Still waiting in Cartagena....
We would have loved to stay longer in Almeria, but with deep lows in the Gulf of Lyon and east of the Balearics we had to make the most of a brief break in the strong northerly winds to get north to Cartagena. As it was, we had fresh southwesterlies (F5/6 gusting 7) propelling us along under our downwind rig at high speed. It was fine balance between keeping up our speed to ride the waves and getting to Cartagena before the strong northerlies set in again, whilst avoiding too much weaving and rolling around. All went to plan and we arrived in the huge port of Cartagena at midnight. Our only regret is that we couldn’t spend a bit more time exploring the coast along the way as it appears to be quite attractive with the Cabo de Gato national park and a few decent anchorages – a rare thing in these parts. Perhaps on our way out of the Med…?
We have now been in Cartagena for a few days, waiting for our next ‘weather window’ to make the final passage to Majorca. It is rather different from previous places we have visited – it is a huge natural harbour that has been the centre of marine activity for millennium. Consequently it has an interesting history of Roman, Islamic and Christian occupation and today is the base for the Spanish Mediterranean navy, serves as a commercial and fishing harbour, and (to our horror) a major destination for cruise ships….which moor right up alongside the marina.
In contrast with high activity on the water, there appear to be few visitors ashore and far fewer bars and restaurants than we have become used to (we have become very spoilt) – although we managed to sniff out some excellent tapas and a superb restaurant! The highlight of our visit has been the Roman amphitheatre, which is right in the middle of town, but only recently ‘discovered’ and opened in 2008. It has been made part an excellent new museum (by Spanish star architect Rafael Moneo) which tells the history of the site as you move through tunnels and new display halls to emerge at the huge amphitheatre. There are still teams of archaeologists sifting through large parts of the site so we imagine even more finds will be revealed.
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