Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Unusual port visitor

With nothing planned to do today, I started work on next Sunday's sermon, wrote a few emails and did domestic chores until well into the afternoon. When I finally set my mind on walking over to El Corte Ingles, I noticed from the end of the street the five masts of a big sailing ship above the trees along the sea front, so climbed the steep path up the Gibralfaro for a better view and a photograph. It's a luxury cruise liner which supplements its ship's engines with sails when weather permits, the largest of a series built in France for Club Med in the late 1980s, but now run by Windstar Cruises.
I then continued walking to El Corte Ingles, through the back streets of the Old Town. Much of this is now quite familiar from spending time here last autumn. It takes under half an hour on foot to reach here from the apartment, which is what Clare wanted me to find out.

I visited the store's electronic gadget department, and was mildly disappointed to see very little that was different from what's on offer in John Lewis and PC World back home. Sometimes in the past I've seen new products brought to market in Spain well before the UK, and things brought to market there which are never seen in a British High Street. Demand for new domestic computers, whether desktop or portable, has levelled off in recent years with the rise of tablets and smartphones, and with the latest arrival of voice activated devices delivering information services into the home. It's no something which interests me much. 

No matter how clever it all is, it's potentially intrusive, and may prevent users from making an effort to find out things for themselves rather than wait for the helpful suggestion from a worktop device. I feel the same about SatNavs too. I'd rather learn for myself how to find my way around a place or around a map, by observation, and only use a location sensing device in support, if needed.

The return trip took me to the Palmeria de las Sorpresas quay to inspect the ship I'd seen from afar. It's the MVY Wind Surf, with room for over 300 passengers in spacious accommodation. There are cruise ships which take 5-10 times that number of passengers, catering for the mass market with high standards, in not so much private space, and these are extremely popular for those who cannot afford premium prices. These ships are all interesting from an architectural perspective, but for my own needs, I happy with river cruising on an altogether much smaller scale.

While I was there, I took photographs of the fourteen 'Caminantes en el Puerto' sculptures by Elena Laverón on display as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations for La Farola, now destined to become a maritime museum, walking past them in both directions. The results are here.

It's unlikely I'll be about when Wind Surf leaves harbour, or that I'll see it with its sails unfurled. That would just be too lucky on my part.

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