Thursday, 3 October 2013

CADIZ - "Non Plus Ultra"

CADIZ Coat of Arms and Flag

When you travel to Cadiz you end up at the Atlantic coast, not Mediterranean anymore. According to the legends Cadiz was founded by Hercules that inscribed some columns with the words "NON PLUS ULTRA" to mark where the great, vast ocean began and the land ended (Escudo de Oro S.A.).  The city has a very long history and it is sometimes counted as the most ancient city still standing in western europe. Phoenicians, Carthage, Romans and the Moors have all had their influence in the city. Later, especially in the 16th century Cadiz experienced a series of raids by Barbary corsairs and because of its geographic position foreign powers have had an interest in the city also after that. During the age of exploration Columbus sailed from Cadiz on his second and fourth voyages. Today Cadiz has some 130.000 inhabitants. (Info: Wikipedia)

Cadiz Cathedral
One of the many huge figtrees

Small vessels by Castle of San Sebastian

To reach our hotel we had to drive into Cadiz through narrow streets and in the middle of tall buildings. Obviously our navigator did not work at this critical moment. Also the city is a jungle of one-way roads  where signs are not too frequently posted. Therefore my wife had to jump out to ask directions for the hotel while I took another tour around the blocks. She did a good job and once I found my way back the kind owner was only too welcoming. The hotel, Patio del Panadero, was a relatively new hotel run by the family that used to live there. This was a typical house in this region with an internal patio that is surrounded by rooms on three levels. 

Locals enjoy fishing by San Sebastian

A surreal feeling in one of the parks

Our hotel Patio del Panadero

We often take the Hop on-Hop off buses in places we have not visited before to get a good glimps of the city and its key attractions. This time we decided to walk around the old Cadiz to see the many Plazas and their special architecture. We passed the Cadiz Cathedral (above) and the Tavira Tower that would have offered excellent views over the city. Due to the heat we decided not to climb up there. In the evening we were adviced to have dinner at a plaza with good fish restaurants. Luckily we went early to have a table because soon crowds where queing up. And we had set a time for our Flamenco show that evening and this could not be missed.

Restaurant area when we arrived
The same place one hour later

Flamenco rhythms.....Olé!

Except Arcos the province of Cadiz has much to offer including the neighboring towns with their markets and vineyards. Unfortunaltely we had not reserved time to visit e.g. Jerez but on our way back we stopped at a lovely restaurant called El Tesoro from where we could see Tarifa, a well known windsurfing centre. A bit later we stopped by at the ancient Roman City Baelo Claudia before passing Gibraltar and heading home along the A7.

Restaurant El Tesoro

View from El Tesoro over Spanish Tarifa and Morocco over the sea.

Roman City of Baelo Claudia

Baelo Claudia and the Mediterranean

This excursion to western Andalucia was brilliant and showed us a lot but left ever so much more to be experienced. But now we understand what's there and distances from place to place. If you want to visit restaurant El Tesoro, book a table and make sure that you get exact driving directions. It's up there on the hill and is not to be mixed up with the nearby military site. ;)   And mind the road, too.

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