Posted by: glenswatman | November 16, 2011

20111101-10 SPAIN

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TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2011 – We dock early in Cadiz, directly across the street from the old city.  Last time we were here we were shipping our motorhome to the Canary Islands and only had time to do the open top bus tour.  Today we have all day so set out to explore on foot.  Cadiz is a lovely city, very busy today as it is All Saint’s holiday.  The waterfront promenade is enhanced by fortresses and gardens.  Within the city many streets are narrow and traffic free making it a pleasure to explore.  The main museum has an interesting puppet exhibition and some huge sarcophagi.  We make it back just in time for a late lunch.  In the evening we dress up for the last formal dinner, Steve can just about fasten his suite trousers.  Most people opt for the surf and turf combination of lobster tails and fillet mignon.  As if that wasn’t enough there is a late evening dessert extravaganza by the pool.


WEDNESDAY 2 NOVEMBER- Today we cash in Steve’s prize of a day at the hydro therapy centre.  Within a private area you can switch between a mineral water spa, showers with various hot and cold jets, and 2 different steam rooms then relax on heated ceramic beds.  It is so relaxing that we return for another stint after lunch.  At the final pub trivia the Aussie team “Dumb and Dumber” win – we get the impression they were briefed on the answers but it makes it really funny.  They have brought along some vegemite for everyone to try and also stand up and do an Aussie song.  To round of the cruise we are taking Steve’s fancy dress prize as a meal in the Pinnacle restaurant.  Here you get fine dining, the best steaks ever (about the size of half a cow) and delicious desserts, if only all the dining on the ship was like this – actually probably not a good thing as we have both already piled on the pounds.  Only four of us turn up for “Name that tune” in the “Crow’s Nest” so Anthony says we will all get a prize of a free drink regardless whether we play as one team or alone.  Based on this we do it individually for fun and I am surprised to win by 1 point.  We take a last walk round the casino to say “Goodbye” to some of our new friends; having had different table companions each night and joined in 3 lots of quizzes we seem to know half the ship.


THURSDAY 3 NOVEMBER – We wake up in Barcelona and do our packing.  With only hand luggage we can leave when we are ready so plenty of time for a last pig out at the breakfast buffet.   In truth after last night’s meal we cannot do it justice.  On shore there’s a queue for the taxis so we walk a little further up the road and flag one down for the €10 (£9) ride to the station.  By 10.30am we are back in Cubelles just ahead of the rain.  Angeles is on holiday in Istanbul and Juan working in Barcelona until next week but they have left us keys and instructions to make ourselves at home and use the washing machine, dryer etc.  Within an hour we are unpacked and the laundry is being done, that’s the nice thing about travelling light.  Just can’t seem to find where the buffet lunch is laid out.  It rains on and off for most of the day.  During the night we get thunder and lightning to go with it.


FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER – We’d planned to do some sightseeing from our base here but with more rain forecast we cannot get inspired.   There’s little point in heading south as the rain covers virtually all of Spain.  At least here we have electric, water and access to the house.


SATURDAY 5 NOVEMBER – With no rain forecast for Barcelona we take our chances and hop on the train.  We’ve visited before but today want to wander round and concentrate on more of the modernist architecture.  Alighting at Passeig de Gracias we are immediately in an interesting architectural area.  La Pedrera is one of Gaudi’s creations and today there is a temporary exhibition inside so we get to see a little of the interior free.  “Palau del Baro Quadras” is another modernist building housing “Casa Asia” exhibitions so we see the building and learn about Japan and other places.  Sadly the Casa de les Punxes (house of spikes) is being renovated so it is hard to appreciate the fairy tale castle look.  Doubling back we head to Placa de Catalunya with nice fountains and statues.  The market is bustling with locals and tourists sitting eating local foods.  It’s almost impossible to visit Barcelona and not end up on the Ramblas and from a distance we appreciate the imagination that goes into the human statues.  Making our way through the gothic quarter we end up at the city park where the cascade is the highlight of the day.  Topped by gold statues the building is above a huge waterfall that cascades in all directions over statues, greenery and pools with fountains, magnificent.  We’re back just in time for Steve to watch his football at 4pm so a good day all round.


SUNDAY 6 NOVEMBER – We’re both feeling a bit under the weather; maybe we have colds coming on after living in the air-conditioned cabin.  Steve is happy to lie in bed reading whilst I make use of the Internet connection to follow up on things I learnt in the computer class on the ship.  It’s raining anyway so we wouldn’t have been going out.  In the evening I stumble upon a Spanish web site, that has up to date wild camping info for Spin including photos so stay up until 11pm gathering info.


MONDAY 7 NOVEMBER – The weather has greatly improved and it is time to hit the road again and head south down the coast but not before a big shop.  Lidl seems to be having a British week and I pick up Vintage mature cheddar cheese, back bacon and battered cod.  They don’t have a meat department so this necessitates a visit to Dia as well.  By the time we set out properly it is 11.30am but we only have about 35km to go.  With Satnav co-ordinates we easily find Platja Llarga just north of Tarragona.  The motorhome parking is directly behind a beautiful beach with cold showers available.  All the other vans there are from Germany and they tell us it is no problem to stay.  The downside is that we are next to the main train line.  Shortly after a British motorhome pulls up next to us and we recognise the Yorkshire accent and are amazed when they say they are from Keighley.  In truth they come from Silsden which is just outside but near enough.  Hazel used to work at Airedale hospital in the endoscopy department and knows the specialist who I see.  David is also retired from working at the foundry and they have been full time motorhomers for 5 years.  They tell us you can walk south over a couple of headlands and past beaches to reach the centre of Tarragona in about 50 minutes so this should be good tomorrow.


TUESDAY 8 NOVEMBER – It’s another nice sunny morning so at 9.30am we set out on our hike to Tarragona.  After about 30 minutes we reach the 3rd beach then head up onto the main road.  Another 20 minutes and we are at the Roman amphitheatre.   There’s not much left of the Roman city but at the archaeological museum (free on Tuesdays) we do get more idea of how it once was and with over 40,000 inhabitants was as big as Rome.  We wander round the interesting streets with oddments of ruins and see one with lots of bollards all hand painted in different designs.  Walk back all along this coast.  This is a much longer walk but really spectacular with great views, more beaches, lots of eroded rock formations and waves crashing into caves and a narrow goat path around the ruins of an old barracks.  On return we notice nudists on the 3rd beach (Savinosi) and reading the map at the back of the beach find that this is an official naturist beach as is the next one north from Platja Llarga.  Arrive home at 1.30pm and set about cooking the British cod in batter, a poor replica of the real thing.  Having walked for miles we both drop off whilst reading our books but as they say “when in Rome”… so a siesta is fitting.


WEDNESDAY 9 NOVEMBER –We set out to find the other naturist beach; this involves a much longer walk to the north end of Platja Llarga then a long walk through pine forest and a scramble down the cliffs, in all best part of 40 minutes.  We are the first to arrive so have to assume we are in the right spot and this is confirmed a few minutes later when a girl and her dog arrive and she strips off.  The sun is low in the sky so it is only really hot between 11am and 3pm.  Around 5pm David and Hazel join us for a curry, sitting out eating we have a fine view of the bright red sunset.  Continuing with the Indian theme I have cooked Kheer for dessert, a sort of rice pudding with sultanas, almonds and cardamom pods.  By the time we are ready for coffee the evening is getting cool and mozzies biting so we retire inside.  Still feel the weather is much better than we expected for November.


THURSDAY 10 NOVEMBER – I’ve just put the washing out when the clouds gather but luckily they are passing through and it clears up enough to tempt us to Savinosi beach.  The walk does us good as we have to walk along the beach the scramble up rocks and walk along the cliff top.  It’s nice beach but with only males there I don’t feel so comfortable so we return early, how come the men have time in the week to go to the beach but not the women?  More motorhomes arrive late afternoon and by evening there are over 20 of us.



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