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Arrive in Barcelona
Saturday, April 15, 2017   Related topics:
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The worst part of any European cruise, at least for Americans, is the all-night flight to get there. We were hopeful that our British Airways 747 flight from DFW to Heathrow would be a bit more comfortable than the American Airlines alternative. We have always preferred international carriers over the US carriers as a rule. When we checked in with British Airways at DFW they offered us an option to upgrade to their Premium Economy (World Traveler Plus) for $300, so Rickee decided it was worth it. In World Traveler Plus, you get a slightly larger seat, more legroom and upgraded meal service.


Our World Traveler Plus seats (12A & 12B)

We were lucky to get bulkhead seats (12A and 12B) which have extra legroom. And, although there is no underseat storage, you don't have someone in front of you reclining back into your space. This particular 747 is an older plane and it shows. The entertainment system was a small touch-screen  that is outdated and only worked sporadically. However, there was a fair amount of on-demand movie and TV programming choices.


Rickee gets settled into 12B

Aperturent.com Camera and Lens RentalThe meal service offered a choice of beef filet with root vegetables or pasta with a pesto cream sauce. My steak was tender, but way overcooked and a little dry. Rickee's pasta was a much better choice. Wine and beer are complimentary with the meal, something you won't get on American Airlines. After the meal service, however, we never saw another drink service offered, other than water and juice throughout the flight. About two hours before landing, small breakfast boxes were handed out, each of which contained some kind of pretzel with cream cheese and a breakfast bar. Coffee and tea were offered with breakfast.

Our flight landed a few minutes late at Heathrow (around 9:10am), after which we deplaned and made the long walk to the tram that takes us to the main terminal. From the main terminal (Terminal 5), we have to get on a bus that takes us to Terminal 3. Fortunately, even though Heathrow is a sprawling beast, the signage is very good and it is hard to get lost. We get to Terminal 3 where we again went through security and are able to board our second flight to Barcelona, a two-hour uneventful flight.

BA no longer offers complimentary meal service on "domestic" flights within Europe. Instead, they have a menu of upscale sandwiches and salads through a partnership with M&S (Marks and Spencer). A Buffalo mozzarella and tomato focaccia served hot is £4.75 (about $6 US). So, not a bad price, but, they also now charge for water and soft drinks!

When we landed in Barcelona, we breezed through passport control and our wait at baggage claim for our luggage was a short one. With our two large duffel bags and hand luggage in tow, we walked down to the lower level of the airport to find the Aerobus waiting for us. We researched Aerobus online and found that, for about $6 per person, the bus will take us to Plaza Cataluña, about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. The Aerobuses depart from BCN every five minutes, so there is never a long wait. We boarded the bus and handed the driver our tickets (which we pre-purchased online). The bus has plenty of storage for luggage and even offers free WiFi.


The Aerobus is an affordable, convenient way to get to/from Barcelona airport

The drive to Plaza Cataluña takes about 20 minutes and we depart the bus and step into a sea of humanity. It is Easter weekend and the city is packed with tourists from all over the world. Before departing the USA, we obtained a couple of different international cell phone SIM cards to try in our phones during this trip (watch for a review of these on CruiseReport.com). With my SIM card installed, and a good strong signal, I decided we would let Google Maps tell us how to get to our hotel from the bus drop-off point. We have never used Google Maps walking directions before, and I have to admit, it is pretty darn cool. Once Google Maps is open, I just typed in the name of our hotel (H10 Metropolitan) and an arrow points the way to the walking route. It only took about 4 minutes for us to walk right to the front door of our hotel! Every now and then, technology works.


The front door of H10 Metropolitan

As soon as we step inside of the H10 Metropolitan, we are greeted at reception and offered a glass of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine), which we readily accept. Check-in was fast and efficient and one of the staff offered to take our luggage to our room (414) while we relaxed and enjoyed our drink in the beautiful lobby.


The stylish lobby of the H10 Metropolitan

After a quick walk through the lobby of the hotel, we decide to check out our Deluxe Room w/Terrace. The room is small by US standards, but not so much by European standards. The bathroom is large with a huge shower stall and two sinks. The king-sized bed is comfortable and covered with quality linens. The desk is large enough for my laptop and our myriad of chargers and cables for all of our cameras and electronics. A flat-screen television sits above the desk.


Comfortable king-sized bed

The terrace is a nice-sized balcony with two chairs and a table that overlooks the hotel's pool. There is no "city view" other than the back side of surrounding buildings. After minimal unpacking, we decided to head out into the crowds in an attempt to find a restaurant that we enjoyed last year when we visited Barcelona. With nothing more than Google Maps to guide us, we began our walk from the hotel, through the Plaza Cataluña and down Las Ramblas, one of the most famous pedestrian streets in Europe. We have been here a few times, but never seen it this crowded.


Las Ramblas is very crowded today

Google Maps did a great job of guiding us through the city, down some interesting back streets, until we arrived at our destination in about 20 minutes. Pork is a restaurant that we enjoyed during a Segway (see our Barcelona Segway review) tour of Barcelona last year.


Pork restaurant in Barcelona

We are disappointed to report that things at Pork were nothing like we remembered. The service was extremely slow and inefficient. We had to ask our waiter twice for our drinks. And, the toasted bread served with tomato and garlic was nothing like we remembered. We ordered a platter of roasted pork shoulder, belly and ribs. The ribs and the pork belly were good, but the shoulder was very dry and lacked seasoning. All-in-all, not a place we can continue to recommend. There are too many great restaurants in Barcelona.



After the walk back to our hotel, we arrive to find a nice bottle of Spanish red wine has been left on our desk along with a platter of charcuterie and cheese. We take everything out to our terrace and enjoy a snack and a glass of wine as we watch the sun set over Barcelona. Since we have been up for nearly 36 hours straight, this will be an early night for us. Tomorrow, we will explore Barcelona a bit more before we board Viking Cruises' Viking Sea.

More to come!

     
     
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One Comment
 
JOHN AND SANDRA
 
Amazing that you can write so well with little sleep. Enjoy your adventure!
 
Sunday, April 16, 2017 12:00 AM  
 
 
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https://cruisereport.com/crBlogDetail.aspx?id=4621   |  12/17/2017 3:30:39 PM