Notes from Puzzle Palace

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Toulun, Barcelona, Valencia, and Cartagena

 30 April

Toulon France

After such an exciting couple of days, we decided to have a lie in and just went into town for a walk around just before lunch.  We  went through a local morning market that had everything you could want for sale.  There were clothes, meats, fruit and veg and much much more. 

After walking for about an hour, we decided to head to a cafe and get some lunch.  

George chose a crepe shop and we sat down.  He had a Poke bowl and I had a crepe.  Big mistake.  My crepe was terrible.  It tasted to me like burnt eggs.  We swapped out and both were happy.  For dessert we had a Nutella crepe that was as I expected it to be.  Of course we had some wine to go with it.  

As we were walking back to the ship George was stopped by a man with a camera. I understood enough to know he was doing an exhibition and wanted to photograph my lovers beard.  He took photos for 10 minutes or so and we had a great laugh about it.  

I'm sure he will end up in a book on someone's coffee table one day.  We returned to the ship and had a pleasant evening as always.

1 May

Barcelona Spain

Our tour on the first day was to a cave vineyard.  This was an interesting tour to say the least.  We have been to many vineyard tours, and this was no different, however, we did learn about riddling and the removal of the sediment.  The guide at the vineyard is very happy to have her job and it really shows.  

We had a tasting of 3 different varieties of cava.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for two of them and the third while nice, was not worth it for me to purchase.  They did pair nicely with the cheese and ham on the table though.  

From here we went on to have lunch at the vineyards restaurant.  The food was plentiful and the wine poured freely.  The only downside? It lasted 2 hours and we didn’t have a place for a nap.  On the bus return, I leaned my head into George’s so he could have his nap without bobbing his head.  Sore neck for me.

We returned to the ship and relaxed until the usual dinner.

2 May

Today we went off in search of puzzles. We have been to Barcelona before and knew this was the plan for the day.  Sadly we didn’t find the shop we wanted, I guess that COVID got the better of it, but we did find one that was even better than the last.  I walked out with four puzzles, and photos of four more that I will buy later, but didn’t want to drag along for the remainder of the trip.  After all, we are headed to Northern Europe where we know we will find many more.

We had a nice lunch at a place called 33 tapas.  It was a bit overkill on the alcohol and much of it got left on the table. There was a bit of confusion as we sat down with the order of a beer.  The first glass they brought George was tiny!  I ordered him a beer and me a 1/2 liter of wine!  I thought it was just a glass.  The food was ok. You can’t mess up Iberian Ham and I just love the tomato bread they do in Spain.  

We returned to the ship for a nap before dinner. I had planned to go shopping here, but it just didn’t feel right to me this time around.  Next trip.

3 May


We docked and opened the curtains to discover a massive downpour.  Unlike our fellow bloggers Rod and Merry, we opted to stay in all day.  

We spent the morning looking at webpages and sorting out the flight changes for the return home. The afternoon was spent looking at floor plans and designing changes to the museum.  Overall, it was not the kind of day we thought we would spend here.  Oh well.  I’m sure there will be another trip for us in the future. 

After our last day in Italy, the rest of the trip seems down hill from here.  

4 May


As with the other cities we’ve visited thus far in Spain, we have been here before.  It’s a beautiful old city and we decided to explore it a bit more on our own.  No ship excursions for us this time around.  We took off on our scooters at around 11, but when we got to the gang plank it was raining. 

We turned around, went back to the room and then up for some lunch.  Around 2 we finally thought there was enough of a break in the rain to vent out. I wanted to see the old bull fight ring, and the amphitheater.  George led the way and we got a bit turned around but eventually made the bull fight ring.  I had no idea that it was closed so we snapped a few photos and carried on.  

Next stop was the amphitheater.  I really loved this. It is in such great condition.  We locked our scooters to a fence and walked up the hill for a look around.  We were going to wander inside, but the heavens opened again and I decided I’d had enough of a look.  We headed back through the main square and back to the ship.  Note to self: do not scoot on marble floors in the rain.  They are slick!

We got back to the boat and changed to go to the captains cocktail party.  As usual, no capitan to be found. After a bit we headed off to dinner and sat with a lovely couple who just got on the ship.  

All in all it wasn’t a bad stop, we got just enough of the city to know I want to come back for a longer visit.  

Until next time, Happy Puzzling and Smooth Sailing.

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