Wednesday, 20 May 2015

A Stately Sail to Seville

Academy of Dance
One thing large cruise ships cannot do is sail majestically up the Guadalquivir River to the beautiful Spanish city of Seville. And to anchor at what must be the prettiest port in the world.
Fortunately there are a few small cruise ships that do just that. P&O's Adonia being one of them. 

Opened in 2014 the Muelle de las Delicias is near the Academy of Dance in the Maria Luisa Park. The port building is made up of re-used shipping containers painted grey and architecturally arranged. It doesn't look as awful as it sounds.

From the dock it is very easy to walk into the city along the Paseo de las Delicias shaded by the numerous trees in the park. Once in the centre there are, of course, plenty of shops, the famous Cathedral and the Alcazar to visit. (Last year I posted a blog about the latter on A word of advice - to avoid the long queues to get into the Cathedral and Alcazar get there VERY early.

Bridges over the river at Plaza de Espana

Don't want to go into town? Take a stroll through the beautiful park with its ponds and lakes and, of course, trees and flowers. Within a five minute walk of the ship is the fabulous Plaza de Espana, built as a showcase for an Exposition in the 1920s. With its towers, ceramics and huge fountain it is a magnet for tourists. The building now houses Government offices and the Town Hall. And it is all very photogenic.

When it came time to sail away the ship's decks and balconies were filled with happy cruisers who had spent two days discovering Seville. And we waved our thanks to the people on shore. For me the two memorable things about our sail downstream were sitting on my balcony listening to bird song from the bushes lining the banks and, later, passing through a small town with the residents waving and cheering. I felt like the Queen with all that waving!

Prior to Seville we had made calls at Lisbon and Portomao (to take a look at some of the Algarve). Following Seville we crossed to Tangier to be greeted with a pall of smog - yucky. I was very glad that I had opted to stay on board. Yes, the smog did clear but I wasn't prepared to venture ashore on my own. Coward!

Sailing back north in the Atlantic we eventually reached Galicia in north-west Spain to anchor at Villagarcia de Arousa.

Digging for clams
Unfortunately it was a rainy morning and the weather didn't improve as our coach wended its way to the small fishing village of O Grove. As the tide was out we could see fishermen in wellies digging for clams. The next part of the trip was on a land train across to the small island of La Toja. It is described as beautiful but to see that we needed sunshine. The best bit of trip was a stop in Cambados to visit the Parador el Albarino for tapas and wine tasting. The tapas - of course - were delicious, as was the white wine.

Sailing into Bordeaux

The last port of call was Bordeaux. Again it was a river trip up the Garonne to anchor in the centre of the city. I would have enjoyed two days there with time to do my 'own thing' on the second day after a coach tour of the City.

P&O always come up with surprises for cruises so I always look forward to the next year's programme. My plans? So far, the Northern Lights and later in the year Iceland.