Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lisbon to Gibraltar - 7: Cadiz

Not everyone likes Puerto America, gateway to Cadiz. Obviously the owner of this boat can't have been that pleased with their facilities. The pilot book was a bit dismissive, describing the marina as being a long way from town and lacking in facilities.

Certainly first impressions weren't encouraging - squeezed between a bustling container port and the sort of half built concrete tower block beloved by J G Ballard - with facilities a couple of portacabins and a large car park.

But we really liked it, mostly because of one of those portacabins turned out to serve some of the best sea food of the entire trip. Cuttle fish, baby squid, clams, and garlic prawns would emerge from some back galley, obviously hours fresh from being caught.

And the so called long walk was along the sea walls of Cadiz, with views like this:

When we got to town it was in carnival mode, with the crews of the tall ships celebrating the end of their 50th anniversary sail by parading though the streets, singing, shouting, blowing horns, and mobbing an unlucky policeman.

Cadiz itself is an ancient beauty - claimed to be Europe's oldest city going back over 3,000 years to - again - the Phoenicians. Of course it's suffered a bit - including being burnt to the ground by us Brits as Sir Francis Drake singed the beard of Spain.

At its heart is crumbling old Cathedral, which even has netting to catch the plaster work falling down from above.

We wandered street after street, each more enticing than the last, till we found the old quarter where the only difficulty was choosing which sea food restaurant.

On the way back as the moon rose we stopped for a thick treacly sherry in an old flamenco bar and decided we'd had a pretty good day.

So what ever the guide book says drop in on Puerto America and visit Cadiz. Just be careful if your boat needs a lift.

1 comment:

Tillerman said...

Right on. Cadiz is a magic place to stay. My wife and I used to walk those old city walls almost every night before diving into all the narrow streets to find a restaurant.