Sunday, June 17, 2012


After driving by several of the buildings designed by Gaudi , we headed up the hill to what, at the turn of the 20th century was the outskirts of Barcelona and an area where the upper class had built a few homes to enjoy fresh air and view of the city.  Our destination was Parc Guell.  A park designed by Gaudi.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  There were so many photo ops  that I put away my camera and bought a book.  However I did manage to take a few pictures.  For more info on Parc Guell go to the following link.

The Gaudi House Museum.

 View from the terrace

 Ceiling mosaic underneath the terrace.
Dragon fountain
View looking up to the terrace.

Like I said, the whole park was just something else.  It's very hard to explain what you are seeing.  It really needs to be experienced. If you go to Barcelona this is an absolute MUST SEE!!!!!


What to do and see in Barcelona with the limited time I had.  The choices were many.  I opted for the Gaudi tour.  Gaudi was an architect and his work is all over Barcelona.  The bus drove through several neighborhoods where homes and buildings that he designed were located.  There were long lines at some of the buildings waiting to get a closer look at his designs. 

                                       GAUDI BUILDINGS
These pictures were taken through the bus window while the bus was moving .
 Notice how there are no corners in the first two pictures.  Everything is rounded.
I liked the balcony.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fortress of Santa Barbara Alicante Spain

High on top of the highest hill in Alicante sits the Castillo de Santa Barbara (The Fortress of Santa Barbara). It is the largest medievil fortress in Europe.  It was built by the Moors around the 10th century and was liberated from them  in the name of Christendom on Dec. 4th 1248 when the Moors were driven out of Alicante.  That date happens to be St. Barbara's day, hence the name Fortress of St. Barbara.
The castle does not sit on one level.  It is a hike to get to the top.  I was really impressed with its location and imagined being a defender and looking down on armies trying to scramble up the hill while dodging anything and everything that I could throw at them. Even the road up to the castle is steep and windy.
 View from the first level of the castle looking straight down towards the beach.
Looking to the north east.  Notice the first level wall in the lower left of the picture.
 Looking to the southwest.  Notice the wall starting in the upper right hand corner.
 Taken a little higher up.
almost to the top.
From the top level , looking down to where the barracks and living quarters were.
From the top of the castle looking down on the harbor.
A shot of the castle from the ship as we are sailing away.

It was a very enjoyable day in a place I never would have thought of as a destination. For more information on Alicante go to

Friday, June 15, 2012


The bus dropped us off on the main street of Alicante and we started our walking tour of the city.  This part of the city is quite picturesque.
 Heading up to a town square.
 Main focus in the square.  One of the Municipal office buildings.
 A statue sculpted by Dali in the foyer of the clock tower building.
Street scene.
 Heading up to the cathedral.  I was starved and popped into a gelato store for a snack.  No pictures of the cathedral because I couldn't manage the camera and the gelato at the same time.
 These two pictures are of the Esplanada de Espana.  This would be a great place to find a cafe and have an expressso or a glass of wine and just while away the afternoon.  As your looking at these pictures, off to the right is the main street and across that street is the harbor and the beach.  Notice the design in the pavement and the cafes off to the left.

Me eating my gelato.  It was delicious and I was starving.  Ladee took the picture when I wasn't looking. If I could make one suggestion about the tour it would be to make it an hour longer and give us a break to grab a lunch.  I could spend a weekend here in Alicante.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Here are pictures of the Priest's Garden.  It is located in Elche    Elche is famous for it's palm grove The Palmeral of Elche.  It is an orchard of over 200,000 palm trees that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.  I think that the garden is part of the World Heritage Site.  If not, it certainly should be.

One trunk, seven offshoots
How it's supported.
 Another means of support
Our guide with blanched palm fronds.
 Dama de Elche.  This is a replica of the Dama de Elche.  The original is in National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.  For more info go to
 I'm from Arizona.  I've seen cactus.  I thought these were rather unusual.
Really a cool layout.
 Here I am with the blanched palm fronds.  These two pictures were taken by Ladee and I must say they're really good.  These palm fronds are from the male palm tree.  They are blanched and then woven into this art form and carried in processions on Palm Sunday.  This garden was truly a unique experience.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Alicante is half way up the east coast of Spain.  I knew nothing about it, so I picked a land excursion from Princess that looked interesting.  There were three attractions on  the tour I chose. A visit to the city of Elche to see The Priest's Garden, a working archaeological site at La Alcudia and the Fortress of  Santa Barbara.  When we arrived in Alicante the archaeological site at La Alcudia was not open for visitors so the tour substituted a walking tour of Alicante.  It was a gorgeous day, blue sky, temperature in the mid 70's and a slight breeze.  I think Alicante is a great place for a relaxing weekend trip.  Beautiful small town and what looked like a fantastic beach.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Although Gibraltar was never on my list of places to visit, I'm certainly glad I got to see it.  It really is a fascinating place.  It is a rock that is 2.75 miles long, three-quarters of a mile wide and 1,396 feet in height.
It is 8 miles from Africa and is the gateway between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.  A very strategic spot throughout history.  For more info go to
With the limited time I had to explore I managed to see three places.  Point Europa, St. Michael's Cave and Ape's Den.
This is Morocco, Africa as seen from Point Europa.  I was using the zoom feature on the camera. The ancient Greeks called the two sides of the Straights of Gibraltar the "Pillars of Hercules."  Supposedly Hercules had one foot in Morocco and the other in Gibraltar.  As far as I know, no evidence of the statue has ever been discovered.
 Another shot of Morocco from Point Europa.
St. Michael's Cave is one of the top tourist attractions of Gibraltar.  It is a limestone cave and according to the tour guide it is still a living cave.  It was really cool in both senses of the word.
 More of St Michael's.  There is a concert hall in part of the cave.  The tour guide said that the acoustics are phenomenal.  For more info on St. Michael's go to's_Cave
 The roads are very narrow, very steep and very windy.  You're climbing almost 1,400 feet and the rock is only three-quarters of a mile wide.  Here's a view from a stop near the monkeys.  The ship is in the background.
Hey!! Hey!! They're the Monkeys!!  Actually the Barbary Macaques. These fellows were fun to watch.  Especially the young ones.  They climbed all over the buses and vans that had stopped and played on the roof of one of the buses.  I took several pictures of this one but never could get him to look straight at me.  You can tell by his attitude he could care less.  They are very friendly and will sometimes climb on tourists.   We were also told to hang on to our sunglasses and hats because they will take them and disappear over the side of the cliff and you will never see your stuff again .

 I thought this was a good shot of the cable cars.  One going up, one coming down, almost crossing.  the cable car goes up to the top of the rock.  That I'll do on my next visit.  I heard the lines were long and with a limited amount of time I wanted to see as much as I could.
 More of the monkeys.
 For more info on these guys go to
The Port Authority sign.  I enjoyed Gibraltar and will go back if I have the opportunity.  There is more to see, the scenery is breathtaking, they speak English and they drive on the right side of the road.

The Rock of Gibraltar

Monday, June 11, 2012


 On April 27th I set out on a grand adventure.  I boarded a plane and flew to Ft. Lauderdale arriving late in the evening.  I checked into the airport Hilton for the night.(FYI everything shut down at midnight.  Bar and restaurant.)  Next morning I had breakfast and took the shuttle to the pier, dropped my luggage at the Princess drop off point and waited in line to board the ship.  The ship is huge.  Once boarding started, the boarding process went very smoothly and fast.  I received my room card, had my picture taken and I was on board.  On a cruise your room card acts as your identification for bar charges, store purchases, and getting off and on the ship.  It's all you need.
I had cruised before.  In 2010 I cruised the Greek Islands on the Louis line out of Athens.  The ship was one third the size of the Crown Princess and the cruise was in the Aegean not across the Atlantic.  I had a few trepidations about crossing the Atlantic.  The crossing was wonderful.  There was a Sail away party as we left Ft. Lauderdale.  We received a Princess Patter each evening with list of the next days activities.  If you are bored on a cruise ship, it's your own fault.  There are movies at various times of the day, in various places, lectures, trivia(three times a day), seminars,art shows,dance lessons, pool games and in the evening entertainment that I think was equal to Broadway and Las Vegas.  Sometimes it was hard to fit in everything I wanted to do.  There were three different wine tastings.  One was actually a champagne tasting.  Made them all.  It was a wonderful crossing.  Left Ft.Lauderdale April 28th.  Our first port of call was Gibraltar on May 7th. On the way across I got to see whales and dolphins in their natural habitat.  In fact there was a pod of dolphins that were actually playing chicken with the ship.  I presume the dove under the ship, or were fast enough to get past.  

                                    This was taken from deck 7 looking down to deck 5.  There was entertainment here almost constantly.  Deck 5 is the location of the  coffee bar, the international cafe (open 24/7) the wine and sushi bar and the Michelangelo dining room.  Our favorite place to dine.
                                    My favorite bar.  Walked in once and ordered a martini and told them how i wanted it made.  After that first time they knew my name, how to make the martini and my cabin number.  they made an excellent martini with blue cheese olives.
                                      Same  bar
                                    Wide hall way
                                      Another view from deck 7
                                     A view from deck 5 looking up.