October 19, 2023

Virgin - Barcelona - Marseilles - Cannes - Sea Day

We travel to Barcelona then board the Valiant Lady for a two week cruise around the Mediterranean. A visit to Marseilles fails, we love Cannes, and have a Sea Day on our way to Palma de Mallorca.

Virgin - Barcelona - Marseilles - Cannes - Sea Day

We said a sad goodbye to Castelnau de Montmiral and embarked on our trip to Barcelona. It was a good travel day.

We arrived in Toulouse, returned the car, got some food in the train station, then waited for our first train to arrive.

After an hour we swapped to a new train in Narbonne that would take us another 2 hours to Barcelona. As we entered Spain we saw our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea.

We rested and refreshed in our hotel, then headed out to our first meal in Spain. Brazilian food haha. Mitzi sure is a good sport.

Several times during the meal the waft of a sewage odor would meet my nose. I mentioned it to Mitzi and then she would notice it too.

Toward the end of the meal she noticed I was sitting on top of a sewer hole! Yikes haha.

It was still a great meal, Brazilian food creates a lot of happiness in me.

Tomorrow we board the Valiant Lady and start a two week cruise around the Mediterranean. We can't wait to be on a cruise ship again. It doesn't get old :)

We Board and Sail Away

We caught a taxi over to the cruise terminal. And there was the Valiant Lady ship waiting for us. Always exciting to see the ship and to board!

The welcoming crew on the ship was hilarious. Didn't get a good picture, but you can see a guy dressed in a read outfit with a red cape and he was greeting people as the red angel haha.

We grabbed a quick bite at the Galley. So fun to be on a Virgin ship again. Super fun vibe.

We had dinner reservations at Pink Agave, the Mexican restaurant. We've had some amazing food on this trip. Oceania was incredible, Iceland super good, France of course was perfect. And even after all that, the dining on Virgin is wonderful. Presentation, service, everything.

Walking back to our cabin after dinner.

Marseille, France

We had high hopes for Marseille. Having travelled around France for two weeks on our own, we thought we had a good idea of the beautiful aesthetics and cuisine the French are so passionate about.

Marseille was not that! Kind of sad really. The city is run down and there is graffiti everywhere. It smells terribly of urine down every street.

We had lunch but it was not the delightful French experience we have come to love.

I got a few street pictures but felt uninspired to do much more.

Mitzi noticed this little knit display in the floor of the restaurant we had lunch at. Interesting!

On the bus ride back to the ship we saw the Basilica of Notre Dame up on a hill. And these Sumo wrestlers pushing a container box. Also interesting!

Mitzi got a picture of the graffiti on the freeway overpass. It's everywhere. It just looks like the people have given up keeping it beautiful and clean.

We were left feeling unsatisfied from our visit so when we got back to the ship I grabbed some Butter Chicken to make it right.

I was trying to be mad but couldn't do it haha. Mitzi got a couple of desserts and she felt fine too :)

We had dinner at Gunbae on the ship. Korean BBQ. We sat with two other couples and enjoyed dining with them.

Two interesting things from the conversation. One of the men said he thought that the perfect place and time to die would be on a cruise ship right when his 401k ran out of money.

The other fellow was from New York. He's very upset that 140,000 migrants are in New York. It's changing the dynamics of the city permanently and he's very very angry.

I didn't ask because it would have been rude, but most New Yorkers a couple years ago had no problem with the migrant issue. They wanted the borders to be opened up and had no problem with it. Well now that it's been going on almost 3 years and they are actually affected by it they are mad mad mad.

I wish they had been more thoughtful at the time and remembered that without a border we don't have a country. Instead they seemed to go insane and think that opening the border was just a wonderful idea.


On a brighter note. We played a numbers/clapping game at the table tonight. It was fun and brought big laughs. Mitzi ended up winning!

Cannes, France

We decided to do room service breakfast. What a nice way to start the day!

It was tender to Cannes so guess what? Yep, another installment of...

Tender Humans!

Cannes was everything we hoped for. And what we experienced in France before we visited Marseille yesterday. It was a delightful visit.

I felt way more inspired today for street photography.

Mitzi did some research on Cannes yesterday so we had several options of things to do.

We walked along the pier and then to our first stop, Marché Forville, an semi open air market.

We bought tomato hummus, raspberries, and strawberries. The buying experience was so fun, lots of smiles and laughs.

Why is the bottom of a hot water tank suspended from the ceiling? Well at the restaurant where we ate lunch, the tiny little W.C. (bathroom) has a hot water tank coming down out of the ceiling! We got a good laugh about it.

On our way to eat lunch Mitzi purchased a classic French straw bag to carry our groceries. She looks so French!

While we were eating there was this French chef right next door, and his dog. Mitzi and I both took pictures because it was so interesting.

The dog was tied up to the tree literally 1 foot behind me. Each time the chef walked by the dog would just look at him longingly. Then when the chef returned he would usually touch and interact with the dog, which was very pleased by the attention.

Lunch was great! Wonderful french food cooked perfectly, displayed aesthetically beautiful, and delicious.

Mitzi noticed a lemon meringue pie inside on the counter so she ordered a piece. We both agreed it was the best we've ever had. The meringue was light and delicate melt in your mouth, and it had a crunchy top layer that we've never seen before. It was sprinked with lemon zest. The lemon filling was a little tart, just right, and very delicate as well. Mmmmmm!

After lunch we hiked up a little mountain to a catholic church built in the 1600's called Église Notre-Dame d'Espérance.

The Musée des explorations du monde opened at 2p. There is a tower where we climbed to the top and got some great views of Cannes and the harbor and our ship.

After the church and museum we were ready for a little patisserie. Oh the french patisseries.

Sea Day

We were at sea all day until arriving in Palma de Mallorca port in the evening. We didn't get off the ship.

We did a "Behind the Scenes Tour" in the morning. They wouldn't let us take picture anywhere except the bridge. That seemed strange, but there you go. It's always fascinating to see how things work on these ships.

I included a picture of the captain. He's in the black shirt. On Virgin they don't wear stripes so you can't tell who the officers are, or what rank they are. In the name of 'team work'. We see it more like socialism haha. We like the idea of a captain of a huge ship standing out and looking professional. Alas.

We spent some time up on Richard's Rooftop enjoying the warm sun and the hot tub.

The clouds looked like someone had smeared part of them with a brush.

We had dinner at the Test Kitchen, the experimental food restaurant. They sat us at the bar. To my left was Donald, a solo traveller. To Mitzi's right was Morgan, a quilter and a solo traveller. I spent most of the time talking to Donald, and Mitzi spent most of the time talking to Morgan!

The food is interesting and an adventure. We liked it.