Spain Day 1
Though I did not go to bed till about 2am I woke up at 6am to a phone call from my colleague A.S. (names have been changed to protect the innocent). So AS called me to wake me, you see it was the morning we were pulling into our fist port on our Voyage around the world. We were excited. So I in turn called three colleagues to ensure they were up. Immediately got dressed and ran up to the 8th deck forward (the front of the ship) where I was met by a cold whipping wind and a handful of students, I was joined shortly by a couple of the colleagues I had woken up.
We sat in great anticipation as we could see the lights of Cadiz, Spain on the horizon. For what seemed like an eternity we waited and watched the lights of the City wink back at us as if they were squinting to see if it was really us. We then noticed the Pilot (the person that actually assists the captain in navigating the ship into port, s/he is an expert on the specifics of that port) boat coming towards our ship and the students started to cheer. They then watched as the Pilot jumped from his small boat to our ship with one leap and then we were in the clear to enter our first port, but not before the sun started to rise. Here she comes, “Dawn with her fingertips of Rose” painting the sky a beautiful Indigo then a blazing orange, announcing that the night was over though the moon was still holding court in the opposite sky. It was all so majestic and breathtaking as the captain effortlessly turned the ship around and parked it almost without us noticing as we were so taken in by the gorgeous sunrise.
PL and I quickly rushed to breakfast and before we knew it were being paged (along with the rest of our team) to the Faculty/Staff lounge to distribute passports. I was a member of one of the first excursions, so before I could even think about it I was aboard a bus and en route to a couple of beaches and Gibraltar.
There’s sand and water, oh and the water, its blue. Not to diminish the beauty of the beaches in any way they absolutely were beautiful, but we really didn’t spend any substantial time there, and that made me sad so why talk about it. I did enjoy seeing an architectural excavation taking place at the beach in Bolonia.
One of the highlights of my day. It was majestic, interesting, and just breathtaking all at once. First we had to be dropped off at the border crossing where the entire group then walked across the border into Gibraltar, a British holding. We were then met by another tourist operator who gave us a tour of the city, and then the rock of Gibraltar, including St Mathew’s cave (once believed to be the entrance to hades <= true story), and some of Gibraltar’s most famous inhabitants the Apes (that will steal your ice cream if you aren’t careful, just ask one of the SAS students who got took for hers). I wont bore you with additional details of the relevance of Gibraltar on the history of the world, if you are truly interested ask me out to dinner and I shall recount the tales. You know me I read all the plaques and signs and would have read the book if one had been written. A few colleagues and I then headed to the town square and had lunch, I ate spaghetti bolognese while they lunched on Fish and chips (a traditional British meal). We were then whisked back to our ship where I had to do a quick change since my next excursion was scheduled to leave an hour from when I returned.
The highlight of my first day was definitely the flamenco dance presentation. 140 or so Ship board members rode 30 miles outside of Cadiz to attend a presentation of Flamenco dancing. First we entered a stadium where we watched 2 female Flamenco Dancers Dance with a Horse guided by a male. It was BEAUTIFUL. We then watched this prepubescent young man mock an immature bull and tease him (it was a mock bull fight), I assure you no animals were hurt during the presentation, though the young man almost got taken down by the bull a couple of times. We were then led into an indoor courtyard and served this wonderful local wine (the red tasted like port, I didn’t like the white, and the sangria was DANGEROUS; tasked like sparkling juice) and tapas. Let me just say the ham in this region of Spain is notorious and now I know why, I have never been a huge fan of ham, but this is no ordinary ham. I swear Muslims would eat this, no disrespect to the Muslim folk. But for real the ham is delish! Where was I? Oh yeah the tapas were tasty. Then the Flamenco show began. I have no words to describe how beautiful and romantic it was to hear and watch as three women and one man moved their feet, hands and stirred the spirits of the audience to the sounds of an acoustic guitar and one solo female singer who’s voice was filled with pain and sorrow yet sounded so beautiful. It truly was wonderful. Everyone enjoyed it immensely
The evening came to an end an hour or so later when after we arrived back to the ship a group of us went out and had a meal of hamburgers, wings, and fries. I know what you’re thinking, that is so not Spanish, well trust me when I tell you the hamburgers we had were made of ground ham not ground beef, and the rest of the meal was as unique as well, but good. We finished our meal and walked back to the ship.
End of Day 1, tomorrow Day 2 (it better man up cause it’s got a hard act to follow)