Cadiz: a great place

A few days later:Cadiz is a great town. 

Think: large blue sky, light coloured sand and extensive beaches. Think of yellow and white buildings along the sea front. And think of a place with extensive, narrow, cobblestoned streets with not too many people in them. Sure, huge cruise liners come in. Two, and a navy boat, are in at present. Town is large enough to absorb all, unlike Ronda with its one tourist feature, the bridge.
Topless beaches.

Places on th beach to buy food, especially fish, and drinks.

Adonis braved the waves to wash his selfie stick, or GoPro.
As you’ve guessed, the beach in Cadiz extends for ever, for km, broken only by large concrete blocks up the southern side of the northern lump of the peninsula.

 Seas must get very rough at times and erosion is evident further down the beach where the sand covers to the edge of extended, hidden, large blocks. And has moved away from the edges. 



Church: Iglesias Santa Cruz

Let me shock you: I put in a donation this morning at the Iglesia Santa Cruz. Not just because I was excited that I understood the message in Spanish on the intercom asking for donations to restore the church. No, because it is a phenomenal church, not grasping for every €€€ and, generous with the access it gives people. And I liked the music playing in the background. 

Unusually, the church has a black Christ. Even more unusually for the graven images in a Spanish church, people walked around a bench towards the foot of the statue, touched its feet and, sometimes, kissed them. 


Cathedral 

Straight over from us. Bells ring on every quarter hour throughout the day. Maybe the night too. Who knows? It’s large, heavily visited and from the free section, just before the ticket sales desk, doesn’t look exciting. Nah, I’ve already donated enough to the Catholic Church in Italy and Spain to clean many many columns and old master paintings.

However, living on the fourth floor in an apartment looking directly at it is great, just seeing its magnificence and how the light changes it throughout the day. 


And, from the path along the waterfront you can see the south, back, side of the cathedral. Wow. Truly impressive. 


Question of the day: Menus

If you could order a ‘spicey balloon grandmother’, would you? Should you? 

No, we didn’t ever figure out what it was supposed to be, perhaps a small sausage made like grandma used to. 

Or on another translated menu:  greaves? This, I’ve discovered really is the english word for offcuts of rendered fat or the part of your armour covering the lower shins. True. No, we didn’t try it. 

Jerez horse festival

A day to remember! Large park in Jerez is turned over to ‘streets’ of colourful casitas, temporary bars and restaurants all competing for prizes and for customers.

Beautifully dressed women and girls in traditional costumes and a few little boys are everywhere. Most men wear their usual clothing, some look flash beside the dressed up women in their workaday suits.



And the horses and riders: wow. Women riding sidesaddle in long skirts with a button on the back to gather them when back on terra firma. 


Men with very high, tight pants (ball bearers in some) cut to finish near the tops of their boots and with a row of buttons, cummerbunds, vests, short jackets and wonderful Spanish riding hats. Very impressive. 

The posse was in town.

And many carriages. 



For just €40 we took a carriage ride (with it’s integrated bladder stress test for free). No, we didn’t know it would be that much either. Thought they just needed to fill the carriages. 😊

Round and around, the target of other people’s photos as you try and get them.  Would I ever take another carriage ride again as in Jerez? ……or are there other ways to travel as this guy, who we’d last seen in Córdoba, did.


History and Cadiz (Gades)

Don’t walk blindly along streets, between buildings, in Cadiz! Do what many from cruise ships do and follow a coloured line painted on the streets. Green or mauve. Green is the historical route with stops besides the ‘new’ cathedral, it’s predecessor and the earlier site of entertainment, the first stone Roman theatre built in the Iberian peninsula. It was huge, and your seat reflected your social place. Tough for the nouveau riche to move forwards and down from up in the higher tiers built for the lower orders and the women.

The build was because by the 1st century BCE the Romans got sick of putting up,taking down, putting up and so on their existing wooden theatres. So, they built a stone one, the largest in the Iberian peninsula. About this time they also recognised the political value of propaganda delivered from the stage. So I’m betting the cost of the first build was consequently very well subscribed by the politicos. It was certainly a big theatre and the current display is not only excellent but, free.

A stone mason scratched a bit of graffiti under a stone suggesting his employer was a robber, now cleverly shown with a mirror underneath.

Sometime then, and nearby, the Romans also had an amphitheatre for gladiator fights. Nothing to see of that now. No, the bullrings are a recent incarnation, perhaps a co-related incarnation but not identical. 

Prior to the Romans the Phoenicians had long been here. In fact they founded the town of Gades, the predecessor of Cadiz. Over time the two islands that comprise modern Cadiz joined and were extended. (Much like the Chinese are currently doing in the South China Sea and nearby atolls).
Moving on: the Cadiz Museum has a great display, with commentaries (Spanish mostly) on the contributions of the Phoenicians to Cadiz. Artefacts are the predictable items of jewellery, small statues, pots, fishing net needles, medical instruments Etc plus statues representing their female gods. Plus the museum has artefacts from the Neolithic and later periods.


Including an ancient statue of a dog.

And a very unusual sundial.

More Roman tiles but a less common design.

 No surprise this place and the surrounding areas show evidence of very early settlements of humans and our predecessors, very close to Africa, an ideal climate and a productive sea. 

From around town


Dog census

Oh wonders will never cease!  We suddenly realised all the dogs we’d seen were male! Seemed unlikely but…..

Near equal numbers of girl and boy dogs so far today. However the count is only up to 3, 2 boys and one girl. Yesterday, a late start to the canine census left us with 12 boys and 7 or 8 girls. Some dispute, not sexing the dogs but whether someone forgot one or someone else exaggerated the count. One participant faces a logical challenge in planning the process. Now resolved but a combination of methodological issues, conflicting accounts and double counting plus we are leaving Cadiz tomorrow: numbers may not be as badly discrepant as we first thought. Oh no! New hypothesis to be tested: boy dogs are walked in the evening and the girls in the morning. Beam me out Scottie! Agh. 

Costs

Nothing in Spain is as bad as Rome or Venice when it comes to charging. Or am I too used to Spain? No. Rome demands €€ at every point. And us tourists keep visiting that amazing city despite it. 
Tapas 

On our last night in Ronda we forsook the tourist haunts and found a great tapas bar. It was the full one in a back street. We had to wait for a table. Out tapas were: salmon and asparagus, eggplant pie, roast chicken and a salad of octopus with apple and sultanas. Each cost €1 and were a good choice. Dammit! Now to find the equivalent here! 
Not quite but we did well. Two different bars provided us with a range of tapas including: salad and fish roe, tuna stew, chicken stew, baby broad beans and jamon, chick peas and chorizo etc. 
Beggars and dogs

JP had a favourite beggar in Cadiz. She was in her 20s (maybe) and had two dogs, one a very shy cocker spaniel and a small, younger, dog a shorter version of Jim who is a red Australian terrier. The white dog was a rescue, a street dog who, if caught and not adopted, would be put down within two weeks in that area. They will miss JP! 
Madrid

So, back to Madrid but just for 24 hours and then to Sydney!

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