Friday, April 22, 2011

Alone and Homeless in the Med: Part 8

Hello and welcome back to "TrumpetTravels" - my true accounts of my eleven year career working about the Princess, Carnival, Holland America, Cunard, Costa, P&O, Ocean Village and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines (and more cruises, I think!)

I want to continue my "Alone and Homeless in the Med" story. This is part 7 - click here to start from the beginning: Crew Member Abandoned in Europe. It is worth it to start from the beginning and over the next week I hope to put some links in this story so you can read chronilogically while skipping some of the unrelated blog posts in between stories.

My last blog post saw me at Jim Morrison's grave and staying at the Aloha hostel in Paris - a known English speaking youth hostel.

The clock was ticking and I was scheduled to join Royal Caribbean's "Legend of the Seas" for the summer. The join date was only in a few days, but I didn't want to go back to Barcelona.  The internet was in its infancy and there was no easy online hotel system set up yet. I looked at a map and saw a somewhat sizable dot called "Tarragona." I booked my train ticket there.

Arriving in Tarragona at around lunch time I went to the "city" center and searched for a hotel. I found one on top of a bar that said "abierto" but no one was there.  I went to the downstairs bar (a different business) and asked about the hotel and the owner of the hotel was there.

She made a big deal that it was lunch time and she wasn't working and I couldn't check in.  I begged her to help me out which she reluctantly did.  The room was adequate - quite small but cozy.  It seemed like it was decorated by someone's grandmother 20 years prior.

Later that night I came back from wandering around and when I turned on the light I saw some cockroaches scatter.  At that point I was happy to have a bed and just didn't care!

After checking in I roamed around the city and saw the Roman amphitheater, a few nice churches, the usual.  I found a beautiful local restaurant on the sea and was starving.  I asked for a recommendation or a special and ended up with a huge local seafood feast. I stayed a while in the empty restaurant.  Nobody eats dinner at 6pm in Spain!

The next day was the day I was joining the ship.  After 10 days I had survived Europe!  I left early in the morning but I couldn't join the ship until the afternoon.  I started walking north.  The train tracks to Barcelona ran parallel to the sea so at any town I could grab the train anywhere along the way.

I just walked along the sidewalk that was near the water glad that I was going to civilization that day. It was difficult to be in these countries not speaking the language and I was still suffering the effects of sleeping in the bushes a little bit.

Around lunch (10:30am since I was up so early) I was tired of walking for a few hours and went and bought a loaf of bread and some meats and cheeses (don't ask me which ones - I just pointed!)  I made a big sandwich and wrapped it up. I kept walking North towards Barcelona wanting to eat on the beach.  I was walking up a small hill and to my right noticed a little path that went down about a 120 foot cliff to a beach.

As I partly slid down the path I realized the beach was completely empty and gorgeous!  I went to find the perfect spot to sleep a little bit and eat my sandwich.  As I walked a little bit on the beach I noticed four people - completely nude!  I didn't really care and wanted to give them their privacy so I turned around and found a nice spot.  Shortly after I arrived I guess I ruined their spot and they clothed and left.  For the next few hours I went swimming and ate and slept and enjoyed myself on my private beach.

Finally I realized the clock was ticking and I got dressed, gathered everything up.  I went back up the cliff and walked about 15 minutes to a train station bound for Barcelona.  I got out and took the subway to the Lladro shop where I had all my luggage and trumpet and everything was in perfect condition.

Boarding the ship with a few hundred dollars less than when I left the Splendour of the Seas I was worn down, tired, probably didn't smell great, too!  Those two nights without a hotel were hopefully the worst I'll experience in my life but the trip gave me some amazing photographs and memories that will last me a lifetime.

As I clock in my desk job every day I look around and realize no one I know has really done anything that crazy and I'm grateful for my 10 days I spent Homeless in the Mediterranean.

Thank you, readers for staying tuned to my series of stories entitled "Homeless in the Med."  If you missed my other posts you can click on the link at the beginning of this post.  Don't forget to "like" me on facebook to share this story with your friends and to follow my future posts.  Also, this blog is reader supported so feel free to click on one of the sponsors on my blog.  Your support is appreciated!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oh, the memories!

Searching through my hard drive I found this photo of my friend's ship leaving Grand Cayman as we were still anchored. I hope you enjoy the photo.

As an update to my followers I've been tinkering with facebook trying to get a facebook page going for my blog, mostly to teach myself how to do it. I am somewhat successful in doing it - except I've added two "like" buttons at the end of each post and don't know how to delete them! Oh well, doesn't do any harm.

I will be posting a little more to my blog now that all internet poker has been banned in the US. 'DOH