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KansCocoa

Middle Aged Drama Queen's Eastern Med Review: Serenade, Pics, Surprises & Fun!

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I was taking pictures of airplanes, so I guess it is a man/bird thing!!!

 

Not surprisingly, Amy's reaction was very similar to yours, what with the exasperated sighs, and what not...

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…Where have we left off?? Our travelers have just left the cheese shop on their Tapas Tour, where Mickey discovered she hated the taste of wine, much to her mother's relief…and the story now continues…

 

It was time for our second stop on our Tapas Tour, a traditional Spanish tapas experience at a friendly little bar, Cala del Vermut, located in the El Barrio Gotico area.

 

 

CalaDelVermut.jpg

Jo, in front of the little bar

 

 

 

It’s very tiny…about the size of a walk-in closet…but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up with in charm. We’re met with an explosion of color as we walk through the doors and quickly find a small table and bar stools to await our nibbles.

 

 

 

ExplosionOfColor.jpg

The counter...displaying a smorgasbord of tapa treasures...

 

 

Jo explains that the specialties here are the draft vermouth, as well as the fried white anchovies. I've never had either...but I'm willing to give it a go.

 

 

The vermouth arrives in a tall glass with a twist of orange...Jo quickly sprays some seltzer water in the glass, and as you can see from this photo - I obviously like the spicy, sweet nectar....Before I know what's happened, my glass is half-empty!

 

 

GlassofVermouth.jpg

Yum....!

 

 

 

Soon, a plate or two of tapas appears at our table…olives…mushrooms…peppers…stuffed tomatoes…We dig in, and sample everything, quickly formulating opinions on what we like and what we don’t like. Soon, more plates appear – the anchovies, croquetas, chipirones…we are being bombarded with tapas, and I have to remember to pace myself. This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. But it’s all so GOOD!

 

 

UsAtVermutTable.jpg

Eat, drink & be merry!

 

 

While enjoying the many dishes that were before us, the owner's family stopped in for a brief visit and introductions. We met the owner, his children, his parents, and the family dog...who delighted in being fed some nibbles from our plates. A dog's life takes on a whole new meaning when you're lucky enough to be part of a Tapas family.

 

 

At some point, I had to throw in the white flag, and cry, “I surrender! Enough!” So good. But sooooo much.

 

 

UsAtTableVermut2.jpg

"Hey - it's not pizza! But it's pretty darn tasty!"

 

 

And we’re only half-way through our Tapas Tour...we still have TWO more restaurants to sample.

 

Yikes...it's our first night on this adventure, and I'm already stretching the waistband on my pants.

 

And for the record...Mickey decided to forego the Vermouth here, and opt for the soda...which came in an ultra-tall, ultra-thin can, which amused her to no end.

 

 

MickeyCoke.jpg

 

 

So, where to next? Where would Jo be taking us in our quest for delicious tapas??? And would we be able to them justice, after gorging ourselves on Spanish tapas??!!

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After reluctantly leaving the Cala del Vermut behind (Good-bye, yummy vermouth! Parting is such sweet sorrow....), Jo leads us through the back roads of Barcelona in the burgeoning twilight hours to our next stop, a place for traditional Catalan tapas…the Belmonte.

 

 

Belmonte.jpg

 

 

Once inside, we head upstairs to a quiet little table, where we are quickly served some delicious breads, prosciutto, and other delights.

 

 

CatalanTapas.jpg

I wish I'd gotten more photos of the food...but I was too busy...eating the food.

 

 

Jo explains the differences between traditional Spanish tapas and Catalan tapas, and because I'm pretty much in a food coma by this point, I can't remember what she said. Darn it. And I didn't bring any paper to take notes - I was there strictly to indulge and enjoy. Which I did. Heartily, believe me.

 

 

BelmonteInside.jpg

A view of the main counter from our upstairs hideaway....

 

 

A good 40 minutes is spent at this little place, as the plates keep coming...much time is spent laughing and joking with Jo, whom we've all decided should be adopted by our family and whisked away with us back to Kansas City.

 

 

We reluctantly get up to leave at some point, profusely thank the owner of the Belmonte, and head out the door...

 

 

Finally…the last stop on our tour…the sweet tapas. Once again, Jo leads the way, and we roam and wander and lose ourselves in the back roads of Barcelona. We end up at Bodega La Palma, where we will indulge in some sweet tapas - and I have high expectations, having a bit of a sweet tooth (in case you hadn't figured that out yet by this point).

 

 

BodegaLaPalma.jpg

 

 

After swearing a few minutes before that I couldn’t possibly eat one more bite…I find myself digging in and all but licking the plates of these sinfully-delicious desserts. I mean, we can't let these little heavenly pieces of goodness go to waste, can we? That would set a bad precedent. Here, we topped everything off with a glass of cava, a Spanish sparkling wine that balanced the sweetness of the deserts perfectly.

 

 

ChocolateDessert.jpg

The chocolate was everyone's favorite...yummy!

 

It’s here that we must say goodbye to Jo…which, after three hours of laughing, sharing, and communing, is rather hard. We’d love to adopt her and take her with us on the rest of our cruise, but we know we must leave her so she can enchant and enthrall the next group of travelers.

 

 

She points out the directions so we can make our way back to our apartment, and we head back home...only getting lost twice...to find that:

 

1. The maintenance man was gone…(Yay!)

2. The bathroom was no longer a “problem” – as all leaks had been fixed, the ceiling tiles were back in place, and it looked as good as new…(Double Yay!)

3. …And the air conditioning was back on and it was nice and cool. (Hip, hip hooray!)

 

 

Life was good. We had happy tummies and a cool, quiet apartment, and I could finally, hopefully, slip into blissful slumber and get some rest.

 

 

So…The Barcelona Taste…what would I rate it? An A+. I would HIGHLY recommend this tour for anyone who wants to have fun, eat some delicious food, and in all probability, fall in love with Jo. We certainly did. She made it fun, and she engaged the kids...I was so proud of them for stepping outside of their comfort zone (pizza) and sampling new flavors and combinations. Jo had them cast under a tapas spell, and they'll always remember tapas with fond memories.

 

So...what's next? We have an all-day Gaudi tour of Barcelona...what will we see? Will it go as planned?

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Your daughter has a slight Helen Hunt look going there. She probably doesn't know who that is ;) Looking forward to Eastern Med Cruise pics!

 

Oh, in your son's defense, those pigeons do have some interesting markings and colors, not like the gray bland pigeons usually seen in our cities.

 

BillO - you're not the first who's noticed the resemblance between Mickey and Helen Hunt...she's been told that before, so being the curious tweenager that she is, she had to google Helen Hunt to see for herself! :)

 

She's broken her nose twice now in playground accidents, and the doctor will not do plastic surgery on her until she's at least 15. I like her nose the way it is - I think it gives her character - but she is terribly self-conscious about it and wants to change it. :(

 

Sigh. The pigeons. Yes...they're pretty...but you'll see a recurring theme in all of Brad's photos from the trip. Pigeons...kitty cats...and columns.

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Our first morning in beautiful Barcelona!

 

Ahhh…I wake up refreshed…energized…ready to tackle the day!

 

No, I don’t. I wake up exhausted, tired and sluggish…as I couldn’t sleep at all the night before. I should probably disclose here that I have a bit of a sensory problem… I’m extremely sensitive to changes in my environment, and it can sometimes take a while before I can adapt to my surroundings. A strange bed…in a strange room…in a strange city…with strange sounds….? Too much for my brain to handle, and so I stared at the strange ceiling pretty much all night long. Bleh. And watched in jealousy as Hubby Mike snored the night way, oblivious to my discomfort. Argh.

 

Anyway – time to get up and get going…places to go, things to see, and hungry kids to feed. The first order of the day is breakfast, and what does any good European eat for breakfast on the streets of Barcelona?

 

Churros, of course! With chocolate!

 

ChurrosWithChocolate.jpg

Best. Breakfast. EVER.

 

 

There’s a delightful little café right down the street from our apartment, and the kids make a unanimous decision that churros with chocolate beat PopTarts any day for breakfast. I have to agree on this; I’ve decided that churros with chocolate is the perfect excuse to sell everything I own in the United States and live in Barcelona the rest of my life.

 

 

After our delicious breakfast, we amble north on Las Ramblas, towards the Plaza de Catalunya, where we are to meet our tour for the day.

 

 

Several months prior, I researched the Internet, trying to find an in-depth tour that focused on Antonio Gaudi, the famed Catalan architect who’s works and inspiration are so prevalent today. Hubby Mike, having an interest in architecture, would appreciate the architect side of Gaudi. Mickey, my budding artist, would appreciate the artistic side of Gaudi. Brainy Brad, my historian, would appreciate the history behind Gaudi and his works. And Too-Tall Taylor? Um….I’m not sure that he would appreciate much of anything Gaudi-related, as it had nothing to do with sports…but tough luck, kiddo, you’re along for this adventure, so buck up and hush up. You could be at home making sandwiches….Actually, Too-Tall Taylor is pretty flexible, and goes with the flow…as long as he has people to talk to and women to flirt with, he’s good.

 

 

Most companies offer half-day tours of Gaudi, but I wanted an all-day tour. I found the perfect offering with a company called Barcelona City Tours; they offer two half-day tours that could be combined into one…giving us a broader range of Gaudi and his works.

 

 

We reach the Plaza de Catalunya, and look for the orange umbrellas…an excellent way that Barcelona City Tours uses to identify their guides.

 

OrangeUmbrella.jpg

 

 

It’s shortly before 9:00 am, the beginning time of our tour. After handing our tour voucher to the ticket taker, she tells us we have a few moments before they will be loading up the bus, so to sit back and hang tight.

 

Eventually, the bus begins loading, so we head over to the line…I’m leading my family behind me, like a Mama Duck and her ducklings. As I approach the entrance to the bus, the Tour Guide, Carlos, puts his hand out for my ticket.

 

“Oh!” I said. “I gave THAT lady over there my voucher,” indicating the Orange-Umbrella Lady.

 

Carlos says patiently, “And she should have given you your ticket. I need your ticket.”

 

I look at him blankly…”I didn’t get a ticket.”

 

“You didn’t get a ticket???!!!” Carlos is stunned, and looks at me with disbelief in his eyes.

 

“No…I didn’t get a ticket. Should I have gotten a ticket??!”

 

People behind us are starting to get antsy, and don’t appreciate this little tableau unfolding on the hot streets of Barcelona. It was starting to look like something out of a Monty Python skit gone bad.

 

Carlos, clearly at a loss, frantically waves Orange-Umbrella Lady over, getting ready to interrogate her as to why I didn’t get a ticket…and I'm worried that Orange-Umbrella Lady may lose her job over this, and it would be all my fault, and she probably has dozens of little Orange-Umbrella kids at home who will now go hungry....About that time, my kids behind me, who had not been paying ANY attention to this unfolding drama before (which is pretty typical, actually, that they ignore me - it's just better that way, they've learned), now realize what is happening. And they quickly intervene.

 

“MOM! She did TOO give you a ticket!!! It’s in your purse!!!!”

 

What? She did? I skeptically look in my purse, and why, looky there!! She DID give me a ticket. Oops. My bad.

 

I sheepishly hand it over to Carlos, apologize to Orange-Umbrella Lady, and mumble something about not getting any sleep now for two nights in a row. Carlos puts a small rip in the ticket, hands it back, and gives me a look that could fry an egg on the sidewalk.

 

I slink onto the bus and get ready for the tour to begin….

 

barcelona_guided_tours.jpg

Not my photo...it's from http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g423/KCSherri1/barcelona_guided_tours.jpg[/img]"]HERE. But I wanted to show the bus and the Orange-Umbrella Lady...hopefully not the same lady that I almost inadvertently got fired....

 

…Where would we go? What would we see? And would Carlos ever forgive me for being an idiot??? Stay tuned…you won't BELIEVE what happens later....

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Great review and pics of the family. How you found the time to do this is beyond me!:D I am still trying to get myself organized after the trip!

 

Where you Superwoman in a prior life?:D

 

Have you finished packing yet for the next cruise?

 

Looking forward to the rest of the pics and review. You review is a hoot!!:D

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Great review and pics of the family. How you found the time to do this is beyond me!:D I am still trying to get myself organized after the trip!

 

Where you Superwoman in a prior life?:D

 

Have you finished packing yet for the next cruise?

 

Looking forward to the rest of the pics and review. You review is a hoot!!:D

 

Hee hee...thanks, Cathy...I hope you stay tuned...you'll be in some of the photos! :)

 

I think I just don't sleep. And packing? Nope. I'll do that Saturday night. I think a Caribbean cruise will be easier to pack for than a Mediterranean cruise, for sure! And I only have to pack for TWO, rather than five. :)

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This is terrific, I'm really enjoying it!!

We have spent some pre-cruise days in Barcelona a couple of times and I am always impressed with the city. The tapas are unbelievably good and as you found out you must have hot chocolate (very thick) and churros for breakfast.

Being a cat person and always undergoing the same guilt inducing behavior that you got from your furry children that's just another aspect of your novel that I am enjoying....Gracias

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After slinking to the back of a near-empty bus, our tour began….I was actually surprised that the bus was so empty for this tour; there were only about 12 people on the bus, but they were all pretty much giving me the evil-eye for my little ticket scene at the beginning of the tour. I smiled apologetically at everyone and promised silently that I would only be on my best behavior for the rest of the day. Hopefully.

 

 

Driving through the bustling streets of Barcelona, Carlos the Tour Guide kept up a rambling patter about what we were seeing, and what we’d be doing. Our first stop that morning was at Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, aka "House of Bones", a complex of small apartments that promised to be an explorer’s delight.

 

 

CasaBattlo1.jpg

Pretty cool on the outside...but the inside is not to be missed!

 

 

Casa Batllo was constructed between 1904 and 1906…and Gaudi went all out. Inspired by nature, he brought in elements that are not only whimsical...but functional. Gaudi? Functional? I KNOW, right? Not something you'd think go together, but he was a genius.... The general admission line to enter was already long shortly after 9:30 a.m., so I would highly recommend you buy tickets early – or get an organized tour, such as we did. You do not want to miss the interior of this building, as it is a real-life “Willie Wonka” house.

 

 

We began exploring on the ground floor, and worked our way up gradually to the sky-top terrace. Behind every turn, beyond every staircase, there was fantasy…mystery…and beauty.

 

 

There’s the beautiful living room/salon that overlooks the beautiful Passeig de Gracia, a scenic street that Gaudi wanted to showcase from the house….

 

 

CasaBatlloWindows.jpg

Not a straight line in the building...even the windows are curved...

 

 

 

There’s the whimsical fireplace and warming bench…room for two on one side, and room for one on the other…because every “Party of 2” needs a good chaperone to watch over things….

 

CasaBatlloFireplace.jpg

 

 

 

There’s the fascinating ceiling that has been “ripped” to allow the lighting to peep through….

 

CasaBatlloLights.jpg

I mean...who DOES that? "Rips" a ceiling open??!!

 

On the rooftop terrace, there’s a little room with a secret lighted fountain…if you manage to find this treasure, you won’t be disappointed – as the lighting plays off the bubbling water and creates some interesting opticals on the walls….

 

CasaBatlloFountain.jpg

 

 

 

My photos are just a tease of what you can find on the inside...I don't want to give away all of the surprises; you'll have to go and see for yourself.

 

 

Too soon, it was time to head back to the bus (after a brief stop at the restroom facilities here) and head to the next Gaudi work, the Gaudi Crypt at Colonia Guell.

 

I have to digress here. Crypts are bad ju-ju in our family. Many years ago, on a mission trip in Guatemala, I inadvertently abandoned Hubby Mike in a Guatemalan crypt. I swear, it was an accident – but it led to one of the worst arguments Hubby Mike and I have had. Ever. Although this incident occurred over 8 years ago, Hubby Mike has NEVER let me forget it…and when Carlos the Tour Guide mentions we’ll be heading to a crypt – of course I get the stink eye from Hubby Mike…with an implied warning of, “You’d better not abandon me.”

 

Sigh.

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Sherri - your photos are so great...I'm very sad that CC only allows you to add 6 per post!!! Are you going to have them up on any photo sharing site so that we can see the rest?

Loving the review!

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Back on board the bus, we begin a short drive to Colonial Guell, our next stop on our Gaudi Day.

 

 

During the drive, Carlos the Tour Guide tells us the history and background of Colonial Guell…although he keeps mentioning some guy named “Wayne” – or that’s what it sounds like. On a moving bus. With traffic sounds and such.

 

 

It wasn't just me that was wondering about Wayne, because at one point, Hubby Mike leans over and whispers, “Who is this Wayne guy that he keeps talking about???!!!”

 

 

It eventually dawns on us, this is how Carlos the Tour Guide pronounces “Guell.” Huh. We always pronounced it “Gwell”…but what did we know?

 

 

Once we finally realize that “Wayne” and “Guell” were one and the same, the history behind Colonial Guell made much more sense.

 

 

Mr. Guell was a rich businessman, making his fortune in textiles. Barcelona was having some social issues back in the late 1800’s, so Mr. Guell decided to up and move his factory to the outskirts of Barcelona…and in the process, decided to build houses, schools, churches, etc for his factory workers. He contacted Antonio Gaudi to be the master planner of his colony, and Gaudi eagerly jumped on board.

 

 

Thus – Colonial Guell was born.

 

 

We parked on the outskirts of the village and began walking the streets, as Carlos the Tour Guide pointed out various sites. It was getting increasingly hot, so a brief visit to the air-conditioned museum on site was a welcome relief.

 

Here's a tip: Don't let the person who's paranoid about abandoning her Hubby in a crypt - again - be responsible for taking pictures. Because...she'll be too scared to take photos and do the place justice. I'm just sayin'.... {whistling innocently}

 

 

We than ambled over to the Church of Colonial Guell and go inside.

 

Church1.jpg

Once again...amazing. Photos can't do this justice....

 

 

Unfortunately, during the construction of the church, Mr. Guell began losing money, and so Gaudi was only able to complete the crypt. The church was never completed. So…if you’re doing the math…that’s TWO churches Gaudi never finished (if you count La Sagrada Familia, which will be coming later).

 

Did I take a picture of the unique exterior of the church? Nope.

 

 

Church3.jpg

I DID capture the stained glass windows...inspired by butterflies...

 

 

Church4.jpg

A view of the altar...pretty, huh?

 

My kids decided that this was the coolest church they’d ever seen, and decided they wanted to move to Barcelona if only to be able to attend this church. So…we've got my kids wanting to up and move to Barcelona to attend church...and we've got me wanting to up and move to Barcelona for churros and chocolate.

 

I feel so shallow.

 

 

Church5.jpg

Can't remember what this is...but it's obviously Gaudi. And it was pretty, too.

 

 

A short walk back to the museum, to soak in the a/c and also sip a delicious glass of cool, complimentary cava, a trip to another restroom facility (I’ve learned to take advantage of free restroom stops when offered – an important tip if you’re traveling in Europe), and it was time to head back to Barcelona….

 

 

Thus ends Part 1 of our 2-Part Tour…whew. So far, other than the Ticket Fiasco, everything has gone well. We didn’t break anything in any of the museums; we managed to not be “THAT family” by being late back to the bus; and I didn’t abandon Hubby Mike in the Crypt.

 

Surely, the afternoon will go as smooth….right?

 

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Sherri - your photos are so great...I'm very sad that CC only allows you to add 6 per post!!! Are you going to have them up on any photo sharing site so that we can see the rest?

Loving the review!

 

Thanks, Staci! If you want, you can Friend Request me on FB, where I have "most" of the photos posted...and I promise to get the rest of them posted soon...look for Sherri Wagner Odell. That's me. :)

Edited by KansCocoa

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Just wanted to ask, how did you find "Jo" and what was the cost of the tour? Did the price include all the Tapas? Looked like such fun, & the food looked fantastic! :)

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Just wanted to ask, how did you find "Jo" and what was the cost of the tour? Did the price include all the Tapas? Looked like such fun, & the food looked fantastic! :)

 

We found the tour on the internet...at their website HERE. It was $75E per person - a little pricey - but this was all inclusive. It included all the tapas that you could eat at four different restaurants, as well as all of the wine, cava, sangria, vermouth, etc! And it included Jo, of course....! ;)

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Upon returning to the Plaza de Catalunya, Carlos concludes Part 1 of the tour. We have about a 90-minute break for lunch, and we’re told to meet back up again here for Part 2.

 

 

The family strolls down Las Ramblas, dodging the many cars, pedestrians, street performers, trinket booths, bicyclists, etc…and always keeping one eye open for the potential pickpocketer. We eventually find a small little café, El Mos, where we enjoy the cool air-conditioning, as well as some tasty sandwiches.

 

 

ElMos.jpg

My picture is bad...but the food was good. Trust me.

 

In full disclosure, I have to insert here, though…this was not our best moment as a family. No, sometimes our family life is not always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. You're shocked, right? I KNOW. But honestly...we have squabbles sometimes. Especially if we’re hot. Which we were. And if we’re hungry. Which, we were ravenous by this point. Yup – if our blood sugar drops, and you compound that with the heat – we’re pretty much acting like spoiled two-year olds, snipping at each other and losing patience all-around. All five of us.

 

Run-on sentence alert:

The kids couldn’t understand the menu, which was in Catalan, and so were frustrated, and Hubby Mike was trying to be the Menu Dictator, ordering for everyone, trying to save us time, but which was upsetting the kids even more, because heaven forbid they’d end up with something…gross…and I was trying to be the peacemaker, and our poor, flustered waitress was looking at us like we were straight out of a horror movie.

 

Sigh.

 

 

We’d become THAT family. The family no one wants to sit by in a crowded restaurant.

 

 

The good news is, that our food was good...I guess Hubby Mike can be the Menu Dictator more often. And after our tummies were full, and our blood sugar was somewhat back to normal, life became sunshine, rainbows and unicorns again...except for a sulky 12-year old daughter who is slow to return to sunshine, rainbows and unicorns.

 

The promise of gelato quickly cheered her up…so we ventured forth, back out on the hot streets, to find some gelato.

 

And along the way…we found something even way cooler than gelato.

 

Yup. We found THIS:

 

 

ARC1.jpg

 

 

Why is this cool? Because being a volunteer in Disaster Services with the American Red Cross, I’m always looking for all-things Red Cross. Not to mention…we have a FB photo contest for pictures of Red Cross while on vacation.

 

This could be the WINNING entry! You never know!

 

ARC.jpg

 

Then again...maybe not.

 

 

We ambled some more, and stopped briefly in a shoe store, as Mickey’s one wish for a souvenir on this trip was a pair of shoes. {shrugs} I don’t get it, either. I’m not one for shoes, so you can’t blame this on ME…that she’d be obsessed by shoes…but there you have it. Really???? Shoes???

 

After fifteen minutes of perusing, and trying various styles (like I was going to let her buy a pair of shoes with a 5" heel???!! I don't THINK so....) we didn’t find any here, so onward for gelato.

 

 

We were heading back to Plaza de Catalunya, as it was getting closer to our meeting time for Part 2 of our Gaudi Tour…and that’s when we found Farggi…a gelato shop right there on the Plaza. Yes, it’s a chain. Don’t judge. It was still tasty and good on a hot day.

 

 

Farggi.jpg

Conveniently located a mere 10 steps from where the bus was picking us up for Part 2...

 

 

 

Too soon, it was time to head back over to the Orange-Umbrella people and begin Part 2. Who knew that lightning could strike...? Twice???

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This is helping me pretend my next cruise is not 317 days away!! Especially since im doing an Eastern Med itinerary :)

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This is SO helping me get through the next 21 days to my Caribbean cruise, thanks, Sherri! I really should be concentrating on my work but I can't help refreshing my screen every few minutes in the hope of finding the next installment of this intrigueing story. I'm hopelessly addicted!

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We found the tour on the internet...at their website HERE. It was $75E per person - a little pricey - but this was all inclusive. It included all the tapas that you could eat at four different restaurants, as well as all of the wine, cava, sangria, vermouth, etc! And it included Jo, of course....! ;)

 

Sounds pricey, but for what you got it was a nice splurge and sounds like it was worth it! When we return, we need to do this!

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Eventually, it is time to meet back up at the bus stop at the Plaza de Catalunya, for the 2nd part of our Gaudi tour with Barcelona City Tours. I find an Orange-Umbrella Lady, and mention that we are here for Part #2. She motions me over to a bus where people are already in line, boarding.

 

We head over and stand in line, and as I approach, I see that Carlos is now gone and we have a new guide, Ellie. As I start to board the bus, she immediately stops me and asks, “Where is your ticket?”

 

Oh, yes. My ticket. The one that I didn’t think I had, but really did. I reach triumphantly into my purse and hand her the ticket…and start to board the bus.

 

Again, she stops me…looking a bit confused at the ticket…and says, “This isn’t the right ticket. Do you have a different ticket?”

 

“What do you mean, it’s ‘not the right ticket’?” I ask. “That’s the only ticket they gave me this morning.”

 

Ellie indicates the rip in the corner, where Carlos had torn it earlier, and says, “This ticket is only for Part 1 of the tour. You should have a different ticket for Part 2.”

 

Oh, brother. Really???!!

 

“I never got another ticket…that’s the only ticket I got,” I explain.

 

Ellie looks confused, and asks, “You didn’t get another ticket? Are you sure?”

 

“I’m pretty sure, “ I reply.

 

About that time, Ellie begins waving over one of the Orange-Umbrella Ladies. Here we go again, folks…it’s déjà-vu all over again.

 

The Orange-Umbrella Lady walks over and she and Ellie begin an animated conversation in Spanish, too fast for me to understand, and I stand there…in the sun…once again holding up the line.

 

The people behind us begin fidgeting, and a murmur begins in the crowd. Eventually, my kids take note and direct their attention to me.

 

“What’s up, Mom? Why aren’t you getting on the bus?”

 

I explain that I didn’t have the right ticket…that I only had Part 1, and I didn’t have Part 2.

 

And the kids look at me in exasperation and say, “MOM!!! You do TOO have a Part 2 ticket!!! It’s in your purse – where you put it this morning when you turned in the voucher!!!!”

 

OMG. Really? I peek into my purse, almost hoping they’d be proved wrong this time, but nope. There it was. My Part 2 ticket.

 

Ahem.

 

Clearing my throat, I get Ellie’s attention enough to show her my ticket…the Orange-Umbrella Lady glares at me, does an indignant “Humpf!” under her breath, stalks away…and I slink on the bus…thoroughly chagrined.

 

Ellie looks at me as I pass, narrowing her eyes, and says, “Hey…I think Carlos warned me about you.”

 

After finding a seat on the now-crowded bus, I can only watch in shame as my children all find seats on the bus far, far from me, while pretending they don’t know me…and who can blame them?

 

I say to no one in particular, "What can I say? I'm really, really tired. Maybe I'll get some sleep tonight."

 

Hubby Mike just gives me THE LOOK. If you've been married for a significant amount of time, you know THE LOOK I'm talking about. Ack. I hate being on the receiving end of THE LOOK...as normally, I'm the one administering THE LOOK. I can only hope and pray that my world will turn around and I will be, once again, Woman. Hear Me Roar.

 

But enough of the ticket saga…let’s get on with our Gaudi tour.

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