Friday 1st January
Happy New Year to everyone, hope you had a great night and didn’t drink too much 🙂 We were very good, a bit too good because we missed all the celebrations and just heard the fireworks going off at midnight.
The owners had bought round an invitation to a New Years Eve celebration but had listed the time as 12am on site or we could go into town where it was being held at 0.00. Lucy was adamant that 12am is midnight and who am I to disagree with her? The site owners have obviously blundered and held their event at mid day while we were out shopping. We’d stayed an extra day just so we could get some grapes.
We were meant to eat a grape every time the bell rang having a wish on each grape. Our neighbours went and told us that they really struggled to keep up with the bells since the grapes had loads of pips in them. Going into town was an option but the buses stopped at 22.30 hours and we’d have had to walk back.
Anyway, we’re on an aire just north of Cartagena (number 145) which is situated within a light industrial area, not the most impressive of places but the owners are very friendly and helpful and have made a lot of effort to make the place nice. Just before Xmas they opened a lounge/sitting room area with sofas, TV and kettle so you could go over and chat with the neighbours. The wifi is the fastest we’ve ever found which is a shame really since all our tablets and laptops have had no updates for the last week, normally we’re waiting ages for hundreds of apps to update themselves however Skyping was pretty good.
Cartagena is located on a large natural harbour and was originally called Mastia but was re-founded in 228 BC by the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal. Scipio Africanus conquered it in 209 BC. It has a very long history being taken by the Vandals, Visigoths, Eastern Romans and the Muslims. Because of the harbour the city enjoyed huge benefits from trade and became the capital city for the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department of the Mediterranean.
All the surrounding hills have defensive castles and the hill in the middle of Cartagena is no exception, unfortunately the views of it are very limited so all you’ve got is this picture of a fig tree, it was the the roots that drew me to take the photo. The castle itself is called Castillo de la Concepcion and various parts of it have been there since the city was founded.
This is the remains of the Roman Theatre which is built right next door to the Castle.
And the remains of the Roman Coliseum.
This is the Plaza del Ayuntamienta (city hall) which is next to the harbour.
Just outside the city hall was this fantastic inflatable adventure park. There were about 20 large inflatables in a circle, all supervised and free to the children.
We visited one of the museums, this one was about the exploration of North and South America, the Pacific Ocean and Indonesia and the efforts involved in trying to find trade routes around the globe. All the boards had been translated into English but the route around wasn’t clear and we seemed to jump about a bit in history.
Lovely wide pavements for showing off your Sunday best. Lucy is wearing a jumper, I got told off by the site owners for not wearing a jumper!
El Zulo, a very large statue dedicated to victims of terrorism.
Anyone fancy a hotdog pizza? This is what we should have had for lunch but we decided to try a Menu del Dia for €12.50 each. The only good thing I can say about the experience was that our chairs were in the sun and I should have bought a jumper, it was slightly chilly out of the sun.
Many of the streets in Cartagena are pedestrianised (which doesn’t mean cars are not allowed to drive down them) and we spent many minutes browsing shop windows. Cartagena was nice enough and we would revisit but we found Murcia to be a much nicer city.
It’s New Years Day today and we are about to set off, don’t know where yet other than further south. We’ll keep you posted.