All entries for Saturday 16 September 2006

September 16, 2006

5 hours in Spain!

I’ve just returned from a rather nice mini-cruise of P&O’s M.V. Pride of Bilbao ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao in back.

After travelling down on the train last Saturday, we spent Sunday visiting the lovely Gunwharf Quays outlet centre on the Portsmouth waterfront, taking in a boat tour of the harbour while we were there. That took in the Naval Base (where my Dad was stationed when he was in the Navy), which is absolutely massive, and we saw plenty of warships while we were there, and the marinas at Gosport. I was surpised how busy the whole port area is, with multiple cross-Channel and Isle of Wight ferry services, naval activity and private yauchts all using the harbour area.

Anyway, that night we set sail and enjoyed the ships facilities during the crossing. The restaurants on board were nice, and we watched the Da Vinci code in the on-board cinema (which my Mum mangaged to fall asleep in – until I nudged her!). During the daylight hours on the ‘day at sea’, I took on some wildlife spotting on the deck, and I saw the top of a fin whale, which was quite a sight!

We arrived in Bilbao early on Tuesday morning, and, as we only have 5 hours in port, 4 tours were laid on for the mini-cruise passengers. We chose the ‘Old and New Bilbao’ tour which encompassed a brief coach tour of the new part of the city, followed by a walking tour of the old town – which was interesting. Then, after the complimentary coffee and cake in a cafe, it was off back to the port and the homeward leg – my briefest visit to Spain ever!

On the return, I saw more wildlife in the Bay of Biscay, with the sighting of 2 more wales, as they surfaced to breathe, and the spray from their blow-holes was breathtaking.

Our arrival back into Pompey had the added excitement of a Police escort, which we were later told was due to some sort of security alert or something, but in the end nothing came of it, thankfully!

We spent a final night in Portsmouth, before returning to Bolton on Thursday!

The photos we (by which I mean I) took can be found here.

Enjoy!

Oh, as an added bonus, Trains actually ran like clockwork, with the exception of our last leg from Stockport to Bolton, which was 10 minutes late into Bolton. Trust Northern to not make it perfect (although I still prefer them to their predecessors First North Western – but that’s another story!). Plus 1hr 59mins from London Euston to Stockport was impressive!


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