After leaving Gibraltar, they had the pleasure of a day at sea where they could relax, enjoy the sea air and for Tubbs to enjoy the massage session Podge had booked for in the Spa. Tubbs believed it was because Podge wanted some quiet time but she wasn’t going to argue. Afterwards however, she wished she had argued. Apparently, the girl applying the massage was from a specialist intensive interrogation camp where pain and pressure were applied with equal measures. Tubbs was in great discomfort.

Podge had got it wrong, again.

When Podge gets it wrong, Podge pays, one way or another. Whether somebody has a direct line to a greater power or not shall remain unclear but through the remainder of the day and through the night, Podge’s breathing deteriorated.

The following morning brought Barcelona, a place both Podge and Tubbs have visited before. But today, Podge was weary and wondering how he was going to manage the excursion they had planned but Podge was desperate to do it. But, with a late start and an hour on a bus, Podge knew he would be ok for the 90 minute trip to the Montserrat Monastery which included a trip on a rack train on the way up to said monastery perched on the edge of the ‘serrated mountains’ as the locals like to call them on the basis that they look like rows of teeth.

The train ride itself was a lot more enjoyable than was first feared: Tubbs believed the train to be one of the steep vernacular railways but the rack train was actually quite a gentle and very, very scenic ride to the top of the mountain where the monastery was perched. Once off the train, the guide then route marched the group, with Podge acting as ‘Lantern Rouge’ and Tubbs watching front and back to make sure they didn’t lose touch with everybody else, up the hill to show them where the bus would be when it was time to return to the ship. Having got to the top, the guide then route marched the group all the way back down again to where everybody had got off the train and route marched them all up the other side, passing café’s and shops much to the dismay of Tubbs and, to some extent Podge also, and so the group continued up another hill.

Poor Podge: By now, poor podge was struggling.

Walking was becoming tiresome for Podge, walking uphill took all the breath and energy he had. Podge needed rest. Fortunately, the nest stage was inside the Basilica (Church of Montserrat)  where all were greeted by sights of absolute amazement wth statues and paintings every which way one chose to look. It’s hard to describe how it looks without pictures (these will appear when Podge transcribes all into “Places We Have Visited” or of course one could Google it or look it up in Wikipedia (what would one do without Google or Wikipedia?). Anyway, Podge finally managed to extract himself from the group and take a seat for some quiet time and inner thought. Podge mused, people come here in search of healing so why shouldn’t he but poor Podge didn’t know how to go about it so Podge truly was, today, Podge The Puffer: Poor Podge.

Tubbs was wise. Podge was tired.

Eventually after some rest time, Podge and Tubbs were able to continue to view the inside of this amazing church and then step outside and look out across the mountains and down to the place from whence they came and they then knew just how privileged they were to be where they where. It was truly wondrous. Podge was having another Lourdes / Santiago de Compostela moment. Podge may be becoming a little religious. Soon enough however, Tubbs once again recognised the signs and just knew that what Podge really needed was to go to the souvenir shops, to buy the obligatory fridge magnet, and then off to the coffee shop for a rest and a drink.

All too soon however it was time to take the long walk back up the hill to where the bus would be waiting to take everybody back to the lovely Oceana. It was only a 5% gradient but poor Podge really found it a struggle and was glad to finally climb onto the bus and settle down for an hour and enjoy the scenery during the journey back to Barcelona. At last, the ship came into view and within no time they were back on board and settled onto their balcony. Podge was tired but Podge was happy!

The Lizard returns!

As they sat upon their balcony, the sun came out and shone directly on Tubbs (Podge always knows which chair Tubbs should sit on) and a serene smile spread across her face as she basked in the warm glow of the sun, heating up and storing energy, just like a lizard.

And so the day ended with The Duchess sitting on her balcony smiling contently, gazing down upon the world looking as though all was good. His Podgeness however just sat there trying to breath. Podge had taken The Duchess’s cold as penance for her Massage Session the previous day. Poor Podge.

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