It was early, but not too early. The problem we faced was three of us had been out late, really late! Andrew, William, Dee and I sauntered down the quiet hallway to the elevator. The lobby was silent. As we turned out the front door, I looked back at the Prague Palace Hotel. Most likely, I would never see it in person again. Two trips to Prague are enough!
The stairway to the tube was just a block away. As we bounced our bags down the stairs, we could see the escalator in the distance. Our last trip under Prague was in front of us. The train arrived with its signature “whoosh” and we were heading to the airport. As we bounced our bags up the stairway from the tube, we walked upon the airport bus. A few minutes later, we were at Airport Prague. It is a newer, modern structure of significant integrity.
Before it was even time for us to check in, Caroline arrived. Life was good; the five of us back together, a flight to Barcelona waiting. Little did I know, the kids had enjoyed their World Cup celebration a little bit too much? The stories started to spill out as we sat and waited for our check in gate to open. First one, then another and soon we were all giggling about the affects of a long evening on a high energy group! Disco Prague will be the same, but the kids are forever branded with a night of noise, liqueur and no sleep!
The Czech Air flight to Barcelona was without incident. I didn’t wake up till touchdown. We gathered our bags, made customs and rolled outside. It was Phoenix hot outside. Cabs were waiting and we rolled out of the airport traffic onto the coastal highway to port. Being Big Americans with lots of luggage, we needed two cabs to move the five of us. Heaven forbid there be a decent size cab that can carry us together.
As we drove through Barcelona, we saw the mix of old and new, maintained and decrepit, good and bad on the skyline. Shortly, we looked back on downtown, and the harbor was in front of us. Waiting was the RCI Voyager of the Seas! During check in, we lost Caroline for a few minutes. She was taking a turn on the porcelain bus. Overcome by the line, the heat, the affects of the night before, and the realization that she had been up 24 hours straight took their toll. When she opened her cabin door, opened the balcony, and saw her bed. Life was good again. William and Andrew packed a little naptime just like Mommy and Daddy!
In a few hours, we were moving – we were out at sea. From Spain to Italy gave us a whole day to just relax, kick back, enjoy the ship and get our vacation heads on. Before you knew it, we were playing miniature golf, checking out the pools, finding the dining rooms, and soon realizing the incessant overhead speakers were similar to a Saturday morning in Kmart. For some reason, I don’t need to be told 6 times that Bingo will be starting in some room on the ship at sometime, but I guess the cruise director did.
We found our dining room table for the week and our wait staff could not have been better. Anticipating our every need, soon we were actually getting ice in Europe without asking for it! I was in heaven. Before we knew it, it was bedtime. Looking out from the lounge on our balcony watching the lights, the moon, and other ships was a nightly event. The motion of the sea, the cozy staterooms, and fatigue had us sleeping past breakfast, almost!
WE HAD to get up! We had a big day on board planned. A whole day on board to watch the tranquil Mediterranean while traveling buy landmark after landmark while we did whatever we wanted; life was good. I have to tell you. I had never been on a cruise like this. Private sailboat charters yes, but a ship like this is like taking most of your townspeople along with you. Some adjustment would be in order. Furthermore, the cultural differences of 34 different countries being represented added to the interest.
Before we knew it, it was dinnertime again! Once again, we found our dining room, our table and our friendly wait staff. A couple of glasses of wine, a good dinner and you guessed it, we were tired. This cruising thing is hard work.
TO BE CONTINUED!