After leaving Rome we sailed between Sardinia and Corsica overnight, and headed for Cartagena. The sea was totally flat, and a beautiful blue, there was minimal wind, and it was warm, not hot. A perfect summer sea day.
Perfect for swimming and sunbathing, and that’s just what we did. Not having my novels to read, I ended up reading a hard cover book given to us by a friend when we visited her in Kent. It is a signed copy written by her daughter, Hetty Saunders, and is a biography of JA Baker, the author of The Peregrine. Quite honestly, I saw this as a book to read as I sat by the fire, not one that would inevitably get splattered with sunscreen, have a pina colada dropped on it, and end up damp from my soaking wet swimsuit. However, with my planned reading material somewhere in Southampton, I was obliged to give it a try.
By the end of the first chapter, despite my attempts, the book was already damp. However, it is so well written, that I simply had to continue reading it. I decided that if this book does get rather damaged that’s OK. Books are to be enjoyed and treasured, no matter what condition they are in. And it’s condition is certainly deteriorating.
My unrepairable damaged suitcase was returned to the stateroom, and again I was told that someone would contact me to discuss it. I am still waiting. One advantage of having it in the workshop was that we didn’t have to find room for it in our cabin. Luckily with moving our various items of luggage around under the bed, we did find space for it.
The suitcase is in a very sorry state, but to cheer me up Brian reassured me that with a combination of duct tape, super glue, bungee cords, string, and zip ties (which coincidently he just happened to have) it can be rendered adequate for the one flight back to the US. After that though, it will be history. I was very distressed about the outcome to my beautiful suitcase, but that’s life.
So, we had one of those perfect sea days spent alternating between swimming in the pool and reading out on deck, having an amazing meal for dinner, and finally enjoying a night cap in the Commodore Club, discussing our plans for Cartagena.
It was somewhat cloudy, hot, and muggy when we arrived in Cartagena. However, we love eating outdoors, so we tried to have breakfast by the pool on the Lido deck, but had to retreat indoors because we were being surrounded by the most intrusive flies. Very annoying.
Cartagena was a new port for us, and we decided to explore it on foot. It is a Spanish navy port – and the cruise ships, container ships, and naval vessels all share close quarters in the harbor. There is no cruise terminal as such, you just walk off the ship and head off down the road for the 10-minute walk into town. They are constructing a new building close to where we docked, so we wondered if that will eventually be the cruise terminal. All it had there so far was a Burger King, which seemed very incongruous.
The walk from the ship takes you to the Plaza Ayuntamiento, and the beautiful city hall. There are cafes and tacky souvenir shops on the plaza, and a pedestrian mall leading up the main street full of every kind of small shop. There were also flies everywhere.
We decided to leave our shopping for later and took the steep road up to the ruins of the Roman Theatre and the Osario Cathedral. I am still always amazed by the juxtaposition of ancient ruins and modern apartment buildings. Thank goodness the townsfolk saw the importance of maintaining the wonderful part of their history, and did not destroy it in the name of progress and reusable bricks.
The Roman Forum is a short walk away, but this has not fared so well in terms of preservation. Still at least no one has built on the site, and hopefully it will still be there for generations of townsfolk to see.
Although not as stunning as Barcelona, the architecture of Cartagena is quite lovely, with many beautiful buildings.
There were also some banyan trees in one of the squares. We haven’t seen those in a while.
Towering above the cruise port is the Citadel. Luckily you can take a lift to get to the top, 1 Euro for the round trip if you are a senior. Although not very sunny, it was turning into a very hot and humid day, and the thought of climbing up the steep hill was not very appealing. We opted to take the lift.
From the area near to the top of the lift you get a good view of the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre. It must have been a spectacular building in its day.
We walked around to where we could see the harbor, and our beautiful ship.
There was a group of passengers from our ship there, they had decided to take the little train that does a tour of the city. Apparently the weight of all of the passengers was too much for the little train, and it was unable to make its way up the hill, so several people had to volunteer to walk all the way up so the train could proceed to the top. I was glad we had taken the lift; the volunteers were all very hot, and quite exhausted.
However, we all agreed that the view from the top was great. They are building a municipal theater right next to the Roman Theater. It looks like the perfect place for a concert.
We took the lift down, and walked back to the ship after finding nothing really interesting in the souvenir shops.
It was definitely time for a swim, and we almost had the whole Lido Deck to ourselves. There are currently 920 guests on board, with nearly a full contingent of staff. No wonder it feels so good!
More folks came to the Lido Deck when sail away was imminent, and Habit To played wonderful music. It had cooled down a bit, and although the flies were still very annoying, it was a picture-perfect sail away. The whistle blew, and it looked like we were about to be on our way. We were marveling at the fact that so far our departures had not been delayed by people returning to the ship after the all aboard time. Then we saw a man running towards the ship, gesticulating wildly. Behind him we saw 4 or 5 other people running. Fortunately, the gangway was still in place and they just made it on board. Phew!
It was quite tricky maneuvering the ship out of the harbor, but the pilot and Captain succeeded, although we seemed to come very close to land at times. Once out of the harbor where we were docked, we went past a fuel depot, and then headed out into the open sea.
We sailed past a rather strange ship, which I thought looked like a dystopian cruise ship, but our ship mapper app identified it as a livestock carrier. Never seen one of those before!
On returning to our stateroom, I had hoped there would be a message from someone about what they will do to reimburse us for my suitcase. No such message. However, I was very pleased to see that there was my Cunard Logbook. It has been signed by many captains since I bought it on board QE2, and had it signed by Ian McNaught. I had sent it to Captain Hoyt requesting that he sign it, and he did. He also wrote a very nice little note.
So all in all, it was a good day. Time to sit on the balcony and enjoy watching the Mediterranean go by.
Thanks for another great report. I hope you have some news about your case soon.