Europe 2016 Trip Day 12 – Seville Spain

We docked in Cadiz Spain, but never really got to explore it at all. We instead opted for a bus trip to Seville, which we explored by foot and by Hop-on Hop-off (HOHO) bus. Seville is famous for being the hottest place in Spain and the day we were there was no exception (although temps for us were in the upper 90s rather than the 110 degrees they had a few days earlier). Seville was beautiful, but this was not really the way to see it. If we had it to do over again, we would instead take a tour of Cadiz, which looked lovely as we passed though it on our way to Seville.

I have to admit that the hot temperatures did take their toll on us and sitting on the top deck of the HOHO bus for 2 hours was brutal. The worst thing was that it was so hot I did not take any notes, so in the picture gallery that follows this post, there will be some photos, but with very little description.

Europe 2016 Trip Day 11 – Lisbon Portugal pics

Photos from the ship and around Lisbon. This was the first of 5 ports in a row with no sea days in between.

Europe 2016 Trip Day 11 – Lisbon Portugal

It was a two day trip from Bilbao Spain to Lisbon Portugal. On sea days we had seminars and plenty of free time to visit the spa, pools, restaurants, casino, and the nightly entertainment; life is never boring on board. One of the great things about a cruise is going to bed at night and waking up in a new city.

We had signed up for a city tour of Lisbon, which lasted only 3 hours, giving us the remainder of the day for strolling around Lisbon on our own. This was one of the ports where the cruise port we were docked in was very near the city center, so it was easy to walk back and forth from the ship without having to hire a taxi. It was during one of these walks that we discovered what a great bottle of wine could be had for only 3 Euros. The problem with shopping for wine is that none of the labels are familiar, so it is always a crap shoot. But we guessed well and brought a couple of bottles back on board at the end of the day to enjoy on our veranda.

Europe 2016 Trip Day 9 – Bilbao Spain

Pictures from our day in Getxo, Bilbao, Hondarribia, and San Sebastián Spain.

Europe 2016 Trip Day 9 – Bilbao Spain

I actually knew very little about Spain’s Basque Country prior to this trip, but it is much different and greener than the rest of Spain and Basque separatists have been trying to gain independence from Spain for a long time.

We were docked in a container port in Getxo, near Bilbao. Bilbao has an attractive Guggenheim Museum and other scenic features, but we decided instead to take an 8 1/2 hour excursion to the coastal resort town of San Sebastián, a little more than an hour away. Renowned for its San Sebastián International Film Festival, the city was quite beautiful.

We had a lovely lunch paired with a couple of very nice local wines and then spent a few hours walking the streets and seeing the sights. Finally, we drove to the top of a nearby mountain for a truly fantastic view of the city below. All too soon we boarded our bus to return to the ship.

Europe 2016 Trip Day 7 – Bruges

Our first port was Bruges Belgium (we actually docked at a container port in Zeebrugge, about 10 miles away from Bruges). Bruges is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and the city center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We were allowed only about 4 hours to explore this beautiful little town, which was not nearly enough time, but we accomplished all of our goals in that time (except eating Belgian waffles) even though we were a bit rushed.

We savored the view as we walked through town, sampled chocolates in every shop (or at least it seemed like it), stopped for lunch of mussels and frites and the local brew with friends, and took our required horse and buggy ride through the cobblestone streets.

All too soon we were back on the bus for our return trip to the ship and a 2-day journey to our next port, Bilbao in the Basque Country of Spain.


Europe 2016 Trip Day 7 – Bruges pics

I had bought a new DSLR for this trip but had not used it until our visit to Bruges, opting instead for my lighter pocket camera. The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is definitely big, heavier, and more clumsy to carry, after using it for a day I kept the pocket camera in my pocket most of the time from then on.

Europe 2016 Trip Day 6 – Starting the Cruise in Amsterdam pics

Our cruise started in Amsterdam, 13 days of lazy crazy fun!