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29th September, 2016


Another lovely day brought us to Valencia in Spain –the third port of the cruise. It was an afternoon call, so everyone could enjoy a relaxing morning at sea under the rays of Mediterranean sun.

The local pilot boarded at noon and initially tried to rush things. Clearly, he was used to heavy traffic in the harbour and quick turn over, and I had to explain that Sapphire is not a fast ferry and requires a rather gentle approach. Once we agreed on this, the docking manoeuvre went smoothly and by 1 o’clock we were safely all fast and ready for our guests to proceed ashore.

I am quite familiar with Valencia, as during my ‘yachty’ days I spent quite a few days here. Valencia hosted the America’s Cup qualifiers races, where the teams raced against each other in order to become a contestant in the final regatta. The local marina is still the base for some of the yacht race teams, as there is always some wind here. The port area is also known for being the host of the European Grand Prix of Formula One auto racing between 2008 and 2012.

These places were not part of the programme, but many attractions were. Valencia City tour took our guests around the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The first stop was at the impressive City of Arts and Sciences. This modern leisure complex was built in 1998 on the former bed of the River Turia, which was diverted after a flood in 1957. The complex includes an aquarium, planetarium, opera house, museums, concert halls, an IMAX cinema and gardens. Continuing to the heart of the city, the tour took our guests to the Plaza de la Reina, where after a short walk into the historic centre, they could see Valencia’s oldest and most important historic buildings - the Gothic Cathedral, the Miguelete Tower, the modernist Central Market and the old Silk Exchange Building, known as La Llotja de la Seda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Everyone returned to the vessel a little weary, but very happy.

We left the port in the evening with yet another ‘hasty’pilot, and set sail towards our next destination and a maiden call - Palamos in Spain.

Krzysztof Majdzinski

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