Got to back up to Wednesday so we can catch up.
The plane left Washington Dulles airport on Wednesday at 7pm. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time. Boy is Dulles VERY different than BWI (Baltimore) where we normally fly out of. The security lines were HUGE and our boarding passes and passports must have been checked at least 5 different times. There was even at least one station where our boarding pass was stamped and then the stamp was looked for later on.
As I previously mentioned we flew World Traveler Plus, a step up from "coach" and down from business. Am I ever glad we did - we had a tad more leg room and different seat amenities than the coach folks. Honestly, I'm not sure how I would have made it in coach. Between my diabetes and knee problems.. I'm just not sure I would have gotten ANY sleep at all. Linda's knees even hurt and she doesn't have knee problems! We were very restless but got some rest at least.
We found the food on British airways to be very good. If you are diabetic and considering a diabetic meal, think again. If you eat 30-45 carbs per meal, then you'll be fine. But I do low carb and couldn't eat much of the food. For instance, breakfast today was a banana, yogurt and orange juice. Linda had a sweet muffin in place of the banana.
For dinner, Linda had a choice of beef tips or chicken, she enjoyed the beef. It was like a beef stew - beef, peas, potatoes, carrots and gravy. A pleasant surprise as airplane food goes. My diabetic selection was a chicken (including dark meat), spinach and a large white bean on white rice. It was tasty, but too much carb for me.
Once we got on the plane from London to Barcelona, we each received a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast as well as mango/orange juice and coffee/tea.
So, as I alluded to previously, Heathrow was an adventure. We had been forewarned by folks that it was a VERY busy airport and it would take us a LOT of time to get from one terminal to the other. So, in some respects we were prepared. Our schedule arrival time would give us 2.5 hour layover. Since the website says allow for 65 minutes, we felt we were in good shape.
However, upon arriving in London, we sat on the tarmac for almost 45 minutes waiting for a "pocket" (aka gate) to become available. We finally pulled into the "pocket", the doors opened and we had to walk down a flight of stairs onto the tarmac. We were directed to a door that appeared to be an emergency ext. However we had to walk up and then down and then up a flight of stairs to join the main terminal. Once we finally got into Terminal 4, we then had to make our way to Terminal 1. This is where the fun really began.
I'll spare you all the boring details.. but we waited in no less than 4 areas, 4 different times for at least 20-30 minutes to get to the next location. We ended up sprinting thru the final terminal to get to our plane 5 minutes prior to official take off time. This is just another reason why it's important to arrive at your destination at least one day prior to sailing or tour commencing!
Once we arrived in Barcelona and got our bags (as reported earlier) we got to the hotel. It was time for a shower and had a glass of wine and some light tapas in the hotel bar. I had zucchini pesto; Linda mushroom cannelloni and we split a manchango cheese tapas. Not cheap, but quite good. We then walked across the street to Diagonal Mar. Found what we called a "Super Walmart" - 3 floors and whatever shopping you need to do. We purchased some wine and bottles of water.
Our room at the Hilton:
TIP: If you want to charge your purchase on Visa or Master Card, you will need to show your original passport, at least in the Diagonl Mar stores we visited.
Back to the room for a siesta 2 hour!!!! We didn't want to sleep too much, but definitely needed to get some rest. Just after waking up, Beci and Chris called and said they arrived at the hotel. We decided to meet back in the bar, have some drinks and some munchies. We weren't seated 10 minutes and Sandy and Sharon walked up. I'm not sure the hotel was fond of me screaming across the lobby- but as excited cruisers to be - there you go.
Today we met up with fellow cruisers, Gary and Karen, along with Chris, Sandy and Sharon and toured Montserrat!
"The history of Montserrat is fascinating and started in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains. In the same moment the children heard angels singing and the music filled their hearts with a radiant joy.
Overwhelmed by the experience the children ran home to frantically recall the experience to their parents. The parents were sceptical but knew their children were trustworthy and honest and so they went to where the children had experienced the visions to see if they could see what all the fuss was about.
For the whole month following the first visitation the parents were also witness to the same heavenly experiences and were left with only one conclusion. The visions were a sign from God.
A local vicar was brought to the scene and witnessed the same experiences as the children and parents. The visions occurred in the same location in a cave on Montserrat mountain. When this cave was explored by the religious elders of the community they found an image of the Virgin Mary. And from that moment on the cave became a holy sanctuary for religious pilgrims.
Today the site of the visions has been marked by a Holy Grotto on the mountain. You can walk to the Holy Grotto and see first hand where these events took place. The Holy Grotto has now be ordained a holy place and is visited by pilgrims and curious onlookers from all over the world."
It was an amazing day; I'll post pics soon. We got back to the hotel about 7pm. Fortunately, the DIsney Crusie Line desk was still open so we could check into for tomorrow's departure for the ship.
Tonight there is a huge meet of DIS Board folks at the Fountains. We REALLY wanted to go but were so tired from Montserrat...we decided not to.
Tomorrow we board the ship!
Deb Daily Recap:
Highs: Montserrat Basilica
Lows: Getting back to to the room too tired to go to the DIS Fountain Meet
Linda Daily Recap:
Highs Monk's private dwelling we hiked near.
Lows: Going to the mega department store to buy a camera battery recharger that was left at home.
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