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Published: April 15th 2016
Dateline: Cartagena Spain
April 13, 2016
We were exited to sail into Cartagena, Spain today as this is a port we have never visited. Cartagena sits in a very well protected bay in dry southern Spain. We leave the ship and join a group on the dock for a walking tour. According to our delightful tour guide, Isabella, the city has a population of about 250,000. Modern Cartagena was built on top of layers and layers of Roman cities, as this part of Spain was conquered by Hannibal and was part of the Roman Empire. We made our way around a large outcropping with a castle on top. When we reached the eastern edge there was an 8 story modern elevator to take us to the top….yes! Only 8 people at a time so it took a while for our group to go up. At the top were centuries old Banyan and Olive trees, covered walkways and peacocks. Lots of peacocks! We had magnificent views of the city, port and countryside. We made our way through tunnels and small passageways where Cope had to basically crawl to get through. For both of us it was a tad disorienting and
claustrophobic. Back out in the air and sunshine we made our way back to the elevator and down to street. Turning left we passed the hospital and continued for a few blocks until we got to a passage way that would lead us to the first of many “piazzas”. As in many European cities, many of the old buildings retain their facades on the outside and then are remodeled to include all of the modern conveniences we know of on the inside, giving the streets “old world charm”. Once we left this piazza we were in for a surprise as the “downtown” has beautiful hand laid tile streets, lots of sidewalk restaurants, people shopping in fun stores and locals out for lunch. We were on the edge of the financial district. Cars are not allowed on the narrow streets so they are filled with pedestrians.
As we strolled down these narrow streets our guide told us the history of the buildings and about their biggest problem, water. This part of Spain, although on the coast, is very dry, and much the water is brought in from the north of Spain, where just like California, there is dissention about taking
water from the North to the South. The Romans built a series of aqueducts that provided lots of water to the city during their time of the occupation and there are pools, baths and cisterns that can be seen from that era. The design of water usage today is still based on much of the Roman sophistication.
Next we went to an excavated Roman Amphitheatre which wasn’t discovered …right in the middle of downtown… until the 1980’s. It was under 3 layers of city that had been built upon it over time. No one know what might be below the amphitheater.
After our 3 hour walking tour we found ourselves downtown just as all the restaurants and coffee bars were opening. Maria and Vincent (our tablemates from dinner) were on our tour so we decided to go to lunch together. Sitting at an outdoor café, Cope had a local dish, ham and …what appeared to be… GIGANTIC fava beans. No thank you! Sitting next to us were Greeks, Italians, Germans, French and of course locals. The combinations of cultures, languages and architecture, was wonderful. As we were leaving downtown, many shops and businesses were closing for siesta time.
We meandered back towards the docks in the warm sunshine. After returning to the ship, we relaxed in the sun on the upper deck and enjoyed seeing the port and all of the ”lemmings” , AKA guests ;-) returning to the ship.
We loved this city. If you haven’t been here put another one on your bucket list.
On the ship again, our dress for dinner tonight was Casual Chic (previously known as formal night), and we enjoyed our lobster and Beef Wellington dinners, as well as the new friends we have made from Toronto, Canada, and Long island New York. Just an update… our Celebrity ship does not have formal night. They have nights that are “Casual Chic” and they tell you just not to wear torn jeans ;-) No tie required, no coat. As for us, we couldn’t figure out how it was any different than any other night except I guess on other nights you can wear “torn jeans” LOL.
Next Stop: Pienza, Italy in Tuscany.
Tot: 3.192s; Tpl: 0.049s; cc: 11; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0634s; 3; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
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