Saturday, 27 August 2011

Ibiza to Cartegena

Hi from Clare,                                             Friday 26th August 2011

Bye Bye to Ibiza
When last I wrote we were heading to the holiday destination of Ibiza town. I was eager to compare it to the party town of San Antonio. Well Ibiza town is the capital of the island and a full on city – there was no comparison. We stayed for two days to see the town and then we escaped back to peaceful days in quiet anchorages.  For the following week we had lots of social gatherings with our friends on ‘Tactical Directions’ (Tony, Jacqui and guests David and Karen) and ‘Blue Banana’(Sam and Bill).

Early Sunday morning we left them at Ibiza and sailed to Cartagena Spain arriving around lunchtime Monday.  It wasn’t the best trip as we had a big swell behind us and we rolled for most of the way. I didn’t know anything about Cartagena and I was a little disappointed sailing in here. There is quite a lot of industry here, a large ship yard, shipping containers, warships in the bay, dust swirling off the bare hills, black smoke rising and distinct smell of petro-chemical; I thought oh no!
View from the sea - not so inspiring

City Hall
However as soon as we went into town I realized how wrong I was. The people of Cartagena are eager to share 3000 years of history with visiting tourists. Throughout the 20th Century they have spent a huge amount of money to preserve buildings and excavate archaeological sites as well as restoring the more modern architecture – even Gaudi has one of his designs here.  A lot of the archeological sites have an air conditioned building erected over them. This is to help preserve the site but as it is really hot here, it helps to preserve the tourist as well.


                    Inside the Punic walls                                             The Roman Theatre

We bought a ticket giving us access to nine archaeological sites ranging from Rampart walls built by the Carthaginians in 227BC through the Roman period (roads, houses, theatre) to a mediaeval castle and the 1930’s Spanish civil war air-raid shelters  This occupied us fully for three days.

                Roman road 4th C AD                                          and the building above it

      A fine old house by Gaudi                                            Spainish Civil War air-raid shelter

The Audi MedCup yachts in harbour
As we arrived the Cartagena leg of the Audi MedCup was starting and was to go on for our entire stay.  This is a grand-prix style series of races held in 6 Mediterranean cities for TP52s and Soto 40s.  Very high-tech light, fast and expensive looking one design crewed racers.  The courses were several miles out but live video and English commentary was available on the wide screen back in the harbour.  There was even an Australian team in the 40 footers.  At the same time a regatta for about 30 Optimist dinghies was being run and if all that was not interesting enough there were two foiling Moth class scows sailing inside the harbour too.

Today we have been busy cleaning the boat and preparing to leave tomorrow for Gibraltar.  At the moment it is blowing from the south west and we are hoping to leave early tomorrow when the wind turns to the north east. The trip will take us 2 days all going well.