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This afternoon we were at Malaga, the first port of call on the cruise. There were a number of excursions available, to resorts along the coast or inland to beauty spots on the mountains, but like many others we just went ashore and did some gentle local exploration. Being Monday a number of the local museums and sites were closed, but we didn’t feel that that affected us, especially as the call was only for a few hours. Ventura completed docking by 12:30 and the first passengers went ashore pretty must straight away. There’s a new, modern cruise terminal at the far side of the harbour, complete with a terminal building containing shops and security arrangements, and a couple of considerable moveable gangways connecting the terminal to the ship – not unlike airport connectors. They were connected to Ventura’s promenade deck. Moored alongside Ventura was the Spanish aircraft carrier “Principe de Asturias”, complete with a Harrier parked on the ramp at the leading edge of the flight deck. Coming back past it on the shuttle bus I got the impression that the carrier was open to visitors.

We had lunch and then went ashore at about 1:30. Outside the terminal there was a big queue (several hundred people) for the free shuttle buses, but just as we joined it several coaches arrived and started loading, and we were on one of them within five minutes. Then it was another five minutes round to the drop-off point at Plaza de Marina. We decided to find the cathedral and we walked round the outside but didn’t go inside – the €5 per person admission fee put us off. Then we decided to walk up the hill to the castle of Gibralfaro high above the town. We didn’t go all the way up, but Got as far as a viewing platform near the top where we took some pictures; then we just walked back down and back to the buses. Getting back onto the ship took a while as there were long queues to go through the security scanners in the terminal, but we were back on board by four o’clock.

The weather today has been suitably Mediterranean, aptly enough as it was only today that we entered it. (We passed through the straits of Gibralter at 7:30 this morning.) Previous days have mainly been cloudy and cool, but today it’s been 25 degrees and sunny. We hope that it will continue like this for the main part of the cruise.

Tonight we’re eating in East – I hope to be able to report tomorrow.

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