Monday, June 29, 2015

Our Mediterranean Adventure: Day Twelve Cruising & Returning Home

Dear Em,
* This is one of ten posts recapping our California adventure. See also Day One Boston to BarcelonaDay Two Antibes & NiceDay Three Pisa & FlorenceDay Four RomeDay Five & Six CruisingDay Seven AthensDays Eight, Nine, & Ten Turkey & Lots of CruisingDay Eleven Capri, Italy, & Your Own Adventures with Grandma & Papa. *
We woke up on our last cruising day with mixed emotions. Part of me wanted to stay in bed & catch up on sleep. We had had mostly early mornings & late evenings with jam packed activities in between. The other part of me wanted to make the most of our last day, not leaving any moment wasted. We finally settled on a compromise. We read in bed & watched one TV show before heading to the dining hall for breakfast. 

Afterwards, we found our favorite spot on the ship, on lounge chairs far enough from the pool that the music wasn't blasting. It was kind of our little cubbie. We called it our spot, & it gave us warm sunshine & perfect views of the sea & passing land. We spent most of the day there, enjoying the constant views of the coast for one last day.

We went back to our room in the late afternoon to pack & get ready for dinner. We headed to dinner in the formal dining room, & I was struck by how much I was going to miss our kind servers. After dinner, we finished packing up our things (we had packed so much for two weeks!), & put our luggage out in the hallway. I couldn't help feeling giddy that we would be going back home to you soon. 

We went to our last shows on the ship, & although part of me wanted to do everything on our last night, it ended up being mostly a low key night. We headed back to our rooms fairly early, & I fell asleep quickly with the amazing thought that I would be seeing you the next day.

Unfortunately, we had a large journey ahead of us before we were reunited. We woke up at 5am as we docked in Barcelona, Spain. We ate one last breakfast on ship, before saying goodbye to the room & the ship, the Vision of the Seas, that had been our home for the past twelve days. Considering how many people were on board the ship, departing was actually a pretty painless process. There was a little hiccup where we waited for what seemed like forever on the bus that would take us to the airport (35 minutes or so), but we made it to the airport on time.

The Barcelona Airport is a quirky little place. As much as lines exist there, there didn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to them. Daddy stood at the front of one line for about a half hour, just to watch the airport staff pick & choose other people from within various spots in the line before us. After being surrounded by the extreme friendliness & courteousness of the cruise staff (really, it was the best customer service I've ever experienced), the Barcelona Airport was a bit of a rude awakening.

Still, we miraculously made it through the lines & security with time to spare. The airport has a little bit of a shopping mall in it. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we did some last minute souvenir shopping. We purchased some really great finds in the Duty Free shop, including what would be your favorite of all the souvenirs we brought home to you. Then we met up with Glen & Liz for a couple more European beers.

There was just one problem. The whole morning I was off the ship, I still felt like I was on the ship. I think people call it sea legs. Although I was on land, I still felt like everything was swaying. I felt off balance as I walked around. It's an incredibly annoying thing to still feel like you're on a boat when you know for sure you're not on a boat.

We flew to Amsterdam before getting on a long flight back to Boston. They serve complimentary wine on international flights now, & I took advantage of that. I couldn't fall asleep. I felt like we had just woke up, & I took advantage of the almost unlimited movies available. There was a man flying with his infant son, & I couldn't help but look at him with absolute empathy as he tried to keep his baby relatively quiet & still in his lap during our nine hour flight.

The flight went fairly smoothly, but in the last hour I began to get incredibly airsick. By the time we were getting off our flight, I was taking Dramamine & doing everything I could not to vomit everywhere. It felt so good to be done with the flying & so great to be on American soil again. We were so close to being home with you...& yet still so far away.

First, we took a bus from the Boston airport to the train station. Then we took a train from Boston to Providence. Then Papa picked us up & drove us home from Providence. When he first saw me, I must have looked how I felt. We had been awake & traveling since 11pm East Coast time, & it was almost 8pm when he picked us up from the train station (21 hours).

The sea legs & the airsickness & the exhaustion all melted away when we pulled into our driveway. I ran out of the car, almost before it came to a complete stop & without grabbing any bags or luggage. I ran into the house, & scooped you up. I was pretty sure you had grown four or five inches while we were away, & I was never going to let you go. Daddy had agreed that you could sleep in our bed that night, & I couldn't wait to snuggle you until we both fell asleep.

Grandma & Papa left soon after, knowing that we were exhausted, & we headed up to bed. Daddy was bringing our luggage into the house, when you told me that your belly hurt. You started gagging, & we ran into the bathroom. I held your hair back as you threw up into the toilet. My body was screaming with exhaustion, & I silently prayed that I would have the strength stay up with you that night as you struggled through whatever was going on with your tummy.

Luckily, that was the only time you had to throw up. We laid down in bed together & told each other how much we loved & missed each other. You whimpered a few times throughout the night, but I just reached out & held your hand. Your body immediately calmed down as soon as our hands were touching.

At last, we were home. Your daddy & I had had an absolutely incredible & amazing adventure- I loved all of it- but we were both so very thankful to be back were we truly belong.

I love you so,

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