Our first stop in Spain was a small island called Majorca (pronounced Mah-york-ka). Since the island was so small we went to about three places in total. The itinerary sounded great before we started: a pearl factory, the Caves of Hams, and Porto Cristo. I had expected the factory to be like what I had seen about six years ago when I went to China, but I know now I shouldn’t have compared it to that awing experience. In China, the factories put a grain of sand into the oyster to irritate it enough to induce the production of a pearl. Here, they were purely synthetic. They take this rod that looks like it’s made of plastic and heat it to about 600°C and form it into whatever shape the design of the day calls for. After that we rushed off to the Caves of Hams (pronounced “ams”). Stalactites are not my favourite things in the world and creep me out a little bit. Combine that with my inability to walk with slippery uneven terrain in the dark makes for a whole lot of clumsy. On the Sea of Venice, a large pool of water within the cave with an interesting “island” we were treated to a light and music show. While images of opera singers singing pieces by Mozart were projected along the walls, some actors dressed up with Venetian masks came towards us on a boat, went once around the “pond” and returned to the back of the cave, but not before hitting the wall and disappearing from sight. I strongly believe in obeying the authorities, something I missed saying about the Vatican was that when we entered the Sistine Chapel, talking was prohibited. Apparently people don’t understand what that means and even with the security personnel telling them to shut up, they kept on talking. I find that to be very rude, especially in such a holy place. Here a similar thing happened. We were clearly told not to touch anything or take pictures with flash. Yes, it is inconvenient and you get horrible photos, but there is a reason why they ask you not to do it other than so that they can make money. Let’s just say I did not enjoy being blinded in addition to all the other handicaps I already had against me. After the caves we went to Porto Cristo. There wasn’t much to see there and this was the only time we had been able to stop for souvenirs. We had worn runners to walk through the caves more easily so heading down to the beach to fill our shoes with sand wasn’t something we wanted to do. Instead we sat on a bench and stared out into the water and at the opposite shore and the boats giving tours of the area. We observed everything closing at 5pm and wondered how a business could survive closing so early, especially restaurants and food stalls.
This was our first night eating dinner at the buffet. Love my chicken strips with honey mustard.
The next day we arrived in Barcelona. The cruise staff kept warning us that theft was so high in Barcelona, but I really was like whatever. It doesn’t matter where you are and who you are, if you flaunt yourself and your wealth and don’t take care to secure your belongings, you’re going to be robbed. Immediately when we arrived in Barcelona (well when I went onto my balcony, not when I was in Barcelona and still in my room), I started sneezing. I didn’t feel cold and thought nothing of it until I arrived on the shore and my eyes started watering like they normally do when I get allergies back in Calgary.
The tour in Barcelona was a quick city highlights tour. The most beautiful thing we saw was Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. It was huge and it’s not even finished yet! Four of the bell towers, on what appeared to be the front of the basilica, looked like they were formed in a cave. It look really cool. We got some free time and I was able to buy a shoulder bag for myself to replace my old one that is ripping because it was a hand-me-down. Since the tour was only for half a day, we got to go to Taste to see what they offered for lunch. My starter was a popcorn shrimp with cocktail and tartar sauces and it was phenomenal! My only complain was that the shrimps were diced, but at the same time I didn’t mind since it saved me from cutting them and allowed me to douse each piece in sauce. I was happy that it was lightly breaded, unlike the calamari had been. Valerie’s scallop gratin came in a dish made for escargot with the same garnishings and way of preparation. It was pretty good. My main was country fried chicken and the portion size was huge! I couldn’t finish it all and felt bad wasting since packing it away for later wasn’t an option.
The day we were in Barcelona was the night we had a show. It was the only show we had to pay for so I hoped it would be worth it. It was called Cirque Dreams and Dinner and it turned out to be the worst possible experience ever. We had paid for premium seats, but they seated us at the worse possible spot ever. We couldn’t see anything because we were seated on the side the performers had their backs to. I sat down in a place and wasn’t told that I wasn’t supposed to sit there and the waiter just treated me like shit the whole night. When I asked for water he’s said to me that he was getting there and that I had to be patient. If I f***ing paying you extra money you better treat me better. It was this incident that was the last straw for me. I will write a review later specific to the cruise ship, but I will not be returning because of that incredibly rude waiter. It was a set dinner so we had prosciutto with mesclun and cucumber and a caprese salad. It was not good. That’s all I’m going to say…just not good at all. The entree was a surf and turf (tenderloin with shrimp and potato wedges and broccoli). It was so salty that I finished both my iced tea and water and the guy didn’t come to refill my water, geezus! Dessert wasn’t any better. They gave us a trio: red velvet cupcake, chocolate and praline cake, and some mango jello thing. The red velvet cupcake was so smothered in icing I couldn’t find the cupcake and when I did, there wasn’t much of it. The mango jello thing is something you can find at a Chinese buffet in Calgary. And the chocolate and praline cake was the best thing all night. Honestly, this was the biggest disappointment ever!
The following day we were at sea. Unfortunately the sea took a turn for the worse and we weren’t able to go wall climbing as per our original plan. We did manage to find a giant chessboard and started playing on that until the wind started knocking over our pieces and we gave up. Originally we were also going to play some board games as an alternative if the weather was bad, but by the time we got down to grab a game to play, they had all been taken.
Stay tuned for the final installment of this trip in Naples, Sorrento and Pompeii as well as our return to Civitavecchia and our stay in Fiumicino.