Saturday, January 13, 2018

Atlantic Adventurer Cruise: Day 15, Cartagena, Spain

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Day 15, Cartagena, Spain

Today our port is Cartagena, Spain.  Cartagena is on the southeast coast of Spain and is medium sized city of around 220,000.  It is an old city that was founded around 227 BC.  Because of its strategic position on the Mediterranean, it is a major Spanish Naval Base.

The ship arrived in port at 8:00, but we were going to explore on our own today so we slept in.  We were very tired last night, but we both slept very well and woke up feeling ready to go.  Skies were cloudy, but it was breaking up and it looked like it would be a nice day ashore.  There was only one other ship in port so there would be fewer people around than yesterday. 

The old town area of Cartagena is right in front of the cruise dock so all we had to do was get off the ship and walk into town.  By the time we were ashore the sun was shining and the temperature was near perfect.  Before we left we had found a website called “Toms Port Guides” that has guides for the ports that Tom has visited, which are fairly numerous.  These guides are quite useful and he did have one for Cartagena, which includes the walking tour we decided to take today.

We followed the route he took and found a large pedestrian mall that ran a long ways through town.  At the beginning near the docks, there was a large open market being held so we spent some time doing that before continuing our tour.

The first thing we wanted to do was visit the Cartagena Roman Theater.  It dated back to 200 BC but over time buildings had been built on top of it and no one knew it was there until some excavation was done in 1987 and it was discovered.  It was very interesting and we spent quite a bit of time going through the museum and the Theater itself.

We first walked through the Theater.

From there we continued wandering through the city looking at shops and the old buildings that lined the walkway.  There were many others doing the same thing and even a wedding was being held at one of the churches.  We were looking for a certain street and completely missed it and had to backtrack, but no problem as we just got to see more of the city.  Our next stop was going to be the Roman Forum, but we decided to skip it and continue our walking tour.  We did stop at a craft store specializing in local arts and crafts before moving on.

As we neared a large public square we were surprised to see a large festival being held with food, entertainment and booths where you could find nice locally made items.  We walked around the area for a while and Val bought a nice necklace.

We continued on our walking tour turning back towards the harbor where there was an old fortress built on Concepcion Hill, which is the highest point in the city with a 360 degree view of the city and bay.  It is a pretty steep walk up, but there is a lift you can take and we had purchased tickets with our entrance fee to the Roman Theater.

There were just a few people waiting to go up so we got on the first elevator up and were quickly at the top.  There was a long line waiting to go down so that wasn’t very encouraging for our trip back down.  We walked around at the top for a while and enjoyed the views of the city and harbor and then started back down.  Because of the long line we had seen we decided to walk down instead of taking the lift.  It wasn’t too bad of a walk down, but I’m glad we didn’t choose to come up that way.

The Roman Forum.  The structure on the right is the lift we took up from the street.
The view of Cartagena from the top.
Once we were back down, we walked back towards the harbor and started to look for a place to eat.  We found a nice place to eat near where the ship docked and opted for the upstairs restaurant over the downstairs lunch type menu.  I had never had paella before so Val and I ordered seafood paella for two and started with a salad for two.  I will be eating paella again as it was very good.  We both really enjoyed our meal, but there was just too much to finish so we regretfully had to leave some on our plates.

That's our ship out the window.
The seafood paella was sooo good.

All aboard was at 3:30 today and it was close to 3:00 when we finished lunch so we decided to head back to the ship as we had both had all the walking we wanted today.  As we got near the ship we noticed another ship had arrived in port while we were gone making it three ships in port today.  The ship was another Holland America ship named the Prinsendam.  The Prinsendam is Holland America’s smallest ship and holds only 850 passengers.

The Prinsendam
I looked out and saw these tiny sailboats racing around the harbor.
We were back on the ship well before 3:30 and relaxed for a while.  The ship sailed at 4:00 so I went up on the Lido deck to watch us sail out of the harbor then returned to the room to catch up on yesterday’s and today’s blog posts.

One of the other ships in port leaves first.
Then it was our turn.  The view as we leave the harbor.
Soon it was time for dinner so we headed for trivia, dinner and the casino.  Unfortunately, we finished quickly in the casino so when we returned to the room I had time to finish up on today’s blog post before calling it a night.

Our port for tomorrow is Barcelona and we have two tours planned, but we won’t be arriving until 10:00 so we won’t have to get up early.  After all the walking we have done in the last two days, bed is going to feel very good tonight.

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