Cadiz. 31st March

We decided to stay and extra night in order to see Cadiz, which is apparently one of the oldest Cities in Europe?

We set the alarm for what is now the un-godly hour of 0800 and,subject to the weather being reasonable, we would cycle down to the port and catch the ferry for the 20 minute crossing.

Cycling is reasonably easy here,there is an off road cycle track which runs from outside the site into Town to the left and along the coast toward Rota, to the right. However, the locals treat this as an additional pavement and you have to constantly expect them to step out into your path without so much as a cursory glance behind.

(Cycling home later in the day we were subject to a bout of road rage from a driver who clearly felt we had no right to be on the road. So road or cycle path,take your pick,either way it’s fraught with hazards).

However, when I took the bikes off the back of the van I realised I had a puncture, probably as a result of my off road explorations of yesterday.

Luckily I had brought 3 new inner tubes with me, unluckily they were for my other bike and none fitted.

So a hasty repair took place then we were off.

We enjoyed the crossing and at €5.30 for both of us it was cheap. There was a stiff breeze that became a howling gale once we broke free of the sea walls but the sun was shining and it was nice to get some fresh air.

Interestingly when we purchased our tickets we asked when the next sailing was and the lady behind the counter told us in perfect English; ‘It will be at half past eleven’. Just enough time for us to stroll across the road and get a coffee Danish. Luckily as we were discussing the options everyone queuing on the dock side surged toward a boat which we now know was the Ferry, and she sailed 10 minutes later.

Strangely, the return journey was advertised as 1630 but sailed at 1515. (We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of this, or why the Launderette on site only opens on the morning. Why the lady cleaner does the men’s facilities at 0830, when it is most demand or why the bar has a large screen TV that can only be viewed from behind the counter)?

When we got to Cadiz we didn’t really know what to look for or where to go so we headed for the tourist Information centre (resisting the urge to climb on board the tour bus which was parked right outside the harbour) and grabbed a map.

This didn’t offer much of a solution. There is a Cathedral where you can pay €5 to walk around, there are a few museums, for which you can pay €5 to look around, or you can spend €10 on two huge brandies and two coffees, which was our choice.

We sat outside the Cathedral in the sun drinking and thought how ridiculous it would be to be inside on a day like this.

Unfortunately, we were pestered by Hawkers selling utter ‘Tat’ and after the 4th or 5th our patients was wearing a bit thin so we set off for a stroll through the narrow streets and alley ways.

Cadiz is famous for its Sherry and we passes a bar which seemed to be selling sherry as well as wine and was full to bursting with locals. So in my fluent Spanish I ordered. “Dos el zonal sherry Por Favor” or some thing similar which I hoped would sound like. “2 locally produced and grown sherries my good man, if you please.”

We did end up with a very dry sherry, but I’m not sure it was local?

By now though, we were slightly the worse for wear as we’d had polished off the best part of a litre of Brandy and two sherries with no food in sight.

Right opposite was a bar with a ‘Menu Del Dai’ for just under €10 so we plonked ourselves at a table and with the help of the waitress, who spoke no English, we managed to order two starters, two main and two puddings.

I tried ‘Sopa mallorquina’ which is a cold tomato soup with meat and egg.

It was fantastico.

Again, we were pestered by hawkers and now beggars joined in. They didn’t seem to recognise us as they kept coming back offering the same rubbish stuff and as we were trying to eat our meal, it became a bit of a wearing.

However, I was getting along swimmingly with the waitress and my new found confidence in speaking Spanish reached an all time high,partly due to the alcohol I must admit.

Though, as is often the case, this high is followed swiftly by a fall.

I’d been merrily thanking every man and his dog with the term ‘Gracie’ which I honestly thought was Spanish.

So when I thanked the waitress for the tenth time with ‘Gracie’, Jaki advised that the correct term is ‘Gracias’ and that ‘Gracie’ isn’t a Spanish word.

You could have knocked me down with a Dale Winton’s sock.

“It’s not like you to miss out on an ass” she muttered under her breath, just loud enough for me to hear it!

Deflated I scurried off to the gents to give myself a good talking to, though it was already engaged, which is how I found myself loitering around outside a gents toilet in Cadiz. I moved off swiftly.

However, this was a bit hasty as I needed to find another loo fairly quickly and as there are no public toilets anywhere in Spain, we bought drinks at a bar in order to justify using the loo.

The bar had ‘Whiffy’ which was a coincidence as I left their toilets the same way.

The return ferry journey was only marred by the presence of a French party, one of whom had clearly just escaped from a religious order where speaking had been prohibited. She exercised her new found freedom from Port to Port. It was like a ‘parody’ of the first three episode of ‘Allo Allo’.

So that was Cadiz.

Were just about maxed out on cobbled streets, moorish architecture, anywhere that has a Cathedral or anything old. From now on we want our culture to come ready wrapped and hermetically sealed.

But preferably with a beach!

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