Welcome to Jim & Kathleen’s
2007 Mediterranean Adventure


As I write this, I am sitting in the Terraces Lounge at Heathrow. We have just arrived after a very uneventful flight from Seattle. This is the start of our almost 3 week trip to Barcelona, Spain where we will spend four days and then board Celebrity Cruise Line’s Century for an 11 day Western Mediterranean cruise stopping in Marseilles, Villefrance, Livorono, Rome, Corsica, Tangier, Casablanca and Valencia before returning to Barcelona. We invite you to follow along with us as we tell this travel tale.

The trip to Barcelona

Since all our kids were working, we arranged for a towncar with Seattle Towncars to pick us up and take us to SeaTac. We considered the airport shuttle but the cost was $46 and you have to leave very early as they pick up lots of other folks on the way there. The towncar is only $55 and just comes to your home, picks you up, takes you to the airport and drops you off. That’s worth $9 to me.

Thanks to our wonderful Alaska airlines miles, we were able to fly British Airways in Club World class (their word for Business) on all segments of our trip. This also meant we got to use the wonderful Club World lounges in every airport. This is the right way to wait for a flight. Free food, comfortable chairs, free food, luxurious bathrooms, free food, wine, free food, newspapers and magazines, free food, internet and did I mention the free food?

We enjoyed our waiting at SeaTac. The flight left about 45 minutes late due to the crew being caught in traffic. This was much better than last year when we were more than 3 hours late leaving SeaTac.

The Club World cabin was very nice. We had two rear-facing seats next to each other. This was our first time in Club World. We have flown first class on Alaska many times before but that just means you get a wider seat at the front of the plane.

Club World seats are little cocoons  of personal space. The seats are so big, I can stretch out completely and not be even close to touching the seat in front me and I can cross my legs. Being 6’2” this is quite remarkable in an airline seat.

Each seat has its own television, power plug in for my laptop, phone and more not to mention the fact that it completely lies flat so you can sleep. An interesting side note is that since we were facing backwards when we took off, we were told to recline our seats not bring them to a full and upright position. It felt very strange.

After boarding we were immediately served wine or drinks, then soon after we were served dinner, which was excellent. British Air really does food well. I had a “carpachio of portabella mushrooms” and a small salad followed by a kind of bland artichoke ravioli in a tomato sauce. They had a “not bad” Napa red blend that was very good once it warmed up. For some reason when they originally poured it, it was VERY cold. Colder than we would have served white wine.

Dinner was followed by a very nice chocolate cheese cake, bottle of water and six quick hours of sleep. It wasn’t as comfortable as a bed but it was certainly wonderful to wake up and hear the captain say we would be landing at Heathrow in 50 minutes. Astounding.

They served us an OK breakfast. Not a lot of choices, we landed, disembarked, made our way through the easiest security check ever at Heathrow and are now sitting in another beautiful BA lounge waiting for our flight to Barcelona. More later.

The second part of our flight (down to Barcelona) was uneventful. We arrived about half an hour late but in good spirits and ready to go. We had to disembark the airplane down a set of stairs out on the tarmac and not through a jetway and wait for a bus to take us to terminal but we got there. Customs and immigration were almost non-existent and in less than 30 minutes we had all our bags and were in a taxi to our hotel in downtown Barcelona. Taxi to downtown was 30 euro and that included tip. The meter showed 24 euro and there was a surcharge for more than one bag per person of 1 euro each plus a 2 euro charge for going or coming from the airport. It all adds up. Especially in Euro and not $$$$. (Later note: the return, non-rush hour trip, was only 25 euro.

We stayed at the Hotel Continental Palacete at Ramblas de Catalunya, 30, only two blocks from the Placa de Catalunya, the hub of Barcelona. More about the hotel and our first day in Barcelona on the next page.

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Barcelona and 11 days in the Med on Century

From left: Kathleen and I at Parc Guell in Barcelona. Century in the bay in Villefrance. A gargoyle on the Barcelona Cathedral. A painted metal door in Barcelona.