Monday, 8 August 2011

The Urbanis Have Jolly Good Fun on Holiday

Well, we're back from our adventures abroad,
and what a brilliant time we all had.
A brief summary.....
(apologies if there are too many photos.
Hope, our official photographer, took over 500. 
 Many of them are of pigeons and house numbers (?),
so I've sifted through to find my favourites which might
still be too many for you).

Having flown to sunny Barcelona, we
checked into the wow factor Barcelo Raval Hotel,
which is right in the heart of Las Ramblas.
We didn't have much time to spend in Barcelona,
but we did spend long enough there to know we want to go back.
We enjoyed a meal on a roundabout (!)
with the rather gorgeous waiter dodging the traffic 
to get to and from the restaurant.
After breakfast (delicious) we got a taxi to our home for the next week -
The Liberty of the Seas.

A full size theatre,
an ice rink,
a casino,
a cinema,
swimming pools,
a health/beauty spa ,
a silver service restaurant on 3 floors with a beautiful central chandelier
and a self serve restaurant with every type of food available  
- and all the food was beautifully prepared and presented -
etc etc etc
and a promenade with
(the view from above of the main promenade)

a coffee bar, pubs, bars (champagne, wine etc), ice cream bars, and shops.

Our cabin was rather cosy with 4 of us in it
but we were only there to sleep and get changed so it wasn't a problem.
We had a lovely cabin housekeeper called Rodney
who made sure we had a totally relaxing time
and left some fun towel folded animals in our cabin!

The first morning we woke up in the port of Toulon, in France.
We chose to stay on the ship
enjoying all the facilities it had to offer and relaxing.
Hope and I had top-to-toe treatments in the spa
which was sooooo lovely.
In the evening we went to a fantastic aerial show.

The next morning the view had changed to that of Villefranche.
We had booked an afternoon guided tour which was brilliant.
We went to old Nice,
(love those colours and the shutters)

and then travelled on to Eze
which is a medieval town approached by a steep stepped cobbled hill.
There were lots of winding alley ways. 

We found this fountain at the top.

(the boys and a stunning view)
With all those steps we had earned our ice cold drink at the top!

Back on board, in the evening we watched a super live performance of
Saturday Night Fever.

After another overnight sailing
(I LOVED waking up to a new view every morning)
we had an early start for a trip into

Look at all that ice cream!

Everything is on such a large scale - and all so beautiful.
It was also, however, very busy and at times we could hardly move :o(
And it was very very hot!
Florence is traditionally famed for its gold and leather
and would you believe it?  
I found a handbag to buy!

As we ate our evening meal the ship set sail again.

(Careful you don't burn your fingers, Luke!)
and in the morning it was another early start for a trip into Rome.
The trip I was particularly looking forward to
and it did not disappoint.

The Coliseum was fascinating.
Top tip: if you go to the Coliseum you can buy your ticket from 
The Forum where the queues are only 10-15 minutes. 
 The queues at the Coliseum are several HOURS!

(Luke didn't realise he was in our photograph!)

(Hot, tired and hungry)
At the Trevi Fountain we cast our coins and made our wishes.
After this photo was taken we had lunch (pizza, of course).

St Peter's Square.

On Thursday we had a half day trip to Pompeii,
which was brilliant.

(Me looking, Luke listening, strange chipmunk yawning!)
We had no idea that so much had been excavated
and that there would be so much to see.
Our guide, Antonio, was very knowledgable
and rather amusing because he seemed to forget we were all wearing 
radio receivers so as he hummed along to himself we heard him.
As he muttered to himself, we heard him.
When he blew his nose, loudly, oh boy did we hear him!

(High Street lined with shops)
(Painting in the prostitute quarters. The customer would simply point at the service he required)
(The view of Vesuvius from Pompeii)
 In the evening we went to an ice skating show
with 10 international skating stars.

Friday was a day at sea
which we spent relaxing and packing.
The show in the evening included James More,
who is a brilliant magician
(he's been on the Penn and Teller tv programme).
He foolishly asked for a volunteer from the audience.
DH Grant was up on that stage before anyone else 
had a chance to raise their hand!
He just can't work out how James performed his card trick
and it's driving him mad!

I won't share with you the photograph that my darling son, Luke, took
of a monster poo he produced.
He took a photo (on Hope's camera, she feels it's been defiled)
and he is going to put it on a website where people score poo.
What have I done to deserve this?!

Anyway, we would score our holiday a massive
10/10 and Grant is already researching 
a Caribbean cruise Christmas 2012........
However, it's still good to be home.

Phew, still awake?
You deserve a medal!



SusieJ said...

ROFL..typical boy!!
Love the photos, love the fact that you had a brilliant time and yes, still on for 15th. :)
Hugs xx
p.s. how was the erotic sci-fi? lol

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

You don't have to ask if I'm still awake, I am!!! I LOVED your post and your pictures--It's my dream to someday go on a cruise, or see an amazing place like this! I knew you'd have a great time, how could you not in such a beautiful place!!

Lenna Young Andrews said...

I loved reading your account Joanna, thanks so much. It sounds like a wonderful, wonderful family trip -wow! I've never been on a cruise. Hope you rest up now! xo lenna

Kat said...

Oh my gosh, how absolutely lovely!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip! I hope I get to follow in your footsteps someday, it looks like a great cruise.

missy k said...

I can't get my head round the size of these cruise ships and everything that they have on them :)

It all looks so wonderful..

I loved seeing your photos and your spa day sounds just the ticket!!!!

Love Karenx

Virginia said...

that sounds amazing and fantastic and spectacular and exhausting all at the same time, Rome, Florence, Pompei all looked and sound amazing - glad you had a great holiday and glad you didn't share said photo that DS took and I'm not surprised his sister feels her camera has been defiled LOL!

Hope you are recovering from your gorgeous holiday and hope the washing pile isn't too horrific!

craftattack said...

Wow, looks great Jo. Sounds like it was really a super-duper holiday! The photos of Italy brought back many happy memories, as I lived in Rome for 4 months after my daughter was born! Hugs, Valerie

bad penny said...

Wow ! There is something magical about seeing a town or city from the sea. A completely different aspect & I love the colours too stunning.

The ship looks incredible & I'm glad you made full use of the facilities but also enjoyed your sight seeing. What a fabulous holiday !

Susan T said...

You didn't make me wait till Friday. WOW what a holiday. I would love to visit all or any of the places you mention. You look to have had a fantastic time. Will tell Paddy about the poo photo, there will be one word from him 'respect'

Jane Housham said...

So glad you had a lovely time. Love all your photos and descriptions. I'm just trying to work up the energy to sort out my photos and do my hols report -- respect to you for getting on top of it so quickly. x

Jewels said...

Welcome back to blog land Jo - we missed you but what a GREAT vacation for you - all the places you went to are fascinating and beautiful! It will be one of those family holidays everyone will remember (even the monster #2, LOL) J

Menopausalmusing said...

Sounds like you had an amazing time. A real holiday to remember. The ship looks fantastic!

Jill said...

What a fabulous time, sounds like you should be totally relaxed and refreshed with all that pampering and cultural treats. Definitley not too many photos!

Ann's Art said...

Wow!! that sounds like a great holiday. We went to Rome many years ago, loved it. Oh, and sounds like you have a typical boy there as well. Glad you had such a great time cruising.

Privet and Holly said...

Welcome home!
Does it all seem
like a beautiful
dream??? Talk about
a trip of a life-! Love
all your pics and
our families are
so similar....our
son is taller but
younger {almost 13}
and our daughter is
16. Off to see our
first college prospect,
today. Wish I was
cruising, instead...
this is all too
for the peek at your
fun, Joanna!
xx Suzanne

Privet and Holly said...

PS: I meant taller
than our daughter,
not taller than YOUR
son....he looks tall,
xx S.

Monica said...

Still waiting for the pol shot!

A terrific holiday.

Monica said...

POOL not Pol Oh my!

Once again i should have checked. the gremlin in my computer chops up words and sentences.

Joanna said...

You were close to getting the poo shot in your inbox, Monica. Ugh!!


Irish3 said...

Wow, I can't believe how much you got to do!!!! Fantastic! It looks like it was the ultimate holiday and the ship must have been like staying in 5 star hotel!! Beautiful!!
Welcome home! I just posted after some time off, I just didn't have challenge type creativity in me.. but today I felt a flicker of something, so maybe I'm on my way back!

Miss Iowa said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time! You really got to see and do a lot. Tell Hope she did a fabulous job with the photography. Tell Luke he's a dork. :)

JaN's ArTy JouRneY said...

Wow, sounds like a wonderful holiday, Glad to hear you had a fabby time cruising :)
It's hard to believe that they can fit so much on a floating amazed!
Great pics :)
..and LOL at Luke!! boys will be boys I s'pose !!
Jan x

Letticeleaf said...

Brill holiday photo's, must admit I skipped through the text... That is until I got to the end... then something caught my attention... Farting drumroll here... Yes you've guessed it... Sad innit? Is he a 'closet' Gilbert and George I wonder? At least his photo would have been a tad more interesting than flaming holiday snaps! Sorry Jo! LLX

Joanna said...

OK then Linda, you've asked for it. Turd photo will be emailed forthwith!


Negerigeletschtempoit said...

I am so thrilled that you and your whole family had such a fantastic trip!! And, yes, I was awake the whole time, enjoying each and every one of these spectacular pictures! (Where is the poop that made Luke so proud????? LOL!!)

Really, Joanna, I am so freaking happy for you guys! Thank you for sharing some of those precious moments with us.
Love ya!