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Hello!

Thursday, October 4, 2007
Hello from the Mediterranean!! This is the first chance I’ve had to get onto the internet since we’ve set sail. But, now I’m on and ready to roll with the info!!
We left Friday night from Omaha around 7:00 p.m. We flew to Minneapolis and then to Amsterdam and finally Barcelona. We arrived around 4:00 p.m. Our flights were very comfortable and very uneventful. I had no trouble at all. I had mixed an extra cassette of Flolan before we left, so all I had to do was switch out cassettes when we were on a short layover in Amsterdam. I used my Inogen concentrator for the flights, except the long one from Minneapolis to Amsterdam. Rod ordered some oxygen tanks so I could sleep a bit longer in between “switches.” I get about 2 1/2 hours on one Inogen battery, although in an airplane, sometimes it’s closer to 2 hours. (I think I must breath more frequently or something.) Anyway, with the oxygen tanks, I only had to switch out once, after about 4 hours. It worked out very, very well.
We arrived in Barcelona around 4:00 p.m. which is about 9:00 a.m. Omaha time. We took a taxi to our hotel, the Le Meridian, got all settled in and then headed out to check out the town around our hotel. Our hotel was situated in an area called the “Rambla” which is more like a boulevard which was filled with street “actors” and venders that sold everything from flowers to fish....live fish! It was strange to walk around and see cages of parrots, turtles, goldfish and mice for sale! Some of the street “talent” included a man dressed as a cat who hid in a giant garbage cat, making cat noises, then occasionally jumping out and scaring someone. I’m not sure how he thought that would bring him money, but he had his coin can out there anyway! After a nice stroll, we picked out a nice looking Italian restaurant that faced the “Rambla” and ordered some delicious dinner. Right before our dinner arrived, 5-6 police vans pulled up on the Rambla with the lights flashing and their sirens sounding! Policemen jumped out in full riot gear! Then, the restaurant owner, who was jumping around, wringing his hands, pushed some buttons and closed some kind of metal garage doors that covered the entire front of the restaurant, windows AND doors!! We were locked in! No one seemed to know what was going on! At one point we did hear some loud chanting and the “garage door” opened a little bit and we could see what looked like a bunch a college kids marching with signs. Later on, someone told us it was “just” a political demonstration. Whatever it was, it ended, we ate AND were charged for a “sitting fee!” Oh well, at least we got a good story out of it!
The next morning we had a very special treat! A friend that I had “met” online through the PHA website drove an hour from her hometown with her husband to meet us for brunch! It was amazing getting to meet Marta and her husband James. Marta also has PH and, like me, is also on Flolan! We shared PH stories and Flolan stories! We even compared pumps and bottles of medicine! Marta spoke very good English so we had no trouble communicating. After we ate, Marta and James were kind enough to take us on a little tour of Barcelona where we visited the Holy Family Church or the “Segrada Familia.” This is a church that has been a “work in progress” for over 100 years and it’s still not finished!! It is very ornate, has multiple spires and is huge! The best part was that none of us had to pay since Marta and I are “handicapped!” What a country!!
Marta and James got us back to our hotel in time for us to catch a taxi and get to the boat. We set sail around 7:00 p.m.
We have a beautiful room that was even more beautiful because a couple of friends of ours, Ramona and Todd had the cruise company decorate our room with a “Bon Voyage” theme! It is wonderful! We got settled in, unpacked, ate and slept and slept and slept!!
On Monday we arrived in our first port, Villegranche, France. It is a beautiful little port city. We walked around looking at the shops and all of the boats docked in the port. Then we successfully maneuvered the Villefranche train system and went to Nice! In Nice we visited the Mattise Museum which was situated in a beautiful park! We saw numerous drawings, paintings and sculptures by Mattise. They even had some furniture from him private homes! We maneuvered the train system again, successfully and arrived at our boat in time to set sail for Lavorna, Italy!
On Tuesday, in Lavorno, we took a bus tour to Florence, Italy where we saw so many things including Michelangelo’s “David.” We also visited Pisa where the famous “Leaning town of Pisa” is located along with a beautiful church and baptistery.
On Wednesday, we arrived in Naples, Italy. We took an amazing tour that included the beautiful Amalfi Drive, Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii!! It all seemed like a dream, being able to see all of these famous things in person!
Rod and I are both doing great. These tours have been a bit difficult but Rod has been a real trouper! The poor man had to carry my Inogen for much of the tour of Pompeii because the whole area was covered with giant boulders, which doesn’t make for easy rolling!
We’ve both been getting plenty of sleep, PLENTY to eat and have so much fun getting to spend so much time together. Well, I better close for now. It’s formal night for dinner and I’ve got to do something with this hair of mine. Thanks all for the continued prayers for safe and healthy travels. They are definitely working!
Thanks for reading.
Much, much love,
Annette

7 comments to Hello!:

paula54 said...

Hi Annette! this sounds like a dream come true. I'm so glad you and Rod are fortunate enough to get to do this wonderful traveling! Have a great rest of your time together where ever you are!!! Love, Paula

Colleen said...

Oh Annette, your trip sounds so exciting so far! Your description of what happened at the restaurant sounds like it came right out of a movie! I'm so glad you are having so much fun!! Keep enjoying your trip, my phriend!
Love,
Colleen :)

Sue "T" said...

Oh Annette,
Your vacation sounds absolutely wonderful so far. I can only imagine how excited and in awe you and Rod are being able to experience all of the things you have. Once in a lifetime journey and I can't wait to hear part two.
Continue to enjoy everything and I'm glad things are going well with you both.
Be safe and have a ball!!!
Much love and many hugs,
Sue :-)

Di said...

Your blog was just like a travel log. I was right there with you!! Thanks so much for sharing what you have seen so far, it just sounds like it has been a wonderful trip for you and Rod. Prayers are still being said for continued safe travels and fantastic memories for you to share with all of us back home.
hugs, di

Donna said...

Annette,
What a fabulous trip! I'm so happy to read all about it and "see" what you're seeing live. Thanks for sharing it with everyone. We leave tomorrow for 2 weeks Down Under so we'll swap stories when we get back home. I maybe half awake, but I'm planning to be at your house the 21st.
Love, Donna

Kathy said...

Sounds as if you are haivng such a great time...I love to read your blog b/c you have such a fun life :) which you should! I lived in Florence for a semester in college and thought it was an amazing city...never been to Spain...but my mom has and said it is great...hope you have a great time...cannot wait to read more...did you go to the Prado?

Jacqniel said...

Wow Annette! Thanks for sharing. Your trip sounds amazing!!! I have said a prayer for continued health and strength. You are one amazing lady! Love, Jacque