My Transatlantic Trip – Part 4

Come with me as we cross the Atlantic Ocean.  As we continued our cruise out of the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean, we need one other stop which was Cartagena, Spain.

Cartagena, Spain

This was one of my favorite tours.  We went to a Spanish Horse Ranch, a privately owned ranch that breeds Spanish pure-bred horses.  These animals were magnificent.  We were told about the history of these horses, and how to tell the male from female on the ranch (without checking private parts!).  On this ranch the secret is the length of the mane and tail.   This ranch is a breeding farm for the purebred Spanish horse.  They have approximately 40 mares.  Of course, they also have stallions.  Along with breeding at this ranch, they provide stud services in Europe and North America.

One can definitely tell that we arrived at a private horse ranch for the tour. The tour buses barley fit through the entrance!

After our hostess explained the traits of this breed, she took us to a spot where she told us to get our cameras ready.  They were going to release the horses to the pasture.  What a sight to see these beautiful horses running to pasture.

These beautiful and graceful animals can dance.  They presented a Flamenco dancer and one of the horses to entertain us, along with feeding us like we were guests of the family that lived on the ranch—which we were.  I could go back to this place many times.  It was just awe inspiring.  

The sad thing that I noticed was that this horse and I had the same hair style.  It think it was time for a haircut when I got home!

When we got back to the port we had extra time on our hands so we walked around the beautiful city of Cartagena.

Ancient ruins within the city.

Ancient ruins within the city.

As evening approached, we boarded the ship to finally leave the Mediterranean and enter the Atlantic Ocean.

Ponta Delgado, Azores 

This stop was so unique.  I had heard of the Azores, but had no idea where it was or any thing about it.  The Azores is a series of islands in the Northern Atlantic owned by Portugal.  This was probably the most scenic place I have ever been.  The island we were on, was composed of two islands connected after a volcano thousands of years prior.  We took a jeep tour around the volcanic site, and the views were breathtaking.  This is a must see for anyone who goes to the Azores.

The cows are grazing all along the hills. The dairy drives around the hills and stops at the milking stations to pick up the raw milk. These cows are free to roam and even up to the little windy road we are on.

The colors of the island are so vibrant!

We will travel along the road that we take us to the village by the water.

Back to our ship to leave this beautiful island.

Six Days Cruising

The next portion of the cruise was six days crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  I absolutely loved this.  We spent a lot of time on our balcony just seeing water everywhere.  Every so often we could make out a ship in the distance.  The water was calm and quiet.  Only one day on the 15 day cruise was the water a bit choppy and the ship swaying.  Since we are not big partiers, we did not spend time in the bars or casinos.  I liked that while we were in the middle of nowhere, the ship showed a movie in the afternoons at sea.  How fun it was to watch Beetlejuice on Halloween day—one of my favorite movies!  

The musical entertainment was okay, nothing super exciting.  Of course, anyone who entertained on this ship was stuck there for 15 days!  There were also lectures about how the ship works and the Bermuda Triangle (which we were due to sail through in the coming days). 

Nassau, Bahamas

We finally saw land as we arrived in the Bahamas.  Once again, we signed up for a tour, and I wish we had just gone to the beach.  The Nassau tour really took us on a tour of stuff to buy! The first stop was at the Fort Fincastle which was built in 1793 by Lord Dunmore to protect Nassau from pirates. The Bahamas became a British crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy.  This area was surrounded street vendors.  I have to say I bought a pair of my favorite earrings there, so I guess I have no complaints about being taken to places to buy stuff. 

We stopped at the Queen’s Staircase which is a passage way from Fort Fincastle to Bennet’s Hill.  In the early 1700’s, 600 slaves were put to work to build the staircase using pick axes and hand tools to cut their way through the limestone.  The entire staircase took 16 years to be carved to completion.  The staircase was named in honor of Queen Victoria’s 65 year reign, who had signed a law to abolish slavery upon her ascension to the throne in 1837.  

I did not take the walk down these stairs because they were so steep and narrow.  Dennis took the walk down and thus, I have a photo of the steps from the bottom.

From there we went to see rum manufactured at the John Whattling Distillery.  It’s a small place, and there was nothing automated.  The workers pour the rum directly into the bottles, and they hand seal and label them.  We didn’t buy anything there.  

We drove past a lot of interesting places.  I always like what I see on the way to where we are heading.  

Our lunch stop included a drink with the plastic cup set inside a tomato paste can and a Delta airlines for–I guess Delta doesn’t need them any longer!

Once again, familiar American icons, Shell Oil and KFC dot the landscape.

We arrived at a Junkanoo Museum.  It would have helped if I knew what that was ahead of time.  I may have appreciated it more.  Junkanoo is a big celebration in the Bahamas.  Junkanoo tradition is a celebration of freedom and of jubilation that was felt by the slaves when they were freed. During the slavery times, the slave owners gave the slaves the 26th and 27th of December off, and New Years day.  Junkanoo is traditionally celebrated the day after Christmas and New Years day with a big parade and street festival.  

The costumes worn in this parade are huge.  “There is no limit to what a Junkanoo costume or float can be made of. However, everything must be carried or pushed during the group’s two days of parade. No motorized vehicles are allowed. Junkanoo costumes made from paper mache, cardboard, styrofoam, feathers, beads, and and anything else they can think of.  What is also interesting is that the parade is actually in the wee hours of the night.  They start about 2:00 a.m., and by 10:00 in the morning, the streets are empty!

I had no desire to try on one of the decorative headpieces.  I kept thinking how many hundreds have put this on their heads.  I had no choice.  Our host promptly put one on my head, and there I was celebrating in costume! Yes, Dennis got to wear a headpiece also!

We arrived at our ship before dinner time.  The boat set sail as we spent that evening and overnight sailing from the Bahamas to Tampa, Florida.  We arrived early in the morning, but it took a couple hours to get through customs and meet up with our luggage.  We received certificates for sailing across the ocean of 5,438 nautical miles!  We stayed in Tampa a few days before we finally head home.

What a marvelous trip.  The beauty of God’s creation was all around us.  As I have expressed before, every corner of the earth that I have traveled is beautiful and unique.  God is an amazing artist, and this whole earth is filled with his beauty and artistry.  I am so grateful we were able to take this trip of a lifetime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s