Cruising to Cuba

There are requirements for authorized travel to Cuba

 

Thank you for following these posts of our Cuba travel.  You’ve not only been reading our blog, but also the journal which is a required component of Cuba travel and must be kept for 5 years.

All travel to Cuba is regulated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Anyone, regardless of nationality, departing the U.S. for Cuba must comply.

We fell under the general license of a “self-guided people to people” program.  We attended a morning lecture sponsored by the cruise line and we were required to engage, full-time, in activities resulting in meaningful interaction with the Cuban people.  We had three goals for this trip:  view the historic architecture of Old Viejo and contrast the renovations of that area with the neglected buildings of Havana Centro; follow the history of both the rum and cigar industries; and experience the highlights of Ernest Hemingway’s time in Cuba where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.  Because of the heavy rain on our only day in Cuba, we did not visit Cojimar or Finca Vigia (Hemingway’s home.)  We did, however, visit the home of a Cuban family in the Havana Centro district as well as the Rum Museum in Old Viejo.  We also had the opportunity to converse, in length, with our driver, Fabio, as we sat out the downpour on the covered terrace of the Hotel Nacional.  All the Cuban people we had the opportunity to interact with were warm, engaging and friendly.

The Cuban government required a visa and proof of non-U.S. medical insurance.  Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (for a $75.00 fee per person) arranged for both.

Interestingly, Cuba has two forms of currency:  one for tourists and one for the locals.  Not surprisingly, the tourist currency is a pricey 1 to 1 exchange rate with a 3% transaction fee (plus an additional 10% for U.S. dollars) and only available in-country!  Credit cards are not accepted in Cuba.  Cash only!

Upon our return, we were allowed to bring into the U.S., cigars and rum for personal consumption.  They had to be in our hand luggage and normal duty applied (up to 50 cigars and 2.5L alcohol duty free).

This was a very interesting trip.  We intend to return, sometime soon, to see more.  We will, quite definitely, do so by cruise ship.

Did I mention, in Cuba, NOTHING IS AIR CONDITIONED!

Cruising to Cuba

Havana, Cuba

The dock in Havana is extremely convenient.  We cleared Customs and simply walked across the street to San Francisco de Asis Square.  The square is dominated by the 16th century Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis.  Surprisingly, vendors were in short supply.  Only one artist had set up a stand to sell his work while he continued to create lovely images.  In contrast, there were a gazillion hawkers touting tours and antique car excursions!  Cuba may be communist but capitalism happens!

Docked in Havana, Cuba.
Docked in Havana, Cuba.
We are docked across the street from Plaza de San Francisco.
We are docked across the street from Plaza de San Francisco de Asis.
The wonderful old cars are everywhere!
The wonderful old cars are everywhere!
The 16th century Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis.
The 16th century Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis.
A local artist works and sells his lovely images.
A local artist works and sells his lovely images.

We walked over to Plaza Vieja, constructed in 1559.  The Plaza was always a residential area encircled by the homes of wealthy citizens.  From their balconies, they could watch processions, fiestas, bullfights and even executions.  Today, cafes line the square.  Outdoor seating is plentiful and even comfortable when there’s a breeze.  But when the wind does not blow, indoors is better with electric fans set up everywhere.  There is no air-conditioning!  We found the Café Escorial to be typical.  Umbrella tables set up outside; the interior sparse with rustic tables, lots of electric fans and all windows open to catch a breeze.

Plaza Vieja, looking North, a mostly residential square.
Plaza Vieja, looking North, a mostly residential square.
Plaza Vieja, looking South.
Plaza Vieja, looking South.
Cafe El Escorial in Plaza Vieja.
Cafe El Escorial in Plaza Vieja.
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Cafe el Escorial. You can order and enjoy your coffee inside where fans are set up. THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING IN CUBA!

As the time approached to meet our car & driver for the afternoon tour, we made our way to the Rum Museum.  Everything in Cuba was nationalized after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 including the distilleries.  The Arechabala Family, producers of Havana Club, left Cuba for Spain and the United States.  They stopped producing rum.  Bacardi, on the other hand, already had facilities in Puerto Rico and the United states.  They left Cuba and continued their business.  Today, they are headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.  We continued to Restaurante Dos Hermanos for libations while we awaited Fabio, our driver from Havana Vintage Car Tours.  The restaurant is rumored to be the oldest bar in Havana.  They are located across the street from Sierra Maestra Terminal (with its graffiti of Che Guevara) and the Regla Ferry Boats.

The Rum Museum
The Rum Museum
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Restaurante Dos Hermanos, rumored to be the oldest bar in Havana. Located across the street from the Sierra Maestra Terminal with its cruise ships and ferries.
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Sierra Maistra Terminal spans a couple of city blocks. Besides cruise liners, ferry boats use the facility. This portion of wall near the ferries sports a profssional looking graffitti portrait of Che Guevara.

Fabio arrived a little early and we boarded our 1955 Buick chariot for a tour of the city.  The first stop was a government-mandated visit to a military museum.  After the propaganda stop, it started to rain.  The convertible top went up.  We continued through Havana Centro and the Vedado District to the Malecon and on to the Hotel Nacional where we escaped the downpour.  We enjoyed drinks on the covered hotel Terrace.  When the rain finally stopped, we returned to the ship and concluded our Cuban adventure.

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Our driver, Fabio, from Havana Vintage Car Tours. This is a 1955 Buick Starfire which he restored.
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This military museum display was a government mandated stop on our tour. You can see part of a U-2 wing in the foreground. This came from the wing of Maj. Rudolf Anderson, Jr.’s plane shot down on the 12th day of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Havana Centro
Havana Centro
Havana University in the Vedado District
Havana University in the Vedado District
Hotel Nacional
Hotel Nacional
Sitting out the rain at the Hoel Nacional Terrace with a nice drink! in hand.
Sitting out the rain at the Hoel Nacional Terrace with a nice drink! in hand.
Hotel Nacional Terrace looking toward the Malecon and the sea.
Hotel Nacional Terrace looking toward the Malecon and the sea.
These cute little taxi cabs are called "coconuts."
These cute little taxi cabs are called “coconuts.”
The Empress of the Seas docked in Havana, Cuba.
The Empress of the Seas docked in Havana, Cuba.
Cristo Statue of Havana overlooking Havana Harbor.
Cristo Statue of Havana overlooking Havana Harbor.

We didn’t get to see as much as we had hoped.  The rain put a real damper on that!  However, there’s no doubt that Cuba will remain a port-of-call for many cruise lines.  We  expect to return!

It’s time to start planning the next adventure!

Cruising to Cuba

Key West, Florida

The first port-of-call on our cruise to Cuba was Key West.  We docked at Mallory Square.  Wall Street leads from the Square to Duval Street and along the way is the El Meson de Pepe Cuban Restaurant at the Cayo Hueso y Habana Historeum.  Although founded in 1985, it exemplifies the historic connection between Key West and Cuba.  Shipwrecks and their salvage created the first boom in Key West and attracted many settlers to the Island from Cuba.  In the 1860s, the cigar industry with its many workers started a migration from Cuba to Key West.  Soon, Key West became “Cigar City USA.”  And remained so until a fire decimated the industry in 1886.

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View of Mallory dock from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Empress of the Seas. The Brick Building to the left of the arches is the Cayo Hueso y Habana Historeum.
The El Meson de Pepe Cuban Restaurant on Wall Street, just off Mallory Square.
The El Meson de Pepe Cuban Restaurant on Wall Street, just off Mallory Square.

We walked over to the old Custom House where Seward Johnson’s sculpture “Unconditional Surrender” is displayed.  I love Johnson’s work and, obviously, so do many others.  Copies of this sculpture are installed all over the world!  We first saw “Unconditional Surrender” in San Diego.  It is also on display in New York.  We were surprised to see it in Civitavecchia, Italy.  But we considered it totally appropriate in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu.  Other locations include Hamilton, New Jersey; Caen, France; Sarasota, Florida; Royal Oak, Michigan and Bastenaken, Belgium.

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Seward Johnson’s sculpture, “Unconditional Surrender,” in front of the Old Cutom House, now the Museum of Art & History

We continued along Duval Street to 428 Greene St.  where Captain Tony’s Saloon is located.  Here, many famous people such as Truman Capote, John F. Kennedy, and Harry Truman enjoyed a drink or two.  Barstools are named for these famous patrons.  There is even a life-sized statue of Ernest Hemingway.  Jimmy Buffett got his start here and still comes by occasionally (but he will not perform here anymore; that is something he only does at his own Margaritaville Café around the corner!)  This building has a long and interesting history.  Constructed in 1852 as an ice house, it also doubled as the city morgue.  In 1898, it was the telegraph station that reported to the world the sinking of the USS Maine.  In 1912, it was a cigar factory.  For the next 21 years it housed a couple of bars, a bordello, and a series of speakeasies.  Then, in 1933, Josie Russell created Sloppy Joe’s Bar.  It became a favorite hang-out of Ernest Hemingway.  As a matter of fact, Hemingway suggested the name based on the original Sloppy Joe’s in Havana.   When the landlord raised the rent, Russell and his customers picked up the entire bar and transported everything to Sloppy Joe’s current location at 201 Duval Street.

Duval Street
Duval Street
Duval Street
Duval Street
Captain Tony's Saloon on Duval Street.
Captain Tony’s Saloon on Duval Street.
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The interior of Captain Tony’s Saloon papered with $1.00 bills! The bar stools are named for famous patrons.
Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street.
Sloppy Joe’s Bar on Duval Street.
Interior of Sloppy Joe's.
Interior of Sloppy Joe’s.

Before returning to the ship, we deemed it necessary to have a Margarita, on the rocks, at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Café.   A stop at the gift shop followed.

JimmyBuffett's Margaritaville Cafe.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe.
The bar at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe.
The bar at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe.
This is what Jimmy Buffett looked like back in the day!
This is what Jimmy Buffett looked like back in the day!

Cruising to Cuba

Sailing out of Tampa

 

Before boarding the Empress of the Seas for our adventure to Havana, we spent a couple of days in Tampa, Fl.  Our goal was to visit the neighborhood of Ybor City.  Founded in the 1880s by Vicente Martinez-Ybor, Ybor City is a unique example of successful immigrant assimilation.

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Memorial to Vincente Martinez Ybor who founded Ybor City in 1886. He built the first cigar factory and established what would become the “Cigar Capital of the World.” Furthermore, he built most of the infrastructure to support it.
7th Avenue district Ybor City, Florida
7th Avenue district Ybor City, Florida
Centro Ybor in the 7th Ave. district
Centro Ybor in the 7th Ave. district
Historic 7th Ave. in Ybor City
Historic 7th Ave. in Ybor City

Ybor, was a prominent cigar manufacturer in Cuba.  He moved his factory from Cuba to Key West in 1869 during political turmoil in the then-Spanish colony.  But soon, desiring to establish his own “company town” with room for growth and expansion, he bought 40 acres of land northeast of Tampa; built hundreds of small pre-fab houses (precursor to the Sears house kits?) to attract skilled Cuban cigar makers; and welcomed other cigar manufacturers, eventually making Tampa a major cigar manufacturing hub.  The humid climate, nearby port and Henry Plant’s new railroad line contributed to the success of Ybor city.

Last Standing Wooden Cigar Factory
Last Standing Wooden Cigar Factory
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Pre-fab Ybor workers’ cottages built by Vincente Martinez-Ybor to entice skilled tobacco workers to come work for him in Tampa.
The original Ybor Cigar Factory now belongs to the Church of Scientology.
The original Ybor Cigar Factory now belongs to the Church of Scientology.

Further contributing to its success were the European immigrants from Sicily, Germany, and Romania.  The Chinese came, also!  Together, they built a real town.  The Germans were managers, bookkeepers, and supervisors.  It was the German immigrants who not only designed and created the cigar labels but also built the factories to produce the wooden cigar boxes.  The Italians came and started small businesses such as bakeries, cafes, restaurants, food stores and boarding houses.  The Romanians and Chinese were adept at the service trade and retail sales.

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Ferlita (La Joven Francesa) Bakery was built in 1896 and rebuilt in brick after a fire in 1923. Today, it is the Ybor City State Park Museum.
Ferlita Bakery, 1896.
Ferlita Bakery, 1896.
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Columbia Restaurant, founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., is the loldest restaurant in Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.
One of several Columbia Restaurant dining areas.
One of several Columbia Restaurant dining areas.
Columbia Restaurant, 1905.
Columbia Restaurant, 1905.

The city peaked in 1929.  And then the Depression came.  It wasn’t until 50 years later that artists and entrepreneurs came back to Ybor City.  Today tourism flourishes.  Hotels, restaurants, and shopping are in abundance.

A point of interest is the Parque de Jose Marti.  It is owned by the Cuban government and enjoys status similar to embassies and consulates!

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Parque Amigos de Jose Marti in Ybor City was donated to the Republic of Cuba in 1956. It was accepted by the Batista administration and certified by the American consul in Havana.
Statue of Jose Marti in the tiny Tampa park that belongs to Cuba.
Statue of Jose Marti in the tiny Tampa park that belongs to Cuba.
Teddy's Rough Riders passed through Ybor City during the Spanish-American War.
Teddy’s Rough Riders passed through Ybor City during the Spanish-American War.

 

Next port-of-call is Key West, Florida.

Things We Do At Sea

Crossing the Atlantic 

 

Every evening, before retiring for the night, we find a schedule of the next days’ activities in our mail slot.  There is something (often many things) to do every hour of every day!  Tai Chi, yoga, exercise & fitness in the gym or in the pool, sports, arts & crafts, bridge games and tournaments, board games, puzzles, lectures, passenger talent shows, choral, casino gambling, movies, book club, spa treatments, salon services, cooking demos, celebrity chef cooking classes & luncheons, mixology lectures & wine tastings, afternoon tea, dance lessons, ballroom dancing, evening DJ dancing, floral arranging classes, jewelry-making classes, computer classes, photography classes, reading, shopping, ship’s tours, eating and drinking and being merry!  It should not be possible to get bored.  But, you know, we often do!  You feel confined on sea days.  Even though you can go out and walk laps around the deck, you KNOW you’re stuck in this finite space.  Sometimes, we just sit in the barco, watch the world go by, and take a nap!

 

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Roger & Sandy doing what we most enjoy–trying to keep connected and in touch! Sandy writes the blog. Roger edits the photos.
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Roger has the task of staying on top of all those daily details from home. He makes sure bills are paid; schedules are monitored; work gets done. He’s well organized and does a great job!!
We get a daily schedule.  Hour by hour!
We get a daily schedule. Hour by hour!
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There is more to do than a person could possibly accomplish. It is planned that way. We must make decisions! And, hopefully, 1200 of us will not try to do same thing at the same time! It seems to work.
Tai Chi
Tai Chi
spinning class
spinning class
self-motivated exercisers
self-motivated exercisers
water exercises
water exercises
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Making and donating blankets to the Linus Project. The passengers made (from donated yarns) 135 blankets for the project!
Art lessons--both fine art and watercolor taught by accomplished artists.
Art lessons–both fine art and watercolor taught by accomplished artists.
Art lessons by Benjamin Sack.  His work was also available to purchase!
Art lessons by Benjamin Sack. His work was also available to purchase!
puzzle solving
puzzle solving
board games
board games
card games
card games
Mah Jong
Mah Jong
bridge
bridge
chess
chess
Lectures about the ports we will vsit.
Lectures about the ports we will vsit.
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Barbara Hanne, Location Guide, provides port information including taxis, shuttles, museum hours & admission fees, festivals, markets, etc.
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Ship’s musicians lead passengers in choral singing. In addition, there will be a pasenger talent show in the lounge tomorrow.
Slot machines ae always waiting!
Slot machines ae always waiting!
Gambling is always available.
Gambling is always available.
Having your hair done comes with a great view!
Having your hair done comes with a great view!
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The salon ran out of polish for manicures and pedicures! It is wise to bring your own!
Sandy trying her hand at a cooking class!
Sandy trying her hand at a cooking class!
Cooking class with celebrity chef, Paulette Mitchell.
Cooking class with celebrity chef, Paulette Mitchell.
Mike & Jeff, The World Wine Guys, make Singapore Slings
Mike & Jeff, The World Wine Guys, make Singapore Slings
Our Tasting of Greek wines
Our Tasting of Greek wines
afternoon tea
afternoon tea
ballroom dancing
ballroom dancing
floral class
floral class
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We get to take the finished products with us. Eddie and Calista usually do a class every two weeks. This means we always have flowrs in our stateroom!
The Digital Workshop for all things computer!
The Digital Workshop for all things computer!
Digital Workshop class
Digital Workshop class
Sales are offered everyday.  Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Sales are offered everyday. Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Sales are offered everyday.  Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Sales are offered everyday. Shopping is always open on a sea day!
Milling about the stage with the cast and crew during a backstage tour.
Milling about the stage with the cast and crew during a backstage tour.
We eat!  Sausages!
We eat! Sausages!
We eat some more!  Suckling pig!
We eat some more! Suckling pig!
And more!  Mussels and Lobster Tails!
And more! Mussels and Lobster Tails!
We drink!
We drink!
And drink some more!
And drink some more!
And we're merry!
And we’re merry!
1001 Arabian Nights Party On the Lido Pool
1001 Arabian Nights Party On the Lido Pool
Briana Galligan and DebbyBacon Under the Stars.
Briana Galligan and Debby Bacon Under the Stars.
Double rainbow on a stormy day taken through a rain soaked window.
Double rainbow on a stormy day taken through a rain soaked window.
Ahhh....the Barco!!!!!!
Ahhh….the Barco!!!!!!

 

Wednesday, we arrive in Ft. Lauderdale.  Thank you for following this journey with us.  We’ve enjoyed your company!  Let’s do it again, soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cadiz, Spain and Casablanca, Morocco and Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Preparing to Transit the Atlantic Ocean 

I apologize!  I’m really, tardy in posting the last ports-of-call.  The hold-up with Cadiz is simply due to the fact we’ve been here so many times that we tend to treat each return like being home.  So, this time, we simply took a cab to the department store, El Corte Inglais, and started with a cappuccino at the café.  After doing some normal shopping, we went back downtown and grabbed lunch at a local fast food restaurant.  We were there the day before Easter and the downtown area was preparing for a celebratory procession.  All the cafes were full with anticipatory revelers.  The squares were filling up with kiosks and hawkers pushing their wares.  It was all festive and fun.  We simply enjoyed the pleasure of being there!  And that was pretty much “IT” for Cadiz.  As we returned to the ship, we could see all the provisions lined up and waiting to be stowed for the upcoming Transatlantic crossing.  I’ve taken the liberty of including some old photos we have of Cadiz just to show you how beautiful it is.  There are Roman ruins, museums, cathedrals, parks, beaches, and so much more.  This is one of our favorite ports!

The Cathedral in Cadiz
The Cathedral in Cadiz
The Cadiz Cathedral
The Cadiz Cathedral
The main square in Cadiz, Spain.
The main square in Cadiz, Spain.
weekend in the square
weekend in the square
Victoria Beach
Victoria Beach
Sand art at Victoria Beach
Sand art at Victoria Beach
Caleta Beach
Caleta Beach
Wonderful Banyan Tree
Wonderful Banyan Tree
Home In Cadiz
Home In Cadiz
Final provisions for the long Transatlantic crossing.
Final provisions for the long Transatlantic crossing.

On the other hand, Casablanca not so much!   We started coming to Morocco about 30 years ago, and have watched changes take place.  It’s not all good.  On this visit, we didn’t even leave the ship.  But we certainly could have visited the Souk with its marvelous leather vendors selling beautiful jackets, wallets, bags, etc. that were once produced in Morocco for fashion houses such as Cartier and Chanel.  The quality is still evident.  And the prices are outstanding!  The spice and olive markets are my favorites!  Side trips to Fez, Rabat or Marrakech are exciting and exotic.  The old Mdinas are mysterious and confusing.  Carpets are still hand-made, but it’s getting harder to find them as machine-made is ubiquitous!  However, the ceremony surrounding a carpet purchase remains the same.  Copious amounts of tea are consumed and hours of pleasant conversation are spent before the deal is sealed and the carpet is folded into an amazingly compact “package” that is easy to carry and transport.     Of course, a visit to Rick’s Café is always nice.  And it is very close to the port.  Rick’s was never anything more than a set on a Hollywood move lot until an enterprising American member of the diplomatic corps had the idea to replicate the Café in Casablanca.  A faithful reproduction ensued.  Rick’s Café is now a pleasant stop for lunch or a drink or to simply sit for a while and watch the movie, Casablanca, play on a continuous loop. 

Hassan II Mosque
Hassan II Mosque
Rog in the rug section of Expositional Artisinal in central Casablanca
Rog in the rug section of Expositional Artisinal in central Casablanca
the famous piano in Rick's Cafe
the famous piano in Rick’s Cafe
Sandy departing Rick's Cafe
Sandy departing Rick’s Cafe
We were in Casablanca on Easter Sunday.  The Easter bunny joined us for dinner.
We were in Casablanca on Easter Sunday. The Easter bunny joined us for dinner.

 Funchal, on the island of Madeira is almost always a cruise ship’s last port before transiting the Atlantic.   Madeira was discovered in the 15th century by two Portuguese sea captains blown off-course.  Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristao Vaz Teixeira were sent by Prince Henry the Navigator to explore the west coast of Africa.  When they approached the large, forested island they named it Madeira (which means wood in Portuguese) and claimed it for Portugal.  Prince Henry immediately sent colonists to the island (most of them coming from the Algarve region of Portugal.  Today, the climate and beauty of the island attracts more than a million visitors annually.  And we are two of the happy visitors who love coming to this beautiful island!  The following photos will tell the rest of the story.

 

Walking through Funchal.
Walking through Funchal.
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The Ritz Cafe is an interesting Portugese building with lovely azulejo tiles that tell a story. This story is about the hammock excursions that were once available. Two men would carry a tourist (in a hammock) on their shoulders!
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The Ritz Cafe in an interesting Portugese building with lovely azulejo tiles that tell a story. This story is about the wicker sleds that descend from Monte.
Cable car to Monte
Cable car to Monte
Top of the Run
Top of the Run
Those are our feet as we descend!  Note the car ahead of us!
Those are our feet as we descend! Note the car ahead of us!
Antique photo of Funchal sleigh rides.
Antique photo of Funchal sleigh rides.
Sleigh ride in Funchal.  FUN!
Sleigh ride in Funchal. FUN!
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Walking through town, we noted the statue of Zarco who was sent by Henry the Navigator to organze the colonization of Eastern Madeira.
The old fort, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago.
The old fort, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago.
Fortaleza de Sao Tiago offers some wonderful views of the sea.
Fortaleza de Sao Tiago offers some wonderful views of the sea.
Many of the doors in Old Town are really works of art
Many of the doors in Old Town are really works of art
Beautiful Door Art in Zona Velha (Old Town)
Beautiful Door Art in Zona Velha (Old Town)
The historic Reid's Hotel.
The historic Reid’s Hotel.
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This is the stairway guests to Reid’s Hotel, who arrived by boat, would be carried up in hammocks slung over the shoulders of two men! Today, there is an elevator.
Our ship as seen from the terrace of Reid's Hotel while we enjoyed high tea.
Our ship as seen from the terrace of Reid’s Hotel while we enjoyed high tea.
Funchal Mercado
Funchal Mercado
Central Market
Central Market
Fish Market
Fish Market

Now, we are “at sea” transiting the Atlantic on our way back to the United States.  The journey comes to an end.     

Barcelona, Spain Day 2

 

Mediterranean Sea 

 

The first aerial attack on La Barceloneta occurred on March 16, 1937.  On October 1, 1937, Italian planes, flying low, approached Barcelona, dropped their bombs on Barceloneta and then strafed the local population killing 55 and wounding 87.  Eighteen buildings were destroyed including a school.  Barceloneta was attacked again on January 7, 1938.  And, again, on September 16, 1938.  The Mercato Barceloneta was hit, killing 34 and wounding 124.  There is a memorial at the entrance to the market today. Most attacks were conducted by the Italians (113 missions in all) but the Germans also participated (with 80 missions of their own.)  La Barceloneta was a strategic target because of its location on the coast near the port, the railway, and the gas plant.  This is also notable because it is the first time a major city was hit with systematic bombings against all manner of targets—including the civilian population!  The bombing of September 16, 1938 took place while Chamberlain and Hitler resolved negotiations regarding the Sudetenland.  This attack nearly started WWII since a British ship was hit in the Barcelona port; but these attacks had nothing to do with WWII.  They were conducted on behalf of Franco.  Both Germany and Italy supported him in hopes of gaining his support later.  But he kept Spain neutral.  That was surely a major disappointment to both Mussolini and Hitler!

 

On our second day in Barcelona we visited Mercato Barceloneta.  It is a bustling and lively market.  Foodstuffs are inside and clothing, housewares, etc. circle the outer perimeter.  We had coffee at El Guindilla and watched the pedestrians on the huge market square.  We were told the square is full of revelers on summer evenings!  We walked through Barceloneta and wound up at Maian’s Restaurant at the marina for a wonderful paella lunch!  At the end of the marina, we found an outdoor market and the Emperado Restaurant where we enjoyed tea and a unique ice cream called Blueberry with Cheese.  Quite tasty!  And quite an interesting day!

The Mercato Barcelonetta
The Mercato Barcelonetta
The Mercato Barceloneta
The Mercato Barceloneta
The Mercato Barcelonetta exterior.
The Mercato Barcelonetta exterior.
The plaza at Mercato Barceloneta
The plaza at Mercato Barceloneta
Cafe  El Guindilla where we stopped for capuccino at the Mercato Barcelonetta.
Cafe El Guindilla where we stopped for capuccino at the Mercato Barcelonetta.
Architecture
Architecture
Capella del Santissim
Capella del Santissim
Lunch at de Maian's Restaurant in Barcelonetta.
Lunch at de Maian’s Restaurant in Barcelonetta.
View from the Emperado Restaurant of the street market in Barcelonetta.
View from the Emperado Restaurant of the street market in Barcelonetta.