We sailed into the port of Cadiz, Spain about 9:30 this morning – it is a beautiful day here. Cadiz is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, founded in about 1100 BC. It is a city of both old and new and surrounded almost entirely by water. In fact, it used to be an island until they filled in a part and now it is a peninsula. There are forts, beautiful churches and remains of old city walls, and, of course, beaches. They have 8 km of beach here. Today the huge Anthem of the Sea is also in port, and they have enlarged the port so that 6 ships can be here at one time. Today, only two, thank goodness.
We took a long walk around the town, we learned that breakfast occurs here at about 10:30 and the cafes were opening up. In fact, if you want to do business, say at a bank, at 10:30, don’t try. No matter how long the lines are, the staff takes their break for breakfast. And, lunch is at 3 and is the main meal of the day, so they will say good morning up until 3. Dinner is at 10 PM, typically, and is usually tapas and drinks.
Parking is tough here and people pay more for a parking spot than for their apartment!
Tapas, by the way, originated here and literally means “lid”. It was because there was a lot of dirt and dust in the summer so at the outdoor cafes, the customers would put a saucer over their drink, then put ham or other small items in it, just enough to fit in the saucer. Now we know it as “small plates” and around here it costs usually 2 -3 euros.
Lots of wonderful buildings, not so much tile here. This is one of the churches – totally unimpressive from the outside, but wow, what is inside!
A couple of things about this part of Europe in general. Seat belts are mandatory in tour buses, and the driver can be fined if passengers don’t wear them so we are constantly reminded. I don’t know about public buses. Also there are MANY circles or roundabouts here.
Spain is having a tough time now, unemployment is 25% and many young people are leaving Spain to find jobs elsewhere.
A couple of our wanderings, Norm is trying to hold up an old building, and I wanted to buy this dress but he said it wasn’t my color!!!
After lunch (and we do not eat lunch at 3!) we went on a tour of two of the famous “White Villages” of Andalucia, the name of this area of Spain. On the way, we saw flamingos that summer here and some stork nests, as well as fields of sunflowers that they use for oil, and the olive groves for the oil that they export all over the world. We also saw bulls that are used for bull fighting, those bulls are treated like royalty here. There are many wind turbines and if people agree to have them on their land, they are paid 6000 euros/windmill/year and they can have up to 6.
The villages are Medina Sidonia and Arcos de la Frontera. Both are charming. We walked on very narrow streets and visited some churches and saw other historic buildings, most built on the ruins of Muslim buildings from the Arab origins of this area. In Arcos, we took a small train way up to the village. We also stopped for tapas before we did the winding walk down.
We were happy to be here where the temperature only got to 95 degrees, instead of opting for Seville where it reached 120 today, apparently typical of this time of year.