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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

24th November, 2018

It was still pitch dark as we pointed the ship’s head towards Motril’s large harbour breakwater at 07:15, with the sun not due to rise until shortly after 08:00 this morning. It was however a lovely clear morning, with a very gentle breeze coming off the Sierra Nevada mountains to the north adding a slight chill to the air on the ‘Costa Tropical.’

We entered the harbour and passed a large drilling ship laid up for months, the Pilot told me, before berthing ahead of it on the outer breakwater. The sun appeared just as we’d finished tying up the lines, and as it did so added a bit of warmth to the air whilst providing beautiful scenery inland, as snow had already fallen on the top half of the impressive Sierra Nevada range.

Motril is the gateway to Andalusia & Granada, and there are an abundance of options to keep oneself amused in this area – whether you like beaches, countryside, urban life or imposing mountains. Today there were organised trips heading to Granada city itself and the famous Alhambra, a ‘sample’ tour of the Costa Tropical coast, a cave exploration experience, and a Spanish Tapas experience or cookery tour, for those who hadn’t had enough food on board!

I had not visited the Alhambra before, and decided to give it a go, joining some 50 of our intrepid passengers on this trip. As we boarded our coach, the sun was still rising and the temperature only around 15oC. However, as the bus climbed higher and higher into the mountain range during our 1hr journey to Granada, the temperature dropped to a mere 3oC and everybody started fumbling in their bags for their warmest coats. After some confusion regarding ticket admission to the Alhambra (which was actually never really cleared up) we disembarked the buses onto an impressive viewpoint over Granada city.

We enjoyed a tour on foot of Granada’s old town, before heading to a cave restaurant for a Flamenco show. Our guide informed us that the gypsies did not normally perform their Flamenco dances until evening time, however on this occasion they were making a special exception for Saga passengers. Most generous of them – I just hoped they weren’t too grumpy about being forced to dance before breakfast…

We then were fed ample amounts of tapas before, completely stuffed, heading to the Alhambra to walk it all off. It was at this stage that I realised I had left my ticket to Alhambra at a bar visited in the old town earlier for a morning croissant & coffee. Luckily however, our guides are used to this sort of careless behaviour, (I can’t imagine why) and had a spare one for me. The Alhambra experience is indescribable, the architecture is impressive as well as haphazard in places; it became clear that spirit levels were not commonly used amongst Moorish builders back in their day. The gardens of the palace were maintained in impeccable condition, such that it almost felt like a crime to be walking on the grass. Although in retrospect, perhaps, I wasn’t supposed to be.

The sun shone throughout the day making it feel like early autumnal, although with the height difference from sea level the temperature up in these mountains was of course significantly less than that which Saga Pearl 2 was basking in down at the harbour. Exhausted and having enjoyed a “carahillo” (Spanish coffee) at a nearby café once our tour was finished, there was thankfully time to doze off in the bus on the return leg.

Back on board, passengers had time to relax and enjoy the evening either ashore or on board as we would sail at 22:00 tonight for our short dash along the coast to Malaga. Speak to you from there!

Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.