19th November, 2019
A gentle cruise down the east coast of Spain allowed everyone to catch their breath during a relaxing day at sea, after 4 exciting ports back-to-back.
The coast of Spain was visible much of the day on the starboard side, sometimes dramatic and mountainous, at other times not so pleasant (notably at lunchtime, when we passed abeam the concrete jungle the is Benidorm). But everyone’s thoughts were nicely distracted from this by our food & beverage team’s impressive Roman Banquet spread at lunchtime, where almost every food imaginable was on offer in the dining room. With exception of, thankfully, the famous “grilled dormouse” – apparently a much desired dish of the day back then…
That evening we rounded Cabo de Gata, Spain’s south-eastern tip, enjoying a beautiful sunset and looking forward to the much-loved Crew Show after supper that evening.
In the late autumn darkness we approached the coast of Andalucia and the Costa Tropical, berthing alongside forward an impressive heavy-lift ship, just as the sun rose. Towering above to the north is the impressive snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range, whilst palm trees adorned white sandy beaches either side of the town of Motril itself.
Motril is a thriving commercial, fishing & leisure port, but is still developing as a cruise ship destination, which means that – delightfully – there is no cruise terminal bearing the usual gimmicks and duty free shops to negotiate. Tour buses came right up to the ship’s side to whisk many of our guests off to exciting destinations near & far.
Today there were trips on offer to explore the scenic Costa Tropical, or to be wowed by the impressive and so-called magical Nerja Caves, or why not head up into the hills to what has been voted Andalucia’s prettiest village – Frigiliana. My favourite sounding trip today was the ‘Mama’s & Tapas Spanish Experience;’ basically a trip to the mountains, visiting olive mills & farms that make Spain the world’s leading olive oil producer, before settling down in some random local’s house to enjoy a home-cooked 5 course tapas lunch…
Needless to say, the Mamas & Tapas tour returned in a very jovial mood (something to do with the local wine, I was reliably informed) shortly prior to our departure at 17:00. It had been a lovely autumn day here in southern Spain, with calm winds and temperatures reaching the high teens, and we were definitely a ship fully of happy people as we departed Motril, promptly turning west outside the port and aiming straight for a Strait so to speak – that of Gibraltar, of course.
Passing the famous Rock on our starboard side just prior to midnight marked our entrance back into the Atlantic Ocean, where we began to pick up a lazy westerly swell for our trip up north to the famous Galician coast…
Captain Kim Tanner
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