Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Epic Trip Part Fourteen: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria



Having grown up with the Jersey Shore as my prototype for a beach, I still find it odd when I come to a beach that has a mountain view. November 7 was another change-over day; that is, the end of one scheduled cruise and the beginning of another. A day when it is helpful to the crew for the passengers to spend as much of the day as possible ashore. Star Flyer arrived at Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, right on schedule and was to leave that night for . . .  whoops, I'm getting ahead of myself again.

After breakfast Joe and I went ashore. The promenade along the beach was saturated with shops and cafes. We passed some people eating an interesting pastry and decided we needed to try it. We did. We walked, we talked, we held hands. This was going to be an odd day for us.

We both had what seemed like the beginnings of head colds. I've found that Europe has better medicines for this than the USA, so we found one of those green cross lights that signify "pharmacy" and made some purchases.

We walked some more and had lunch at a beach cafe. And then it was time. Time for Joe to return to Star Flyer and for me to get comfortable in my hotel.

I had a nap. I read my book. I walked down the promenade again and sat at another beach cafe for dinner where I had ropas viejas, a favorite Spanish dish. It was very tasty, but a bit heavy on the chickpeas. I turned in early. I needed a good night's sleep because Wednesday was going to be very busy.








Monday, December 11, 2017

Epic Trip Part Thirteen: Arrecife, Canary Islands

We spent November 4 at sea, and on the 5th came to the Canary Islands. I wasn't sick any more, but the rough seas persisted, and they kept me feeling a bit queasy much of the time.

We were invited to sit at the Captain's table on that night, the night of the Captain's dinner. We were delighted at the honor and eagerly went up to the Piano Bar to join the Captain for pre-dinner drinks. To our surprise, the Hotel Manager was hosting the event. It seemed that our Captain was under the weather and the HM was filling in!

This first phase of the trip was nearing its end and, to be honest, I was looking forward to terra firma. Some of the friends we'd made embarked on the excursion, and came back to tell us that their lunch had been cooked on a volcano! We were content to wander the town, checking out the church (of course), look at the coastline and other local sights, and enjoy a snack.



We looked for canaries and found nary a one. I surmised that they were all down in the [nonexistent] coal mine. Later I learned that these islands had not been named for charming little yellow birds. Rather, the early explorers found dogs on these islands, and canaria being the Latin word for dogs, provided the name.





The night of the Captain's Dinner is also the night of the Talent Show.
Here the waiters do their [other] thing.

One of the joys of Star Flyer is its size. There are seldom more than 150 passengers aboard, and we make good durational friends. Here are our buddies from Toronto and from Maine;
we dined together most evenings, sharing stories, laughs, and wine.



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Epic Trip Part Twelve: Safi, Morocco


After our visit to Casablanca, I took sick with an unpleasant malady of the gastrointestinal sort. There were a few passengers besides myself who had this, and the ship's nurse said that we'd probably picked up a Moroccan nastiness in Tangier and it took 24 hours to settle in. I was pretty sick for about 18 hours and was very tired afterwards.

The excursion from Safi to Marrakech was an all-day event, traveling three hours each way to get to the oasis. I sent Joe on without me and settled in with my book. He's been kind enough to share his photos with me. And with you.















Saturday, December 09, 2017

Epic Trip Part Eleven: Casablanca, Morocco

Our tour in Casablanca had begun with a visit to the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco.

Once again we were fortunate to have had an excellent guide, a lovely Muslim man who was gentle, intelligent, and patient. He answered endless questions and shared a bit about his faith.

We liked him.

Here are some photos I took while visiting Hassan II Mosque.

















Friday, December 08, 2017

Epic Trip Part Ten: Of All the Gin Joints . . . .

in all the towns in all the world . . . . we did not walk into his. We'd considered it, but knew that none of the usual suspects would be present. Not Rick. Not Victor or Ilsa. Not Sam. Especially not Sam. We thought it best to just let it be a wonderful story, one that we knew so well, but weren't really part of. Nonetheless, Joe snapped this photograph as we drove by on our excursion that was so excellent that it will require not one but two parts to tell!

After leaving Tangier, we spent a day at sea before arriving at Casablanca on November 3.

The first part of the day, the visit to the Hassan II Mosque, the largest in Morocco, will be in the next post.

After visiting the mosque, our guide took us to visit a Catholic church, a palace, and a market.

The church:




The Palace and surrounding area:








The Market:






It was a wonderful morning with an excellent tour guide. At the market, I bought a bowl and some saffron; Joe bought a small rug. And when we returned to Star Flyer, the musician was playing "As Time Goes By."