Saturday, May 15, 2010

We've Arrived!

Things started out terribly for us.  With all my focus on the ash cloud over the last few days I'd neglected to pay any attention to the weather back in the US.  When we arrived at the Huntsville, AL airport on Thursday morning that all changed.  As time for our flight approached, American Airlines notified us we were on an indefinite hold for weather in Chicago.  When I pulled up the weather on I could see severe storms on top of Chicago with no letup in sight as storms extended from Illinois back southwest to Oklahoma - it was going to be storming for a long time.  I went to the check-in counter and spoke to the agent there and explained calmly and nicely that we needed to get to JFK to catch a flight to Barcelona today so we could make our Mediterranean cruise departing on Saturday.  American came through and got us all moved over to a Delta flight departing in 50 minutes!  Better yet, our original flight was connecting from Chicago to LaGuardia and we were going to have to transfer by bus or cab to JFK.  With the Delta flight, we went to Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. and from there directly to JFK.  The only question I had in my mind was whether or not our bags would make it, but long story short, every one of our bags did make it!

We were able to meet up with DIS family ICollectBelle at JFK and had a nice chat with them while waiting for our flight to Barcelona.  After 8.5 hours we landed in a cool, rainy Barcelona.  Processing through customs was smooth.  Just make sure you find a "Non-EU" line to go through.  Our only hiccup was baggage claim.  It was so slow - we waited a good hour and ten minutes before finally collecting all our bags.  There must have been some kind of break down somewhere.  No biggie - we arrived on time and our bags made it too!  For those reading this that will be cruising later, there are PLENTY of taxis waiting at the airport.  The four of us plus 5 bags, 3 backpacks and a camera bag were fitted (tightly) into what we in the US would characterize as small-medium size vehicle.  I didn't see how the driver could get the bags in there but he did.

We stayed at the Novotel Barcelona City, which is further away from the port that it shows on Tripadvisor.  The good news is that it's a short two block walk to the Glories metro station.  We bought the 10 trip metro passes and we've had no problems at all using the metro to get anywhere we need to go.  It's clean and very efficient.  After a 3 hour or so nap, we met up with fellow DISer "sayhello" and walked Las Ramblas.  We had dinner at Amaya restaurant consisting of a sausage assortment, a truffled cannaloni, sizzling shrimp with garlic and Spanish tortilla/frittata, toasted bread topped with tomato and a pitcher of sangria.

After dinner, we headed to the Metro to see the Monjuic magic fountain show at 9 pm.  We met several other DISers including rashdecision (Rob) and his family, ggleigh (Tina, Andrew and Rachel), ICollectBelle (Donna), Appleguy (Gary) and their family, Pinmeister (Frank & Nancy).  The fountain shows were neat - the third show being all Disney themed.  Definitely well worth a visit!  Tomorrow - the Magic!


Linda said...

We are on the cruise right after yours and also staying at Novotel. Just wondering, how much was the cab fare?
Your blog is very helpful!


Jlspence said...


With 4 people and 5 bags arriving when we did, it was 32.80 Euro so I gave him 35. From there to the port on sailing day it was 20 Euro. Be aware the only thing I would complain about for the Novotel is the slowness of the checkout service. Agonizingly slow. They will call a cab for you and they will give the cab driver your room number and when the cab arrives the driver will look for you. Be on the curb ready to go.