15th October, 2019
With sunrise at 0846 we slipped into the port of La Coruna under the shadow of darkness. Our 2nd Officer “Korby” kept the control of the course and speed until we were deep inside the harbour, when he handed over to the Staff Captain to complete the final manoeuvre. We were all fast alongside by 0815 and 10 minutes later we caught the first glimpse of twilight and 30 minutes later it soon became clear we were in for a very mixed day in this delightful Galician port.
La Coruna is the capital of this rugged region and boasts a rich maritime heritage. It is famous for being the departure point for Felipe II and his doomed Armada, which was defeated by the English in 1588. British military enthusiasts also know it as the location of the Battle of Corunna that took place in 1809. Napoleon’s troops attacked a division of the British Army led by General Sir John Moore, who lost his life in the battle and is buried in the city. In keeping with its seafaring tradition, La Coruna is also famous for the Tower of Hercules, Europe’s oldest functioning lighthouse which dates back to Roman times and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
There were 6 shore excursions on offer today with three of these to Santiago de Compostela, a Scenic Estuaries tour, La Coruna on foot and the one that stood out for me for a future visit was the trip to Lugo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
During the morning we had a traditional plaque exchange but on this occasion there were 9 people from the port with officials from the Police, Army and Garda Civil (photo attached). Their videographer even got me to walk down our sweeping staircase with a sign “I love A Coruna”!
Well after the excitement of that I felt the need to head ashore and at 1300 I met up with some Spanish friends I had not seen for 3 years. As it was raining golf was off the menu, but lunch was definitely on and wow what a fabulous lunch with the freshest of seafood – green lip mussels, calamares, and then prawns with wild mushrooms. If that wasn’t enough a fabulous plate of beef grilled with special rock salt appeared. Although an outstanding dinner my planning was well off the mark as I was hosting the Captains table later the same evening!!
At 1700 we slipped our moorings and re-traced our tracks through the harbour with our Staff Captain having the con. Once clear of the port I made a swift departure and headed down to our Farewell Cocktail party.
After greeting our Guests at the entrance it was time for my farewell speech. After a general introduction and a review of the cruise highlights, I took the opportunity to introduce a number of our staff who were either nominated, were runners-up or had won the Employee of the Month scheme which we run on board. The guests love this as the crew of Saga are so highly thought of and appreciated for their excellent service and attention to detail.
Captain Julian Burgess
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