Wednesday 22nd March
We were up early as we were off to Cartagena and managed to get away at 8.45 am. We had a brief stop at the beach to give Muffin a quick run and then a stop for fuel.
We were meeting our friends Pat and Bob, along with their dog, Buster. They have a villa up the coast near Torrevieja and were coming down for the day.
Cartagena is an 80 mile, 90 minute drive up the coast. Richard chose to use the toll road as it was so much easier, and we were amazed that it was so quiet. To start with there were only one or two cars around but as we neared Cartagena it got a little busier. We were staying over in an Airbnb and the owners had told us that there was a car park at the University which was close to the apartment. However, they should have said that during term time you wouldn’t find a parking space during the day! We drove round and round two different car parks and along the streets. Bob had found an underground car park near the marina and messaged us to say there were spaces in there, so off we went and parked with no problems.
We found Pat and Bob and had a coffee near to the marina before walking into the old town. We wanted to find the Roman amphitheatre but could only find the exit! We were directed to the entrance but never did find it. However, we walked all the way round the exterior. The amphitheatre was discovered in 1987, and dates from the first century A.D., and together with the theatre in Mérida, is one of the most important in Spain. These are just a few of the photos I took of the amphitheatre.
After all steps up and down we decided to find some lunch. The old town is lovely, and the majority of the streets were paved with gold, oh sorry that should read marble. Some of the buildings look old but the new ones are very sympathetically built to blend in.
We found a café called El Viejo Almarcén. We decided on the menu del dia and got Google to translate one of the two starters, this came out as scrambled eggs with ham. What we got was this!
It was very nice but we couldn’t find the scrambled egg! Our main course was chicken in a nice sauce with potato wedges, this was very good indeed. We also had a pudding, all this for €12 (£10.57).
After lunch we wandered around and found the Plaza de San Francisco where we found these trees. I would love to know how old they were.
We meandered along towards the marina. Here are a few photos of our meander!
We crossed over to the marina and Pat found a friend while she was taking a rest.
While I found a chap who was thinking hard.
I also found a whale!
We walked along the harbourside, again all marble, until we found a café for more coffee or
We drove back to the University car park hoping that by 5pm the students would have gone home but it was almost as busy as earlier. We managed to find a space on the roadside. We grabbed our case and Muffin’s bed and set off on out 7 minute walk to the apartment.
The entrance to the apartment building left a lot to be desired but we had all the correct codes and were soon in the apartment. Sadly the smell of drains/sewers was a bit overwhelming so we flung open the doors and went outside! Thank goodness we had a balcony as we were on the fifth floor. We gradually got used to the smell, but it wasn’t very pleasant. The apartment was just like the photos and was clean and well equipped. It was just what we needed for one night.
We had a short rest then went back into the old town and realised that the apartment was only a hop, skip and a jump from where we had had lunch. We wandered around, popped in to the supermarket for milk and water and headed back. We had seen a take away on the corner of our street so we both had Pita Mixte, a doner kebab to you and me.
We were both tired so had an early night.
Cartagena is the second largest city in the region of
Murcia, and one of the most important ports in Spain. The commercial port is of
great economic importance, but there is also the largest naval base on the
Spanish Mediterranean coast. As the name
already indicates, Cartagena was founded by Carthaginians in the 3rd century
Thursday 23rd March
Neither of us slept very well as the bed was very soft. I got cramp and Muffin decided it was time to get up at 6.25 am. That’s not like him. We sat outside and had our cereal, we were very lucky to have the balcony.
The reason for staying over in Cartagena was that we wanted to go and see the Mar Menor, a saltwater lagoon just up the coast a bit. There is a spit of land which is 11 miles long and we wanted to drive along it. We both had visions of it being a bit like the Outer Banks in North Carolina, which were stretches of nothing then you would come across a hotel or a few villas. This was NOT like that at all!! It was just 11 miles of hotels and apartment blocks, very nice blocks but still about 8 storeys high. It was relentless and with only the one road it must be hell on earth in the summer.
We drove up to the Tomas Maestre Marina, which I thought was the end but have discovered today, Friday, that there was still a bit further to go. I’m cross with myself now. The marina was lovely, though the stretch of cafes and restaurants was all closed and we really wanted a coffee. We did see this sign though, which means stop your dog from peeing here!! As you can see Muffin was kept on his lead!
We did eventually find a café where we could get a coffee before heading off down the spit to Cape Palos. I had no idea what it was going to be like and we were pleased to find a small port with some yachts and fishing boats sharing it. We found a café where we were able to get a cheese and ham toasted baguette, or sandwich as the waiter told us.
We then drove to see the lighthouse and also the view of the spit of land that we had been on earlier, taken with the panoramic setting on the phone.
It was then time to set off back to Mojacar and the villa. It had been a lovely couple of days, but we didn’t have enough time in Cartagena.
In coming posts, if there isn’t much news, I will drop in a
few photos from the last two days.
Friday 24th March
A first for me today!
Since the kitchen in the villa was refurbished last year the washing
machine is at the back of the villa in a cupboard. To get to it, I have to pass the swimming
pool. Today I looked at it and decided
there and then to take the cover off the pool and my nighty off me and get
in!! I actually swam, usually I just
float around on a noodle. It was lovely. Richard and Muffin where on the beach so I
was all alone – bliss 😊
I spent an hour on Messenger video chatting to Victoria and then Ingrid, before popping up to Dia for some supplies.
After lunch I had to catch up on the blog.
One of the things we noticed in Cartagena was that that building fronts had been left when the buildings were knocked down. The first photo shows the outside of one building and the second photo shows the inside which I took from our terrace yesterday morning.
I managed to find time to sit in the swinging chair and
listen to my talking book. I shut my eyes as a listened. I opened them and saw Richard looking at
me. I said “I shut my eyes to listen to
my story”, he said “you’ve been asleep”.
“No” said I. As I listened to
more of the story I realised that I had been asleep and probably for quite a