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    Europe, France

    Carcassone

    Walled city of Carcassonne

    The others were napping from their early awaking that day. We had asked the hotel clerk for a good restaurant inside the city for dinner, but we could not find his recommendation, as the city was like a maze, as charming as it was. Some restaurants were closed for the season because of the bitter cold (we loved bundling up in our warm stuff). Then we walked back down hill to our hotel and donned warmer clothing (like hats and mittens and scarves) We knocked on Davy’s door, which he answered looking “half asleep”. It was 6:30 and we told him where we were going to dinner. He mumbled something about joining us later. We walked back up hill and inside the neat walled city to look for the restaurant. We finally found the restaurant called “L’Trouvadere”, where we had a very good dinner. Before we were served, Davy called and said he was on his way. The girls were all still getting ready, and Corrina was too tired to join us. So he took back some food for her later. Dave and I both had huge bowls of what else, French Onion Soup! We also shared some great bread and a good salad. Don ordered a local specialty called “Cassaloute”. He enjoyed it but said it was quite heavy. It consisted of large fava beans, meat and duck. It was baked and served in a heavy skillet. About the time we finished, all the girls (except Corrina) arrived for dinner, saying they were “famished”! We chatted a while after they ordered, and when their food arrived, we left for a walk back down the hill to our close by hotel. We were thankful it was close, as it had been a very long day (especially with so little sleep night before) Don was snoring loudly within a few minutes, while I journaled a good hour! Must get some “shut eye”, besides I have a writer’s cramp! Asleep by 11:30. Zzzzz

    Dec. 27 Carcassonne

    Don’s alarm went off at 8am, and I was really dreaming! The beds were so comfy, and we slept well. Got ready and headed downstairs for breakfast in the hotel. Then we ran into Davy who had just called for a taxi to the train station, where he would purchase our tickets for the train ride to Barcelona tomorrow. Don decided to go along with him, as he was not hungry. I had a yogurt, fresh fruit and juice, soft boiled egg on a croissant and coffee. The coffee shop charged 10 Euros for breakfast. When the guys got back from the train station, we all waited in the lobby for the girls to join us. After waiting 45 minutes for the “slow movers”, Don and I headed up to the walled city and said we would see them walking around. It was raining, and the wind gusts were so strong, our umbrellas did not help much. At 40-50 mph, our umbrellas were inverted! It was really cold, as the winds were coming from the nearby Pyrenees mountains which were snow laden. While we walked around, we noticed a cute place where we went to inquire about dinner reservations for the night for the whole group. It was the oldest restaurant in Carcassonne and very charming! Called “L’O Stahl Troubadors”. It had a nice, cozy feeling and a big fireplace close to the large table where we would have dinner. The dinner menu looked good too, so we made reservations for 7pm that night. After walking around more, we were cold, and Don was hungry by then, so we went next door to a cute place called “L’ Escargot” for some delish Tapas! At 2pm, we met up with the rest of our group to go through the castle within the walled city of Carcassonne. It cost 9 Euros apiece for a 2-hour tour including an interesting film about the castle’s history. One part of the tour was out doors in the courtyard where the winds were really howling! At one point, we had a bit of hail and some snow flurries! It really looked beautiful! We wanted to walk the castle walls, but because of the high winds, they were closed to visitors.

    Wind was a problem

    Carcassonne

    Carcassonne

    Chivalrous Knights kissing Sharon’s hand

    We checked out the church which was under construction, but we could still see beautiful stained-glass windows through the netting. Under warmer conditions and weather, there is a lot more open around here including a lovely park and a little train that runs through the village of Carcassonne. Of course, there are more restaurants and shops open during warmer seasons. At 6:45, we all met in the hotel lobby for the little walk up the hill to the walled city for our dinner reservations. It was a delicious dinner and good ambiance. The waitresses cooked the meat and potatoes on the grill of the fire place. Later a Troubadour played the guitar and sang for a while at each table. The French call their Musicians “Troubadours”. By 8:30, the place was packed!

    L’O Stahl Troubadors restaurant

    Then we walked around this magical city all lit up. We had a nice chat with Davy before saying “Bonne Nuit” (good night) around 10pm. We planned to get up and power walk through city of Carcassonne in the am (weather permitting), as we did not leave until 11:30 am for the nearby train station.

    Thursday De. 28, 2017 Carcassonne to Barcelona

    Set alarm for 7:30 so I could wash my hair with the wonderful showerhead in our bathroom before breakfast. Don wanted to get out for some early am photos with the sun rising. Sadly, the sun was already too high by 8:30. It was a pretty, sunny day (38 degrees), so we took off for our power walk through the city. Everyone met in the lobby by 11am with all our luggage, waiting for the 3 taxis. We said, “Au Revoir” (good bye) to the cute city of Carcassonne, as we headed for the train station. We had a 90-minute wait at the station, so we took turns taking a walk through the cute shops and cafes nearby, while some watched our luggage. Don and I found a cute “Farmer’s Market” with some wonderful fruit, which we purchased for our group. There were more “Christmas Markets” around and a cute church with Nativity scenes and Creches from all over world. Around 1:30 the train arrived and we all had to run down the steps and over to the other side with all our heavy luggage! (No elevators) Don and Davy really had a lot of helping to do with 7 females! There was only a little space on the train for us and all our luggage, so we just stood for the first train ride (30 minutes) A nice, friendly Frenchman stood by us chatting the whole way (he spoke great English), and when we arrived at the second train, he helped us get our luggage off the first train. The second train was much nicer and larger, as it was the “Bullet Train”. There, we had enough space to put our luggage for the 2-hour ride to Barcelona, Spain. The Barcelona Train station was huge! It was a few degrees warmer, but still cold. The usual 3 taxis transported us to our “Surprise Lodging” down at the lovely Marina. Yes, we were staying on a boat! In fact, it was a Fabulous 85-foot Yacht called “The Dandy”!

    Inside the Dandy

    Our home for 5 days

    Barcelona harbor on bow of the Dandy

    This was a beautiful Air B&B that Dave found online a few months prior. It was SO Cool to stay on the Yacht for the next 5 days (over New Year’s)! We even had our own skipper who took us all out in the

    Davy and Delanie swimming the Mediterranean Worlds largest private yacht

    lovely harbor one afternoon with beautiful, warm weather! (Photos) Talk about POSH, we all felt so spoiled! Dave and Corrina had the huge Master Suite, and Don and I had the second Master Suite, very nice also. The other state rooms were bunk beds. There were large sectionals in the living room, so it slept 12 people nicely. We were so lucky to be so close to town, and that is why Davy booked the “Dandy” as all the other “Air B&B’s “were too far from Barcelona. The gentle lapping of the waves and rolling motion really put us to sleep in our comfy queen bed every night! There were 3 portholes to look out of. Once we were all settled, we took a walk in the Marina to a close by restaurant with great food! It also had great Sangria! There were several ristorantes to choose from. Poor Diane was coming down with a bad cold (Delanie’s mom) We were worried about catching it, which I did later on. After diner, we strolled around the Marina for a while, before going back to the Yacht as it was cold! The girls were all going out on the town that night (and every night while there)

     

     

    Walled city of Carcassonne

    The others were napping from their early awaking that day. We had asked the hotel clerk for a good restaurant inside the city for dinner, but we could not find his recommendation, as the city was like a maze, as charming as it was. Some restaurants were closed for the season because of the bitter cold (we loved bundling up in our warm stuff). Then we walked back down hill to our hotel and donned warmer clothing (like hats and mittens and scarves) We knocked on Davy’s door, which he answered looking “half asleep”. It was 6:30 and we told him where we were going to dinner. He mumbled something about joining us later. We walked back up hill and inside the neat walled city to look for the restaurant. We finally found the restaurant called “L’Trouvadere”, where we had a very good dinner. Before we were served, Davy called and said he was on his way. The girls were all still getting ready, and Corrina was too tired to join us. So he took back some food for her later. Dave and I both had huge bowls of what else, French Onion Soup! We also shared some great bread and a good salad. Don ordered a local specialty called “Cassaloute”. He enjoyed it but said it was quite heavy. It consisted of large fava beans, meat and duck. It was baked and served in a heavy skillet. About the time we finished, all the girls (except Corrina) arrived for dinner, saying they were “famished”! We chatted a while after they ordered, and when their food arrived, we left for a walk back down the hill to our close by hotel. We were thankful it was close, as it had been a very long day (especially with so little sleep night before) Don was snoring loudly within a few minutes, while I journaled a good hour! Must get some “shut eye”, besides I have a writer’s cramp! Asleep by 11:30. Zzzzz

    Dec. 27 Carcassonne

    Don’s alarm went off at 8am, and I was really dreaming! The beds were so comfy, and we slept well. Got ready and headed downstairs for breakfast in the hotel. Then we ran into Davy who had just called for a taxi to the train station, where he would purchase our tickets for the train ride to Barcelona tomorrow. Don decided to go along with him, as he was not hungry. I had a yogurt, fresh fruit and juice, soft boiled egg on a croissant and coffee. The coffee shop charged 10 Euros for breakfast. When the guys got back from the train station, we all waited in the lobby for the girls to join us. After waiting 45 minutes for the “slow movers”, Don and I headed up to the walled city and said we would see them walking around. It was raining, and the wind gusts were so strong, our umbrellas did not help much. At 40-50 mph, our umbrellas were inverted! It was really cold, as the winds were coming from the nearby Pyrenees mountains which were snow laden. While we walked around, we noticed a cute place where we went to inquire about dinner reservations for the night for the whole group. It was the oldest restaurant in Carcassonne and very charming! Called “L’O Stahl Troubadors”. It had a nice, cozy feeling and a big fireplace close to the large table where we would have dinner. The dinner menu looked good too, so we made reservations for 7pm that night. After walking around more, we were cold, and Don was hungry by then, so we went next door to a cute place called “L’ Escargot” for some delish Tapas! At 2pm, we met up with the rest of our group to go through the castle within the walled city of Carcassonne. It cost 9 Euros apiece for a 2-hour tour including an interesting film about the castle’s history. One part of the tour was out doors in the courtyard where the winds were really howling! At one point, we had a bit of hail and some snow flurries! It really looked beautiful! We wanted to walk the castle walls, but because of the high winds, they were closed to visitors.

    Wind was a problem

    Carcassonne

    Carcassonne

    Chivalrous Knights kissing Sharon’s hand

    We checked out the church which was under construction, but we could still see beautiful stained-glass windows through the netting. Under warmer conditions and weather, there is a lot more open around here including a lovely park and a little train that runs through the village of Carcassonne. Of course, there are more restaurants and shops open during warmer seasons. At 6:45, we all met in the hotel lobby for the little walk up the hill to the walled city for our dinner reservations. It was a delicious dinner and good ambiance. The waitresses cooked the meat and potatoes on the grill of the fire place. Later a Troubadour played the guitar and sang for a while at each table. The French call their Musicians “Troubadours”. By 8:30, the place was packed!

    L’O Stahl Troubadors restaurant

    Then we walked around this magical city all lit up. We had a nice chat with Davy before saying “Bonne Nuit” (good night) around 10pm. We planned to get up and power walk through city of Carcassonne in the am (weather permitting), as we did not leave until 11:30 am for the nearby train station.

    Thursday De. 28, 2017 Carcassonne to Barcelona

    Set alarm for 7:30 so I could wash my hair with the wonderful showerhead in our bathroom before breakfast. Don wanted to get out for some early am photos with the sun rising. Sadly, the sun was already too high by 8:30. It was a pretty, sunny day (38 degrees), so we took off for our power walk through the city. Everyone met in the lobby by 11am with all our luggage, waiting for the 3 taxis. We said, “Au Revoir” (good bye) to the cute city of Carcassonne, as we headed for the train station. We had a 90-minute wait at the station, so we took turns taking a walk through the cute shops and cafes nearby, while some watched our luggage. Don and I found a cute “Farmer’s Market” with some wonderful fruit, which we purchased for our group. There were more “Christmas Markets” around and a cute church with Nativity scenes and Creches from all over world. Around 1:30 the train arrived and we all had to run down the steps and over to the other side with all our heavy luggage! (No elevators) Don and Davy really had a lot of helping to do with 7 females! There was only a little space on the train for us and all our luggage, so we just stood for the first train ride (30 minutes) A nice, friendly Frenchman stood by us chatting the whole way (he spoke great English), and when we arrived at the second train, he helped us get our luggage off the first train. The second train was much nicer and larger, as it was the “Bullet Train”. There, we had enough space to put our luggage for the 2-hour ride to Barcelona, Spain. The Barcelona Train station was huge! It was a few degrees warmer, but still cold. The usual 3 taxis transported us to our “Surprise Lodging” down at the lovely Marina. Yes, we were staying on a boat! In fact, it was a Fabulous 85-foot Yacht called “The Dandy”!

    Inside the Dandy

    Our home for 5 days

    Barcelona harbor on bow of the Dandy

    This was a beautiful Air B&B that Dave found online a few months prior. It was SO Cool to stay on the Yacht for the next 5 days (over New Year’s)! We even had our own skipper who took us all out in the

    Davy and Delanie swimming the Mediterranean Worlds largest private yacht

    lovely harbor one afternoon with beautiful, warm weather! (Photos) Talk about POSH, we all felt so spoiled! Dave and Corrina had the huge Master Suite, and Don and I had the second Master Suite, very nice also. The other state rooms were bunk beds. There were large sectionals in the living room, so it slept 12 people nicely. We were so lucky to be so close to town, and that is why Davy booked the “Dandy” as all the other “Air B&B’s “were too far from Barcelona. The gentle lapping of the waves and rolling motion really put us to sleep in our comfy queen bed every night! There were 3 portholes to look out of. Once we were all settled, we took a walk in the Marina to a close by restaurant with great food! It also had great Sangria! There were several ristorantes to choose from. Poor Diane was coming down with a bad cold (Delanie’s mom) We were worried about catching it, which I did later on. After diner, we strolled around the Marina for a while, before going back to the Yacht as it was cold! The girls were all going out on the town that night (and every night while there)

     

     

     

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