France to Denmark April-May 2016

Normandy  |  Normandy 2  |  Monte Carlo - Monaco  |  Ibiza  |  Cartagena  |  Malaga  |  Gibraltar  |  Portimao  
  Lisbon  |  Porto  |  Coruna  |  Cherbourg  |  Rouen Day 1  |  Rouen Day 2  |  Cruising the Seine  |  Belgium  

  Amsterdam  |  North Sea Canal  |  Travemunde/Lubeck, Germany   |  Fredericia, Denmark   


The island of Ibiza (which the Spanish pronounce Ih–beeth–tha) is our first port–of–call on the cruise. Like many of the cities around the IbizaMediterranean, Ibiza saw early settlement by the Phoenicians and started life as a fortified city. Because Ibiza is 90 miles from mainland Spain and about that from Algeria and has a great harbor (which meant lots of trade over the centuries) it′s been an ideal place for assorted raiding armies over those same centuries. Its impressive hilltop fort had to guard the harbor and protect inhabitants, something it obviously did very well because the fort and original city still exist today.

There was, surprisingly, no evidence of Vikings (like there was in Normandy) and not much of the Romans but Ibiza did become a pirate target as well for a time. Lots of trading vessels would come into the harbor so "sitting duck” conditions (a pirate favorite) prevailed. But speaking of pirates, there′s a story that the locals on time held out against a pirate raid, captured the pirates and confiscated their loot. You don′t hear of that happening very often.

royal blue waterWe had our driver take us around the southwestern part of the island. We saw lots of small beaches, offshore islands, and villas. The island has a severe water shortage but that does not appear to limit the size of houses or the number of people on the island (there are around 160,000 full time residents; the owner/creator of Cirque du Soliel is apparently one of them).

Many of the beaches were small and rocky, coves really, and reminded us of the beaches along the northern cost of California. However, some beaches were totals gems, like this one with intensely turquoise and royal blue water.

Amusing BicyclePossibly the most amusing thing we saw was a man walking his bicycle along the highway hauling a portion of a catamaran pontoon, the rear end supported by and roped to a child′s stroller. The storms in the area push flotsam up on the beach and this enterprising gentleman was practicing the ancient custom of those who live on the shores of all nations — laying claim to whatever the sea washes up. He said he was going to rebuild his own catamaran out of the pieces.

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