I took the slow train from Madrid. I didn’t realise that it was the slow train, and it was much slower than it was scheduled to be.
None of this matters, though and it only served to help me slow down and get into the spirit of Cadiz. Even by Spanish standards, Andalusia is relaxed. Even by Andalusian standards, Cadiz is relaxed. It is the oldest city in Europe and the centre is a maze of tiny streets broken up by hidden squares and joined through mysterious arches.
The cathedral at the city centre provides a landmark (actually more of a soundmark with ringing bells every 15 minutes) and gives a clue to the city history – with a mix of neoclassical domes atop baroque architecture.
Pass through the Roman walls and history becomes, well history. You’ll find yourself following families with well packed trailers heading to the beach: choose from the closest Playa de la Caleta or a slightly longer stroll to the 8km expanse of Playa de la Victoria. You’ll be surrounded by sunworshippers playing latino tunes and bronzing by the second.
It is a complete contrast but a perfect way to build up an appetite to make the most of the tapas and restaurant offers as the sun goes down. I’d recommend a wander along calle Virgen de la Palma en route to the restaurants in Barrio del Populo.
Mornings can be spent wandering and exploring – even after a full week I still had more to discover. Sit a while to enjoy your coffee and watch the bustle around the new market square or explore a museum and the botanic gardens.
Whether you’re there for a day or for a longer escape, you will find something special and be better for slowing down for a while.
The title of this post was one description offered to me, in complete contrast to another one – my initial inspiration to visit. The real Cadiz? It’s whatever you want it to be, but if you’re on a cruise ship – definitely make sure you disembark when you stop there.
My trip was self-funded and I stayed at Casa Caracol, in their Casa de Pirates. It’s a great place to stay where you can choose to socialise with the other guests, or luxuriate in time by yourself.