Adoring Spain And Portugal – Again!
Well, it’s been quite a 2 years for all of us now, hasn’t it? Our beautiful Ship, The World, was in a warm layup from March, 2020 until July, 2021 when it went back into operation in Greece. The Ship management and board did a great job putting together an itinerary to take us through the end of the year. It was a challenge coordinating with ports and putting together a program, but they were masterful at logistics.
We joined the Ship in Barcelona in September, and it felt just like being back home after almost 18 months away. We were in Barcelona for 3 days but did very little while we were there. My one big outing was going to the big covered market at the Rambla. I love shopping there for fruit, veggies, ham and cheese whenever we’re in Barcelona.
Our next ports in Spain were Mallorca, Cartagena, and Malaga. We’ve been to Mallorca several times and we love it every time. It’s a beautiful island with a stunning old city. Cartagena was new for us but Malaga was another familiar place. One of the joys of the Ship for us is traveling back to familiar places. It’s very relaxing to not feel that you need to rush to see any sites or do anything specific. Most of the time we are happy just to wander around the old city wherever we are and people watch. We are happiest finding an outdoor cafe where we can have a nice lunch and spend a leisurely afternoon. Pretty heavenly for us. I’m also happy to report the gelato stands are back in full operation. Always important for any summer in the Med.
After Spain we sailed to the Portuguese island of Madeira – one of our favorite places in the world. The main city is Funchal and the majority of the population lives there. Madeira is primarily a tourist location. Many Europeans come here for the amazing climate. It is temperate all year long. It rarely goes below 50 and hardly ever goes higher than the mid-80’s. Because it’s an island there are wonderful sea breezes all the time.
We spent one day just wandering around the old city and another day we hired a car and driver to tour around the surrounding countryside. The island is very hilly and covered with dense eucalyptus forests. There are charming little fishing villages to stop in and the whole experience is completely delightful.
Every year Madeira has a flower festival. It is usually in the Spring about a month after Easter. It was canceled in 2020 and postponed in 2021 due to Covid. It was held the Sunday we were there. The people in Funchal were so excited to have their parade back after the 2 year delay. This is a charming event. What makes it so special is it’s centered around children. Like any parade it takes place down the main avenue of Funchal and consists of flower covered floats and groups performing dancing/marching routines. What makes this parade unique is the performers are all groups of adults and children. Many are mothers and daughters performing together. A lot of the mothers performed as children and now are carrying on the tradition with their own kids.
We arranged to have reserved seats on a hotel terrace at the end of the parade route very close to where our Ship was docked. We were able to watch the parade from the terrace as well as have drinks from the bar. We were close to the end of the parade route, so as the parade was ending, we left the terrace and went down to the street level. It was fun watching all the people after they finished and there was a big outdoor party that seemed like it would go on all night. Everyone was having a great time, including us!