The sheer cliffs of Spain’s desert coastline, beset by winds from northern Africa, rose to greet us this morning as National Geographic Explorer made her way to the port of Cartagena. The offshore breezes guided us into town, winding their way like shadows as we ascended Concepcion Castle to take in the view of the city sprawling across the former lakebed that was drained to build it. Our panorama was framed by several former islands (including the one on which the Castle stands) and distant inland mountains. The winds died off as we entered the adjacent Roman theatre ruins, only re-discovered accidentally in 1988 and excavated within the last 20 years.

When we finished our afternoon tours of town – either visiting the museums, taking a guided photo walk, or wandering solo – the breeze greeted us again, blowing at our backs as we bid farewell to Cartagena and headed south to continue our journey.