Spain/Morocco/Portugal Cruise – part 2

Go to Part one of the trip

Wednesday June 22It was very cool this day. I even bought a sweatshirt from the ship store. We had docked in Gibraltar during the night. The “Rock” was not as expected. Turns out we were on the wrong side of it. Our side had vegetation and was not the pronounced, pointy granite face I had expected.

The Rock – from the wrong side

We didn’t take the tour to the top. We just decided to walk into Gibraltar city. It is known for its shopping. So — we shopped! I bought some new tanzanite earrings to go with the bracelet I bought on our trip to Turkey. And another pair of inexpensive earrings.

Gibraltar streets
Gibraltar streets
British live here

We went to Zoca, a small out of the way but pleasant place to have lunch…of what else? Tapas! These were good but since we now have many others to compare them to, they were not the best.

Patatas Bravas
Iberian ham
Steamed bread sandwich
Garlic shrimp
Beef – can’t remember what was under it.

The walk from the ship to the town was very long. But it wasn’t too hot. We returned and relaxed before heading to the briefing on the next port of call — Cadiz where we will be for a day and a half. Then we had dinner in Amphora and we even had dessert!

Thursday – June 23
I woke early and watched them dock the Star Pride in Cadiz. The town is right next to us today so not a long walk.

Really pretty city

After breakfast and a little earlier than we usually go out, we left to be assured we would get a map. They said the Tourist people are only there a couple hours. We successfully obtained maps and headed into the city. There were four walking tours on the map. We ended up following the pink/purple one. They painted lines on the streets so we could easily follow the way…except for the worn off bits…then the map was useful. It’s a lovely city. Pretty streets with nice architecture, balconies, wrought iron and embellishments on the buildings.

We visited the Cathedral which was crumbling. And enormous. We visited some pretty squares. The Plaza de Fiores with lots of flowers.

The Cathedral is crumbling. There are nets to keep the bits falling from the ceiling from hitting people.
Flower market
Pretty, colorful and billowing dresses.
I loved this wrought iron gate

Then we visited the huge indoor food market with vendors all along the two aisles with amazing seafood. We get good seafood in Italy but there was some that I couldn’t identify. Cadiz, being right beside the sea at the mouth of the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic has much to catch! The exterior vendors around the sides were all meats. And there were veggie places scattered about. It was great. I love a good market.

Beautiful shrimp
Tiny conchs
Pretty clams!
I had to look these up. I have never seen anything like them. They are barnacles! I didn’t know you could eat them.

We stopped for a glass of wine and to figure out where to go for lunch. They are more traditionally Spanish here. The restaurants don’t open until 1:30. Many tapas bars open at 4:30 or even 8pm. This is the Spain I remember from my first trip here many moons ago. I’m glad it still exists.

We chose Casa Rafael. It got good write ups and was open when we wanted to eat. It was a bare-bones neighborhood place. Rather understaffed and chaotic. The menu only in Spanish. We managed to get fed. We had the plate of cured meats. A bigger variety than I have ever seen. Then we had patatas bravas. Next gamberos grilled, and the salt cod. It was all good enough.

Casa Rafael
Obviously famous for their meats
Patatas bravas (again!)

We returned to the ship for naps. Thursday nights are always the big BBQ nights. We sat on the deck and the wind blew in a gale. It was so strong it blew the salad greens right off your plate! In thinking of the BBQs we enjoyed on the Wind Star ship in the past this one pales by comparison. There was a much smaller variety of starters. There was no grilled lobster, my favorite. And there were only flank steaks,  no other types nor did I see chicken.

Afterwards they cleared the deck for the line dancing. We moved to the top deck to watch. It was fun.

Getting ready to dance

Friday – June 24
Our second day in Cadiz was just a half day. We went out walking to a different part of the town and then went back to the ship for lunch in the Grill on the top deck. I had a hot dog! Don’t laugh! I haven’t had a good grilled dog in a very long time. And sometimes you just gotta have a dog if they are there!

hot dog!!

We watched sail-away to the Vangleis music – which doesn’t quite work on a non sailing ship, in my opinion. It was the most beautiful day. Sunny and the temperatures are perfect. We stayed on deck for a while and headed down for our siestas.

Later we went to the briefing for Casablanca. I was a little nervous about this one. He explained where we would dock. How we could get into town. There’s a shuttle bus and taxis. Two kinds of taxis petite and grand. The little ones are all red. The big ones are all white. The mosque in Casablanca is the third largest in the world. This minaret is over 600 feet tall. There are two Medinas – the old one and a new one.

We had dinner in Amphora and went topside for nightcaps. A pretty night. The ship was rocking a bit. But not enough to be a problem.

Saturday – June 25
We had gained an hour overnight. A new time zone for the rest of the trip. We arrived before seven and the tours went out at 7am promptly. One to Marrakech which was a twelve hour tour, and one to Rabat – five hours. We decided to just explore a little on our own.

We took the shuttle bus into town. Casablanca is Morocco’s big business city. It also has the largest port in the world. We were dropped off at the United Nations square. Easy to pinpoint because there is a big Hyatt hotel there. Turns out the Old Medina was just next to this and it was my first time on the continent of Africa.

Not beautiful!

Here are my impressions of the Old Medina. We were early so many stands were not yet open. Luther noted the electric lights around the stands and thought they might be open at night. The men working there were very persistent and I learned the code words “no shopping” and they left you alone. It was dark and dirty. There was trash everywhere. But I noticed the people were sweeping it into piles. Maybe someone comes and picks it up. Maybe it was left from the previous night. The food/fowl/fish market was very smelly. The chickens were pitiful. We took pictures and left. It was enough for us to see.

Loved these colours
Has he got a deal for you!

There were hundreds, maybe thousands of cats. Strays, skinny and sad. A tiny kitten mewed at us piteously. I doubted he would live much longer. I hate this. We saw not one dog. Berbers hate dogs.

We were still early, gaining that hour kind of messed us up some. We figured eating there wasn’t going to happen. We didn’t have any local currency anyway. So we returned to the ship where we had lunch and a siesta.

In the evening we are early and watched sail away. We also watched the late bus arrive back from the 12 hour tour to Marrakech. The road had been jammed by an accident. Then we watched the inept dock people destroy the Star Pride’s paint job by scraping and jerking with a fork lift the gangway. We finally got underway. Later we dropped into the bar where the duo was singing. They are good. There was a talent show where the crew gets to show off. I decided to give it amiss. The room was crowded, and I didn’t feel like sitting in a crowd. I am still sensitive to my surroundings after Covid lockdowns. I’m sure it was fun. Cindy and Bill went.

Beautiful sunset

Sunday – June 26
We sailed all night and half of the next day to arrive in Portimao Portugal. Overnight the seas were very rough. we did some rocking and rolling but it was like being rocked in a cradle while you slept.

We got up and went to breakfast and then to the Yacht club which is on the top deck in the front so we could watch our noon arrival. We had to go up a small river and it was narrow and shallow. There was a big tug which helped turns us 180 degrees for a fast getaway in the evening. We were only in Portimao for five hours.

Kicking up some mud.

We had signed up for a bus tour. An Algarve wine tasting and tour of a tiny town Silves. Algarve doesn’t make alot of wine and it never gets exported, so we weren’t familiar with it. The guide was good. the town of Silves was not much. It had a castle. It WAS Sunday so very quiet. The winemaker, Mark dos Vales, was a German man. Quite eccentric, but enthusiastic. We tasted a very good rose, a white, and two reds, along with a little bread and olive oil. A little more food would help since none of us had had lunch. We were glad we had taken the tour but it wasn’t the best. We got back to the ship just in time to let it get away for our last sail-away. It’s always sad to see your last sail-away.

Castle in Silves
All things made from cork. Hats even shoes! 90% of the worlds cork comes from Spain and Portugal
According to our guide they no longer migrate and are nuisances now. They sterilize their eggs.

We had our last dinner in Amphora. It is always hectic since you’ve got to get packed up to be able to have your suitcases into the hall by 6:30am.

Monday, June 27
We arrived and debarked on a transfer to the Altis Grand hotel in Lisbon. Our room was not ready and sadly the Windstar people dropped the ball badly by not telling us about a way to pre-check in which would give us priority for a room as soon as it became available. They just told us to go away and come back in six hours.

We did a huge long walk from our hotel to the seaside. The weather was quite cool so it was pleasant. We found O Trigueiros, a neighborhood restaurant which was great. It was packed with locals and because we got there early, we got a table. We were craving sardines since the wine tasting the day before when the winemaker mentioned eating them with his wines.. O Trigueiros delivered. A huge plate of delicious grilled sardines, with blistered, crispy skin served along with boiled potatoes and sliced tomatoes. Heaven! It was a lot of food, which we could not finish. It was a great little place and a cool experience!

Speciality of Lisbon. Custard tarta.
Fellow diners

Tuesday, June 28
We were up early – 5am – for our early flight with Portugal Air to Bologna to retrieve our car and return to our casa in Umbertide, where it has been unbearably hot for our entire trip. Our house sitters had a tough time. This is an unusually early heat wave. Normally we get this sort of heat in July/August – not June! Our flight was uneventful, if late. My sister was not so lucky. I hope when she gets home she will erase the ugly return and remember the lovely time we two sisters had together after three long years apart 💕


Best olives – El Cantón, Cartagena
Best Iberian ham – Mediamanga, Barcelona & Casa Rafael, Cadiz
Best Tapas – Cerveceria Catalan, Barcelona and Cerveceria Catalan, La Tranca, Malaga
Best Lunch – Cerveceria Catalan, Barcelona – La Tranca, Malaga and
Best seaport – Cadiz
Best city – Barcelona
Biggest disappoint – Gibraltar
Best shopping – Gibraltar
Worst meal – Candles and Cuadro44 on the Star Pride
Dirtiest place – Casablanca
Best tour – Barcelona
Most remarkable thing – Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Go to Part one of the trip

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