Sometimes First Impressions Are Wrong – Malaga

Our first port of call was Malaga.  I went to Malaga about 20 odd years ago and what I saw wasn’t inspiring.  The bus station was bleak and we drove past, on the way to Nerja, run down neighbourhoods.  I thought why on earth would people visit here?  Well it just goes to show what I know!  In researching what to see when we docked I found that I was probably seriously mistaken in my opinion so I was looking forward to the visit.  I was also looking forward to getting off the ship.  I get seasick on swings so it may seem strange to find me on a cruise.  I bought the wrist bands, a roll on thing for behind the ears, ginger candy and seasick meds.  And they had peppermint tea on the ship.  After a rough first full day I found my sea legs.  Turns out getting a hot rocks massage is not a good thing if you get seasick easily.  I found out the hard way!

We started the day at 6.20 because we were told we would pass through the strait of Gibraltar between 6.30 and 7am.  This would be before dawn but I figured the rock would have lights round it.  So off went the alarm, threw our clothes on, and dashed upstairs to find we passed it a half hour ago.  But we could see the lights of Africa which was something else.  Since we were up we decided to watch the sun come up.  It started to get light about 7.45 and it was beautiful.

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When we docked it was a beautiful day, little on the toasty side, but still lovely.  We walked to the old town and to get there we had to go through loads of gardens.  I’m a bit envious of all the blooms they were having as the garden at home was finished.

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Our first stop was the cathedral and low and behold it wasn’t raining or in scaffolding!  This has never happened to me before.   It’s either or both.  I thought that things were looking up.  🙂  It was an interesting place and I enjoyed walking round it before lunch.

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After all the walking it was time to find a place to have our lunch.  We wandered a bit looking at menus and found a small cafe just off the road.  It just had a few tables.  We each ordered a panini with Iberian ham and manchego cheese.  Simple but very delicious.  I knew we’d eat well off the boat.  It was one of the things I was looking most forward to.

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After lunch we headed over to the Alcazaba fortress.  This place was a maze of amazing gardens, rooms, pottery, and history.  It is centuries old with the Moorish influence.  The Moors built beautiful buildings so we found this quite fascinating.  And it was truly a maze of rooms and courtyards.  It took us a long time to walk round it.  We didn’t have a map so we just explored wherever we could.  I think we saw most of it.

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To end the day we saw the most amazing sunset.  There are times I am in awe of how beautiful nature can be.  I only had my iphone at this time of day so I wasn’t able to take good pictures of the 50 or 60 dolphins leaping about.  But boy were they having a grand old time.

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Malaga is one of the stops that we would go back to.  It was a great start to our exploring Spain.

What an Adventure…On the Seas! :)

We have had an amazing holiday and it was much needed.  Tomorrow we make the trek back stateside.  Fingers crossed it will be a better flight than the last!  And I have loads of posts to do based on our trip and today I start with our home on the seas.

Our ship was the Adventure of the Seas:

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We were very excited as we approached the ship.  It’s amazing how large they are.  This ship is due for a refit next year so it was a bit tired but very clean and the crew for the most part were extremely friendly and helpful.  Given they have about 1000 people working there you won’t get sunshine from everyone but I’d say the vast majority really tried hard.  And it shows.  While we had issues here and there we felt like they wanted to make things right.  Unlike the couple at the table next to use.  By the end of the cruise they were known as the complaining couple by guests and crew alike!  I’m not sure why they took the cruise but by the end of it they had changed the toilet seat, requested a completely new bed, complained about the food so much they worked themselves up to a dinner with the captain.  They even tried to change their waiters but the rest of the table put their foot down.  It was very strange!

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The captain was hilarious.  In fact after one of his talks a guest asked if he had ever considered a job as a stand up comedian.  He said no but he should because eventually they will figure out he doesn’t know how to drive this thing.  🙂  But actually he and his team were quite good.  When we docked in Cartegena it was pea soup thick fog.  The port had closed but the captain went over the plan with the harbour pilot and the ship was allowed to dock.  And this port is very small.

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I think the best bit about the cruise was the people watching.  They had a welcome back party for members.  Basically if you’ve done a cruise you’re in.  But to get to the highest level you need to have 700 points, which is 700 nights!  There were a few at that level.  Including two gentleman who got on at Malaga.  They came on for eight months.  I just can’t imagine the laundry bill and they had some wild outfits, including turbans, top hats, and car shaped purses.  Some people didn’t know what to think but I thought it was fabulous.  If you can’t have fun, what’s the point?

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What we discovered is that elderly people have turned to cruising as a form of assisted living.  We were taken aback at the amount of mobility scooters and wondered if this was a trend and apparently it’s a lot cheaper to cruise round than go into various homes.  As a consequence there wasn’t much going on at the nightclub on this cruise.

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There was great fun to be had at the quizzes though.  We won twice!  Came close a few other times.  One prize was two umbrellas which were fine until it became rainy and windy.  So those were left in a bin in Lisbon.  Absolutely useless!  Then we won a cap, keychain, document holder, camera holder, and a blingly light up ring.  I liked that one!  I wore it that night for a bit of fun.

The ship also had a peekabo bridge where you could see the bridge.  That was very interesting to watch.  Such a small section of the ship that controls all but there it was.

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There were some characters on the cruise like the american woman who was shocked we didn’t drink ourselves under the table.  She once had a $3800 bar bill on a cruise!  Crikey.  And as most of the people on the cruise were Brits we had a blast zinging back and forth.  Though when she was standing there she finally said to me she didn’t understand a thing we were saying.  I had to explain there is English english and American english.

But the best bit is that we met some really lovely people at the Champagne bar and that became our watering hole.  We’d all meet up before and after dinner and just had a great time.  And I’m pleased to say some great new friendships were started.  🙂  Dinner at Portofino’s was an absolute blast.

We did take the opportunity to go as far front as we could.  I did resist the “king of the world” bit.  But I did have to hang on as it was very windy!

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Stay tuned for more stories!