Ah Cadiz, this is a difficult post to write without having to use a thesaurus for alternative words to stunning and beautiful! Having said that, our Aire parking spot at the docks wasn’t so glorious but it was interesting! Being able to watch dock cranes loading and unloading from 100m away was something to behold #nerds. Anyhow at €3 per night it was nothing to moan about!
So we walked the few hundred metres or so from the ideal car park into Old Town Cadiz and were immediately blown away, not by winds this time, but by the low key grandiose buildings, compared to other larger cities. The architecture is stunning and reflects the various ages of styles. Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians who went on to invent mobile things (I had to explain ‘phones’ to my editor 🙂 ). Its history is worth a read. Its built on a narrow section of land surrounded by the sea and thus, due to the nature of the ground, there aren’t any really tall buildings as you find elsewhere. Being well preserved, it’s doubtful any pile drivers will be around anytime soon! The Old Town is typical, consisting of narrow winding alleys connecting plazas. So narrow in fact that you’d need a scooter not a car if you lived here! Its one of the most densely populated urban areas which perhaps explains the C19 issues they had. There’s a ton of interest here to easily fill a long weekend when times allow and we’d thoroughly recommend it. To follow is some of the sights we saw, sorry if its a photo overload but a picture paints and all that!
The day we arrived was a Sunday and after a gawp at the worlds longest super yacht, Azzan, in the harbour and a meander through the narrow streets we arrived at Plaza del Catedral, you can see there was a buzz, lots of people in the cafes and bars. What a stunning building it is, dwarfing its surroundings, shame we couldn’t go inside. Thankfully the Cathedral here is finished, although it took 116 years and thus is a mixture of Baroque, Rococco and Neo Classical.
Inevitably, on our wanders we found sherry, ice cream and a shop that sold drinks and figurines, why?!… and Tio Pepe (the man with the guitar we keep spotting)
In Cadiz there are 4 trees, of a size and shape we’d not seen. They can be seen from any high point around. Described as Ficus (Banyan Trees) by the lady who pointed them out at the camera obscura. They were brought here by The Conquistadors and have survived to be living monuments in the City.
There’s a distinct mash up of architectural styles around Cadiz but still, the magical balconies prevail, we even found a poster showing examples of 20 different styles, such a feature are they. Most of the Old Town is C18 but there’s Roman, Moorish, neo Classical, Baroque influences to name a few. We’ve tried to pick a selection of photos to show it off. There are so many plaza’s. each has its nuance. Many of the larger squares have some weird and wonderful tree’s, most probably imported centuries ago. My favourite being the plaque to ‘Bernardo O’Higgins’, an Irish-Chilean adventurer who lived on Plaza de Candelaria. It was the name not the plaque!
Balconies extravaganza and peaking into doorways and foyers!
Having been to a few Camera Obscura’s around the world we were surprised to find the Cadiz one open for visitors so jumped at the chance and climbed the many steps to the top. They are so much fun, the clarity of peoples washing on roof top lines, workers ‘having a break’ and the real life movement in that shallow reflective disc are always enjoyable. It’s also possible to see features you wouldn’t normally see. There’s an 8 sided tower in Cadiz that isn’t visible at street level for example. Up at the very top of the Tavira Tower, which is the highest tower in Cadiz at a mighty 45m above sea level, the views are incredible and give a different perspective of Cadiz. The scale of the orphanage, down near the sea, the magnificent Cathedral, the central fish market, the myriad of watch towers (there are four designs) the Ficus tree’s and the docks (!) are well worth the workout up the stairs. Here’s some pictures from up there.
Anyhow as time had marched on we headed back to start the journey north, role on Seville!