Don’t worry about the depth charges…pass the Paella

Next stop after Marjal was Cartagena, about 60 miles south down the coast.

We stayed at Area Autocaravanas Cartagena, a small and friendly site on the outskirts of the city, about 5 miles out from the harbour. 10 euros a night, including electricity and wifi, and dog walking in the adjacent olive grove.

We cycled in on Saturday for a quick look round and lunch on the main plaza by the town hall.

Lunch in Cartagena

Lunch in Cartagena

Nao Victoria

Nao Victoria

We came across a replica of the Nao Victoria, tied up in the harbour. Its namesake set out with 4 other ships in 1519 to circumnavigate the globe, under the command of Captain Ferdinand Magellan. 243 men were in the flotilla. Three years later one ship…the Nao Victoria..and 17 men made it back, after completing the first circumnavigation of the world. Magellan had perished along the way, at the hands of Philippine Islanders.

On Sunday I abandoned Nia and cycled in to Cartagena to see the sights.

Arriving half an hour before opening time I refuelled with cafe con leech y tostada. Actually it was cafe con leche…coffee with milk…but autocorrect seems to prefer coffee with leech. Nice thought.

There is a tourist office by the Punic wall and I picked up a book of tickets for the wall, Roman theatre, naval museum and Castle of the conception for nine euros..not bad for a days entertainment.

The Punic (Carthaginian) wall

The Punic (carthaginian) wall

St Josephs Crypt

St Josephs Crypt

Detail from the Crypt

Detail from the Crypt

Also on display here is the 13th century crypt of St. Joseph, containing the bones of the brothers of St Joseph…a religious order of that time.

Cartagena was founded by Asdrubal in 229 BC, as a jumping off point into Spain for the powerful Carthaginian empire. Asdrubal was the son-in-law of Hamilcar Barca, (Hannibal’s father), the Carthaginian general after whom Barcelona was named.

The Punic wall is a section of the extensive fortifications which the Carthaginians built around the city; at that time the Carthaginians were the major power in the Mediterranean. However the Roman empire also had ambitions in the region and after three protracted conflicts between them (the Punic wars) the Romans became the local superpower.

Roman Column

Roman Column

Roman and African Amphorae in the museum of the Roman theatre

Roman and African Amphorae in the museum of the Roman theatre

Roman Theatre

Roman Theatre

The massive roman theatre (second largest in Spain after Merida) was apparently a political as well as a cultural institution, being plastered with frescoes, busts and inscriptions of the head honchos of the day. Just so that the plebs didn’t forget who was in charge.

Lift to the Castle of the conception

Lift to the Castle of the conception

Next stop the lift up to the hill top Castillo de la Conception, built by King Alfonso the Wise ‘El Sabio’ in the thirteenth century.

Walk up to the Castillo

Walk up to the Castillo

After the lift, there is a short walk to get to the tower at the top of the fortification.

Looking north from the castle.

Looking north from the castle.

Harbour at Cartagena

Harbour at Cartagena

There are good views over the city from the tower at the top.

There is a large natural harbour here, of great strategic value and much fought over for millennia.

Town Hall

Town Hall

There is a lot of impressive architecture in the old city. This is the town hall, on the harbour front plaza opposite the entrance to the Roman Theatre.

'Regional Assembly' building in Gaudiesque Style

‘Regional Assembly’ building in Gaudiesque Style

Railway Station

Railway Station

Marching Band

Marching Band

Band4

1I2A5208

1I2A5184

On the way to the Naval Museum I came across this band marching and drilling along the seafront. It was an impressive performance, but I wasn’t sure of the significance of the spades, saws, pickaxes that they were toting in addition to the muskets, and musical instruments. Maybe someone out there knows or can ferret out who they were? My Spanish wasn’t up to working it out at the time.

Santismo Trinidad

Santismo Trinidad

There is an extensive display of model surface ships and submarine stuff in the Naval Museum, which sits close to the town hall looking out to sea over the harbour.

The model is the Santismo Trinidad, for a time the pearl of the Spanish Navy but destined for a sticky end at Trafalgar. I moved on quickly.
DestroyerModel

Cannon

The exhibits cover naval history from earliest times to the modern era, including the Spanish civil war….Carthagena was a key strategic harbour and was the last big city to hold out against Franco.

SeaSparrow

A Sea Sparrow ship to air missile. We shall get a couple fitted to Mavis to help with those awkward moments when the last space on an aire is in contention.

Submarine Silver Service

Submarine Silver Service

Incredibly, the earlier Spanish submarines had full sets of ornate silver for dinner…. I can picture depth charges exploding all about whilst the Captain and Officers get stuck in to their five course dinner. ‘Pass the paella, Pablo’

SeaFront

CycleTrack

SeafrontFigure

One of the statues on the seafront.

After the naval museum it was a leisurely cycle back to base, via the seafront and then along the track by the city wall.

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Rambling about Europe with the Kray Twins (Colin and Penny).

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Posted in - Spain, 2016 Spring, Cartagena, Murcia
10 comments on “Don’t worry about the depth charges…pass the Paella
  1. Chris/ Belgian Beauty (= our motorhome, not me) says:

    Learning on holiday, simply the best! Enjoy!

  2. jandvpalmer says:

    Peter,

    What a great blog, thanks very much,

    Jim

    On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 5:00 PM, Travels with Mavis wrote:

    > Peter and Nia posted: “Next stop after Marjal was Cartagena, about 60 > miles south down the coast. We stayed at Area Autocaravanas Cartagena, a > small and friendly site on the outskirts of the city, about 5 miles out > from the harbour. 10 euros a night, including electricity an” >

  3. Ceri says:

    You’re down near our house again…….planning to go over this year in June and see if the damage has been repaired after the freak floods they had there which flooded it last year!
    We haven’t been since being in Cyprus so looking forward to a bit of Spanish culture after Greek traditions ( and macho men)!!! Enjoy the rest of your journey, it’s an interesting part of Spain xxxxx

  4. mirveen says:

    All sounds wonderful ! X

  5. Jean says:

    Catching up on your adventures to get inspiration for next year. I guess those marching with the white aprons must be celebrating the old Radiologists-the shovels are to pick up after a morning list of enemas? Looking forward to seeing more of your travels.Safe journeys. Jean

    • We seem to have got stuck here overlooking the Mar Menor…it’s so nice we don’t want to move on…
      After a lazy morning we will walk in to Alcázares now with the Krays, for coffee, then meet some friends for lunch….what a change from a previous life…you’ll love it…
      Peter and Nia xxxx

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Places Visited
Dordogne Guide
Our Guide to Bordeaux, the Médoc and the Dordogne

Our Dordogne Guide Book is now available. See motorhomefrance.com

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