photo is of Giralda Tower and Seville’s Cathedral – we are a few blocks from here – this was taken the night we arrived.)

We had had a tapa-sized taste  of this Andalucian town four years ago when during a day-long cruise stop in Cadiz we hopped a train and headed here. I noted then in my journal that the city called out for us to return.  We are glad we did.

Writer James Mitchner may have described it best  when he wrote, “Sevilla doesn’t have ambiance, is ambiance.”

seville 004 Our ‘home this week is in the historic Santa Cruz district at the Hosteria del Laurel, a family-owned hotel, bar and restaurant on the Plaza de los Venerables (the vulnerable). Our spacious corner room overlooks orange tree shaded tables and the one-time Hospital-de los Venerables (retirement home for priests); today a.n art gallery.

The old concrete walls don’t conduct wi-fi so posts will be somewhat limited – and dependent upon visits to the neighborhood Starbucks.. .yes, they have several locations here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spain: A Land of Fact and Fiction

“Why Spain?” we are asked by those who add, “You’ve already been there, haven’t you?”

DSCF0673We have been there several times if you count cruise ship stops; those tapa-sized tastes of a country that leave you wanting a full-meal-deal size experience.

Our week in Madrid last May scarcely gave us time to see the town, let alone anything nearby.
And so we’ve chosen to return to Spain to continue consuming its history, sights, culture, and of course, its food and wine.   We’ve been studying – both fact and fiction – preparing for this trip.

Spain “. . .for the greater part . . .is a stern, melancholy country, with rugged mountains and long sweeping plains, destitute of trees and indescribably silent and lonesome. . ."  Washington Irving wrote in his Tales of the Alhambra in the mid-1800’s.
The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Spain’s jobless rate has hit an all-time high (21.5%) and that the number of households without any income hit 3.2% of the country's population, or 559,000 families.
Spain’s elections are scheduled to take place the day we board the cruise ship in Barcelona to head home.  We know that a major terrorist attack occurred prior to elections there in 2004.

DSCF0664In reality, it’s doubtful we will see the poverty, politics or protests up close.  We will – as do most travelers  – visit historic sites, marvel at the architecture, stuff ourselves with tapas and paella, and wash it all down with copious amounts of inexpensive, but excellent, Spanish wine. 

Oh yes, and we won’t forget those famous Seville sweets – a specialty of the Monasterios’ bakeries – thanks to a tip from Carol, a travel writer friend of ours. (Click the link for her sweet look at Seville.)

In a manner of speaking we’ve already spent a few months traveling through Spain’s history and countryside, reading – in addition to guidebooks and news reports --  of fictional characters whose stories brought history to life. Two books, Victoria Hislop’s The Return and  C. J. Sansom’s Winter in Madrid each took us into Spain’s Civil War and the Franco years. The Seville Communion by Spanish author Arturo Perez- Reverte provided an entertaining murder mystery set in the city we’ll be visiting.

Yes, we are returning to Spain - our previous tapa-sized tastes are bringing us back for more adventures in this land of fact and fiction.

Note:  The books mentioned above and others we’ve read on Spain now appear on our Amazon carousel on the Travelnwrite homepage.  Clicking on them will take you to reviews of the book; and in full disclosure, if you buy one from our page we will earn a few cents.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Going cruising with “Connie”

Now that we’ve finished the Southwest road trip, our suitcases are in the early stages of repacking for our upcoming fall adventure . . .

Ambles through Andalucia

We’ll fly from Seattle to Spain’s interior, beginning our trip in Sevilla, departure gate to the New World a half dozen centuries ago - the perfect place to delve into both culture and history. After a few days poking around the city,we’ll hop a train out into Seville province's countryside to spend a few days in Osuna, population 18,000. Then we head south to see the mark of 20th Century tourism and the Costa del Sol.  In the port town of Malaga we’ll meet friends, pick up a rental car and head out for the trendy, touristy Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol

A week later a train will take us north from Andalucia to Catalunya, where we will have a couple of days to explore Barcelona.  We’ve been here before, but always on a cruise ship stop that allowed only a few hours exploration, this time we’ll have plenty of time to ramble through its Barri Gotic and Las Ramblas and to ponder Gaude's architectural handiwork before we meet:

‘Connie’. . .

. . .  the cruise ship that will be our floating home for the two weeks it will take to reach the United States.

We are already thinking of the ship as ‘Connie’, the nickname given her by her former passengers/admirers. Formally, she’s Celebrity Cruise LinesConstellation, a 965-foot long (think 2.5 football fields) luxury liner.

Our 13-night cruise will take us from Barcelona, Spain to Fort Lauderdale, Florida; with stops in Alicante and Malaga, Spain; then after passing through The Pillars of Hercules, we’ll be off to Funchal, Madeira, and Tenerife, in the Canary Islands followed by seven ‘sea days’ as we  cross the southern Atlantic.

Map picture

We’re sold on repositioning cruises for a number of reasons: they are a good travel value, and they provide a mix of ports of call and plenty of ‘sea days’ to kick back, relax and enjoy all the ship has to offer.

We had such a great first time experience with Celebrity on their Solstice transatlantic crossing last spring going to Barcelona, that our expectations for Connie are high.  As we did on the Solstice cruise we will tell you about ship board life and introduce you to folks we meet along the way.

Note:  We’ve listed a number of agencies and websites that we’ve used to nab some incredibly good cruise fares on our TravelnWrite Deal Finder page.  It isn't too early to think about spring repositioning cruises. Some, like the transatlantic crossings, can take a couple weeks.  Others, like one we took from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle, was a one-night 'crossing' and made for a fun Pacific Northwest getaway.

Back to Spain and our cruise: Do you have recommendations for us?  Restaurants? Flamenco shows? Tapas bars?  Send your tips by email or leave a comment.  And what about ‘Connie’ – are you a member of her fan club?  I'll compile your responses in a future post.


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