Continued from Post #2505

Recovery from surgery has reached eleven weeks. Soon it will be time to get my body back in shape. We skipped the afternoon concert but attended the “Port Talk” presentation about excursion options for the upcoming “White City of Morocco,” Morocco stop. I also sat though a talk regarding, The Natural History of the Western Mediterranean before our dinner at The Chef’s Table. Marc Paul performed a second mind-reading act to close out Tuesday.

Wednesday, Day #18, started with the Morocco tour before embarkment in the early afternoon. The main draws are the Hassan II Mosque and Rick’s Café, “of all the gin joints,” made famous in the 1942 Hollywood production – but in name only because the film was studio produced not in Casablanca. “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”  Afternoon activities were cut short by a trip to the ship’s doctor after I began to have some balance issues on the walk back. Dehydration may have been the cause, coupled with the stress of losing my bank card. I froze the account as a precaution, but it elevated my blood pressure. As a result, I stayed away from alcohol and rich foods. The confusion of two separate on-hour time changes in one day, coupled with early tours the next day led to an early bedtime. 

We passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, marked by the famous rock, in the middle of the night and arrived in Malaga, Spain, our next port, in the early morning hours. “Does anybody really know what time it is?” Another boring bus ride with a heavily accented tour guide distracted from the beauty of being high above the Mediterranean Ocean, overlooking the Bullfight Arena. I elected not to sit on a park bench next to Pablo Picasso, who was born there. We couldn’t afford one of his paintings so we got magnets instead. The wives stayed in the city for more shopping, while the men returned to our rooms for a nap. After a solo lunch in the World Café, I went to two late-afternoon presentations on the Universe (in the Explorers’ Dome Planetarium) and Pirate History, including arguably the greatest, a woman named Ching Shih. As the Jupiter left Malaga Harbor for Barcelona, dinner in The Restaurant and Showman Tim Able on the piano concluded Day #19. 

Day #20 was our last day at sea. I continue to be plagued with muscle cramps, and woke up disappointed that Indiana State did not win the NIT. A somewhat hobbled one mile walk enabled me to listen to a few more chapters of “Good Bad Girl.” 

I’m also reading “The Edge,” the second part of David Baldacci’s “6:20 Man.” Laundry was the top priority. Lectures included “The Habsburg Empire” and a wildlife recap of our voyage, including “boobies,” vultures, dolphins, butterflies, turtles and whales, none of which I witnessed myself. They don’t hang out in the bars and restaurants aboard where I spent a majority of my time. Some passengers even saw the illusive green flash at sunset. Lunch for us was at The Restaurant. I then took in an afternoon siesta, before the Port Talk presentation, Explorers’ Dome 3-D film, and dinner with the bridge partners. I can’t play with them but can certainly share a meal. The finale of the evening was a toast to the crew and musical performance by the Viking singers. 

The last day aboard ship was filled with two very different guided tours by shuttle and foot, along with packing for Mallorca, so naturally we couldn’t miss a meal. Our morning excursion was identified as “Iconic Barcelona,” highlighted by Gaudi’s famous La Sagrada Familia. It was the second of the two landmarks that I looked forward to seeing in person, after Christ the Redeemer. It took 22 days to finally get here, including our day-long flight plus 21-days at sea. The wait was well worth it, despite not having tickets to see the interior, while the Rio statue was a bit of a letdown because of the overcast weather. We also walked through Old Town, and dined twice, first on the boat, and again on tapas in the Spanish Village. Flamenco dancing capped off a very entertaining evening in Barcelona. We returned to the ship, finished our packing, got a couple hours of sleep, and caught a bus to the airport for the Vueling flight to Mallorca. 

The next thing we knew we were napping on pool chairs, with towels for blankets, waiting for our room at the Son Antem Marriott Vacation Club (MVC) to be readied. It was late afternoon before we finally officially checked in after a cab trip to the Hiper Centro for groceries. My wife cooked our first homemade dinner in over three weeks, and we shared a bottle of wine before a long overdue full night’s sleep. While we dozed, the Iowa women lost the National Championship game to South Carolina, ending Caitlin Clark’s stellar collegiate career without a ring. 

Our location on the island is very remote, surrounded by two 18-hole golf courses. I was beginning to get my land legs. However, we quickly realized there would be little to do without renting a car. I made the arrangements with the help of a MVC interpreter through SIXT. Unfortunately, I got my days mixed up and made the long walk to the resort center to make the correction. I was told that these arrangements would need to be made the next morning when their offices opened, so we cooked burgers on the outdoor grill and hit the hay early, long before the Purdue Boilermakers lost their Championship bid in the middle of our night – six hours difference.

Continued ….