Our Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar Cruise, 2019
On August 9th 2019, 45 of our members set out on a damp morning to begin the first leg of our much anticipated Cruise visiting Spain, Portugal and the Rock of Gibraltar. Organised by McGinleys travel of Donegal, the fact that this cruise was leaving directly from Dublin ,eliminating the hassle of Airports, was a big attraction.
McGinleys coach collected us in Ballinasloe to take us to Dublin Port. This was the last time we saw our luggage until it was delivered safely to our staterooms on the ship” Magellan”.
We quickly familiarised ourselves with the vessel which was to be our home for the next 10 days. As the ship set sail with its 1250 passengers on board, unfortunately there was a storm brewing. As we travelled South on the Bay of Biscay, the weather deteriorated. The next few days proved a scary experience. However, with the aid of sea-sickness pills and with the help of the wonderful staff we weathered the storm .
Gladly leaving the choppy Bay of Biscay behind us, we quickly regained our balance as we sailed into our first port of call, La Coruna in lovely sunshine. La Coruna is the gateway to the pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela . We all went our different ways to explore this busy, spacious city.
Cadiz was our next port of call. There were many shore excursions to choose from including a trip to Seville. After a panoramic tour through the city we enjoyed a wonderful Flamenco show in a small venue followed by traditional tapas and drinks.
The Rock Apes spring to mind at the mention of the Rock of Gibraltar and this is where our next stop took us. While the more adventurous took the cable car or walked to the top of 1400 ft. high Rock, more of us took the coach tour where we enjoyed panoramic views of the busiest shipping lane in the world, the mingling of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and two Continents. We visited St. Michael’s Cave to view a mass of strangely shaped stalagmites and stalactites
Next port of call was Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. There were many tours to choose from here. Some of us decided to take the scenic tour driving over the river Tagus by means of the second largest suspension bridge in Europe. We saw the colossal statue of Christ the King which was erected as a thanksgiving by the women of Portugal that their men folk were not actively involved in World War 11.
After a few pleasant days at sea soaking up the lovely sunshine and mingling with our fellow passengers we had a long day to explore our last port of call,Liverpool, the maritime city in northwest England. Here,we found an unsurpassed range of attractions along the majestic waterfront.There was the Walker Art Gallery , the Beatles Museum and many more which were well worth a visit. The hop- on, hop- off bus took you through the many places of interest. There were some who couldn’t resist shopping in the many large stores while the men-folk sought out the pubs to watch Tipperary beat Kilkenny in the All-Ireland hurling final. Good news !!!
The temperature was gradually dropping as we went on board and headed north for Dublin. Even though we got off to a bad start, our Cruise was most enjoyable. The food and entertainment on board was first class and so also was the company of our fellow passengers. However it was nice to see our coach waiting for us in Dublin port to take us home.
Tired but happy we arrived home safely . Our Cruise was a wonderful experience and will be added to our list of nice memories.
Many thanks to all who helped to organise it.
Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O) August 2019