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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Letting go

My baby has the biggest brown eyes. She cries for me in the night and I wake to rescue her. She cuddles up next to me and I am here as her security blanket. Passers by comment on her beautiful dark red hair and she grins and giggles. She puts her pudgy little hand in mine and we walk in the park as she sings and dances along. Days are filled with exploring and daydreams.

When the first day of Kindergarten comes she waves goodbye to me with no fear and smiles happily as she skips into the classroom. I shed a tear. At night before she goes to sleep she hugs me tightly and whispers that she loves me around the world and back again and as high as the sun. I feel like the luckiest mommy in the world.

Then I blink and I find myself taking a photo of her and her best friend on her first day of middle school. I shed a tear. She begins to pull away from me into the world of friends and boys that catch her eye. We fight and argue about the world. Cry about beliefs and frustrations. I realize she was never mine to begin with as she grows into a intelligent sophisticated young woman. I watch from afar and miss the sweet little voice calling me to put her to sleep at night. I try to take her on our adventures that we had when she was little but it doesn't feel the same.

 The morning she starts high school, I shed a tear. She falls in love that  year and she is his. I pray that she feels safe with him and wait for her to talk to me. She tells me she misses our adventures together and I try to fill the void with family travels. I find myself missing her when she chooses to spend all her spare time with friends or closes herself off in her room.  At sixteen, I watch her drive away in her car and a feeling of panic pricks me as I become aware of my child crossing over into adulthood.

As her last days of high school draw near she hugs me and tells me she loves me. I shed a tear. We talk and laugh together as she prepares to make the next step to college. I have to let go and trust she will be fine. I believe she has become an amazing responsible woman and I am confident she will make the right decisions.

  I must let her go now, and into the world. I love you always my dear child.
 You have made me a very proud momma.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to take a ferry cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia 101

  A ferry cruise from Barcelona, Spain to Civitavecchia, Italy. Is very easy to find and book.

We just searched online for a ferry from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (the closest route to Rome) and found Grimaldi lines.

It was easy to fill out the info and pay online and print out the receipt tickets.

 The port in Barcelona was beautiful. It is worth getting there early to have a little time to look around and explore. There is a indoor shopping area surrounded with restaurants.  I found if you walk down a bit farther you may find a outdoor shopping experience filled with tents of homemade treasures.

1. Arriving,,be ready to sit in your car for 2-3 hours before you board so you can get a spot. Once your in the line you are unable to leave. Have something to occupy yourself..card games, drawing, reading, ipod, ipad, Ds, dvd player, e-book,  or just be ready to relax for some good old fashioned people watching.

2. Brace yourself for a tight squeeze with your car between trucks, motorhomes, etc...and you get to go up a very steep hill into the parking area of the ship. Also be ready for no organization of who goes first in the line of cars..Be ready for cars swerving in and out around you with no blinker or rhyme or reason.

List of essentials:

1. Have food packed to take on the ferry
2. Sunscreen is very important if you are taking the ferry in the summer months
3. pillow,comfy blanket
4.  towel, bathing suit
5. Cash for coffee,drinks or snacks
6. Comfortable clothes..(change of clothes, just in case.)
7. Something to do: camera, games, Ipad, Ipod, Kindle, a book, art supplies
8. Important:: Make sure to grab (everything) out of your car you may need. Once you get out of your car and go upstairs, you can't really go back and get anything out. They pull the cars in so tightly that you barely can open your doors, let alone open your back trunk.

9. Lessons learned...For those on a budget (as we were with four children and grandma too.) You can sleep anywhere once you book a ticket. Its almost better to book the cheaper deck seats because then you can sleep on the couches in the cafes . We had the unfortunate idea of booking a chair seat. Besides being in the dark basement of the ship, they are worse than airline seats. We booked a seat figuring that having a seat would assure a place to sit or sleep. Well the couches were far more comfy then a chair, and the cafe attendants just went on with their work in the morning while every couch was taken by a sleeping traveler.

Who knew that paying less would pay off more?

I am from a culture that sees everything in black and white. You pay for a sit in that specific seat. A couch in a restaurant or coffee bar, ...are for sitting on while you are dining. (Not)... for setting up camp and sleeping on the whole night and most of the morning. Where I am from you would be kicked out immediately and furthermore, seem quite rude for using a public couch as your bed. (Although, I actually am not really complaining.) It would be nice to live somewhere where it is a more laid back kind of lifestyle. I like the idea of the easiness and freedom of sleeping where I want to on a boat. I only wish I had known in advance how easy and free the rules on this ship were, so our family could of ran for a couch when we boarded the ship. :))

(side note)  If you do want to spend a little more money you can book a room. You can book up to four people in a room. Just make sure to book it far in advance of the trip. They fill up fast.

After a brief sleep or shall I say rest, my youngest daughter was awake for the day at sunrise.

10. 2nd lesson learned: (as said on prior list) make sure to bring extra clothes

While dining with my youngest daughter in the morning she spilled hot chocolate on her only sweatshirt and leggings she took with her from the car. (Below)..How to get a hot chocolate stain out of a cardigan sweatshirt and leggings.
                   -Rinse them out in the sink and blow dry them with the hand dryers- and whaala!...good as new :)

 The only experience I don't have pictured here is the sunbathing deck and small deep pool. In my opinion I wish the pool was wider and shallow, instead of small and deep. It was deep enough to dive into yet too small for more than 10 people. The deck  sun lounge chairs were very popular and as you barely got out of your seat it was snatched up very quickly... 11. Make sure to leave a larger pile of stuff on your sun chair if you want the chair to be there when you get back.

                                                   My favorite restaurant on the boat.

 All in all as my first small cruise, I enjoyed the 22 hour leisurely oceanic trip.  With my kids it was perfect because they could run around and have their own space instead of being cooped up in the car together. It was a relaxing way to transport yourself from Barcelona to Rome. If you have a book you have been wanting to read, a extensive game you have been longing to play, a craft you have been hankering for time to work on, need to get a quick suntan, or you just want to lounge and do nothing...  this is the way to travel for you.