3000 Year Old City
Today we drove to Cadiz. It is known as the oldest city in Europe. We had wanted to take the ferry from Rota; however, because of it being Christmas Eve, the schedule did not allow us enough time to tour the town. When we walked along the waterfront yesterday, we noticed we could see the town of Cadiz. We did not notice that the last time we were here.
Very uncharacteristically, we did not wake up today until about 08:00. After getting ourselves ready, we piled into the car at about 10:30. We arrived at about 11:20. We parked in an underground parking garage. It was right by the cruise ship dock.
Emerging from the garage, we crossed the street and entered the tourist information office. We picked up a brochure for four walking tours. It was absolutely idiot proof! Each tour was a different color. The tour we chose was the green tour. All we had to do was literally follow the green line painted on the ground!
The first site we came to was the Plaza de San Juan de Dios (St. John of God). City Hall is the most prominent building overlooking the Plaza. We had some coffee in our room, but nothing to eat. So, our first order of business was to find a cafe. We ended up at Restaurante el Sardinero. We each had a coffee and a pastry. That ended up costing us 20.40 Euros – OUCH! That was nothing like our little bar last night! I imagine there were two main reasons. First of all, the cafe was right on the Plaza. Second, it is one of the first ones after people get off of the cruise ships.
We continued along our green path. We saw the El Populo Arch and the Rosa Arch. The Rosa Arch led us into the Plaza in front of the New Cathedral. We bought tickets for our entry into the Cathedral. The cost of the tickets was 16 Euros. As we entered the Cathedral, there was loud music being played. More on that later.
The Cathedral was very interesting. In one of the side chapels there was a huge, silver monstrance. It is used during the Holy Week parades. It requires 12 men to carry it. We noticed a staircase going beneath the Presbytery. The gate was open so we went down the stairs. We found ourselves standing in the crypt. Several bishops are interred there, the earliest dating from the mid-1700s. Also of note are some relics of Santa Victoria.
After we saw the crypt, the kids went outside to see what was going on in front of the Cathedral. Leslie and I continued walking through the Cathedral. When we came out, we found a large group of female dancers and a couple of male dancers. They had several dance numbers choreographed to popular songs. We stood there and watched them for several minutes.
We left that Plaza and walked to the Church of Santa Cruz. The church was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Then we continued south. We made it to the sea wall.
From there we walked by the Roman Theatre. The site was closed, so there was not much to see.
We walked back into the old town, making our way to Calle Pelota. That was a busy street with many shops. We ultimately selected Bodegon Riojano for lunch. It is at C/Pelota, 8. We were seated in the back of the restaurant. I thought the music that was playing was Flamenco. I asked our server, Jose Luis. He said I was right, it was Flamenco de Navidad.
I asked Jose Luis about the cold, foggy weather. He said it was very unusual for this time of year. I asked him for a business card. He gave us a card and four wallet sized calendars. When he took our order he brought us some olives and pickled, pearl onions. For a starter we decided on grilled shrimp. They were grilled with the shells and sprinkled with sea salt. They were great! For the main course, the girls ordered beef, two different types of steak. The boys shared a paella. Now, paella has not been my favorite meal in Spain; however, I could eat this paella every day! It had shrimp, clams, some sort of fish, and chicken. To go with this, Leslie and I had vino tinto; Chiton Crianza 2007 Rioja. It was good, but then we have never really found a red wine we didn’t like! Our lunch came to a total of 86.60 Euros.
From the restaurant we walked to the store, Bengala. It is one of the stores along the Cathedral Plaza. We several souvenirs.
We walked back through the Plaza de San Juan de Dios. When we got there and looked to the port, we saw a huge cruise ship. We were going to get the car and drive back to the lodge at Rota. Instead, we decided to take a taxi to the Santa Catalina Castle. If I understood the taxi driver correctly, he said the Battle of Trafalgar took place there. I will have to confirm that.
We walked through the castle and took several photos. There were numerous art shows on exhibition too. We left the castle and walked to the taxi stand. At the taxi stand was a monstrous tree. Actually, there were two trees. We asked the driver what kind of trees they were. He said they were ficus trees. He also said they were about 100 years old.
One thing that surprised us in Cadiz was the number of German tourists we ran into while we walked around the city. Maybe they were all off of the cruise ship we saw in the port. They were nice, we were just surprised by the numbers.
The taxi took us back near our car. From the garage, which cost 9.90 Euros, we drove back to the lodge. We arrived at about 18:00. Leslie went to the NEX to play Santa for us tomorrow! We shall see!