Cádiz

The first weekend in September, before school started, we rented a car to drive to Cádiz, a port city located in the southwest of Spain.  Not only is it considered to be “the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe” (Lonely Planet), but it also offers a tasty homegrown morsel, Turrón de Cádiz.

  On the way, we stopped in Olvera, one of the many pueblo blancos that are scattered throughout Andalucía.  It seems that after the Muslims entered the Iberian Peninsula back in 711, they built fortresses atop rocky outposts.  And after the Christians defeated the Muslims over the course of 770 years, they built churches, either on top of or next to these fortresses, or on top of mosques.

In Olvera we toured the fortress and ate our last reasonably edible meal until our return to dining “en casa” in Granada. {Click on picture for slide show.}

Once in Cádiz, we stayed in a typical four-floor walk up with narrow balcony and competing central air shafts, one off the hallway and kitchen, and one off the back bedroom.  The sounds and aromas of Cádiz living greeted us throughout the day and night.

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From the narrow balcony

Old Cádiz itself is a narrow peninsula jutting demurely into the Atlantic ocean, 1.8 kilometers long, 1.3 kilometers wide.  We walked everywhere:  we climbed the steps of Torre Tavira (MDCCLXXVII erecta) to enjoy the camera obscura; we ambled to Castillo de Santa Catalina and walked around the 5-pointed fortress (MDCXX erecta); we circled the interior ramp to the bell tower atop the Catedral (MDCCCXXXVIII erecta); we force marched along the breakwater to Castillo de San Sebastián (MDCCVI erecta).  Eventually, we simply went to the beach (please insert today’s date, subtract 3.8 billion years and convert to Roman Numerals, if possible).

In the mornings, we ate a simple Spanish breakfast of toast topped with grated tomato and olive oil, orange juice, and café con leche.  Lunch consisted of ice cream, in either a cone or bowl, and Kas orange soda pop, in addition to a cheese sandwich.  At night, we stopped at one of the many neighborhood plazas for a dinner of tapas and beer.  Things really didn’t get going until 9 or 10 p.m.  Then, we could choose among a myriad of tapas:  ham, ham with cheese, cheese with ham, shrimp (presented in their efficient exoskeletons) either boiled, grilled, or fried; ham and cheese croquettes, chicken and cheese croquettes, fried calamari, fried octopus, fried fish, potatoes in olive oil, potatoes in spicy mayonnaise, along with many other options, either fried, boiled, covered in mayonnaise, or fried.

Orange Soda Pop

Kas Orange Soda Pop

We were reluctant to leave historic Cádiz.  The streets were clean, flat, cobbled and often free of cars. Vistas opened onto ocean and bay.  The houses and apartment buildings were topped with reminders from the merchant days of the 1800s — watchtowers — of which 126 still remain.  We also bought alpargatas in Cádiz, which was something we had never done before.  Another name for alpargatas is espadrilles, if you are speaking French.  Which we weren’t.  We were barely speaking Spanish because everyone who did insisted on leaving the endings off of all their verbs, nouns and adjectives.  They also seemed to mumble in a rapid and confident way.  This is why we ended up with the boiled shrimp omelet and the chicken and cheese croquettes for dinner at Plaza de Mina.

  We knew we had to get the rental car back in time, so we left one early afternoon, drove through the pueblo blanco of Arcos de la Frontera, and by 7:30 p.m. managed to park the car in the steep, dark, narrow, winding underground parking garage at Thrifty-Granada without a scratch.

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2 thoughts on “Cádiz

    • Thank you for your comment. I have modified the entry to indicate “Old Cádiz” as opposed to the contemporary municipal boundaries, which are still relatively narrow and relatively short. I have also corrected the metric.

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