Nov 11, 2007
|Ah, Cartegena, land of cafe con leche, churros, paella, lovely looking men, beautiful children...........its been wonderful.
We sailed here through the Strait of Gibralter, unfortunately we passed the Rock of Gibralter in the dead of night. We will sail through it again though when we leave the Med for Morocco and I hope that its in the daylight!!
Our ship is docked in the local Yacht Marina rather than the usual industrial area that we get. The sun is sparkling off the Mediteranean Sea which is blue and crystal clear. The temperature in the mornings is a bit chilly but by noon is usually 25C or so. Certainly warm enough for tank tops and shorts.
Cartegena is a city with a history that dates back over 3000 years. Surrounded by small hills there are Roman ruins on top of many, making it obvious that this was, at one point in time, a very important city.
Its now a mix of very modern and very old. You can climb the hill to the castle (small by castle standards!!) and look down into the Roman ruins of the colliseum, or you can wander the pedestrian shopping mall and find Gucci, Hermes, and some well known Spanish designers.
I have found the people here by far the friendliest for a non-english country. They actually stop for you in the crosswalks.....simply amazing really. Crossing a street has always been one of the more dangerous activities we have partaken in. They have gone out of their way to either speak english or find someone who does. It makes a visit to the country a lot more enjoyable.
The one day I went to the market by myself, in search of fresh fruit, I was okay with most of it, but the fruit that we were not to handle, the grapes etc....well, how do you say, ¨¨not so much¨¨ in Spanish....so I ended up with a lot more grapes than I wanted. Thankfully no one back at the ship minded helping me get rid of them quickly. Kids, they are like vultures with the food. One day I set a package of crackers down on the island in the mess, Emma walked by, picked up the package, helped herself then offered them around. See the rule is, if something is left on the island then its up for grabs.....just thought that seeing as I was standing right there it was safe for a minute......apparently not!!
I also wandered to a large outdoor market on Wednesday. The lady at the information center said it was worth the walk. So off I set and whether it was worth the walk or not because of the items for sale is debatable, but it was certainly worth the walk for the cultural experience of watching hundreds of spanish ladies, children, old men and women, bargain over items. It was loud, it was busy and it was exactly what a Spanish market would be and I am very glad I went. I did not test my lack of bargaining ability.....maybe at the next one.
The life in Spain is laid back and slow. I have come to appreciate that life does not hurry. I have also come to appreciate drinking chocolate and churros (spanish donuts sprinkled with sugar). I propose that we adopt the siesta back in Canada.
We leave today for Sicily and I am very much looking forward to it. Although I read in the paper yesterday that the mafia is back in full force in Palermo, Sicily.......our next port!! Keeping my eyes open for gansta's