Friday 27 October 2023


Last port of call. The clocks have gone back so we are back on British Summer Time, but the sun still didn't rise until about 8.15.

We went for a run first thing along the lovely waterfront to a very exotic looking concrete opera house. Think of the one at Sydney, then imagine it quite a lot smaller and you will get the idea.

We didn't remember it at all, but looking back at our photos, we were here in 2016, admired it a lot then and took loads of photos.

Later we went to explore the town.

It is very pretty and much greener than Lanzarote.

Once back on the ship we had time for one final event - a wine flight tasting at the Glasshouse.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Arrecife, Lanzarote

All aboard in Cadiz at 2am, and we stumbled on just as the captain was ready to set sail. No, maybe I misremembered that and possibly went to bed at 9.30pm as I was a bit tired.

Two sea days have passed since then, and we arrived at Arrecife first thing this morning.

It's another lovely day and the walk from the harbour was very pretty.

The ship's leaflet did not seem to rate Arrecife very highly, and said that it did not hold huge amounts of interest for tourists, but maybe they were just trying to sell their very expensive day trips.

We started with a nice fort out in the bay and a walkway and drawbridge being the only way to reach it.

Not far along the seafront was another causeway that I had noticed on Google earth. It wasn't mentioned in the guidebooks, but was actually the highlight of the day.

Called Islote de la Fermina, it is a swimming and art space area that was designed by the artist Cesar Manrique in the 1970s. It appears to have become run down and is now almost restored.

People were still working on the swimming pool, but we stopped for coffee and a wander around the rest of the island.

Pleased with this success, we then ended up a few streets back from the seafront where it is a bit run down.

Next we passed rows of abandoned salt pans. In the past, massive amounts of salt was needed as Lanzarote was a big fishing port, but fish are now frozen not salted, so they are just gradually decaying away.

Finally, continuing with the Manrique theme, we went to visit another fort that he restored, and came highly recommended.

It is undoubtedly a beautiful building with gorgeous planting around it.

The inside housed a modern art collection, including one from Manrique himself.

No I don't know what it is either.

The guidebook said to allow an hour, but Darren checked the time and we saw it all in eight minutes. We nipped round again in case there was something that we missed, but we couldn't find it.

On the way back to the ship we passed an attractive monument to sailors lost at sea.

It was a nice outing, but I think that we have seen most of Arrecife now.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Day at sea and Cadiz

Dawn is very late here in the Med, and yesterday was a sea day and we were strolling on the promenade deck just as the sun rose at 8.33am.

On every sea day I go to the Fitstep class. It is run by the ships dance troupe and the steps are unbelievably fast. Darren took this photo and for once we all appear to be in time and facing the right direction.

I am the only person dressed in lime green.

Today we have a full day in Cadiz, but the forecast is for 50 mile per hour winds and heavy rain from lunchtime onwards.

Instead, we got up before dawn to run our October half marathon. Cadiz is a very small place that used to be an island, but is now joined to the mainland by a narrow causeway. 

This was our route.

We set off through the town and stopped to look at a row of giant painted skulls in the main square.

The route then went along the seafront where we were joined by lots of other runners, dog walkers and even a few surfers.

Not in this picture though.

We ran right past the end of the town and on to the causeway. It was blowing a gale straight onto our faces and I suggested turning back. Darren was having non of it though, and actually we ended up on a nice wooden walkway, and a much easier return.

You can see the rain clouds gathering and it was a wet run back.

Just having a lazy afternoon on board, and the captain has delayed our departure until 4am tomorrow morning to avoid the storm. It's all aboard at 2am so we have plenty of time later to go out clubbing.

Friday 20 October 2023


We arrived at Malaga and our ship spent the day in the very glamorous port area.

This is the outside of the Pompidou Centre, and we had a quick peep inside, decided that it wasn't for us and carried on in to town.

We passed by a 200 million dollar super yacht, owned by a business man from Kazakhstan, that is spending the winter in the harbour, and along a covered walkway.

Our destination was the train station and we spent a total of just over six euros to journey along the coast to Benalmadena.

We then spent a happy few hours wandering back along the boardwalk.

Yet again we were lucky with the weather and joined the crowds eating ice cream and soaking up the sun.

Another sea day tomorrow and we will be passing Gibraltar and out of the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. I think that we may see a big change in the weather and the sea.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Palma, Mallorca

Spain today, and we have docked disappointingly far from the centre of Palma on the island of Mallorca.

Not put off by the scorching weather, we set off at a jog out of the port and to the town.

It was possible to run alongside the road, but of course we had to use the stepping stones across a river.

We slowed to a walk around the town, and yet again lots of beautiful buildings.

In fact, it looked like a mini Barcelona, but much less crowded. One reason for this is that Antonio Gaudi spent twelve years in the early 1900's in Palma, and his influence spread widely across the town.

This beautiful building started life as an elegant department store, but the double height oblong shaped windows housed a very fancy dental surgery.

Joan Miro also lived in Palma and this sculpture commemorates him.

For a long time me and my sister thought that Joan Miro was a woman, but actually he wasn't, and his name is pronounced something like One Mirrow.

Both Miro and Gaudi have big foundations here that we didn't get chance to see, and the island is now on our list of places to come back to .

A must see is the Cathedral which took an astonishing 300 plus years to be completed.

It was damaged in an earthquake in 1851, and Gaudi spent many years reconstructing and remodelling the interior. However, he left it unfinished in 1914 after arguments with the contractors and the death of his great friend the Bishop.

We didn't go inside, and just opposite is a palace, and on a hill nearby is a good looking castle. We didn't visit those either.

All in all, many reasons to return.

Finally, a slow jog back to the ship, and flaked out for the rest of the day.

Monday 16 October 2023

Cagliari, Sardinia

This is our fourth new Italian city of the holiday. As with the previous ones, the weather was beautiful and the city was gorgeous.

It's getting difficult to think of new nice things to say, so I will tick things off again.

Lots of ancient steps, and actually quite a lot of graffiti this time.

Amazing churches. Some really busy, but others completely deserted.

Tasty drinks al fresco. Usually coffee, but this time Aperol Spritz, and very lovely it was too.

Enormous castles and fortresses that tower overhead and are extremely difficult to photograph.

And absolutely without fail, tall, narrow streets with pretty balconies and cool shady walkways.

Sunday 15 October 2023


We were up very early today and sat up on deck waiting for the sunrise.

Prior to our arrival I did not have particularly high hopes for Palermo, however the ship's leaflet said 'Palermo is a city rich in art, culture, and street food and is considered the pearl of Sicily. It is also famous for having the second largest historic centre in Europe '. Strong praise Indeed, and definitely correct.

The old town was amazing and we walked around snapping constantly.

This street didn't even get a mention in our guide, and we sat at the end to enjoy a cappuccino.

This was one of four matching buildings that made up a pedestrian square. We were there early and apparently by lunchtime it is so busy that it's impossible to walk through.

A couple more lovely views. 

Finally, the centre is mostly traffic free, but the streets are all very narrow and occasionally a moped or brave car squeeze through them.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Mount Etna parkrun

Today is Saturday and our ship docked in Catania, Sicily this morning. As everybody knows, Saturday is now known as parkrun day, and being on a cruise ship was no reason not to attend.

I realised a few weeks ago that Mount Etna parkrun was within reach as long as we docked exactly on time, and then found a taxi immediately that could get us to the start.

Darren wrote about it on the parkrun tourist website, and we managed to find four other runners on board who were keen to attend and share the cost of a taxi.

We cut it extremely fine, and the taxi driver really ripped us off, but he drove like a demon and deposited on the side of the road with five minutes to spare.

At first we couldn't see any other runners, but I looked over a fence, saw the start line and we got there with about two minutes to spare.

Off we went on a lovely four lap course through a pine forest, but best of all was a great view of Mount Etna on each lap.

Thanks to our new friend Paul for this photo as unfortunately Darren didn't look up during the run so didn't notice the smouldering volcano not far above our heads.

It was a very small field with Darren finishing sixth and me ninth out of an international field of 35. However, most memorable was the amazingly friendly and cheerful local volunteers who made us so welcome.

Especially 15 year old Matteo who did the welcome speech and then walked us all back to the nearest town of Nicolosi and left us at the bus stop.