I was awoken by my phone welcoming me to Morocco. That sounded very exotic. I looked out of the stateroom to see if I could spy that familiar rock formation.
It wasn’t there – maybe we really were in Morocco.
Brian pointed out that Gibraltar was probably on the other side of the ship. I got dressed to take a look, and sure enough there it was. It did make me think that maybe a future cruise should involve Morocco. And include the Marrakech express.
Our time in Gibraltar was short – all aboard was at 1:30, and if we were to do all that was planned, we wanted to get going. The problem was that with all of the walking and hiking we had been doing over the past few weeks Brian had developed a rather nasty looking blister on his right foot. Normally we have Moleskin on hand lest someone develop a blister. We have never actually had the need to use it previously, but it is in our Ziploc bag containing medical necessities for travel. But of course, the bag was removed from my suitcase in Southampton.
So the decision was made that Brian should not walk any distance and should stay on the ship, and I would walk into Gibraltar by myself and purchase the needed Moleskin for him. I checked Google Maps for nearby pharmacies. There were 12, so I should get lucky with at least one of them having what I wanted.
The center of town is about a 10-minute walk, or 4-pound taxi ride away. There is no shuttle bus due to the taxi drivers not allowing one
There is a small cruise terminal which has free Wi-Fi, a well-stocked duty-free shop (although no Veuve Clicquot), and a gift shop which sells, amongst other things, lovely lavender sachets, shawls, and hand knitted baby clothes including the cutest booties and matinee jackets.
I left the port and walked towards the rock. There was no doubt that we were in Gibraltar.
I hadn’t walked far before I came across my first “pharmacy” a CBD store. Here I could find my inner balance, but not Moleskin.
So on I walked. Soon I was in the downtown area, which seemed to be much improved from our visit here several years ago. The whole area is now a pedestrian mall with outdoor restaurants, and interesting looking shops and official buildings. And no annoying motor bikes or electric scooters.
I also found the type of pharmacy I was looking for. However, they were not able to help me.
10 pharmacies later I was still out of luck, but I had purchased several items which I thought might be helpful for the blister problem, and sundry other things that caught my eye. I also had a good time looking at the other shops, and was able to resist the many fish and chip establishments advertising ice cold cider. Tempting. But my search must go on.
Finally, I walked through the Commonwealth Park
to Morrison’s, not convinced that this would be my salvation. Oh me of little faith. There on a shelf right at the back of the store beyond the cereal aisle was exactly what I was looking for!
I paid for my purchase, and hurried back to the ship, time was fleeting and the all aboard hour was upon us. I could see that our ship was quite close by, but still had a fair way to walk until I could reach her.
I hadn’t seen much of Gibraltar, but I had achieved my goal, and had really enjoyed my stroll through the downtown area. Everyone in all of the pharmacies had been very pleasant and helpful. I also didn’t have to fight off a Barbary ape on this visit, which was a plus.
Back on board it was time to watch us head back into the sea, and listen to the great rock ‘n’ roll sail away.
When we returned to our stateroom after lunch the light on our phone was blinking at us, and we had a message to contact Callum, the customer relations man. We went to the Purser’s Desk and requested to meet with him, and after initially being told that he was not available and they didn’t know when he would be available, he miraculously appeared, saying he thought he heard my voice. Notoriety helps sometimes.
Well the matter of the damaged suitcase has finally been settled. Cunard will pay for a new suitcase, and will reimburse us for the storage fee that we had paid to have the 3 suitcases stored in Southampton between our Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria voyages. This will appear as a future cruise credit, which apparently can be used for payment towards a current booking.
I am happy with that. I will go online and order a replacement suitcase, and hopefully it will arrive before our next cruise. And I can use the future cruise credit to pay down the balance on our October cruise.
We have been reassured that everything taken out of the suitcases will be returned to us when we get back to Southampton, so on Sunday we will see how accurate that is.
Feeling grateful that things were sorted out to my satisfaction, we decided to sit on our balcony and read. It was nice and sunny, and out of the wind.
I noticed that 2 naval looking ships were sailing beside us, sort of like escort ships when you are in the Gulf, and we wondered if they were British or Spanish. Brian took out the binoculars and said they looked Japanese, which seemed like they were a long way from home.
When we went for dinner they were still there, but on the other side of the ship. Then we remembered the ship tracker app on Brian’s phone, and we found Queen Victoria and started to identify the ships that were around us. Those 2 were indeed Japanese navy ships, and then we saw that there were Spanish military ships, a couple from Belgium, and a ship that I had mistakenly identified as the Disney Magic turned out to be the aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales. Very interesting. We assumed that there must be some sort naval exercise going on out there. Hopefully they would not be using live ammunition as I thought we were in range. Brian told me that the likelihood of us being hit was minimal, and he put away his phone, and we carried on with our dinner.
We have stopped at our last port, and all that is left are 2 sea days, and then we will disembark, and be driven to Heathrow. There is no convenient Queen Mary 2 crossing to take us home, only British Airways alas.
So let’s enjoy those sea days, and plan future cruises!