Little Citizens of the World


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Gibraltar, UK Territory

How cool is this!  Africa is on the left and Europe on the right.  It was a little rainy this morning as we approached Gibraltar so the photo isn’t great.

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Africa on the left, Europe on the right!

It really is a big rock!

It really is a big rock!

Gibraltar is a lot of fun, especially if you brave the crazy van drivers to drive you up to the top to see the famous Gibraltar apes.  There are also some really interesting caves, St. Michael’s Caves, that I took photos of but they don’t do them justice at all.  I need to take a photography course.

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We weren’t exactly sure what this march was all about, but they sure looked serious!

So the Barbary Apes!  They are so cute!  The wander all over the top of the rock.  You aren’t allowed to touch them and it’s suggested that you don’t wear shiny jewelry or carry plastic bags.  I guess they like to pull jewelry and they know that there’s usually food in plastic bags, so they will grab them and run away.  The government feeds them to help avoid too much human/ape conflict and they also keep them updated with shots.  They are still wild animals though, so you have to use common sense when you spot them.  Most of the van drivers carry peanuts (a big no no) and will put them on your lap so the apes will climb onto you but when we got there, they had just been fed a huge basket of veggies.

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How sweet

How sweet

Gibraltar also has one of the most dangerous airports in the world.  As you can see in this photo, the highway crosses right over the runway!  So when a plane is taking off, or landing, you better make sure you don’t run the red light!

See the highway down there?  It goes right across the runway!

See the highway down there? It goes right across the runway!

 

 

 


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Buenos Dias Spain!

Cartagena is warm, and welcoming.  It has a beautiful port, it’s like something out of a movie.  You disembark onto a lovely little marina area full of fancy sailboats and lined with palm trees.  You can tell a lot of time and energy is spent on beautifying the port.   It’s a very good first impression, that’s for sure.

The main shopping area from the port is one long road that takes about an hour if you slowly stroll.  At the end there is a playground, score!  The whole area is extremely clean, there’s not a speck of litter on the streets.  There is also a Roman theatre that you can access via the museum at the beginning of the shopping area (it’s on the right).  I didn’t know access was through the museum until I was told back on the ship, so we didn’t get to see it but it would be worth a look.

I was able to pull out some of my Sesame Street Spanish from decades ago when it used to be half an hour of English and half an hour of Spanish.  Does anyone remember that?  Menudo used to be on it!  Anyway, I was able to have a very broken Spanish conversation with a lovely lady at a children’s dress shop, and I bought far too much.  Gorgeous clothes though!

They can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/nanaeventoscartagena/timeline

 

Port of Cartegena, Spain

Port of Cartagena, Spain

The port leads to the main shopping district.

The port leads to the main shopping district.

Just lovely

Just lovely


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Cyclone Cleopatra hits Sardinia

Just a note to say that the storm that hit Sardinia is being called “apocalyptic” by CNN International.  Many people were killed in flash flooding and there was terrible damage all over the island.

Here’s a link to BBC News regarding the storm, known as Cyclone Cleopatra.   http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24996292

 

Rough seas in our wake

Rough seas in our wake

 


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“We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

So we’re having a much needed sea day today, but it is far from relaxing.  The eye of the storm may have passed us in the night but it has left 20ft seas in it’s wake.  I’m not one for motion sickness, but I’ll make an exception in this case.  I have zero appetite, I couldn’t even finish my tea this morning.  Poor Sky can barely stand up.  She didn’t even go to the kids club, Club HAL, today and they go EVERY DAY.  I practically have to force them to go ashore on port days.  This certainly says a lot for the Club HAL staff, they are superstars!

Anyway, back to the rough seas…  I was thinking last night how hard it was to sleep because we were in port and the gentle rocking we normally feel was missing.  Yeah well, I’d give anything for that stillness today.  I was up at 3:30am desperately fighting being sick.  I think the only thing that saved me was very controlled deep breathing.  It was close though, really close.  If Sky had been awake, she would have died!  I’m certain she’d be in medical.  Luckily, they both slept through it.

I took Sparrow up to Club HAL after her breakfast, (she is completely immune to motion sickness) and stayed in the cabin with Sky.  I had to shut the curtains for her and I asked the front desk to bring us the DVD The Lion King, her favourite.  It helped take her mind off things.

As the day went on, it got a little better and she was able to eat some dinner.  If all goes well, we will have an uneventful night and tomorrow will be smooth sailing.  (bad pun intended)


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Message from the captain

We were supposed to leave Palermo and stop in Cagliari, Sardinia tomorrow morning.  Unfortunately, due to very bad weather, the captain has decided we will stay overnight in Palermo as the bay area will protect the ship.  There is cold weather coming down from Europe and warm air coming up from Africa and it’s got the makings of a hurricane situation.  Of all the places to have to stay overnight.

We leave Palermo at 8am tomorrow and will make our way to Cartegena, Spain to keep on schedule.  Unfortunately, we will miss the stop in Sardinia but I would rather be safe than sorry.


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Palermo, Sicily

The woman that talks about the ports of call said, when it comes to Palermo, you either love it, or hate it.  Personally, I was not a fan.  Again, I’m sure outside of the port there are some beautiful places but I just didn’t like it.  It was crowded, dirty, there was traffic everywhere, The buildings were covered in spray paint and it smelled.  It seriously smelled.

We walked up into town looking for a square or something, but there was nothing.  It was awful.  We walked for about half an hour before turning back towards the ship.  As we got back to the waterfront, there was one of those little tourist trains.  We decided to take the one hour tour and see if there was some nice area we may have missed.  There weren’t.

It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great.  First of all, the streets are all cobblestone so bouncy doesn’t beginning to describe it.  I thought my bum was going to fall off with all the bouncing.  We did see a few nice buildings but I could have saved the 10 Euro and Googled Palermo.  We were back on board in time for lunch.

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Messina, Sicily

Notice I wrote Messina, Sicily and not Messina, Italy.  The Sicilians are very proud of their heritage and consider themselves Sicilians not Italians.

This was our first day without a shore excursion and I was really happy about it.  We’ve been on the go non stop since we left Ireland and it was nice not to have to get up at 6am.  Messina is a cute little town that’s very easy to walk around.

We went into a few souvenir shops, I bought a book about Sicily, the girls each picked out a slingshot.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  Out of all of the fun and cute little things available, horse and carts decorated in traditional colors, marionettes, kids books, etc. they picked out wooden slingshots.  They were given a formal warning not to ping anyone on the ship, to which they agreed.  So after shopping we went back to the town center to watch the famous astronomical clock which chimes at 11:55am.  I suggest to look it up on Youtube and watch one of the many videos, it’s very impressive.

Astronomical clock, Messina, Sicily

Astronomical clock, Messina, Sicily

After we watched the clock, which was very interesting with lots of animatronics, we went to the cafe next door to get, yes, pizza.  The menu was all in Italian and the waitress only spoke Italian, that was interesting.  We worked it out though and soon we were nomming away on pizza and french fries.  Not far into our meal a very determined pigeon arrived and it was obvious he wanted fries.  We tried to ignore him as best we could.  In the end, we gave him one fry.  I mean he really tried so hard to be stealthy, we didn’t want him to think it hadn’t been impressive.

The stealthy pigeon

The stealthy pigeon

 

After lunch, the clouds started to darken and we thought it best to return to the ship.  We took a more scenic route back and got some gelato on the way.

Kickin' it in Messina

Kickin’ it in Messina

 

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