Sailed over to Palma de Mallorca, resort city (with resort prices), and capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca, 12th largest urban area of Spain with 401,000. Below is Palma Cathedral, lit up at night, as seen from our marina! Walking the streets of Palma! Below, Nagoya restaurant brought back memories of our great trip to the REAL Nagoya, Japan in 2000!! Flour windmills, from the 16th-19th centuries, are symbolic features of the Balearic Islands of Spain, representing prosperity and engineering acumen, and maintained for tourism. Above, another view of Palma Cathedral! Below we spent a very enjoyable evening on Orontes II, with our nephew-in-law (?), John Jose, who is living in Palma, teaching English as a second language.The next day, we enjoyed mass at Parroquia Immaculada Concepcio, Church of the Immaculate Conception, also called Saint Magi.
Sailing east along the coast of Morocco, next stop is Saidia, near the Algerian border. This will be our stopping off point before we head to Mallorca, Spain. The marina was built with lots of developments and shopping areas, but didn’t look like it was really successful! Maybe it does better during high vacation seasons! Had a great visit with fellow cruisers for happy hour on our boat! Their little girl loved watching a movie while the adults visited! They took us to a wonderful seafood restaurant on Sunday for a great meal!
Today we took a taxi from the marina to Tetouan, Morocco. One of Steve’s favorite stories is riding along with our driver and tour guide in the front seat. When the phone rings, the driver talks in Arabic for a few minutes and then turns to Steve and says “It’s for you!” We were dumbfounded!! Turns out the caller just wanted to get us to reserve a taxi with him tomorrow for another tour!! LOL! Arrival in Tetouan, one of the 2 major ports on the Mediterranean Sea, 40 miles ESE of Tangier, with about 380,000 inhabitants. Arabic is the official language, majority religion is Islam.
The tanneries here turn the hides of cattle, sheep and goats into rich leather, which is crafted into handbags, luggage, shoes, belts, etc. Yes, there is an overwhelming stench! Views from the upper walls before we got to the markets. The medina (old town) is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, filled with homes, craftsman selling their wares and lots of tourists! Here you can pick the chicken you want for dinner tonight and have it killed and plucked here or take it home to do yourself (below)! Then we walked and drove around the city! Then back to the marina area! A very interesting day! AND NO, we do not speak any Arabic!
Today we crossed the Straits of Gibraltar over to Morocco, to Marina Smir. Every 18 months, we must leave EU countries to avoid paying VAT (Value Added Taxes) on our boat, so Morocco is a convenient stop to do this on our way further into the Mediterranean! Good bye Rock of Gibraltar and Europa Point Lighthouse! Hello, Africa!!!
A day to check out things we have not had time to visit! Below is Campo De L’Arsenal, a complex of armories and shipyards, very close to our apartment in Venice. Above is the UPS boat for deliveries!! Below is not an OSHA approved use of a ladder!! Above and below is San Martino Vescovo. Above and below are pictures of the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Saints John and Paul), one of the largest churches in Venice. Above and below is Santa Maria Dei Miracoli, also known as the “marble church”, built between 1481 and 1489, with a barrel vault, ornamental stairs, the vaulted ceiling with fifty coffers decorated with paintings of prophets. Above is San Giovanni Crisostomo, St John’s, founded in 1080, rebuilt in 1497 due to fire. Below is San Giacomo di Rialto, with a 15th century clock over the entrance, but very inaccurate! Below is Chiesa di San Stae, Church of Saint Eustachius, founded in the 11th century. Above the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore, known as Il Redentore, Church of the Holy Redeemer, a 16th century Renaissance church. AND thus we end our fantastic tour of Venice as we head back to the airport and Orontes II! A fabulous place to visit but too many tourists too live here!! LOL!
Today we took a vaporetto 4 miles over to Burano, 4 islands linked by bridges in the Venetian lagoon. Burano is known for brightly colored homes and their beautiful lace work. Apparently swans are a big thing here, another leaning tower 2 pictures above and decorations for newlyweds below! A BIG piazza on Burano! As we left the beautiful lace in Burano, we motored over to Lido, another island, actually a 7 mile long sandbar known for its beaches, hotels and the Venice Film Festival. Not much better than gelato and a cappuccino in Lido!! Now back to Venice! For Christy’s last night in Venice with us, we splurged and reserved our dinner at Al Covo, one of the top 10 restaurants in Venice. We met Diane Binelli and her son, who with her husband, Cesare, the chef, opened this restaurant about 30 years ago. Diane is a transplant from Texas and we enjoyed true Texas and Venetian hospitality with a delightful 4 course dinner designed by the chef! An absolutely great evening!!
Today we left the Alpine apartment and took an awesome drive back to Venice! We walked through this underground tunnel to Carezza Rainbow Lake at the foot of the Dolomites. According to legend, a beautiful water nymph lived in the pristine waters of Lake Carezza. One day, while braiding her hair, the sorcerer Masare was overcome by the sound of the nymph as she sang to herself. Head over heels in love, he sought the help of a witch to make the nymph his own. The plan was for the sorcerer to dress as a jewelry salesman and cast a rainbow across the lake. Unfortunately, he forgot to dress as a jeweler and the nymph evaded his trap and has not been seen since. Distraught at his mistake, the sorcerer smashed the rainbow into a million pieces over the lake, therefore radiating the waters to this day!
Today we drove to Paneveggio Natural Park-Pale di San Martino. Lots of switchbacks and curvy roads! Once there we rode the lift to Tognola Ski and hiking area. Pictures from the “Balcony of the Dolomites”, one of the first UNESCO panoramic balconies on the Pale de San Martino-Dolomites at 2200 meters. Above and below, our first refugio: a place to eat, drink, shower, sleep while hiking or skiing around this area. They are set up every 2-5 miles, reasonable prices and friendly people with beautiful viewing sites! An outhouse above and a place to pray and remember below! Yes, a helicopter delivers supplies to the refugios!