Wednesday, 11 June 2014
A mini cruise from Genoa to Barcelona
Our family car was a Passat estate car. We loved it. We could all pile in, throw in all the luggage we wanted and go off on holiday with our three children. It was spacious and comfortable and did us proud. It faithfully took us on family journeys, carried guitars and other instruments to gigs, took a huge heavy marble sink all the way to my sister-in-law's house near Milan. It never let us down. When it was on its last legs, or wheels , we decided to take it on one last on-the road holiday. We wanted to go to Spain. As my husband was tired after an intense working year we decided to take the over night ferry from Genova to Barcelona .I booked it up at a travel agency in the days before Internet. The brochure described the journey as a cruise. There were pictures of casinos, dance shows, various entertainment and restaurants and bars. It looked really exciting, a sort of holiday on the way to the holiday. We drove to Genova and joined the queue to board the ship. A steward accompanied us to our room, or cabin. There were three young people on the bed, two girls and a boy, looking very much at home there. The steward looked at our tickets and then threw his hands up and told us to go to the reception to sort it out. I just thought I'd ask one of the girls to show me her ticket. It said Palermo. I told her that the ship was off to Barcelona. They immediately ran off in a panic. When the steward came back and we explained he told us that it happens a lot. Often lorry drivers wake up in Barcelona or Palermo by mistake. Having seen the photos of the glamorous people in the brochure I thought I would change into my LBD, but my husband said he wanted a quick smoke on deck first. So off we went to explore the deck and watch the coastline lighten up as dusk fell.
We got into conversation with a young couple and a dog and before long were chatting easily as though we had been friends for years. The time went by and we realised it was time to have supper and so set off together to look for one of the restaurants. All the time I was in my old travelling jeans and t-shirt and there was no chance to change for the evening. After dinner we walked around the ship and discovered the casinos and dance halls, nut hardly anyone was dressed up and those that were looked rather forlorn.I actually felt very grateful to the friends we had made because they had inadvertently stopped me from looking a bit of a twit, as I usually do .I'm good at that. We all said we were ready for bed and looking forward to breakfast by the pool, another magnificent photo from the travel agent. Next morning however the swell of the Gulf of Lyon made sure that no-one felt like breakfast and it was too choppy for the swimming pool to be filled with water. However the coast of Spain looked tantalizing in the distance and we were very excited that we were about to explore a new country.Sangria, paella, Flamenco, guitars for me, Miro, Picasso, Gaudi and sagrada familia for my husband. We checked into our hotel in Barcelona. I went to get ready while my husband sat idly channel hopping. Soon an indignant yell rang through the room. One of the questions on the quiz show was to name the Spanish explorer who discovered America. The answer was Christopher Colombus. Oh dear we thought he was Italian.