160508 Cartagena Spain

Cartagena is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2011, it has a population of 218,210 inhabitants being the Region’s second largest municipality and the country’s 6th non-Province capital city. The metropolitan area of Cartagena, known as Campo de Cartagena, has a population of 409,586 inhabitants. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

We are still in MY country as we drift into one of the deepest natural seaports in Europe, that of Cartagena (pronounced Car-ta-hee-na) at around noon.

Often when arriving at a port, everyone is in a rush for breakfast before going on an excursion for the day or just to wander the streets. We had ample time to do our 6km walk around the walking track and have a well ‘stretched out’ breakfast before preparing for our walk around the town. Prior to disembarking, Lyn and I decided to have a ‘bite’ to eat. As we walked by the pizza servery, we noticed a fresh pizza coming out of the oven. Our son-in-law makes good pizzas but this was huge, almost twice the size. The chef said it was a spicy garlic pizza. Now that is different – and it was. There was Jalapenos mixed with lots of garlic – a real Spanish type pizza if ever there was one. Yes, it was delicious. I said to Lyn we needed ice cream to cool down the heat. Nearby, was the ice cream stall for that cool down moment.

The weather was to be very overcast but during the afternoon, the clouds rolled away and we had a beautiful 5 or 6 hours in this very clean city. Of all the cities we have visited in Europe, we quickly discovered that the cobble-stoned streets of Cartagena had been replaced with smooth stone pavers. The street surface was like ‘glass’, easy on the footwear but probably icy when wet. There must be a quarry of the slate in the bare hills nearby.

It was a Sunday and the locals were out to see our very large ship parked very close to their town centre. But they were also happy to provide a real Spanish feel to the town. The atmosphere was party-like, with performers singing in the streets and lots of people dancing to the music. I am not a fan of black dresses. I was rewarded today to see so many ladies in bright colourful long Spanish dresses with great swirling hems. The music was loud and the clapping and singing was great to hear in the narrow walkways around the town. Indeed, a happy town.

We found a café which included Wi-Fi in order to publish the post from the day before and to enjoy more ice cream as a second lunch. Don’t worry, you concerned weight watchers. Each morning at 6:00am, we will be on the walking track to wear it off, and besides, “If we are going to die, we may as well enjoy getting there”. And isn’t eating ice cream nutrition at its best?

I collect patches to go on my camera vest. Until I find a shop in a town that does sell them, I am often stopping by to search for one to add to the vest. This trip has been a difficult one in that regard. But we find one up a narrow street. In the window of a tobacco shop, we find a couple of figurines for our ‘travel cabinet’ – a matador and a lady in a swirling Spanish dress.

It has become our habit to do our ‘looking around’ of a port in the morning before getting back on the ship to enjoy what the top deck has to offer, but as our arrival was at noon, we couldn’t do that for very long. We did make it to the deck and had a spa while watching the big screen presentation of a Billy Joel concert. The sun was warm and many had taken up the challenge of getting the Mediterranean tan going.

Departures from a port are always a good experience. As it was Sunday evening, all the vantage points were taken by the locals to witness our departure from this quaint little town on the Spanish coastline.

Earlier, we had decided to go to the main restaurant for dinner but that changed to become a quick meal in the bistro before the evening show. The show was an older welsh lady comedian/singer, Diane Cousins, who had the Princess Theatre audience in stitches with her good clean jokes. It was mother’s day and all the guys were made fun of in a Welsh sort of way.

Tomorrow, we spend the day in Gibraltar.