Our onwards trip from Lisbon was delayed by the passage of Hurricane Leslie which ended up crossing the coast to the north of us and resulted in high winds and heavy seas. Even inside the harbour area of Lisbon it was windy and rough enough for two tugs to push into our ship’s side nose first overnight to keep us hard up against the quai side. I must say it was very effective because we really didn’t feel any ship movement during the night.
This meant we missed one port as we waited out the storm before sailing on to Spain and the port of Huelva (for Seville) and then Malaga and Cartagena. By the time we reached them the weather had changed for the better and had even warmed up enough to be T shirt weather for our daily excursions.
We felt very at home in the Spanish landscape with its many eucalypts which seem to flourish in this environment. Seville involved a day trip from the coast and once again we were surprised by the large numbers of tourists everywhere we went. This was so especially on our walk through the narrow alleys of the Old Town and in the magnificent Plaza de Espana which was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929 (upper left and bottom right) with fan sellers and others enticing us to part with our euros. However the worst people press came as we shuffled through the Cathedral – the largest in the world and originally a mosque – magnificent in proportions and also for the works of art and silver and other treasures in evidence. Outside we enjoyed a snack of tapas and a walk along the elegant avenues of the city.
On to Malaga, a city we all really enjoyed visiting, and one of the oldest in the world, where we were accompanied by a wonderfully informative guide who not only didn’t mind but actively sought our group to ask many questions! (top middle pic) We had wonderful views over the city and coastline from the strategically placed Castillo de Gilbralfaro (top left) which is on the site of a former Phoenician lighthouse and has had several iterations since it was built as part of the Caliphate of Cordoba. There was a tall gum tree with a beautifully coloured trunk in the grounds too (top right – we must be homesick!). Tourists (not us!!) took turns having their photos taken next to the statue of Picasso which sits on a bench in a square near the building in which he was born. The Hand of Peace was our meeting point in the elegant city centre as we sampled tapas and accompanying drinks in several different local restaurants (a bit touristy – but why worry!).
Another interesting ancient city we found our own way around was Cartagena which is over two millenia old and apparently had its boom time during the Roman Empire. We decided not to make the climb to the Conception Castle but instead took the lift up and found a great high point to see the city including an aerial view of the Roman Ampitheatre in one direction and the bull ring which was apparently built on another amphitheatre in the other, not mention a stunning view over the naval and commercial harbours. The castle has been well restored, the displays interesting (with English captions as well as Spanish), the gardens lovely and it was not crowded! There was class of excited eight year olds racing around which made some of us glad we were not in charge! A much small city than the other two but equally as elegant along its beautifully paved main street and squares.