MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS PART I.
I am back from my Mediterranean cruise and thought this week and next week I’d tell you about some of the highlights. We embarked at Valencia, Spain, which is about an hour from my home, but the journey took us about two hours by the time we stopped at various pick up points along the way.
We cruised on a ship called M/V Sovereign of Pullmantur Cruise Company, and visited Malaga, Sardinia, Rome, Corsica, and Palma de Mallorca. The Sovereign has fourteen decks, with swimming pool, numerous bars and restaurants, and there were loads of activities on board. The meals on board were excellent. I was disappointed, at first, that I was not sat with my U3A colleagues (University of the Third Age), but I needn’t have worried because the other eight members of the table proved to be charming and friendly.
Although we didn’t visit Valencia (I have visited it before) I’ll give a brief description.
Valencia is located on the east coast of Spain, and the city was host to the 2007 32nd edition of the America Cup Sailing Race, and as a result received a vibrant renewal of its port facilities. At the beginning of this blog you can see a picture of ‘The City of Arts and Science’ building. It is a futuristic building and famous throughout Spain and one of Valencia’s most popular tourist destination. It is situated between the port and the city centre.
We then sailed to Malaga, which is located along the southern coast of Spain. Malaga is known as the capital of the Costa de Sol , and one of its unique characteristics is its small garden lined streets. One had a chance to take an excursion to the villages of Puerto Banus and Mijas, but because I had visited these places several years ago, I was content to walk approximately a mile where there was a lively area alongside the picturesque port, consisting of restaurants, bars and strolled through the gardens adjacent to Alameda Principal which is a busy street, its gardens contain rare, exotic and tropical plants.
I was fortunate to witness a re-enactment of the 1812 French invasion of Spain, assisted by the British. A Spanish man, dressed in an English midman-ship costume explained to me in excellent English that he and his friend, dressed in the costume of a British soldier, what was happening. A photograph is shown below as some of the troops are boarding a ship called La Grace.eu. This ship is a replica of a sailing ship built in the second-half of the 18th century.
We had to be back on board by 6.30 pm, just in time to take a shower, and get ready for dinner at 7.30pm and the show afterwards. The meals and the shows were first-class, and all drinks on board, as much as we wanted to drink, any time of the day or night, were automatically included in the price. (I didn’t view any drunkenness aboard at all).
During the night and the following day, Sovereign set sail for Cagliari, Sardinia, (part of Italy), a distance of 685 nautical miles,approximately 788 miles. Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, and is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. I am sure the island has many worthy attractions but in the short time we visited I was not impressed by the old town of Cagliari. I suppose I was comparing it with the old towns of Benidorm, Altea, and Peniscola.
On the Wednesday, Sovereign docked in Civitavecchia, Italy, we didn’t stop there but caught a coach to Rome, where we visited most of the important monuments such as the Colosseum, the Plazza Venezia with its monument to Vittorio Emmanuel and Mussolini’s balcony. Then we visited the Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica, with its fascinating works of art, and St. Peter’s square, with its vast colonnade. We then walked to the Trevi Fountain and enjoyed free time to have lunch.
Next week I’ll write about the beautiful island of Corsica – my favourite place on the cruise, and Palma.