Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Revisting Cadiz, Spain---------------

October 7, 2019
Sunrise 8:25 am
Arrival 8:00 am
Temp. 80F

Cadiz, located on a peninsula jutting out into the bay, is almost entirely
 surrounded by water. It is said to be the oldest surviving city in Spain and
 was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC and later occupied by the
 Carthaginians, Romans and the Moors. A fascinating old town with
 waterfront gardens, beaches and quaint open squares, it is a busy port and
shipyard today and, since ancient times, its natural harbor has attracted
 fishermen, merchants and ships trading along the Atlantic coast.

Early morning - always a great time to explore a city, especially one set 
on the water.

The Cathedral of Cadiz.

 Coffee morning with the Spanish ladies.

 Interesting apartment building lobby, with laundry drying above!

Quaint side streets.

Glimpses of old Cadiz, Spain.

Cadiz was somewhat quiet the day of our visit as it was a religious holiday.
That evening we set sail for Casablanca, Morocco, a distance of just
190 nautical miles.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Portimao, Portugal..........................

October 6, 2019
Sunrise 7:33 am
Early Mist and 82F

Arriving in port early morning, Portimao's busy marina - already a brilliant blue sky - and 
by 8:30 am we were aboard the coaches and heading out on the morning tour.

Only for the truly brave - walking on the windy cliffs of Cabo de. S. Vicente.

Our guys, Rob and Bob at the Cabo de Sao Vincente lighthouse
situated on the most south-westerly extremity of Europe and watching over 
busy shipping lanes. It's one of Europe's brightest lighthouses and can
 be seen from some sixty miles away!

Outdoor dining as only the Europeans can do it - waiting for the lunch crowd.

Shopping opportunity in Lagos.

A very warm 82F and a brilliant blue sky while visiting Lagos, Sagres and
 Cabo de. S. Vincente (Cape St. Vincent).

Prince Henry the Navigator - born 1394

This statue commemorates the 'prince of Portugal', regarded as an originator
 of the Age of Discovery and the Atlantic slave trade, and who used Lagos as
 a launch pad for many of the expeditions he commissioned. It was inaugurated
 in 1960 on the 500th anniversary of his death.

We headed back to the ship for our lunch. On most days, when aboard, we dined 
(as did the majority of the passengers) on the open Lido Deck where the always 
amazing buffet was served. . . . . .and relaxing and chatting was so enjoyable.
A more formal served lunch was also available in the dining room but we
 much preferred eating outside in the sunshine and watching passing boat traffic.

Next port of call takes us back to a favorite place in Spain!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Portugal 2019 - Embarkation and a little sightseeing -


Returning to beautiful Portugal was exciting, however not much time was spent
 in Lisbon as it was just the jumping off point for the cruise on the Hebridean Sky
 which took us 2,197 nautical miles to visit five countries!

After a quick 'sightseeing' zip around the busy city via motor coach, we and our
 group who had all flown together from London, unloaded at the dock. 
We boarded within minutes, were taken to our cabin (which was like returning
 home as we had the same one on this ship last year on the Patagonia/Chile 
expedition), our luggage appeared immediately, and within half an hour we were
 doing the required safety drill in the lounge area and ready for champagne and
 the Sail-Away!

As you can see, Hebridean Sky is a small ship compared to the German
mega cruise ship docked ahead of us. It probably had several thousand 
passengers whereas we were just 110 making embarkation so quick and easy.
 Another fun thing was seeing familiar faces among the ship's fabulous 
crew - and that they remembered us!

Sail-Away on the River Tagus heading to the Atlantic Ocean and a short
overnight sail of just 157 nautical miles to Portimao in southern Portugal's 
Algarve region.

The Monument of the Discoveries

Here's the link to our former visit to Lisbon a few years ago
where you can enjoy better photos taken when we had more time
in that lovely city.

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; 
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sails shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.......................

John Masefield 1878-1967

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What the.................?

Amazing what a heavy shower can bring!  Yesterday's evening visitor arrived
 when the much-welcomed rain stopped - and following Bob's refilling of the
 bird feeders which had remained empty during our three week absence.

Looking out the window - while awaiting the pasta boiling in the kitchen - I was
 thinking how pretty the rays of the setting sun were illuminating the potting shed.
Then I saw it - a big, hefty healthy looking raccoon, bright-eyed and bushy tailed,
 nibbling away at seed which Bob had scattered on the ground for the squirrels!

Sent a quick photo to my neighbor, his response was, "must be the one who's
 been digging in my garden whilst you were away."
It quickly made its way under the shed when it realized he/she was spotted, but came
 out again later and Bob scared it away. Hoping it's not living under there, 
raccoons in our area can carry rabies!

Our fig tree yesterday after the shower............and as you can see there's still not
 much going on here when it comes to falling leaves or even leaf color changing - all
 due to lack of rain or cool weather.

Roll on autumn, I'm ready for sweaters and coats!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Home - the best place to be!

We made it home from London yesterday evening after battling thousands
at Heathrow, then Charlotte, and even here in Raleigh! Airports are just getting so
 difficult, tiresome, and getting through them in those ever lengthening lines is like
 fighting a battle.  Seems everyone has TSA Pre Check now!  We do have 
Global Entry which gets us through Immigration faster - however as usual I was 
called aside because of my fingerprint problem - I don't have any clear ones for
 the machine to read! Perhaps it's easier in Business/First but for the rest of us - the
 majority of us - it's murder in the airports these days.

I'm too busy/tired today to write much now.
The garden is still suffering from the drought which was in effect 
when we left. It's cooled a bit but apparently only a light shower fell
the entire time we were gone, almost three weeks! 
No much-needed soaking rain.
I looked out early this morning as the sun came up - jet lag had me up
 before 5 AM, so I started unpacking. Then I noticed just a touch of color 
brightening the morning - those hardy little morning glory seeds did
germinate after all!

I'll be back here later in the week - stories and photos to share of some new, interesting, 
often mysterious, lovely places and beautiful people. . . . . . .and tales of life on board 
a small ship.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sahara Desert wanderings -

The part of the Sahara Desert we visited was quite surprising. 
It made me think of visiting Antarctica where one is 'there' but rarely gets to visit 
the actual South Pole. The Sahara is the largest hot desert, and third largest
 desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic. Covering 9,200,000 square
 kilometres it is comparable to the area of China or the United States.

The Sahara comprises much of North Africa, excluding the fertile region
 of the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Atlas Mountains of the Magreb, and
 the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan. 

From the port of Dakhla, our fleet of twenty seven 4X4 vehicles, without
 air conditioning, drove us through the city to the Lagoon area and into the
 desert for the visit to the Sahraoui Camp - a rather long, very bumpy, uncomfortable
 drive to say the least! Accompanied by serious looking armed Police in cars, 
vans and on motor cycles, we felt somewhat over-protected.

We were there in the desert but despite the sand it didn't really feel like we had
reached the true desert. It was so vast and I wished we could go further with no
 views of water and kite-surfers in the distance! 

Me with our guide Rashid.

Dancing and afternoon tea. . . . . . . .Sahara Desert style.

Tasting Saharawi Tea.

"Do not regret the passing of the camel and the caravan. 
The Sahara has changed, but it remains a desert without compromise, the world in its extreme. 
There is no place as dry and hot and hostile."
William Langewiesche - Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert.