Pam Cole
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Vagabond’s Fabulous 2018 Spain/Portugal
On November 7th, 59 lucky Vagabonds left O’Hare for Barcelona for a wonderful two-week trip through Spain & Portugal.

Stayed in Barcelona, Spain at the beautiful 5-Star Crowne Plaza Hotel with great nightly cocktail parties and dinners on our two nights there.

Perhaps, the most spectacular sight we saw on the entire trip was the Sagrada Familia, by Gaudi, which is the most visited monument in Spain.

After two nights in Barcelona, we boarded Windstar’s “Star Breeze” (rated the 2018 #1 Mid-Size Cruise line in the world), which was loved by all. The ship held only 200 passengers; had very large staterooms, including walk-in closets and provided an intimate atmosphere for all. That night we celebrated 3 birthdays with a huge birthday cake provided by the ship.

The first day we stopped in Palma De Mallorca. After seeing the many sites in Palma, we spent the rest of the day at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy. There we toured the Rafa Nadal Museum & “Experience”, which housed all sorts of interactive sporting activities. Through this interactive experience, we had a chance to play tennis with Rafa. And, he beat each one of us. After lunch we toured the extensive Nadal Tennis Academy. As a side note, should you wish to attend a fabulous “Tennis Academy” for a week to improve your tennis, this is the place! Costs for all tennis and accommodations packages are less than many Tennis Academies in the USA.

After a day at sea, we arrived in Almeria – off to Grenada where we were able to tour the very famous Alhambra Palace.

The next day we stopped in Malaga and upon arrival took a tour to Marabella and to the Porto Banus International Sports Harbour, the home of the Spanish Jet Set. After lunch we toured Malaga and went through the very famous Picasso Museum. That night, we had a wonderful BBQ on deck of the ship with a fantastic, high energy flamenco show.

Our next experience was at the “Rock of Gibraltar” – belongs to Great Britain, where the first activity of the day was a boat trip to see the many thousands of dolphins surrounding the Rock. Next, up the gondola, to the top of the Rock where we were met by the famous and very friendly Barbaby Apes. The Apes had the run of the place and could roam around and do anything they wished. In the afternoon, we visited the Great Seige Tunnels which were built into the rock to house 1600 soldiers with all supplies necessary for World War 1.

Upon arrival in Cadiz, the oldest city in Spain, we left for the exciting City of Seville where we took a boat trip through the middle of town followed by a trip through the Alcazar Palace.

Next, we arrived in Portimao, Portugal. This very beautiful part of Portugal is where the OCHRE Cliffs and Rocks are sculpted into fantastic shapes. Then, we went on a shopping trip to Lagos where many did some early Christmas shopping.

The next day, we boarded a bus to Lisbon, where we stayed at the fabulous 5 Star Intercontinental Hotel Lisbon. There we had an interesting panorama tour of the City and visited the largest indoor aquarium in Europe, the Oceanario de Lisboa.

We were very fortunate to have great weather every day along with very knowledgeable and interesting guides meeting us at each Port and City. We enjoyed the fabulous dinners every night, preceded by a cocktail party in Barcelona and Lisbon and almost all nights on the ship.

We want to thank our fearless trip leaders, Bob Spindell and Janet Weitz, for an absolutely spectacular trip. We all look forward to Bob’s next Vagabond trip, down the Rhine in September 2019 with several days exploring Switzerland.

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