Imagine that you’re trapped in an interior, windowless 8 ft by 14 ft room with recirculated air for 7 days with another human being who is NOT your significant other. Or even a semi-significant other.
Now imagine the 5 ft by 5 ft bathroom – so small you can brush you teeth in the sink while sitting on the “throne”. Not that I did that…
Well – maybe once. I was in a hurry.
Now imagine that the person you’re trapped with has, not one, but two bouts with an intestinal bug during the 7 days you are in this itty, bitty, closed in room. The first occurrence manifested it’s self in the lower GI tract. The second was in the upper digestive area.
Both involved extensive use of the toilet, if you get my drift.
Welcome to AGMA’s Griswold European vacation!
Vacation blues indeed.
Our first 4 nights in Barcelona were great! Sangria, pinxto, tapas, cava, cider, chocolate. Pretty standard, awesome stuff for Barcelona!
Our hotel, The Denit, was wonderful. Not luxury, but nice amenities and location, location, location. We had a lovely terrace that would have wonderful to use had the weather been a bit warmer.
HOHO (hop on hop off) bus tour, walking tour of the Gothic Quarter with Runner Bean Tours, a Barcelona Guitar Orchestra concert at the Palau de la Musica (amazing place!), a tapas tour with Sandemans New Barcelona Tours (I managed NOT to get my purse stolen on this one), self-directed Monserrat tour, Sagrada Familia (for 4 hours), the Picasso Museum, dinner with an old friend who is in Barcelona for a few months.
Then the trouble started.
On Friday, Mary (my traveling companion) was struck with some sort of a bug during breakfast and promptly proceeded to act like she was prepping for a colonoscopy. Multiple times.
This was a problem.
We were supposed to board our cruise ship in the early afternoon. It was 10 AM.
Dutiful AGMA went to the pharmacy. My pantomime to the pharmacist the nature of the problem could’ve made me a YouTube star. The pharmacist he knew exactly what the problem was…
9 Euros later, Mary was downing a couple of “plug up” pills. A wonderful front desk clerk who knew of our dilemma allowed us to stay 2 hours past the checkout time so Mary could rest. And hopefully the magic pills would do their thing.
So, naturally, AGMA went out shopping.
Don’t judge me.
“Things” settled down with Mary. She managed to rally when we needed to check out. A quick cab ride to the dock and a painless check-in, and we were in our cabin on the MSC Meravaglia. Mary promptly went to bed where she stayed for the rest of the day and most of the next day.
AGMA was alone and on her own.
MSC is a European cruise line. Most of their customers are from Europe. And Asia I think, judging by the number of kimonos on the formal nights. While most folks spoke English, I was definitely in the minority as a native English speaker. And seriously in the minority as an American.
The ship was new last May and is sparkling. And HUGE. There were 19 floors. Something like 4 pools and 10 hot tubs. Four chocolatiers actually making chocolates in a very large, open shop. A mozzarella cheese making kitchen. A bowling alley with 2 lanes. An indoor tennis court. 10 lounges/bars (one just for champagne). A specially made Cirque du Soleil theater with 2 different CdS shows. An long (think shopping mall long) 2 story atrium with shops and restaurants, and digital projections and shows on the ceiling. A outdoor water park and obstacle course. A large casino, 3 large restaurants, a huge buffet and large theater for their live shows rounded out the offerings.
AGMA was overwhelmed.
Mary perked up on day 2 (Sunday) having missed a trip into Marseilles on day 1. I liked Marseilles. I had the best chocolate eclair EVER from a small bakery there…
All was well in Genoa (day 3), Rome (day 4) and Palermo (day 5).
Then, double trouble struck. Mary got another bug the evening of day 5. This time it was tummy issues. It also involved multiple visits to the bathroom.
But wait…AGMA got sick as well. All of the wine and spirits, and fatty foods I’d been ingesting for 9 days made my pancreas very, very angry. So I was down for the count with acute pancreatitis.
We both missed the tour of Malta on day 6 and I am very, very sad about that. FWP right?
I rallied on day 7 which was an ‘at sea’ day. Mary, on the other hand, stayed in bed for yet another day. AGMA has never seen anybody sleep for almost 48 hours. Because she is 76 and basically hadn’t eaten and had very little to drink for 2 days, I suggested she see the ship doctor.
Nah baby nah – she wouldn’t do it.
But she HAD to get up and dressed on day 8 because we were back in Barcelona. Our cruise was over.
Our original plan was to go to Park Guell and do some other sightseeing before our flight for Portugal took off that evening. But Mary didn’t have the endurance to walk down the street let alone walk around Barcelona. She had no clue what to do.
AGMA (cue the hero music) to the rescue! I found service called ByHours that rents hotel rooms in 3, 6 and 12 hour blocks.
And I know what your thinking…
Yes, maybe it’s used for that. Okay, for sure it’s used for that, but it is also for travelers with long layovers (no pun intended.) I got Mary a room at a small hotel on Las Ramblas for 6 hours.
It was a nice room. And nothing was sticky. That was encouraging.
To be continued……