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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Cruise and Land Tour in Portugal - July 17th/15....

For breakfast, I had blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee.

AMA scheduled an included excursion today to Salamanca, Spain.  We departed the ship - docked at Barca D’Alva - by bus at 8 in the morning - the drive was about an hour and a half. 

When we arrived in Salamanca, we stopped at the Hotel Alameda Palace which we used as a meeting place and where we had an included lunch later in the day.  The tour guide gave us a brief orientation and then let us explore on our own for a few hours

It was a dark, rainy day but the rain let up before long and we walked to the Plaza Mayor, which is an 18th century square and one of Spain’s largest and grandest.  Designed in 1729 and completed in 1755, it was once used for bullfights, but nowadays is a delightful place to stroll or shop.  The Plaza Mayor is built of warm golden sandstone.

I converted at a currency exchange some US cash dollars into Euros.  Unlike Portugal, there was no problem doing this in Spain.

I fortunately walked into the New Cathedral, which is definitely one of the major sites in Salamanca.  I am glad that I did not miss seeing the church - it is worth seeing even if there was a €3 charge.  The art and architecture impressed me very much.

The Hotel Alameda Palace had a very nice buffet lunch.  There were olives and hard rolls on the table and wine was included.  There was a salad bar, slices of smoked ham and cheese.  The main course was paella with shrimp, mussels, and chicken.  They also had grilled shrimp, roasted chicken and roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables.  For dessert, cake and ice cream and espresso coffee. 

After lunch. our tour guides walked us back to the center of the city.  The first stop was outside the Church of the Clerics and across the street, we went into the House of the Shells whose name derives from the golden stone scallop shells that cover most of its walls - it is now a library.  The outside walls with the shells could not be photographed because they are under renovation and were covered.

After the tour of Salamanca, we drove back to Barca D’Alva where the AMAVIDA was docked.

For dinner, we had a barbecue on the top deck.  I started with soup and then had barbecued pork ribs, barbecued chicken, a grilled sardine (which were 8-9 inches long), roasted potatoes, coleslaw, green beans, red beets, and meat and fish fritters.  They also offered barbecued hamburgers and huge pork leg which they sliced.  They offered many desserts - I had a flan, tiramisu, and chocolate cake.  Of course, wine and an after-dinner port were also offered.  There was music during the meal and dancing afterwards.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco  

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