Northants Nutters at Sea (2024) – 7th July (Day 9)

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7.25am: Here we are, as part of the Northants Nutters group! It’s Day 9 – our penultimate day – and we’ve just docked in La Coruna, northern Spain. Thanks for all the reads this holiday – over 350 so far! 👍

We weren’t expecting to be here, but P&O tweaked the schedule a few days back because of the predicted weather conditions in Guernsey (our original final stop). As a result of the reshuffle of destinations, it’s now a formal night again tonight (our second one, since we boarded).

The last time the two of us were in La Coruna was almost 20 years ago (9 September, 2004) aboard another cruise ship – the Wind Surf.

The Wind Surf – a modern cruise ship with sails!

Back then, miles away from home, we ran into a work colleague who happened to be on a Cruise too! They were aboard Queen Mary 2 that had moored next door. What a coincidence! 👍👍.

Missed a Post?

Day 1 – Setting Sail
Day 2 – Sea Day
Day 3 – Santander, Spain
Day 4 – Sea Day
Day 5 – Vigo, Spain
Day 6 – Lisbon, Portugal
Day 7 – Lisbon, Portugal
Day 8 – Leixoes, Portugal

Not Scorchio!

Twenty years later, the Cruise Terminal area feels very different – it looks a lot larger than how we remember it back in 2004 (but maybe I’ve shrunk!) 🤔.

10.45am: All Nutters present and correct outside Costa! Ready? We’re off ashore!!

Again, the Ventura has been able to dock close to the town, so no faffing about in lifeboats, and as the weather isn’t super-hot, as our first activity we plan to take a wander into town and look around.

Around the Cruise Terminal

11.25am: This was already turning into a much warmer day that the forecast suggested – and that suited us perfectly! 😎. Ann and I could now clearly see that the Terminal had benefited from a massive makeover since we were here in 2004 (and it looked all for the better for it, too!) 👍👍

Castelo De San Antón

11.34am: Up ahead, we could see a Castle. Again, Ann and I didn’t recall it from last time, but there it was, and now open to the public. At a paltry 2.06€ for admission (cheaper for OAPs – just 1.03€!), we thought we’d take a look around. Geoff & Rhonda sat this one out as the rest of us Nutters headed for the ticket booth, not really knowing what to expect.

“At the end of the 16th century, Felipe II had San Anton Castle built on a small rocky island as a fortress for defending La Coruna Port.
As a result of many restoration projects, it took on its current appearance at the end of the 18th century.
It was also a prison until the middle of the 20th century. Since 1968 it has housed the Municipal Archaeological and History Museum”.

First impressions? It looked good! Spread across two levels, there was a fair bit to see. The ground floor consisted mainly of remains discovered during various archaeological and restoration projects, whilst the upper floor boasted some unrivalled views across the Port (more of that later).

For us, as interesting as the ground floor was, ‘up top’ had the wow factor! That was once we got up the staircase! 🙁. There seemed to be just a single (spiral) staircase to access the second floor, and we had to judge if people were already on their way down – as there wasn’t room for ‘two-way traffic’.

We got there eventually though! And it was most certainly worth the wait for the stunning vistas! 😀😍

Wow! 👍👍

It’s that time again!

11.45am: Ahh! 11.45 and it’s almost ‘beer o’clock’. We linked-up with Geoff & Rhonda and headed in the direction of the old town. Being a Sunday, we weren’t sure what would be open, but after about half a mile of walking, the path split into two, and we could see two Bars in the distance – one on each side. We chose the one on the right – San Francisco – for no reason at all and were soon seated and being served!

12.25pm: This was perfect! Out in the sunshine, sipping a cool beer and chatting with friends! 😍😍

Wandering in Coruna

1.15pm: Suitably rehydrated, we decided to explore more of the old town. Geoff & Rhonda decided to go shopping and then head back to the Ventura followed shortly afterwards by Richard & Nicki, leaving the remaining half of the Nutters – Paul & Sue and Ann and me to see where the quiet streets took us. It certainly felt very/strangely relaxing just wandering about with no idea where the route would take us.

Well, we weren’t expecting that! Nestled amongst the narrow streets and houses was… a Convent – specifically: Convento de Santa Bárbara. We weren’t thinking of joining up, but it WAS open, and so we took a look inside. Originally built in the fifteenth century and expanded and improved in the eighteenth, the Poor Clare Mothers live here in a cloistered regime. Clearly a tough life in that the daily life consists of both work and prayer and a life of penance and contemplation. Their rules state that the Sisters shall fast at all times except on the Feast of the Nativity. Not strict enough? Their constitution explains that meat may not be used, even at Christmas. Bah, Humbug! doesn’t even begin to describe the conditions! Given their enthusiasm for fasting, and how much we, the Nutters have got through in the past 9 days, I don’t think we were prime recruits anyway! 😮

A little further on, through a small space between two houses, we could see an impressive structure. This required further investigation and as we headed through the gap…

1.27pm: …we arrived in Pita Square. As every Spaniard probably knows, the Square is named after Maria Pita, a local heroine who played a pivotal role in defending the city against English invaders during May 1589.

Legend has it that after the Brits had seized control of most of the lower part of Coruna and after her husband was fatally wounded, Maria Pita snatched a spear from the English captain and killed him. The Captain was allegedly the brother of Admiral Francis Drake. 😮

An impressive story that matched how impressed we four were with the look and feel of this Plaza. This is a beautiful Square lined on three sides with plenty of Bars, Restaurants and small shops. On the fourth side, facing away from the statue of Maria Pita was the equally impressive Coruna City Hall.

Heading through the gap to the left of City Hall revealed the Church of St George. It’s a Roman Catholic Church, constructed in 1906 in the Baroque style.

1.45pm: We left Paul & Sue to carry on exploring beautiful Coruna whilst we headed back to Ventura. On the walk back, we both agreed that this had not been the ‘La Coruna’ we remember – for all the right reasons! 👍😀. The Cruise Terminal had been modernised, there seemed to be more places to eat and drink. It had been great fun wandering around the old town – and the better-than-expected-weather helped. We’re pretty sure that there is even more to explore here, and it’s therefore another destination we’d love to come back to in the future.

The renovated area facing the Terminal.

Back on the Ventura

2.05pm: Back in the room – time for a small nibble and a short siesta! 💤💤

Nutters and Nibbles

5.30pm: It was around to Paul & Sue’s tonight (hosted by Richard & Nicki) as we prepared to say goodbye to La Coruna. Pre-dinner drinks and nibbles were the order of the day, where speaking personally, a special thanks to Richard & Nicki for helping me to rediscover ‘Mojitos’ – and their version of this classic cocktail using Spiced Rum. 🥴🥴 (Standing is so over-rated!) 😀

Bay Tree Restaurant

6.40pm: It was back to the Bay Tree Restaurant tonight for our evening meal. Again, it didn’t disappoint, with even more Courses than usual! 😋😋. Our Waiters: Agnelo and Jarold have really looked after us!

Evening Entertainment

8.30pm: After the meal we headed to Arena – the Ship’s Theatre – to see The Vinylettes, featuring the Greatest Hits of Soul and Motown. Supported by the Ship’s resident seven-piece orchestra, they were a tight trio and belted out over 20 hits without a break! Brilliant! The Northants Nutters even got a mention by the Group! 😀👍

Late Night Quiz

10.30pm: Here we are for the late-night Quiz. We’ve done well during this Cruise and hopefully tonight, we’ll maintain the tradition! 🤔. By 11.30, it was all over, and we’d accrued a total score of 10, making us joint third. We’ve got a final Quiz tomorrow in the Exchange Bar, so that’s another opportunity to shine! (or not!) 🤔👍

11.55pm: It’s our final day on board tomorrow. Nighty-night! 💤💤😴😴

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