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The Crystal City – La Coruna
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Tue 17 Dec ’13 – day 3  It was still dark when the ship reached the entrance to the harbour at La Coruna which is situated in the province of Galicia, known as the ‘Green Spain’ because of the amount of vegetation that grows thanks to the abundant rainfall.

La Coruna is known at the ‘Crystal City’ because of the many windowed balconies that face the waterfront and when these catch the sun they twinkle, which produces an almost magical effect.  We were not likely to see this today as it was overcast and pouring with rain, so it would be a day for waterproofs and umbrellas.

I did not bother with breakfast and my first appointment of the day was in the Spa where I had a pedicure, something that I always treat myself to when cruising – a luxury that has a wonderful effect.

Maria who was from Belgrade carried out the treatment which took about an hour to complete and my feet then felt refreshed and ready for walking, so was back to the cabin where Sailesh has cleaned and made the bed.  I wrapped up ready to face the weather and then made my way to the disembarkation point where my cruise card was swiped as I left the ship.  Down the gangway and I was ashore; Oriana was berthed adjacent to the Conference Centre and the small marina so it was just a short walk into the city.  There was a dampness in the air with the occasional light shower, but nothing that the umbrella couldn’t handle.  As I have been here before, I stretched my legs by walking around the marina and then back into the city passed the burial site of General Sir John Moore.  The cobbled streets were a bit greasy underfoot so it was essential that you took your time rather than rushing.  I bought some postcards and stamps and then headed back to the ship.

Back in my cabin I hung up the damp garments and then wrote the postcards before dropping them off at Reception in the Garden Court on Deck 5, the lowest part of the Atrium, from where they would be given to the ships agents for posting.

Under the stairs in the reception area is the ‘Gingerbread Village’ another of P&O’s Christmas traditions.

   

On my way back to my cabin I was greeted by Carol whom I last cruised with on the Christmas & New Year trip in 2003 aboard the previous Adonia when she was one of the two ‘White Sisters’ in the fleet, the other being Oceana.  That cruise took us all the way down to the Cape Verde Islands and was memorable as a complaint was made about my dining companions and me on Table 46 stating that “They have 3 or 4 bottles of wine on the table every night and are enjoying themselves far too much”!!  Between 8 people that equated to about 2 or 3 glasses each during dinner; needless to say the Executive Purser, Patrick Harrison, dismissed the complaint.  We arranged to meet and catch up with what we have done in the intervening years.

I have lunch in the Conservatory before having a post-lunch snooze.

When I awake the sun was streaming in through the window, so I had a quick turn around the Sun Deck where people, although still wrapped up, were sitting out while reading and enjoying what would hopefully be the first of many sunny and warm days.

As we were in port and the ship was stable, the deckhands were taking this opportunity to lash the Christmas tree to the main mast; yet another of P&O’s traditions.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing more work in the cyb@study until the Captain announced that the ship was about to depart; he also warns the once outside the breakwater the swells will commence immediately and that the sea conditions will remain rough probably until dawn tomorrow.  He was absolutely right as the ship started pitching dramatically as we round the headland which the site of the Tower of Hercules, a lighthouse which has been in continuous operation since possibly the 2nd century AD.  It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it was very easy to see why this is called the coast of storms.

Having showered and changed I met Jackie in the Crow’s Nest Bar as arranged where we had an aperitif before going to the Indian night where we are joined by Peter her table companion.  The evening speciality buffets are a feature on P&O cruises and the Indian Buffet is always very good as the crew display their culinary skills.  Tonight the Captain and Chief Engineer were at an adjacent table partaking of what was an excellent repast.

After a leisurely meal and a few drinks it was time for bed and sleep came quickly.