On our way into Puerto Sherry, we sailed straight past the ancient walled city of Cadiz. The sights of the old walls and the geography of Cadiz, which looks like its built on a small island at the end of a spit, had us curious and excited to go and visit its sights. Which was just as well, as La Mischief was up on the hard for the weekend and we weren’t allowed to sleep on her.
But before I could plonk myself on the ferry and get over to Cadiz, I had to spend a night at the marina hotel as we needed to do some work the next morning. After that, I wandered over to a function that was happening at the Marina as part of a Festival of Water and chatted with a few people, before getting on the 5pm ferry from nearby El Puerto de Santa Maria and heading for Cadiz. Interestingly, these ferries stop running earlyish (for Spain) at night.
Arriving in Cadiz, my first job was to find some accommodation – and this was harder than I thought because there was a huge religious festival going on. Cadiz is a small city and there were people everywhere. After checking about 5 different places, I finally found one, and it was nothing to write home about. I booked in for one night and found a much better one for the next (Sunday) night.
Cadiz is said to be the oldest city still standing in Western Europe. Supposedly, it was founded 80 years after the Troyan Wars, around 1104 B.C. Makes Perth look like a new-born baby, all soft and cuddly.
The link with Seville is interesting. For 200 years Sevilla had the exclusive rights to all trade with the Americas. However, come the 18th century, the sand bars of the river Guadalquivir forced the Spanish government to transfer the monopoly to Cadiz with its better access to the Atlantic. During this time, the city experienced a golden age where it became one of Spain’s greatest and most cosmopolitan cities and home to trading communities from many countries, among whom the richest was the Irish, believe it or not. May explain why Lord Bryon dropped in to declare it the most beautiful town he’d ever beheld. He obviously hadn’t done enough behelding in the vicinity of Sevilla.
After organising my bed for the night, I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening wandering around and photographing a whole heap of beautiful historic buildings and delightful squares in the Old City. It really is a most beautiful city to photograph.
I came across a particularly impressive monument celebrating the fact that Cadiz was where the liberal Spanish Constitution was proclaimed, and where the good citizens of Cadiz revolted in 1820 to secure a renewal of this constitution. From here the revolution spread right across Spain, leading to the imprisonment of King in Cadiz.
I also spent a bit of time wandering around the top of the wall that surrounds the old city, which is walkable the whole way round.
The next morning was a Sunday and the place was abuzz with people participating, following and spectating on a whole series of grandiose religious processions with lots of colour and pageantry. It’s evidently a huge annual event and lucky us had stumbled across it quite by accident. More clicking of the camera.
After another morning of pageantry and sightseeing in the old city it was time to check out the beach. Cadiz has got a 4km stretch of sandy beach on its Atlantic side and I think I managed to walk along most of it and back. It was packed, being reasonably hot. I went for a couple of quick swims, but its a bit like Perth water in November, a bit too cold.
Next morning, it was up early and to the ferry terminal to catch the first ferry back to the boat. La Mischief was going back in and we were off again.