We stopped in Barcelona twice. This is a video about the first visit. Our tour brought us to Antoni Gaudi's masterpieces, Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. Sagrada Familia is scheduled to be completed by 2025.
One of my favourite ports on this trip. Mellissa and I got to know Bill and Terri, two super folks from Maryland, biked around Valencia, ate and drank a lot and saw amazing sites in a great city. See what I'm taking about!
Cartagena in southeastern Spain was a port we decided to simply pop off the ship and explore on our own. Our first stop was the Roman Amphitheatre museum, we purchased a package of historic sites for only 15 Euros, and were off to the races. Fantastic city and day full of food, history, and accordions. Perfect. Like all our ports I'd go back. I (heart) Spain.
Our next stop was Malaga Spain, gateway to the Alhambra and Granada. Every stop is a history lesson. Check this video out.
For those of you who have been reading Mellissa's blog you will note Cadiz and Jerez have something in common. A speech impediment... Cadiz is pronounced Cad-ith and Jerez is pronounced Har-eth. I know. Sounds like I'm lisping. In this video you'll visit Cadiz Spain, Gonzalez-Byass Sherry (wait until you see Mellissa taste the sherry), and the Royal Andalusia School of Equestrian Arts, Jerez, Spain. And you'll be treated to the music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass song Lonely Bull.
We find ourselves on land for the first time on six days, as we set ashore at Ponta Delgada Sao Miguel Azores. Here we learn about cows and milk, green and blue lakes, and how to ensure you'll return to this beautiful paradise. We'll show you how.
Mellissa and I continue our world travels with a Transatlantic cruise aboard Eurodam in April 2015. I decided to chronicle our trip with videos. Only problem is I have no idea how to make them. Thanks to a quick online course on Lynda.com I learned the fundamentals of iMovie. Here is my first effort as we board the ship and head out to the middle of nowhere.
Ponta Delgada. The green island. An island with 140,000 people and 140,000 cows. Really. And known for the twin lakes, one green, one blue. We saw them. They both looked the same colour but beautiful all the same, especially from way up top looking down. Lush. The island is lush. And sadly in bad economic shape. Young people have no jobs, on average people make little in the way of income, as low as 400 Euros per month. About $500.
On the positive side it is cheap to live there. We bought 1 litre bottles of water for under 40 cents. We had a snack at one of our stops, bought an espresso a piece of cake and a yummy Portuguese tart. And the cost was just over 2 euros. Crazy.
Back to the cows. Milk production is a major industry, but oddly they do not drink fresh milk. They drink boxed milk. And they reduce the milk production into powder and ship it to the continent. Cows at everywhere. And they are beautiful. Well, as beautiful as a cow can be. Lush conditions mean big healthy cows. Our guide's husband works on the island in cow genetics and is responsible for making the industry grow. They are Canadian and American cows that her husband brought in. Our guide is Canadian, from Ontario.
We had a lovely authentic Azorian lunch at John and Geretti. Again, Canadians. In fact I know what they own back in Canada, a fish market at Palmerston and Dundas in Toronto. I used to live on Palmerston so I am very aware of their store. Now their daughter runs it. They visited Ponta Delgado and decided to stay.
I can see why. Weather is a factor. And then there is that ocean thing. And the food. And the incredible landscape. When you stand on their back deck you see the white caps of the Atlantic come crashing to shore. And I love crashing shores. I suspect on a clear day you can yank your lunch out of the ocean with your bare hands.
They have whales (but we didn't see any), yes they have Dolphins (err...didn't see them either), and other fish (I ate one for lunch). And hey, did I mention the ocean part? Sandy beaches, waves, warm ocean water (I went in up to my knees)- all the trappings of an island are all there with a green back drop. Greener than the colour green. More like green green. All other earth bound greens pale in comparison to theirs. Sorry Ireland.
Mellissa and I walked through the gates of the city of Ponta Delgada, and we were told if we did we would return to Ponta Delgada again. Crap we already have to return to Rome because of that pesky Trevi Fountain. Now this! We had better be careful in the next ports...
And finally...there are the rainbows. As we cruised to shore we saw a giant rainbow that went from one part of the ocean right to the other. And a double rainbow. Then when we left it was out again in all its splendour. Beautiful. Perhaps the real treasure the rainbow points to is the Island itself. I would not be surprised.
I keep thinking of the movie Groundhog Day. Every day the same. It's crazy. I've never gone on a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean but I was expecting a mix of weather. No mix here. Every day is perfect.
Last night we shot photos of the sun going down. Magic. And we were not alone. Cameras big and small were all over the back deck area. All I had was my iPhone but it worked just fine. The colours just took my breath away. Yes, that beautiful.
We are chugging toward Ponta Delgada Portugal where we will land on Sunday. Just one more day at sea and we will be on land. But I am in no hurry. I am loving these sea days. I'm not antsy to get off. In fact I am good to go a lot longer. The Eurodam is a great ship and the weather has been 20-25 c every day. There are no big waves like our last cruise. Calm.
We have started to put some nicknames to people we see every day here for our own amusement. And we've met some very interesting people including an 80 year old man from Palm Springs who was heading to Paris and finally his place in the south of France. I think I could write a novel using him as a main character. He has a friend who owns a castle... Just saying...
One thing worth mentioning is the time changes. Almost every day we have moved our clocks ahead by an hour at 2 pm. Why 2 pm? Because it seems it is easier for passengers to handle during the day. No time zone line. Just doing it with minimum complaints!
It is formal night so I will pull out the suit for tonight and clean myself up.
After a busy 4-4:45 am prep that included a shower, walking dogs, loading bags in the car and scarfing down 2 cups of coffee and a yoghurt, we were off to the airport. And as we sat in the airplane getting ready to leave for the first part of our journey we saw...what else...snow beginning to fall. That means we had to de-ice before we left. So as you can see the silver wing of our plane was drenched in lime green gunk.
We decided to play a little game on this trip. Find and photograph certain colours. My colours are yellow (my favourite) and purple. Mellissa has teal and orange. So when I am not attempting videos I'll be sure to add my colour photo. When we get home we are going to put together a photo frame with our colours on it.
Also, before I leave you after day one, I wanted to say again to my dear father, happy 80th birthday. I call him the chief. Long live the chief! You're the best.