A night in Barcelona....Hotel Grums...

With our camera packed away, we won't have photos until tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!

Last night was our first night in a hotel since arriving in Scottsdale, Arizona over six months ago.  Booking the hotel on Expedia with four star reviews put our minds at ease that it would not only be close to the Port of Barcelona but also acceptable by our relatively picky standards.

At $169 a night for a "standard deluxe" room for last night chose to select this hotel for last night and again on June 3, 2013.  We wanted to ensure we'd like the hotel to avoid the need of cancelling an prepaid reservation.  Thus, we were willing to pay a little more for that luxury.  For this, we weren't disappointed.

The room was modern, clean and comfortable with plush king bed with comfy covers, a spacious seating area with sofa, lots of storage (which we didn't need since we didn't unpack), a flat screen TV with one English speaking channel, (BBC news) and alas, our first experience with 220 electrical outlets, with which neither our computers or smart phones could be charged.

We did bring a litany of adapters and converters befitting travel anywhere in the world.  Unfortunately, they were tightly packed away in our "not to be opened" luggage, now consisting of two large suitcases, two carry on bags, two duffel bags, two computer bags and a couple of peripheral hand carry bags. 

As mentioned earlier, our goal is to ditch all but the two large suitcases, two carry on bags, two computer bags and my handbag by the time we leave Dubai to fly back to Barcelona for the remaining one night at the same Hotel Grums. The next day, on June 4th, we'll be boarding yet another cruise on the Norwegian Spirit through the Mediterranean Sea for 15 nights.  (We'll post the itinerary for that cruise at that time).

Back to the electrical issues.  Without easy access to our adapters and converters, (we try to remember every detail but some do fall through the cracks), we asked the front desk if they had the necessary adapters/converters for recharging our US 110 equipment. 

"No, problemo," stated the handsome young man at the desk, as he began rummaging through a box of 50 various plug-ins.  After a few minutes, he enthusiastically pulled out what he believed to be the correct adapter.

Wary of plugging our digital equipment directly into the plug into which could potentially "blow out" our phones or laptops, we tried it using the only other electrical item we'd be willing to part with if something went wrong...the oldest of three surge protectors we had in our possession.

Poof!  Yes, poof!  It blew the power out in our room and fried our surge protector. We tossed it in the garbage. For some odd reason, we both had suspected it wouldn't work although it was indicated as a US converter. 

Getting back on the elevator, I went back to the desk requesting an adapter that would work.  Again, the cutie dug through the box finally pulling out a much more elaborated plug.  I told him our power in the room was out asking if he'd send someone to flip the circuit breaker. 

No one in the hotel seemed to know where the breaker box was located in our room, after six attempts to find it by one person and then three attempts by a second person.  Finally, a third person appeared and found the box hidden behind a false wall.  Once the power was back on, Tom held up the new adapter again asking, "Will this work for US plugs?"

The employee emphatically stated it would work.  Finally an hour later, Tom spending much time as the power continued going out, he managed to get everything working to ensure we wouldn't fry our laptops or smart phones.  At this point, all of our equipment was deader than a doornail.

By the time everything was charging, we were anxious to find a great restaurant to head out for dinner.  Oh, no such luck.  All the nearby restaurants in Barcelona are closed on Sunday except, the fine dining restaurant in the hotel.

With little English spoken in the hotel, I went online and found this gluten free chef card in Spanish to which I added, handwritten in Spanish, after researching Google Translate:  sugar free, low carb, starch free, grain free, no beans, rice,  or soy.

Handing this to the waiter at dinner resulted in his giving it to the chef for a perfect meal of salad with fresh greens, blue cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives and no less than eight giant prawns sautéed in olive oil  (with heads, guts, brains included) with a freshly made olive oil dressing that was absolutely delicious.  I will continue to print these Chef Cards in various languages to use as we travel from country to country.

I hadn't had that good of a meal since the night we dined in the specialty restaurant on the Carnival Liberty almost three weeks ago.  Tom opted for a bun-less veal burger topped with veggies, cheese and a fried egg.

Exhausted, we slept through the night bolting out of bed at 6 am this morning  to get ready for the day and down to the restaurant for coffee.  As typical "cruisers" we decided to wait to eat until we were aboard Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas for the "free food."

So now at 2:00 PM, Barcelona time, we're sitting at a comfy table in the Windjammer (buffet) Restaurant having had a rather perfect GF lunch with tender roast beef, grilled fish, egg salad and green beans. 

Our ship sails at 5:00 PM inspiring us to go online now while taking advantage of our MiFi working, although slowly, while we're still in port.  Before the muster drill at 4:15, we'll meander to the Internet Café to sign up for the ship's WiFi, a necessity with many upcoming days out to sea.

Tomorrow, we'll post our current itinerary for this cruise to Dubai along with photos of our "new home" for the next 15 days as we commence our journey through the Suez Canal along our way to the Middle East. 

4 comments:

William Winston said...

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Jessica said...

Thank you for writing back to us! We so appreciate you taking the time to read our blog.

Warmest regards,

Jess & Tom

Tess@Gray-Line said...

Locating the gluten free chef card online was a good move. I am glad that you were able to access it, although you had glitches with getting electricity for your US devices at the start. Finding the right food to match ones dietary requirements can be a bit of a challenge when you are in a new country, especially when you are not able to speak the language well.

Jessica said...

Tess, how nice of you to write. Yes, that gluten free/food restriction list I carried with me in Spanish and later in Italian came in very handy. Now that we're in Kenya until 12/1/2013, we have no language barrier. Many local speak Swahili and most speak good English.

Its easy in the restaurants here with so much fresh fish and seafood and excellent beef.

Grocery shopping is challenging not due to gluten in food since we rarely purchase a packaged item (mostly produce, nuts, fresh cheese, eggs and meat) but more so due to the fact that they don't carry ingredients for us to make several of our favorite GF dishes. We've figured it out though and are eating well and are content.

We giggle now after almost a year of traveling how ignorant we were about electrical plugs. Luckily, we'd purchased all the adapters/converters we could possibly need. It was a matter of figuring out which ones to use. Now, we have it under control, able to plug in all of our stuff.

Hope you are doing well. If you too are gluten free/low carb, perhaps we can share some recipes? Let me know.

Thanks again for writing.
Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

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