Docked on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington sits a Spanish Galeón. The sails are down. Ropes crisscross the ship. Flags fly in the wind at the tops of the masts. El Galeón Andalucia is smaller than I would have imagined, yet thinking about it more, I realize that for the 1500s this baby was quite an engineering feat.
I also realize that these folks were tiny. Doorways were very narrow and the ceilings were not much taller than my head (and I’m 5’6”). Although I’m also pretty sure that the sailors probably didn’t have a great diet and weren’t sporting an extra 50 pounds either.
What I loved best was all the details of the ship – the ropes, the wood work, even the below deck storage. El Galeón sails to various ports to give people a taste of what Spanish explorers sailed when coming to the new world. Taking a tour of the ship is an exceptional experience. If you have a chance to take the tour in a port city near you, you should! For an even better experience you should take a trip to St. Augustine, the home port of the El Galeón, and get the full Spanish settler feel. St. Augustine is rife with 450 years of history from early Spanish conquistadors in the early 1500s. After touring the ship, take a journey to the Fountain of Youth and the Castillo de San Marcos to round out your historical holiday.