Wednesday, September 14, 2011

La Costa del Sol

The coast of Spain is full of very pretty towns and instead of sailing directly to Gibraltar we took the time to wander along the Costa del Sol and stop here and there. Probably the most charming town we stopped would be Cartagena. The architecture speaks for itself on these pictures but as you can see Spanish can be very elegant and romantic but also modern and artistic. This mix of old European classic and bold modern styles was omnipresent everywhere we went. Cartagena was warm and pleasant and we sure took the time to enjoy the place during the five days we spent there. It was the right opportunity to try good paella, this rice dish that holds almost the place of an emblem in Spain, and an Asiatico which is a special coffee with brandy unique to Cartagena we were told. I don’t think I have to say that both were very good and contributing to the steady weight gain we suffer since we are in the Med!

Still in Cartagena we would find statues everywhere representing people in different position such as this poor soldier who seem to find his bag quite heavy and needed to rest. Of course I’m always available to cheer a poor fellow in need. Not too far from there we came by this interesting device. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out quickly that this is a submarine but a closer inspection shows many unusual aspects such as the shape of propellers and rudders, the thickness of the hull, the small size of its hull and the top hatch. Well we just had to read the sign telling us that this is the “Peral” submarine built in 1885. All the weird design features can be excused by the fact that this is was one of the early submarines to be built and was the first to use electric battery powered motors and a chemical process to regenerate the crew’s air supply. It was never used in battle but made a nice display item for the tourists a century later!

The cruising life wouldn’t be what it is if it was without having fun with other cruisers which is usually not what you are used at home. For instance when was the last time you had dinner and all your guests arrived bare foot or bringing their own dishes for a potluck? But my favorite was from Roger Hayward on La Palapa who actually swam to Chocobo with his glass of rum in hand! Besides being totally crystal clear with over 15m (45ft) of perfect visibility the water temperature was 20°C (68°C)! If you’re used to swim in the Canadian great lakes this wouldn’t a problem but when you spent the last two years in tropical weather this is quite freezing. Sometimes though things are more “normal” so to speak such as this nice dinner we had at a restaurant in Aguila with, from left to right, Carla & Sebastien sailing on their boat Begonia, myself and Danielle of course and then Roger & Karli from La Palapa who you must be familiar with by now if you read this blog regularly and with who we’ve been sailing on and off since Suez in Egypt.