After last weekend’s more-or-less chilled out nature, I thought it was best to get to making the most of my time here in Spain by travelling again this weekend. I’ve set an informal goal for myself of travelling to the capitals of all the provinces in Andalucía while I’m here this year, so this weekend I got one step closer by visiting Cádiz! Half way through now; still to visit: Huelva, Granada, Jaén, and Almería.
Kicked off the weekend by catching the bus in to Sevilla after work on Friday and because the timetable at the time I was due to leave is slightly limited, I had the option of arriving more than an hour early for my train or leaving myself only 5-10 minutes. It’s me, so of course I ended up sitting around outside San Bernardo waiting for an hour hahaha. 1 3/4 hours of napping on the train later, I arrived in Cádiz after the sun had gone down and tried to navigate my way to the hostel, Casa Caracol, in the dark. Not sure I went the most direct way but I made it there eventually and caught up with my friend who’d arrived earlier and checked in for both of us (we went for the booking together option this time, rather than booking separately and each emailing the hostel to ask if we could be placed in the same room). After a quick planning session to organise how best to maximise our time, we hit the streets in search of a place to eat. Ended up at a high-class establishment otherwise known as 100 Montaditos, but hey, it’s convenient and we both know and trust the food from there, so s’all good.
We started Saturday morning with some free hostel pancakes with chocolate spread which we think might actually have belonged to someone in the hostel (if you’re reading this, Diana, thank you). A German guy, henceforth referred to as ‘our mate Oscar’ (Oskar?!), thought we were slightly nuts for wanting to swim in the sea but we were determined to do so anyway. Our mate Oscar also had some excellent thoughts on gender politics which I thoroughly approved of – here’s to glittery nail polish for all! Most of the attractions didn’t open till around 10am, so we went for a walk up to Plaza de España first to see the monument to the signing of the first Spanish constitution before heading back to visit the Catedral. Side-note: Cádiz was sooooo much harder to navigate than anywhere else I’ve been so far, seriously difficult. Lost my bearings so many times. Thank goodness for free city maps, amirite? Anyway, yes, the cathedral. At €3 for student entry (including entrance to the tower and the museum), this was a steal. Built between 1722 and 1838, the building was stunning both inside and out, and the views over the city from the tower were fantastic! Unfortunately, our attempts at a selfie at the top…well, not so much.
After coming back down the tower, it was time for the obligatory churros con chocolate. Can’t decide if I preferred them to those in Córdoba or not, but they were definitely good (and much needed – it was a lot of work climbing up to the top of that tower!). Post-churros, we took a wander around the impressive central market (so much fish everywhere) before heading to tower number two of the day: Torre Tavira. This time the entrance fee was €5 for students and included entry to the Cámara Oscura inside which was very cool. Formerly a watch tower (as an important port city, Cádiz needed to protect its borders), the tower is now a tourist attraction offering amazing views out over the city, as well as a little history about the city’s past. For instance, there are (apparently) four different styles of watch tower which were used to watch ships arrive from the Americas.
Post-tower number two, we headed to (arguably) the most important part of the visit: the beach!! Despite the fact that it was slightly chilly in the water and the presence of some guy in a hat who couldn’t seem to decide what he wanted (still not sure if he wanted to steal our stuff, be friends with us, or was just a slightly odd club rep with an interesting manner), Playa La Caleta was definitely a highlight. And sooooo much nicer than the beach in Málaga! We grabbed some lunch about five minutes away from the beach in a bar we found on Google (thanks, Google, you’re the best) and it was absolutely delicious! Those meatballs though. Mmmmmm. Outside the tapas bar we bumped into our mate Oscar again who apparently had been on the beach all day. Nice. Still slightly damp from being in the sea, we thought that if we went back to the hostel we wouldn’t come out again, so we decided to push on and visited the Castillo de San Sebastián and Parque Genovés after lunch. I liked both but after so much walking I definitely needed a wee rest in the hostel before going out for dinner.
We struggled a little to find somewhere to eat (not sure if we left it too late, or if the places we wanted to go were just too popular) but eventually found a restaurant called La Candela thanks again to our friend Google. Would 100% recommend this place to anyone going to Cádiz for the day or the weekend because the food was absolutely delicious! Slightly on the pricey side, but definitely worth it in my mind.
After such a jam-packed Saturday, Sunday was a much more relaxed affair. We checked out after our free hostel pancakes and went to visit the Museo de Cádiz. Very good Spanish practice and lots of interesting information about the city’s history from prehistoric times, through the Phoenicians, Romans, and Islamic rule to now. However, I am slightly ashamed of how long it took me to twig that ‘Gades’ was in fact the Roman name for Cádiz. Clearly all the walking on Saturday must have muddled my brain hahah. We also visited ECCO (another contemporary arts centre, I’m sensing a theme here…) and saw some of the exhibits. One in particular was…eh…interesting: a permanent exhibit by a Costus, a group of two Spanish artists. The whole thing was very 80s but not in a good way. I did like the glow-in-the-dark paint though and I’m sure mum would have loved it!
And then it was time for us to leave. My friend got an earlier train, so I killed my extra two hours with some tea and cake (of course). And, get this, the tea was from Morrisons!! I came all the way to Spain to drink Morrisons’ peppermint tea!! Later discovered that it probably came from their shop in Gibraltar. Anyway, that’s all for this weekend so here’s hoping the next will be just as fun!