Cities on The Iberian Peninsula:  Malaga, Cadiz, A Coruna in Spain, and Lisbon in Portugal

2023 HAL World Cruise

Saturday to Monday, April 8-10, 2023

And Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The Iberian Peninsula is an interesting and historic area.  It is the westernmost section of the European continent.  It lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.  It is separated from France by the snow-capped Pyrenees Mountains.  There are two tiny independent countries and two large, heavily populated countries on the peninsula:  Andorra, at the Northeast, is a landlocked country in the Pyrenees nestled between Spain and France.  It is known for its great skiing; Gibraltar, at the South, is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and has been a UK stronghold since the days of Napoleon.   Portugal is the smaller of the two major countries and Spain is the larger.  We went to Spain first…..

…..specifically to the city of Malaga on the Mediterranean Sea:

Malaga is in the autonomous community of Andalusia on the Costa del Sol of the Mediterranean Sea (about 60 miles east of the Strait of Gibraltar and 80 miles north of Africa.) The beautiful yacht in this photo is the Octopus (originally built for Paul Allen/now owned by someone else) that we passed on our way to the dock. We mention this to make the point that Malaga is a “playground” of the rich and famous.
The pedestrian walkway from the dock to the downtown area is filled with restaurants and boutiques. Passengers are not required to walk this promenade. A shuttle bus will take them to the downtown area; and this time, we took the shuttle. But we have walked this in the past and found that it is entirely possible to happily spend a day here eating, drinking and shopping!!!
Our plan for the day was to SHOP at the El Corte Engles department store.
While Sandy went shopping, Roger went to the rooftop café where he ordered his morning cappuccino and biscotti.
Now, Sandy is a sucker for Iberian Ham and the El Corte Gourmet Shop has a nice selection, but experience has proven that even when you have the proper certification this meat may still be confiscated by United States Customs. This time, we purchased none!!!
Apparently not having bought enough at the department store, we went on to check out the Mercado.
But we were here on a weekend and it was very busy. So we moved on.
We found a lovely square and stopped to have lunch at La Cueva de 1900. Then after a little more shopping, we headed back to the ship.

Our next port was Cadiz, Spain:

Cadiz is such a convenient port–right in the center of town. And Cadiz is an easy city to explore on foot.
We were here on Easter Sunday. Lucky us, there was a market set up in he Plaza!!!
Even more fortunate, many merchants took the opportunity for additional sales and opened!!! It was all very festive. From the Plaza de San Juan de Dios, the old town streets open to the commercial area. The shopping goes on forever!!!
Before we took a walking tour of the waterfront, we stopped for a libation at the La Barra Cerveceria.
At Cervecería La Barra, the wine was white and dry; the beer was Estrella Galicia. (photo courtesy of Shirley Nairn)
We think these are Calle Plocia Lilac Trees. Aren’t they beautiful!!!
And here we are along the waterfront. The ramparts are part of the old city wall and fortress.
As we walked back to the ship, we came across these cannons that date back to the Napoleonic Wars.

From Cadiz, we sailed to Lisbon, Portugal:

After departing Cadiz, we went up along Portugal’s western coast to the Tagus River. Entering the river, we continue up to Lisbon. We are crossing under the April 25th Bridge. Lisbon’s version of Christ the Redeemer is on the far shore.
As we set out for our day in Lisbon, we had a plan. We were looking for the Bertrand Bookstore. And we were going to hunt a geocache!!!
The Livraria Bertrand bookstore came first!!!
You know it’s a great bookstore; it has a café and bakery!!!
And they serve the National Portuguese Sweet, pasteis de nata!!! You just know this is a great place!!!
We did our best to find English language books to buy; but nothing was quite right and we wound up leaving empty handed.
Our next quest was a geocache Adventure Lab. We were on the hunt for answers regarding the poet, Fernando Pessoa. He was born here, in #4, in 1888.
Next, we were directed to the statue of Fernando Passeo at the A Brasileria restaurant. This exhibit is here because Passeo, as a young man, would come with his uncle to this café.
We completed the steps of the adventure lab and decided to have brunch at A Brasileira!!!
We chose the Menu Lisboa.
Now, as long as we were here…..a tasty meal seemed appropriate!!!
While we opened the wine, we also googled the background info on Fernando Passeo.
We learned that Pessoa was born, lived and wrote many verses about his beloved city of Lisbon.
We stayed here for quite awhile as we enjoyed our meal.
After a wonderful brunch, we left and headed back to the ship.
And then, as we walked back to the ship, we found the place where Passeo really like to hang out!!!
At # 18, …..
and this is where we closed the loop on the Fernando Passeo geocache!!!
We had a beautiful night-time sail-away, as we set off for the next and final Iberian port-of-call.
What a wonderful and moving Monument to the Discoveries this is!!! Each and everyone of these discovering mariners is a part of history all around the world. It is amazing to realize how influential Portugal has been in the forming of so many nice places.

And finally, we reached A Coruna, Spain:

As we came into A Coruna, the sky was dark and gloomy. It did get a little better as the day wore on!!!
Our plan for the day was to visit the new and super large mall in A Coruna. We set off on the quest.
Arriving at the mall, we thought it looked promising!!!
and then we noticed it was an outlet!!! Oh,oh!!!
Ikea might have been fun; but hey, we’re on a cruise ship!!! No can do!!!
So we headed back to the ship; taking a windshield tour on the way. This appears to be a government building.
This is the opera house.
Nice city, isn’t it??
Lots of interesting architecture.
And here we are; back at the port.
Time to move on to the next port-of-call!!!
Now we never saw this monument ’cause we were busy looking for good shopping (which we’ll have to find another time). However, we will need to drive out to the Tower of Hercules on our next visit. This is the oldest extant lighthouse known.
(photo courtesy of Shirley Nairn)

At this point, we ran into bad weather, as well as political issues. 

The port call in Brest, France was cancelled due to weather.  No replacement was offered but we hurried over to Portland/Weymouth to be in a safe harbor for the night.  We anchored and later in the morning after other ships were able to leave, we were assigned a dockage.  We were also informed that due to political unrest over changes to the retirement plan in France, the dockworkers were striking, and we also cancelled Le Havre where we had a tour scheduled for the Normandy Beaches.  Dover was substituted for Le Havre.  We will tell you about these UK stops in our next post.

It is never a dull moment!!!

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