This morning the Queen Elizabeth docked in Cadiz, a well-known port and city in south-western Spain. It was a warm day (22 degrees) but a brisk breeze blew in from the Atlantic, which made it feel fairly cool in the shade.
As we had been to Cadiz before, 11 years ago, we decided against doing one of the organised excursions, and instead opted to do our own thing. We chose to take advantage of the open-topped “hop on, hop off” city buses, where you buy a 24-hour ticket that allows you to explore the whole city and coastline at your leisure. As you board the bus you are given a pair of ear-phones (which you can keep) to enable you to listen to the multi-lingual commentary describing where and what the bus is passing outside.
We did a whole circuit in the bus and then decided to go to the well-known large department store known as El Corte Inglés; you will find them all over Spain and the Canaries. They are very popular with British tourists and the reason escapes me – they are just another department store similar to Debenham’s or House of Fraser. Also, because the Pound is very weak against the Euro at the moment (there was only 1.12 Euros = £1.00 this morning!) it meant stuff was actually a lot more expensive than we could have bought it for in Blighty.
The big attraction of going to El Corte Inglés, though, was the fact that we had a voucher for a free glass of wine and a sample of tapas. 🙂 The wine was OK, quite palatable, but the tapas was just new potatoes cooked in some sort of garlic sauce. Something and nothing really.
When we came out of the department store, we hopped back on the bus for a while until it took us back along the sea-front, where there were many inviting looking cafés and bars with seating on the pavement. We bought some postcards and decided to have a cerveza or two while writing them out. We found a nice little bar-café tucked away, ordered ourselves an ice-cold beer each and sat in the sun.
A few minutes later, along came another Durham couple who had got the same coach as us from Washington down to Southampton, Bob and Val. They joined us and we sat and chatted and whiled away a very pleasant hour or so, along with another round of drinks. We then posted our postcards and made our way back to the ship, as time was now getting on (why does time fly so much when you are on holiday?!) 🙂
After dinner that evening we went to the Royal Court theatre and saw a brilliant, West-End style show called A Slice of Saturday Night. It was a musical, set in a night club in the 1960’s. The singing and dancing were excellent; people would pay money to see a show like this at the theatre, but on a cruise you can see it for free! We really enjoyed it.
Afterwards we did what has become a nightly ritual for us on Cunard cruises; that is, we went to the Golden Lion pub to take part in whatever they were doing that night, which turned out to be Name That Tune – TV Themes. We didn’t know what to expect, as it depended on what era of TV they were doing. As it happened, we didn’t do very well because they were mainly daytime TV shows or American shows that we’ve never even heard of, never mind seen!
I must at this point mention our team; we called ourselves “United Nations” because we had Thomas from Stuttgart, Germany in our team (who we knew from previous cruises) as well as Carolyn from Melbourne, Australia. Now everybody on the entire ship knew Carolyn, or rather her dog. Dog?! On a ship? Yes, that’s right. Devo the Dog was a whippet, and he was a special dog because he was trained to alert Carolyn, who was diabetic, in the event that she had a hypo- or hyperglycaemic shock coming on. Apparently dogs can smell it in human sweat long before humans can. So Devo the whippet followed Carolyn everywhere on the ship, and it wasn’t a case of “Oh, there’s Carolyn and her dog”, but rather, “Oh, there’s Devo and his mistress!” Devo even has his own Facebook page. 🙂
Anyway… our quiz team didn’t do very well with the Name That Tune, so we missed out on some more ‘wonderful’ prize vouchers.
Tomorrow we were looking forward to spending another leisurely day at sea, and dressing up once again for a formal night.