Cadiz

On the edge of Europe, Cadiz is famous for looking much like Havana and this is not surprising given its history as a seafaring centre from which many ships sailed to the Americas over the years. Cadiz is as old as Europe, some say the oldest city in this ancient continent, with Phoenicians, Roman, Muslim and Christian roots going back for centuries. And it is still a beautiful, vibrant city with a fish market to die for and atmospheric alleys, cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as, museums and concert halls. One of Spain’s most famous composers Manuel de Falla is from here and the city is known as the site of the yearly carnival where laughter and music mingle on the streets. 20141221_123457When we visited, at the end of December, the weather was chilly but fresh and pregnant with sea breeze. Our modest hotel was near the famed Cathedral and around the corner from the Gypsy area and an atmospheric ancient sherry bar full of wooden barrels and old men. The best part of a first visit to Cadiz is getting lost in the atmospheric streets and putting your head in small local bakeries, restaurants and shops to try the local fare and talk to the friendly folk. The Cadiz Museum is also nice to visit with classic and modern art and archaeological pieces that somehow help put things in perspective.     20141221_135934      But the best history is the living one: the mix of faces you see on the street, reflecting the complex line of men and women who have choose this place as home, the tradition you taste when you try the local cheese and olives and the laughter and joyful talk you hear when you walk into a random bar on a Sunday afternoon where there is a large communal paella is placed on the counter where you can buy a small, tapa portion and eat knowing for a day you are part of a large family of all the people who have passed through here. And walking beside the harbour, looking at the men with fishing rods in the water, you know that they stand where many stood over time.

20141220_132651So for a few days in December, we laugh and talk and are silent and dream, in these streets and under this sky, oblivious and yet knowing that Cadiz will be here much longer after we are gone.20141220_113429