Cartagena

We sneaked away from the Easter snows and enjoyed a few days in the city of Cartagena. The one in Spain, though I’d like to visit the Colombian one too. What a fascinating place, inhabited for nearly three thousand years,  layers peel away,  almost literally in some cases* to display its history.

Now  MrS is the historian so I may get this wrong but New Carthage** has been Punic, Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and now Spanish. There are lots of museums where you can discover all this history or you can simply wander around the streets.

We did quite a bit of both…..

Here’s the Roman theatre where I practised my voice projection

roman theatre

“Can you hear me at the back MrS?”

And he could, those Romans knew a thing or two about acoustics.  Lots of money has been spent, and well spent, on interpreting Cartagena’s rich history.   I found the Roman

remains the easiest to understand of any I’ve visited. All around the city you can come across vestiges of the past,  Roman roads peeking through a square, villas hidden under a  modern street, temples, baths and workshops. Many reused over the centuries and then emerging again, the theatre once lay under the Cathedral, which was itself destroyed during the Civil War.

It’s not just land based history, there are museums of the sea, one the fascinating Museum of Underwater Archeology explores the objects lost overboard or otherwise to the sea over the centuries.  And you can also visit the one of the  first submarines at The Naval Museum although that’s one we had to leave for  another  visit.

We spent most of our time wandering around the city, it’s very walkable, but did take a morning out on the Feve train to Los Nietos on the Mar Menor.  I’d thought of having a swim or perhaps lunch beside this inland sea, Europe’s largest.

 

But.  It was closed. Well not completely, the yacht club, a restaurant  and one other bar was open, but the resort had a desolate air with houses shut up for the season and perhaps permanently? People must visit, the marina was full of boats, many of them very smart motor cruisers;  the beach was clean and being cleaned, we saw  a couple of women settling down for some sun there,  and there were others like us enjoying a stroll along the promenade.  But where was everyone else?  Over on the La Manga strip perhaps?  I don’t know, but we decided to head  back to Cartagena for lunch.

Ah lunch…..We stayed at The NH hotel Cartagena it was comfortable, very central and we had a terrace with a view of the Port. But we stayed on a room only basis so there was none of that filling up on breakfast to see you through the day. Instead we ate breakfast at cafes***

 

……….and had a stop for lunch in the early afternoon;  useful as shops etc tended to close over lunch time.  Lunch became progressively longer and more elaborate as the week went on…

Culminating in a  three hour lunch at La Marquesita  on Friday before leaving for the airport. Excellent food and great people watching too.

That lunch was superb but our best meal was dinner at Magoga.  The Blue Cheesecake being one of my top three puds EVER.

 

The dish on the right? Pork and smoked sardine, sounds odd, looks a bit brown? Tasted amazing.

Four days and we didn’t see everything, though we did our best to eat everything!

Until next time

Marina x

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*many historic 19th and early 20th century facades have been preserved, shored up, behind them empty lots waiting to be rebuilt or perhaps to reveal their pasts.

**those Carthaginians weren’t very imaginative when it came to names.

***actually that coffee in a glass, Cafe Asiatico, a Carthagenian speciality, was an afternoon treat, though we saw it consumed at breakfast.

 

We also visited Muram Cartagena’s museum of modern art in a beautiful modernist mansion the Palacio Aguirre.

Wondering about that spaceship like yacht? Sailing Yacht A

 

Packing lists

I’ve been very lazy about posting this month. Shocking, specially after my marathon blogathon in October, and everyone else seems to have been really busy. Each time I look there’s a new post to read, often with delicious sounding recipes. Any other year I’d be busy cooking myself,  but this one we’re taking ourselves away for Christmas.

It’s been about eighteen months since we travelled outside of the UK and over two years since we flew away for a holiday so I ‘m quite excited. It’s also the first time I’ve been to a different country for Christmas so that will be an interesting experience. And it’s been a while since I’ve had to look out my warm weather clothes in Winter.

One downside, as we’re flying we can’t take DogS with us, but she’s going to spend the holiday with MasterS so they’ll both like that. Me? I’ll be accosting dog owners and asking to pet their pooches. ( I do this even when we go to town without DogS).

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gratuitous DogS picture

 

So, it’s been notebook out and packing planned; trying to cover most eventualities, though I doubt there’ll be snow. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take a dip in the sea but might have to settle  for a paddle. I’ve got hiking boots and heels, a backpack and sparkly handbags and a niggling worry that my carry-on bag will be deemed oversized.

And inside my checked bag, I’ve also got one of these.

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but no vintage glass penguins, I’m good at packing, but not that good.

 

Marina x

Travelling

My first ever blog was a travel one. It was private, a way to share my trip to Australia with my sister. I’d got an iPad as an early birthday present and MasterS researched the options and helped me set it up. Then I got the bug….

Track back two years.

It’s 2010. I’d started reviewing on TripAdvisor, I’ve never been an early adopter, I only joined Facebook in 2013. Anyway, Trip Advisor,  we’d stayed at a B&B which encouraged reviews   It was very good, and newly established so I didn’t mind going ahead.

And so Mrs Starke made her find appearance.

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Return to 2012.  I decided to continue with my blog, but this time to make it public.

I intended it to be a travel blog.

 

And there we hit a snag………

 

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To write a travel blog, you really should travel. But a lot of my travelling had been accompanying MisterS on his trips abroad. And in 2012, he retired.

 

 

Hmmm.

But then we got…..

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DogStarke.

And she became the subject of many posts.

 

And travel took on a whole new emphasis. We began to search out dog friendly places.

We discovered  Le Shuttle was the most dog friendly way to travel to Continental Europe.

And made some trips to France.

Though we had to leave her at home with MasterS for this one

 

And then we moved. And started a whole new life. Welcoming travellers .

So our own travels tended to be curtailed and restricted to “staycations”

 

But I’ve still got itchy feet, so we plan to use our off season to travel.

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And I’ll tell you about it.

Marina x

#Blogtober20

 

 

lazy lunches

Because lazy lunches mean holidays. Even if just for a day.  Often out of doors (DogS comes too), sometimes with wine, always with pleasure. Lazy because there’s no rush to get back to work,  or do anything in particular, just being in the moment with some good food and company, my own can be enough.

But always remembering that first date, over lunch.

Marina x

#Blogtober12