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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

9th May, 2018

Another calm, sunny morning dawned and today we were due in Spain’s 3rd largest city, Valencia.  We entered the harbour and promptly negotiated & confirmed the best berth with the pilot, deepest into the large harbour, and nearest the city. All pieces of string tethered neatly onto bollards by 08:00, passengers were free to head ashore after their breakfast.  If they wished they needn't return till the following morning, as I had decided we would stay overnight!

Valencia is famous for a number of good things. One of my favourites is Paella. This local dish is extremely flavoursome and my favourite part is the crispy bit on the bottom of the pan. Another good thing about this city (although little heard of outside Spain) is the festival of Las Fallas which takes place annually in March. This is possibly one of the craziest events I have ever attended: the theme is fire, pyrotechnics, fire, and more pyrotechnics. And they go absolutely mad. It is not the place for a health & safety inspector. You leave the city afterwards with ringing ears and singed hairs. But believe me – it’s worth it.

Today we are in the month of May, though, and so the city was quiet and peaceful. There is a chance to see a little of what Las Fallas is about however, by visiting the Fallero Artists Museum – a stopover made on one of our organised tours. Here one can view many of the impressive statues created and then saved by vote from being burnt down during the festival. 

Other tours headed further afield to Albufera lake, for example, the largest lake in Spain. Here, passengers were offered a boat trip to see a rich variety of wildlife. If this isn’t your thing, and you’d prefer to be underground on a small boat instead, then perhaps a trip to the San Jose Caves in Vall D’Uxo would be more up your street – here passengers were taken through cavernous tunnels by rowing boat.

I decided to wander ashore in the evening and sample some local gastronomy. My ad-hoc route took me around the marina section of the port, past enormous warehouses used during the 2010 America’s Cup challenge which was held here – in fact Valencia is the only European city to have hosted this event. Eventually I popped out onto a large, golden, sandy beach fronted by bars & restaurants aplenty. Having selected one which seemed rammed with locals, I feasted upon local seafood including calamari and locally caught fish with odd names.

Early this morning, as the sun became warm in the sky and our passengers enjoyed breakfast on deck, we set sail again into the calm Mediterranean bound for our next Spanish port of Motril, in Andalusia. But nobody was thinking of tomorrow yet – for we had our own ‘Spanish Fiesta’ on deck to celebrate today. Live music and an enormous feast of food, much of which had been purchased locally, provided by our Executive Chef Gavin and his team.

Captain Kim Tanner      

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