BILLY & CAROLE’S DIAMOND WEDDING
Got up this morning about 8.00am to find the Queen Victoria docked in La Coruña, in the Galician region of northern Spain. We had been to Vigo before, but never to this port. The weather was cloudy but mild.
We got washed and changed into our gym gear. Yes! We have decided to try to stay fit on this voyage. A new Pure Gym had recently opened close to where we live back home, and we have been going for a workout or exercise class every other day. We hoped to be able to keep up our regime, so that it wouldn’t be too hard when we returned to our regular daily lives. 😊
We made our way up to the Fitness Centre on deck 10 and stepped aboard the treadmill. At least the ship was in port and it was therefore nice and still. I liked the hi-tech treadmill because you could turn the display dashboard into a country or coastal walk or trail; as you walked or ran, it looked as if you were strolling along the beach, with the surf gently rolling onto the sand. I also tried out the exercise bike and some of the weights machines and the free weights. We spent about half an hour in the gym, working up an appetite for our breakfast.
Afterwards we returned to 5123 and got changed into our regular clothes before taking the lift to Deck 9 and the Lido Buffet. I enjoyed some fresh orange juice, some home-made granola with yoghurt and some coffee. There was no sign of Billy and Carole because today is their Diamond Wedding Anniversary and they had decided to go into the main restaurant for breakfast instead of the buffet.
As we walked along the corridor on our way back to our cabin, we saw B & C coming the other way and we congratulated them on 60 years of marriage. They invited us into their cabin to share a bottle of champagne; meanwhile Trevor nipped next door and collected our card and present for them; a bottle of Bollinger and a framed quote about champagne by Lily Bollinger. They opened our card and added it to the others already on display on their dresser.
We enjoyed the cold champagne while we sat chatting and they reminisced about their wedding day six decades ago. Afterwards we agreed to meet in the lobby and make our way ashore to explore La Coruña. We didn’t have any excursions booked today, preferring to do our own thing. In any case, Queen Victoria was docked right in the town, where everything was within walking distance.
We disembarked the ship and walked along, adjacent to the harbour for a short while before heading to the main square. It was nice to stretch our legs on terra firma after the very rough crossing yesterday. The weather was neither too cold nor too hot, but Trevor carried our cagoules in his rucksack in case of any sudden showers of rain.
As we walked along, looking in the shop windows and admiring the architecture, we came across a large square which Google Maps told us was Plaza de Maria Pita. It was dominated on one side by the impressive Concello da Coruña (Town Hall). It was built in 1917 and is topped by sculptures that represent the four provinces of Galicia. It also houses a museum.
The square also contained many charming little souvenir shops, bars and cafés along its perimeter. Being November, it was not too crowded at all; we could imagine this place being jammed during the summer months. The centre of the square contained a statue of Maria Pita, which made me turn once again to Google for information (what did we do before Google was ever invented?) 😊
Apparently Maria Pita (1565-1643) was a heroine who played a major part in the defence of Coruña during the English Armada attack on the Spanish mainland in 1589. She had decided to assist her husband who was an army captain manning the defences, and she had killed an English commander by snatching his own spear, which was carrying the English banner, and killing him with it. The story goes that the man was (allegedly) the brother of Admiral Francis Drake. As the English troops began to retreat, Maria Pita’s husband was killed by a crossbow bolt.
Well, you learn something new every day! 😊
As we walked along the picturesque streets, we could see that Coruña already had its Christmas tree and Christmas lights up; some of them were still twinkling away, competing with the sun which had finally made an appearance. We passed several patisserias and charcuterias, the delicious smells emanating from each making our mouths water.
Trevor and I bought some postcards and stamps and then, as it was now around 11.30am, we decided to find a café or a bar where we could sit and write them out whilst enjoying a drink and maybe some tapas. We came across a fabulous delicatessen which had many whole jámon serrano hanging from hooks up at the ceiling. The proprietor told us that the hams were cured for up to two years.
As the charcuteria also sold coffee, wine and beer we decided this was an ideal place to stop. We all enjoyed a cold beer each while I wrote out the cards and the waitress brought us a complimentary platter of samples of the delicious thinly-sliced ham along with some chorizo and bread. The salty, piquant taste complimented the beer perfectly.
As we started to put our jackets back on, ready to leave, the heavens suddenly opened and the rain came down in torrents, spattering loudly on the pavement outside. Looking at the deluge and at our inadequate clothing, we decided to stay and have another beer, whether we wanted one or not. 😉
Afterwards, once the rain had abated to a mere trickle, we ventured outside and continued to look around the souvenir shops. Spotting an off-licence selling local wines we thought it would be a good idea to purchase a bottle or two of the local cava for consumption on our balcony; it would certainly be much cheaper than paying the eye-watering drinks prices on board the Queen Victoria. We therefore bought two different bottles of cava and a bottle of sangria.
Making our way back to the ship in nice time for lunch, we dumped our bags in stateroom 5123 and headed up to the Lido Buffet. After our tapas we didn’t want an awful lot to eat, so I just had some salad before we went outside for a stroll around the deck. We realised it was the first time we’d actually been out on deck (apart from our balcony) since we’d boarded!
The decks were wet in places so we had to be care not to slip. There weren’t many people outside apart from a few relaxing in loungers and reading or working on their iPads; the pool had a net stretched over it, but one of the hot tubs was occupied by an overweight bloke with an immense belly. We decided to go back inside and see if there was anything on the daily programme we fancied doing (there wasn’t). In any case, it’s always a very pleasant pastime on a cruise ship just to sit and do nothing at all. 😊
We returned to our cabin and spent some time just relaxing; sitting out on the balcony for a short while, reading, watching TV and napping. Around five o’clock we removed a bottle of Bollinger from where it had been chilling in the fridge and took it up to the Britiannia Restaurant; we told the maitre d’ that we would like it serving at table #511 and we would pay the corkage fee.
Tonight’s dress code was smart attire, so I just wore a black dress trimmed with gold sequins, black fishnet tights and a pair of black and gold Irregular Choice shoes which went perfectly with the dress. The focus of my outfit tonight, however, would be the fantastic Mary Frances evening bag I’d purchased on our cruise on the Azamara Pursuit in May – a gorgeous, lavishly-beaded bag in the shape of a tiger’s face.
Down in the restaurant the sommelier opened the bottle of Bolly that had been chilling in the ice bucket. The four of us raised our glasses and we toasted Billy and Carole once again on 60 years of marriage. We enjoyed a tasty meal once again, but commented that there did not seem to be as much choice on the menu as usual; maybe there are supply chain issues (as there currently are in many places around the world) and they are unable to get hold of a lot of ingredients and foodstuffs.
After finishing off our meal with the usual coffee and liqueurs, we made our way to the Royal Court Theatre for tonight’s show; it was the show company’s performance called Be Our Guest which should have been on last night. It was an original production based around life on board Cunard ships over the decades. We quite enjoyed it, but Billy and Carole were not too keen on the singing and didn’t stay until the end. We met up with them later on in the Golden Lion pub, where the duo “It Takes Two” were performing, and we just enjoyed their music, chatted, laughed and enjoyed some more of the highly-expensive drinks. 😊 And so the evening passed in its usual pleasant way, until it was time to return to 5123 and settle down for the night. We had another day at sea to look forward to tomorrow, and we slept well. 😊