Andalucian Adventures – Part 3

Cadiz

Travelling through the Sierras surrounding Ronda was all very well but we fancied a bit of a change and our landlord had been very enthusiastic about the city of Cadiz, less than 2 hours away.

Cadiz is less than 100 klms from Tangier in Morocco so it is no surprise that the city is heavily influenced by North Africa. It was established by the Phoenicians following the Trojan war in 1104BC and is reckoned to be the oldest city in Europe still standing, though there are older ruined cities in Greece and elsewhere. It is also said to be the most densely populated European city as it occupies a very narrow strip of land.

The Romans occupied the city followed by Visigoths and it was then a Muslim city between the 8th and 13th Centuries. Cadiz was the home port for the Spanish treasure fleets returning from raiding the Americas in the 15th Century and Christopher Columbus used it to victual his fleet. In 1587 Francis Drake occupied the harbour for three days – an event which became known (in England) as the Singeing of the King of Spain’s Beard – and which delayed the Spanish Armada by a year. That proved disastrous for Spain but is probably the reason Britain is what it is today. And I shall leave you to draw your own conclusions from that.

Modern Cadiz is very much a different city from 500 or a thousand years ago of course, though the Old Town is still a maze of narrow streets with tall buildings. In December it was distinctly cool walking the town, despite it being sunny and about 20C out in the open. I should think that the deeply shadowed streets in the centre of town would be a welcome relief in the height of summer.

The streets of Cadiz

We followed a bit of a winding route trying to find our way on the map provided by Tourist Information but the streets were crowded and it took a little time to orientate ourselves. But then we discovered the wonderful central market where the fruit and veg stalls and fish counters were very enticing.

Central Market
Just one of the many wonderful fish counters

At one point in our wanderings the Cathedral hove into view, which then led us into the Arab quarter where we spent some time happily wandering the very narrow streets containing the remains of mosques and minarets from the time of Ottoman occupation. We then ended up on the sea front with some lovely views of the city.

Cathedral
Seafront

We walked out to the Castillo de San Sebastian, once an important fort though now closed to visitors. It did, though, give good views of the Bay of Cadiz.

Castillo de San Sebastián, built in 1706
The Bay of Cadiz

By now my poor old knee was beginning to ache so we headed back through the town. All of the bars and restaurants were now full of folks enjoying meals and drinks, though we had already eaten at a Moroccan restaurant – we can’t quite get used to eating Desayuno (breakfast) at 11am, lunch at 3pm and dinner at 8.30pm!

Cadiz has always been a name redolent with the history of exploration and the spices of Africa and it was well worth spending a few hours there on a sunny winter’s day. We left the city, as we had arrived – via the rather beautiful La Pepa road bridge, built in 2015

La Pepa Bridge, copyright Inge Kanakaris-Wirtl

3 thoughts on “Andalucian Adventures – Part 3

  1. Looks like you are having a great time and what beautiful weather wish we could have that weather in Wales would shorten our winter have a great time looking forward to your next instalment

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    1. The weather has been incredible David, though it’s worrying to see the rivers so dry and the land so parched. It doesn’t get light until about 8am but then stays bright until 6pm which at this time of year is brilliant. Now in the Sierra Nevada and there is some snow up on the highest mountains but not at any lower altitudes.

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