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29th October, 2015

Almeria, Spain

Our journey through the Straits of Gibraltar could not have been timed better. We passed through in the early evening with the sun setting over the Rock, which afforded our passengers some fabulous views of the famous landmark. Our entry into Mediterranean also brought with it a positive change in the weather with millpond like seas and a warm breeze.

Our first Spanish port on this Spanish Adventure cruise was Almeria, an old Moorish town founded by Calipha Abd-ar-Rahman III of Cordoba in 955AD. Its mighty castle, the Alcazaba, is the second-largest Muslim fortress in Spain after the Alhambra in Granada. During the Middle Ages the city was one of the major Moorish strongholds in Andalusia, and it was attacked on numerous occasions by the Christians. It was also a centre for silk production. Almeria was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella in 1489, and was devastated by a violent earthquake in 1522. The port also suffered from raids by Barbary pirates throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. The discovery of iron ore in the province brought renewed prosperity to the city in the 1800s. Since the 1960s, the pleasant climate has attracted many tourists to Almeria, and the district has also become a centre for intensive agricultural production, with massive ‘invernaderos’ (plastic greenhouses) allowing farmers to grow vegetables all year round.

Bathed in glorious sunshine our passengers made their way ashore early on this morning’s excursions, one which caught my eye (naturally, with my wife being a dancer) was the ‘Flamenco – The Sound of Andalusia’ tour. Our guests departed from the ship taking a coach ride to a cave in one of Almeria’s most historical and breathtaking locations, for an extraordinary Andalusian flamenco show. They were entertained by gypsies from the same family who dance, sing and play traditional flamenco music. Now considered typically Spanish, the origins of flamenco can be traced back to wedding dances in Granada during the period of Moorish rule. The performance concluded with our passengers being served a glass of the local tipple, sherry of course.

With all onboard in the early evening we cast off and set sail further east towards our next port of call Alicante.

Captain Wesley Dunlop

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