Casa Grande, AZ
Everyone keeps asking where are the pictures of the trip. We've been so exhausted from the jet lag and almost three weeks of laundry that I'll try and put a little something out.
We left Sky Harbor Airport on August 31 around 10 am. Arrived in Charlotte for our connecting flight about 30 minutes early which made for less than a 4 hour flight.
Charlotte was a much better choice than JFK or Atlanta for connections. It's a good thing we had over a 3 hour wait as it was a very long walk to our gate. Of course our gate was the very last one but it was next to a nice local brewery where we decided to get something to eat. The eight and half hour flight to Barcelona was 45 minutes early. We arrived in Barcelona before noon but it took awhile to get luggage and go through passport control.
Our program director, Jaume, was there to meet us and when I asked about an ATM to get Euro's he suggested we wait until we got to the hotel as there was one directly across the street with the best rates. He helped us with our luggage and we met Ken and Betty, who arrived on a different flight. Jaume took us to the driver who would take us to the hotel. He said to relax and enjoy ourselves and everyone would meet in the hotel for a briefing at 4:30 followed by a walkaround to get us aware of the city.
We got 200 Euro out of the ATM as we will be going back to Europe on our next trip before the end of the year. You really don't spend much on extras on this trip.
Bill and I explored the different areas of the hotel area while we were waiting for the briefing. The 7th floor terrace had a bar, fitness room and hot tubs. Here's a photo of how all the street corners look in this area of Barcelona. Notice the corners are "chopped off" to let the light in and they use that area for parking.
We could see the Mediterranean Sea and the Sagrada Familia basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site from the hotel terrace.
Bill and I had our first taste of Spain's wine during our welcome drink and briefing. We met the other 14 fellow travelers who all seemed to be a fun group. I've always wondered why we are usually the only couple from Arizona.
Jaume walked the group around the area, showing where the pharmacy, gelato shops, tapas bars and good eating places where. There were signs of architect Antoni Gaudi everywhere. Jaume mentioned that he studied architecture and worked on some building restorations.
In Spain they eat differently than other parts of the world. Lunch is usually around 1:30 to 4. With the last lunch order taken at 3:30. After 4 if you want something the cafes will not open until 8 pm.
It wasn't difficult falling asleep after dinner.