Sunday, July 24, 2016

Visiting the Market in Malaga, Spain

(Back to Spain after spending a few days in Puerto Rico with my 16-year old granddaughter. VBG)

Our ship docked right near downtown Malaga. It was easy to just walk off the ship and walk into the city for anyone who wanted to tour by themselves.

That morning, the chef was doing a Market Tour and I decided to join him, an assistant chef, 2 crew members and about 15 others. It was a fast 15-minute walk to the indoor marketplace. Inside were stalls of the types of things we've seen at other city marketplaces: vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses. All beautiful arranged, everything clean and everything extremely tempting.

The chef went from vendor to vendor with what seemed to be just a hint in his mind of what he wanted to buy. If he saw something interesting, he stopped and spoke to the vendor who was more than happy to pass out samples to the group considering how much he had the potential to sell. We had samples of nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, olives, meats, and cheeses.

After the tour, I needed to head back to the ship. The other passengers simply walked into town to continue their tour of the city. The chef flagged a taxi down for the two crew members to take all the purchases back to the ship and I was able to bum a ride. Overall, it was a great experience.

Our chef with one of that night's entree options.

And, at lunch that day, almost all the items were displayed on the buffet. And this fish was prepared for dinner. Those who ordered it said it was excellent.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Visiting Seville, Spain In The Pouring Rain

I couldn't believe the weather we had in Seville. Pouring rain barely describes it. Jerry and I had our Gortex jackets on but by the end of the 3 1/2 hr walking tour, we were soaked through. Ditto with our shoes and socks. Still, we marched forward and onward, led by our tour leader, Marta of

Typically, to visit Seville by cruise ship, you dock in Cadiz and take a bus to Seville. The Windstar Star Breeze is small enough to go up the Quadalquiver River, through the new lock, and dock within walking distance of downtown. Although we were about an hour late, Marta was at the terminal, waiting for us with her umbrella.

Our first stop was Placa de Espana. This is an absolutely gorgeous plaza, even in the pouring rain. We ran out from under shelter to try and get as many photos as possible. The plaza was built for the 1929 Iberian-American Exposition World Fair. There are tiled alcoves (on the left in the picture), each one representing one of Spain's provinces. Really beautiful and it would have been nice to enjoy it in better weather, but, on the other hand, this weather allowed us to take pictures without a lot of people in the way. :)

As we took a short walk in the area, Marta pointed out many buildings which were built by countries represented at the fair. All of them beautiful.

To save us a bit of walking in the rain, Marta had us hop one of the trams which took us from the exposition area to the pedestrian area surrounding the Alcazar and the Cathedral. These were the two main places we wanted to see while in Seville. We thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the Alcazar, enjoying seeing the mosaics and the Moorish architecture.

We spent quite a bit of time here, learning about the history of the building. It is used by the royal family when they are in Seville, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. The palace was built by King Pedro I who was reputed to be very ecumenical, incorporating Christian, Muslim and Jewish symbolism in the building.

Main Altar Covered in Gold
Our next stop was the cathedral. Built on the site of a 12th-century mosque, the only original piece still remaining is the minaret.  The Alcazar and the cathedral (the largest Gothic building in Europe) are all part of a UNESCO site. Plus, within the cathedral, is the tomb of Columbus. Or at least part of Columbus. Columbus was reputed to originally buried in the Dominican Republic. His body (bones?) were then moved to Spain. After a few more moves, at least some bones, confirmed to be those of Columbus through DNA testing, are now buried in this cathedral.

Our tour ended here and the original plan was to walk the streets of the old town, which had also been the area where the Jews lived. Marta (before heading in the cathedral) pointed out several portals to this area (not sure we would have found it on our own.) However, the weather did us in. We were uncomfortable and exhausted.

So after leaving the cathedral, we made our way through the pedestrian area to a main street where we hoped to catch a taxi back to the ship. It was pouring rain so what was the chance of catching one? Finally, a taxi driver without his green light on took pity on us and stopped. I gave him the piece of paper where Marta had written out the name of the port. And less than five minutes later we were there! Who knew we were just around the corner only a couple of blocks away? We thanked the driver profusely and tipped him generously for the short ride.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Staying Cool With Your Own Personal Mister

A cool mist of water is a nice way to stay cool whether at home watching a ball game at the local park or traveling in hot climates. While making my way around the Internet I discovered this water bottle which is so much more than a water bottle.

LUNATEC's Aquabot is a high pressure multi-functional drinking water bottle with a personal mister, providing either a shower, stream or mist. It is BPA free and requires no batteries. There are two attachments for lanyards making it easy to carry hands free. You simply pump it to build up the pressure and the variable flow trigger allows you to adjust it for just the right amount of water.