Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We're on a boat... Now THAT's a Ship

Many of you may wonder what the title is about, let me tell you.

Since day 1 of being on the "ship" we have been continuously reminded that the vessel we are on is a ship, not a boat. We have Life Boats and even smaller rafts (I think). Well today, as we were admiring the view of the sun rising over Spain, we noticed another vessel coming into port behind us. As the vessel got closer we realized that it was a Princess ship with about 4 more decks than we have. The ship towered over us for the few hours it was in port and therefore we referred to our vessel as a "boat" all day. One girl even exclaimed "we're on a boat, now THAT's a ship!" Needless to say, the next vessel that docked beside us was a vessel slightly larger than a tug boat and therefore restored our confidence in the MV Explorer, our home for the next few weeks.

My friends and I woke up at 6:30am (Spain time- 12:30 EST time) to watch the sun rise over Spain and to see us come into port. The sunrise was spectacular over the skyline of Spain. It did not take the ship long to clear customs and we were able to go ashore around 9:30am. I took a tour of the Churches of Cadiz and saw the new and old cathedrals. I also saw the Castillo dd Santa Catalina and Castillo de San Sebastian- both of which are similar to the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL. For those who are James Bond buffs- Die Another Day with Pierce Brosman and Halle Barry was filmed at Castillo de San Sebsatian. About 20 minutes of the film was supposed to be set in Cuba, but obviously couldn't be filmed there. The scene where Halle Barry comes out of the water in her orange bikini and Bond is at the white hotel, and also when one of the characters jump out of the tall stone tower were all shot at the fort. Another fun fact- The beach where both of these forts are located was also the first beach in Spain to allow women to wear bikinis.

After the tour of the churches I came back on the ship and ate lunch, called my parents and took a nap. Then my friend Elissa called after she got back from her trip and we decided to take it easy and hang out by the pool on Deck 7. I am going to have a busy day tomorrow in Sevilla and then Friday in Cordoba so we decided relaxing would be best. We are going to explore Cadiz more on saturday. Cadiz reminds me a lot of Flagler because of the architecture at school that was modeled after the Spanish, and all the forts and even the names of Spanish towns are street names in St. Augustine. It actually sort of felt like being at home in St. Augustine- except for that language problem. My public school spanish slowly came back to me but is nowhere enough to know what to eat or not.

Tonight I went to a Flamenco Show in Chiclana- about 30 minutes away. They gave us lots of Sherry, White Wine, Beer and Sangria. Needless to say we were all feeling on air when they started the show. First there was a horse and two flamenco dancers in a dirt arena. Then they brought out a young bull that was training for a bull fight. He was taunted by the matador and it was actually very sad to watch because he was very timid. When the bull is old enough he will be put into an arena and will entertain thousands. Whether he wins or not, by killing the matador, he will be killed. I am glad we did not watch a real bull fight. After the bull we went into a gorgeous room that held the 200+ people from SAS that attended the show. They gave us appetizers and sangria and then put on another extraordinary Flamenco Show. At the end they pulled people on the dance floor and eventually most people were learning flamenco. And of course, they ended the night with the Macarena- a classical American/Spanish dance I suppose.

I am waking up at 6:30am again tomorrow to get on the bus for Sevilla. It is a 2 hour bus ride. We are going to visit many more cathedrals as well as the Jewish quarters of the city. I will spend the night in Granada tomorrow night and tour the city Friday morning and then come back to Cadiz.

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