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