Spirit of Discovery blog
The Iberian Peninsula
After two full days and nights alongside in Gibraltar, and around the same time as most had shed their New Year’s hangover, it was time to sail north to Lisbon.
We were treated to another beautiful sunrise as we steamed under the Pont de 25th April (a slightly smaller version of the San Francisco’s Golden Gate) before landing gently on our berth nearest the city centre.
Lisbon is a fantastic port of call, with so much to see and do. The local custard tarts (“Pasteis de Belem”) are a speciality here, and our agents kindly donated a carton of them to our teams – and I managed to pinch one whilst nobody was looking.
Onwards to our next Portuguese port of Leixoes, a bit further up the coast. At the entrance of the Douro River and the town of Oporto, Portugal’s ‘second city’ is a fantastic visit. The Douro valley, lined with vineyards, is supposedly the largest hilliest wine growing region in the world.
Porto is scattered with wine lodges & cellars, stowing the wine harvested from the nearby valley. Many of these have British heritage – for example Graham’s, founded by two Scots all the way back in 1820.
Once everyone had seen the sights & tasted all the port wine they could stomach, it was onto our final port of the cruise, La Coruna in Spain’s Galicia. Another cracking stop, renowned for its nearby beaches, countryside and birthplace of tapas – in particular seafood.
We remained overnight in port to enjoy the traditional local ‘Reyes’ (Three Kings) celebrations; these include parades through the streets, parties, fireworks etc. I nipped off to have a look myself for a few hours, and the atmosphere (as well as the food) was fantastic.
Well, all good things must come to an end, and so it was that we departed La Coruna in mid-afternoon on 6th January, after having enjoyed yet another sunny few days in harbour.
Back across Biscay over the next day or so, before calling into Portsmouth prior to heading to Germany for Spirit of Discovery’s first scheduled period in dry-dock…
Captain Kim Tanner
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