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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

I think my days are off!

Day? /138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Cartagena, Spain

So I think somewhere along the way I’ve either missed numbering the blogs correctly, or I missed some

sea days. I don’t know. All I know is we have until May 9th left on this World Cruise and it is May 1st as I’m starting to write this blog. From my calculations that means it should be day 130 today. So lets go with that. Math never was my strong suit! I always had excellent, skilled people to do the math for me at work!

Day 130/138 2022 Viking Neptune World Cruise, Cartagena, Spain.

See how easy it is to just fix anything by starting over?

I sure wish we had started over today and NOT gone on the optional Walking Tour of Cartagena, Spain.

What day is it? May 1st. No big deal right? Well in Spain it is. It is May Day.

May Day is a holiday which is similar to our Labour Day in Canada. A day when workers are celebrated and you guessed it….nothing is open! Well there were a few things open, but we’ll get to that after I tell you about our excursion and how our day went.

Cartagena, Spain is a port city and naval base in southeast Spain. Founded by the Carthaginian’s around 220 B.C. the city was very prosperous during the Roman period when the city had many silver mines. The city was conquered numerous times by every possible civilization including the: Vandals, Visigoths, Eastern Romans, Umayyads, Caliphate of Cordova, and many more. But in 1728 the city became the Capital of the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department and still remains as one of the oldest naval bases in Spain.

View of Cartagena from the Neptune.

I was looking forward to our walking tour of Cartagena today as many of our friends on board had bailed on the included tour, instead deciding to walk around Cartagena independently.

Our guide did not leave on time from the port, waiting for a few latecomers to join us. That for me is a non-starter. With a group of close to 30 people already waiting to leave, the guide should have tested the QV boxes and got us to start walking with her. Anyway, we started walking and I am listening in my QV box and the guide is not saying a word. Usually when we have been on tours the guide walks and talks as we follow along. Not this guide. She stopped us on the pier, to show us a map, and then she spoke.

We crossed the street and stood in front of the walls of the city and the guide stopped us once again to speak about the walls.

We kept walking and yet again the guide stopped us on the narrow street to tell us about the old building we could see, that was formerly the hospital in the city that was shaped like a church.

Walking and no talking continued until we arrived at a historical Roman home. The guide entered and obtained our tickets and then we all could enter single file into the home.

A picture of the old road in the city with the homestead’s lining the streets.

The home was very small, very tight and for 30 people we all could not get into the places the guide wanted to show us, like the meeting room for the man of the home. We finally just went outside because there was not enough room for the entire group and there was no where to sit.

Our next stop was walking by a musical festival and small street market. The guide explained it was a holiday (the first we had heard of today being a holiday), and then we continued walking.

We stopped in front of a Catholic Church and the guide pointed out that it was a Catholic Church. Wonderful!

We walked some more and then we came to the Punic Wall. The guide said it was the last Punic wall in all of Spain. So what is a Punic wall for those who cannot remember their history or never learned about the Punic Wars? We didn’t find out from our guide who instead took us inside to the Interpretation Center of the Punic Wall. Oh my goodness, how frustrating is this guide?

We sat through a brief film about the construction of the Punic wall, still not really understanding what the Punic wall was all about. Thank goodness for google now that I am back in our cabin to finally understand what the big deal is with this Punic wall!

The Punic wall remains.

The Punic wall dates back to the 3rd century B.C. and it was the first defensive wall of Cartagena. When the Punics ruled Cartagena from 227-209 BC the Carthaginians decided to fortify the Cartagena with a wall to surround the settlement. The presence of this wall was crucial to prevent a Roman assault in 216 BC when the Second Punic War had broken out. The walls were thick enough to provide a settlement for the men in the army, weapons storage and their horses. The walls were 33 feet high. Unfortunately for them, the walls were only able to contain the enemy for a short time, with the Romans besieging the city by land and by sea and taking advantage of their sheer numbers over the Carthaginians. Well now I know more than when I actually saw the wall earlier today!

Crypt from above.

Down the stairs in the visitors centre we were taken by the guide to see the funeral crypt from the hermitage of Saint Joseph which was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The crypt was very creepy and the guide did not say that actual remains were found in the crypts, instead she focused on the fact that jewellery and coins were found in the crypt.

The briefest of outlines of a skeleton on the walls of the crypt.

The did mention that the decoration of a skeleton (on the other un-excavated side of the crypt) was the dancing Black Death skeleton from the bubonic plague which hit Spain between 1646-1652.

The guide did not explain much in the crypt, so we ended up walking outside to wait for the group.

The guide said she would walk us to ‘Centro’ or the City Centre, so that we could have 20 minutes to grab a coffee or a snack. After wandering around a little bit and seeing that a few shops were open and that people were sitting enjoying the holiday in outdoor cafes, we elected to leave the tour. Richard went and spoke to our guide, gave her a tip and then found a cafe to enjoy a few glasses of Verdejo Spanish white wine by Rueda, green olives and some bread and bread sticks. So civilized! Sometimes you just have to know when to ‘fold em’ as we say. Staying with the tour was frankly just too painful, and this was an optional tour that we had paid $90CAD each. Ouch.

I wandered around a bit and a few stores were open, but it was getting on and since we had arrived at noon and the back on board time was 5pm, I said to Richard we should start heading back to the ship.

As we were wandering back to the ship we stumbled upon some locals in a park having a May Day picnic, and they were all dressed up in old fashioned costumes. It sure looked like they were having fun singing, dancing and enjoying each other’s company on May Day in the park.

We walked back to the ship and said to each other, “that was not a major port, and we should have stayed in Barcelona an extra day!” We felt like the two days we had in Spain were a bit lacking since everything was pretty closed up. Anyway, the two days in Spain do not define Spain and we know it is somewhere we can always come back to.

Mike and Sharon were hosting in the private dining room at Chef’s Table, so we all got spiffed up and took some photos to remember our evening together.

Me, Sharon, Linda, Sue and Margaret.

Lyle, Steve, MIke, Gene and Richard.

The whole motley crew shut down the Chef’s Table private dining room for almost a 3 hour meal! It was fun to reconnect with the friends we have made on the ship over dinner together, as our World Cruise will be over very soon!

Day 131/138

I started off the day seeing Pedro again. I really get messed up with all of the walking on uneven surfaces since my formerly broken femur leg just doesn’t work the same as the good leg. Anyway, after a quick treatment I am feeling myself again. I’ve got my osteopathic appointments already lined up for when I’m home this summer to compensate for all of the golf I play at home.

I had Richard bring me some oatmeal and berries from the Explorer’s Lounge on 7 after my session with Pedro. I ate in our cabin and then remembered that today was Sunday Brunch on the Neptune! I was full but we went up so Richard could have some brunch.

Today’s Sunday Brunch on the Viking Neptune and what a spread!

WOW! The crew of the Neptune really pulled out all of the stops this time for the Sunday Brunch!

After brunch, we went back to our cabin and Richard hauled all of the suitcases out from under the bed and I started packing. There is a lot to pack and I want to be as organized as possible!

Our packing nightmare. One suitcase is now packed! I will do more packing on our upcoming 2 sea days after Lisbon.

Richard went down to the Explorer’s Desk to see how much the Luggage Forward Service would be to ship a suitcase directly to Canada (since we are heading to Tampa, Florida first and then driving to Canada as Richard’s car is at our home in Florida) and the cost was astronomical at $506 USD for a 50lb suitcase. The suitcase would not even be delivered to our home in Canada but would be given to a broker near Pearson Airport in Toronto, which is 1.5 hours away from where we live in Fort Erie, Ontario. Well that is a non starter! We can spend a lot less to get our suitcases home using the airline and also paying airport porters to carry our luggage at both Heathrow and Tampa airports.

We went to Team Trivia at 12:15pm and while we did not win (again) I was able to name all of the actors who played James Bond over the years, so that was worth a full 7 points for our team! Sean Connery, George Lazenby, David Niven, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig!

Today was our last Art Class for working on a new project. We will have a catch up class the next sea day and then the last sea day will be our art show for all of the artwork we created from Singapore to Lisbon.

Today’s Art Project: Bird’s of Paradise. This project is not finished yet, but it is all I could get completed during the one hour class. We were learning how to make something look 3 dimensional today. An interesting technique. I’m glad I’ve invested the time in art classes on the Neptune and will look into more art classes back home or in Florida over the winter. It is really something I enjoy and I find it really relaxing most days. I can’t golf every day either!

After Art Class it was back to packing and then weighing one large suitcase which I packed. Margaret had bought a weigh scale somewhere recently, so I went to borrow it. We had 55lbs in one large suitcase, and the airline allows us 70lbs, so we still have room to put small things into the nooks and crannies in that suitcase.

Dave and Julie, the Ozzies are hosted dinner this evening in Manfredi’s private dining room, There is no way. I could eat dinner if I had!

Speaking of eating, I weighed myself today and I‘ve not gained weight while on this cruise! Amazing, but true! I think all of the exercise has really helped and the walking. My apple fitness app tells me that my average steps per day are 5,899 vs 2,085 in 2022. I KNOW!??? As Bruce our Cruise Director would say.

And tonight we had a fabulous dinner with Julie and Dave, the Ozzie’s in Manfredi’s private dining room. Julie prepared a really fun Australia trivia contest for us to do between courses, complete with Australian prizes!

I came third in the Australian trivia so this was my prize!

It is bittersweet to be having last dinners with friends that we have met from around the world. but its nice to know that we now have friends around the world, to stay in touch with and hopefully meet up again one day for more adventures!

Tomorrow the Commonwealth golf tour will take on Lisbon! I’m excited to be golfing again because when I get back to Canada I have a lot of golf lined up, so I want to be ready for tournament play!

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2 commentaires

03 mai 2023

What a shame about your day in Cartagena. I wondered why your guide didn’t take you to the amazing Roman Theatre but then I saw it was closed on Mondays. That was the highlight of my day there


Allan Yoshimura
Allan Yoshimura
03 mai 2023

Guides can truly make or break an excursion. What a waste when you et a bad one. We did a Segway tour when in Cartegena. It was very good even if there was that much talking. Hope your feedback results in Viking's not using your guide again in the future. Enjoy your remaining days! This surely went by fast!

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