Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coasting in a Car to Cádiz

We drove down to Cádiz Tuesday morning. It's less than an hour and a half south, but it felt like a different world. Jerry and I picked up the rental car at the train station Monday night and parked at the garage under the bus station, which is by the river and a 10-minute walk from our house. We wanted to avoid any possible snags trying to make it down our little street to the parking garage closer to home.

To walk from the train station to the bus station takes about 30 minutes. A taxi ride takes 10 minutes or less. Jerry and I drove it in just over 50 minutes. As they say in Maine, "You can't get there from here." The thoroughfare we tried to use turned out to be open only to taxis, buses, and cars with resident stickers. We had to detour. Instead of heading mostly west from the train station, we went west, north, east, north, west, south, and then west. Or at least that's how I think we went. It's a good thing we enjoy getting lost.

WALKING ALONG THE NORTH SIDE OF THE OLD CITY. THE BAY OF CÁDIZ.

It was definitely worth the effort. Linda and Tom walked over Tuesday morning with their overnight bag. We had coffee downstairs and then all walked to the car. Getting out of the city was easy, thanks to Google Maps, and the drive to Cádiz was a pleasure. What a beautiful city. Tom and Linda had been there before and loved it. We now understand why.

TREES SAID TO HAVE BEEN BROUGHT FROM THE NEW WORLD BY COLUMBUS.
(COLUMBUS SAILED FROM CÁDIZ ON HIS SECOND AND FOURTH VOYAGES.)

Cádiz is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in possibly all of southwestern Europe. Its founding dates to 1104 BC (which is well before Jerry was born; hell, that's well before The Dowager Duchess was born). The city is undergoing a huge facelift — building renovations, repaving, new plantings (including massive palm trees) — mostly I think in preparation for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the first Spanish constitution.

We stumbled on a lunch place that was the pits. Ham croquettes without ham, French fries from a freezer bag. But, we were in such good company that it didn't matter. Jerry had researched places for dinner and our day ended with an exceptional meal at Restaurante Aljibe. Unbelievably delicious food. Absolutely perfect, warm and charming and gracious, service. We arrived just as they opened that night. Jerry did the research and arrangements for our little escape, including finding an excellent place to stay, the Hotel Argantonio, in the old center. He's a great travel agent.

LA CALETA BEACH. THE EAST SIDE OF THE CITY ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.

RECENTLY RESTORED BUILDINGS IN THE OLD CENTER.

UNRESTORED. BUT WITH WALLS OF FLOWER POTS WAITING TO BE FILLED.

OUTSIDE THE POST OFFICE.

THE SOUTH COAST OF CÁDIZ. LOOKING ALONG THE ATLANTIC FROM OLD TOWN TO THE NEW.

BEHIND THE CATHEDRAL.

THE GOLDEN DOME OF THE CATHEDRAL AND SOME OF THE STONE WORK.

THE FRONT OF THE CATHEDRAL. GETTING READY FOR HOLY WEEK.

PLAZA DE SAN JUAN DE DIOS. MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS UNDERWAY.

THE CHURCH OF SAN AGUSTÍN, 1647.

RESTAURANTE ALJIBE. THE PERFECT PLACE FOR THE PERFECT MEAL.
TAPAS DOWNSTAIRS. FULL MENU UPSTAIRS. WE WENT UPSTAIRS.

23 comments:

  1. You are on permanent vacation. Love the pictures. I am totally jealous as I sit here with the flu/cold feeling miserable.

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    1. Nubian: Jealousy from she who just returned from 5 weeks of wine tastings! But, yes, I know it's back to the grind for you now. I am so sorry you're not well. Hope you're soon back to fruit forward!

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  2. How beautiful it is in Cadiz - another place I'd like to visit when we finally make it to Spain.

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    1. Carole:
      We had heard it was beautiful and we weren't disappointed.

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  3. What a beautiful place! I'd be dizzy doing 360's with my camera! You photos are great Mitch and they give us a good sense of the city. Bet it was nice to get away.

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    1. Jim:
      I stopped spinning some time ago. Thanks for the comps on the photos. I'm honored since they come from such an artist! It was a fun couple of days and still a joy to get home to Sevilla.

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  4. Belles photos, as usual. Sounds like a great little getaway. Me, I'm planning a trip to the supermarket.

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    1. Thanks so much for the comps on the photos, Walt the Fourth. Coming from another true artist (see above)! Hope your trip was a joy. I couldn't handle that kind of excitement. As you know, a trip to the supermarket is too much like cooking.

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  5. Wow, more Spanish-looking than a Spanish something or other! Fantastic looking place, so solid-looking.

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    1. The Owl Wood:
      A fascinating city. We've got to get back and explore more. Roman ruins, churches (of course), and so much more.

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  6. Hello Mitch:
    Cádiz looks absolutely wonderful, a rare mix of sea, an old town, interesting architecture and, of course, sun and blue skies. Have fun, as we are sure that you will.

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    1. J&L:
      Already home after a stop yesterday in another charming city (post soon to come). A wonderful two days!

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  7. It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to just walk around leisurely. I seem to recall that happening to me once. Or maybe it was someone in a movie. Who knows!
    m.

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    1. Mark:
      You'll have that chance again some day soon... 20 years or so isn't too long to wait, is it? In the meantime, you've got all that excitement!

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  8. Absolutely stunning.
    I could get lost there and not have a care in the world.

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  9. Absolutely wonderful photos! You could do a beautiful coffee table book of your strolls and tours.

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    1. Ms Sparrow:
      Oh, thanks. If only someone would buy it!

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  10. It's true what Ms Sparrow says :) Your photos are amazing, and every spot you two visit is always so interesting and beautiful. Wow!

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    1. Judith:
      And thanks to you, too! We are so lucky to be surrounded by so much beauty.

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  11. I feel so much better for that great tour and the warm sunshine! (It has been very chilly here today.) Everywhere is beautiful - but oh my goodness, that tree - immense, beautiful, and kind of spooky too.

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    1. Elaine:
      If it makes you feel any better, there was a cold, raw wind off the bay that evening in Cådiz. I guess it was nothing like you're complaining of, but it definitely wasn't an evening to enjoy an outdoor meal.

      There were a number of those ancient trees in that park. I was standing next to a thick, 5-foot-tall marble column and then realized it was placed there to support a large branch.

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  12. Wow … seems like a gorgeous city! Now I want to vist someday!

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