Sunday, May 27, 2018


So having enjoyed our stay in Funchal the ship untied and headed off to Africa!  Yes, it is a new continent for us so we were excited.  Of course it's a cruise so we get to stay in port of a day.  No time for a safari but instead we got a tour of Tangier, Morocco.  Viking is fairly new to this ocean cruising thing so I'm going to give them a break and just say the tour wasn't the best use of our time.  We got a tour around the Kasbah in these groups of about 30 people.  You would have to say the area is extreme.  A beautiful building will be next to one that looks totally uncaredfor. 

Our guide was interesting enough but it did seem that every block contained a home that had been owned by some Hollywood-type who liked drugs.  That was kind of annoying but then he brought into TWO sales rooms; one selling rugs and the other selling some sort of herbal medicine.  Those were downright insulting.  Even if we had simply walked another couple of blocks it would have been better.

We did get to visit the Kasbah Museum which was, at least, a beautifully restored building.  The tile work and the wood work was amazing. 

Soon, of course, we were off to Spain.  Oddly the voyage went to Cadiz then to Valencia and finally to Barcelona.  The reason I consider it odd is because to visit Cadiz we had to go back west a bit.  However, it gave my wife and I a chance to visit Seville so that was fun.  Unfortunately the tour was a 2 hour bus ride, 3 hours in the city and another 2 hours back to the ship.  At least this guide wasn't trying to sell us anything! 

So we leave Cadiz just after dinner so we get to go through the Straits of Gibralter about midnight.  I must admit I think it should have been in daylight.  We had an entire day at sea between Cadiz and Valencia getting in quite early in the morning.  My wife and I both enjoyed Valencia.  The tour was in the old section of town and centered around two or three churches.  Churches are ok but it was some sort of holiday and most people prefered to leave the churches to the congregations.  It was kind of interesting that buses are not allowed in the older parts of town so the bus dropped us off then came back a couple hours later.  We took a walk that took us out past a university to a city park.  It just seemed a very beautiful city.

That left us one last night onboard the ship.  Most folks were headed off to the airport but my wife and I wanted to see more of Spain so set out early to catch a train.  People who were going to the airport had their luggage all piled in a building on the pier.  We are carryon folks so we just walked out.  I've got to say some people had quite the luggage collection!  We actually did carry an extra bag this time because of all that time on the ship.  In the end it was unnecessary and was mostly unused.  We found a taxi who took us to the train station for a very reasonable 20 euros or so. 

We had reservations on a late morning train so had plenty of time to just relax.  The Spanish train system seems pretty good; this one was a really high-end one and we found ourselves doing almost 300 kph (something around 185 mph) towards Madrid.  We had only one stop so made the journey in 2 hours 45 minutes.  We've been in Madrid so were only using it as a place to get a rental car.  Now we wouldn't have staff around helping with everything but we'd have to figure things out on our own. 

I'll do another installment in a few days.  Take care and thanks for stopping by!

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