April 20-21 Cadiz, what it is.

Cadiz has seen its share of history. Founded by the Phoenicians in 1104 BC, ruled by Carthage after the first Punic war until falling to Rome in the Second Punic war, and destroyed in 410 AD with the defeat of Rome by the Visgoths. Rebuilt, it was conquered and ruled by the Moors from 711 until the Reconquista in 1262. It underwent a renaissance during the Age of Exploration and burned in 1569. Despite the still intact 16th century fortress, it was twice twice sacked by the English only to flourish again in the 18th century as home port to the Spanish-American treasure fleet. Much of the old quarter dates from this time. Our campsite was across the bay from Cadiz at El Puerto de Santa Maria. The office staff were sullen and surly, but our pitch was level and well drained, and the washrooms were clean and well maintained. We were excited to learn that there was a ferry to Cadiz about a 20 minute walk from the campsite, so that night we checked out the walk to the ferry (closer to 30 minutes at a brisk walk) only to discover that because of high winds, the ferry would not run for the next two days. We would have to take a bus instead. On the ride in from our campground, we saw what might have been another imposing example of arrested development or constructus interuptus. Large towers, looking like some abandoned futuristic habitat with platforms and pods hanging off each tower emerged from the bay. Incomplete ramps swept upwards from  the land to hang in mid air, patiently awaiting the cables that will suspend the four lanes and two tramlines, eventually connecting them to the towers and finally linking the two shores. Delayed by budget constraints, the bridge finally opened in September 2015. The sky was a dull, threatening overcast and the wind cold when the bus dropped us at the ferry terminal. We crossed the Avenue del Puerto to the fountains and pool of the Plaza de San Juan de Dios, visited the nearby tourist office to collect a map of walking tours, and set off on a tour of rich merchant’s houses (marked by a purple line painted onto the cobblestones). It was too cold for a streetside lunch, so we stopped for an underwhelming lunch of manchego cheese, cold greasy sausages, aioli smothered room temperature boiled potatoes, and beer at a cerveceria (beer eria). At an adjacent table, elderly, well-dressed, imperious looking matrons were enjoying an amazing looking soufflé that looked like nothing we had recognized on the menu. We headed off, following the purple line. Despite the dull cold, the alleys and homes were interesting but soon the sky fulfilled its threat and poured rain. The cobblestones glistened, puddles formed, and peopled sought cover where they could. We encountered two street hawkers, one selling sun glasses, the other umbrellas. At least one of them had the use of their merchandise. We continued to explore but despite the intriguing light, the cold and wet were unpleasant so we returned to the ferry terminal to await our bus. Needless to say the rain stopped and sun emerged just as our bus departed. We returned to camp thinking that Cadiz deserved a second chance, besides, I was still looking for that iconic Cadiz image I had seen at the tourist office. The next morning we were excited to find the ferry running. Unfortunately, what with harbour regulations and high winds on the open water, the ferry (a 15 meter catamaran) never did make it up to speed. The views were disappointing, but even had they been good, the high winds and pitching ferry made remaining seated mandatory and photography nearly impossible. On arrival, we had our customary coffee and pastry before setting out in search of an iconic image of Cadiz. The weather changed rapidly and for a while I regretted bringing the big cameras and lenses as I wrestled with rain gear, my camera bag, and plastic bags trying to keep the cameras dry. The weather cleared and warmed in the afternoon and walking was much more pleasant, but surprisingly, I preferred the dark moody atmosphere of the previous day. We never did find the vantage point I was looking for. However, I now understand why the tourist maps, guide books, and brochures always show high angle oblique views of the points of interest. Things are so crowded together that you cannot really see and appreciate the monuments and buildings from street level. Still, as always, we had enjoyed the search, absorbed a little of the culture, and tired ourselves out.

April 22 El Puerto de Santa Maria - Villafranca de

Cordoba

We left Cadiz pleased that we had explored, but feeling that it had not lived up to expectations. That is the problem with expectations. If they are too high, it leads to disappointment. If they are too low and you don’t go, you may miss something wonderful. My best experiences are the discoveries of things totally unexpected and wonderful, but without knowing what’s in the area, you can miss so much. Sheila’s research avoids our missing too much, and my ignoring the guide books leaves me the reward of discovery, but even so, expectations are hard to avoid. It was market day when we left for Granada; many of the streets were closed to traffic and we had some difficulty getting out of El Puerto de Santa Maria, but once on the road the Osborne Bull and Tio Pepe Gaucho bid us buen viaje , and it was an uneventful drive to a quiet, shaded, well maintained campground at Villafranc de Cordoba outside Cordoba.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map
Castillo de Santa Catalina guarding Cadiz harbour Constructus interruptus? Fountains and pool at Plaza de San Juan de Dios. Rain glistened on the cobblestones puddled in the streets. The playa de la Caleta from the Castillo de Santa Catalina. The Osborne Bull and Tio Pepe Gaucho (Sherry company  mascots) bid us buen viaje

April 20-21 Cadiz, what it is.

Cadiz has seen its share of history. Founded by the Phoenicians in 1104 BC, ruled by Carthage after the first Punic war until falling to Rome in the Second Punic war, and destroyed in 410 AD with the defeat of Rome by the Visgoths. Rebuilt, it was conquered and ruled by the Moors from 711 until the Reconquista in 1262. It underwent a renaissance during the Age of Exploration and burned in 1569. Despite the still intact 16th century fortress, it was twice twice sacked by the English only to flourish again in the 18th century as home port to the Spanish-American treasure fleet. Much of the old quarter dates from this time. Our campsite was across the bay from Cadiz at El Puerto de Santa Maria. The office staff were sullen and surly, but our pitch was level and well drained, and the washrooms were clean and well maintained. We were excited to learn that there was a ferry to Cadiz about a 20 minute walk from the campsite, so that night we checked out the walk to the ferry (closer to 30 minutes at a brisk walk) only to discover that because of high winds, the ferry would not run for the next two days. We would have to take a bus instead. On the ride in from our campground, we saw what might have been another imposing example of arrested development or constructus interuptus. Large towers, looking like some abandoned futuristic habitat with platforms and pods hanging off each tower emerged from the bay. Incomplete ramps swept upwards from  the land to hang in mid air, patiently awaiting the cables that will suspend the four lanes and two tramlines, eventually connecting them to the towers and finally linking the two shores. Delayed by budget constraints, the bridge finally opened in September 2015. The sky was a dull, threatening overcast and the wind cold when the bus dropped us at the ferry terminal. We crossed the Avenue del Puerto to the fountains and pool of the Plaza de San Juan de Dios, visited the nearby tourist office to collect a map of walking tours, and set off on a tour of rich merchant’s houses (marked by a purple line painted onto the cobblestones). It was too cold for a streetside lunch, so we stopped for an underwhelming lunch of manchego cheese, cold greasy sausages, aioli smothered room temperature boiled potatoes, and beer at a cerveceria (beer eria). At an adjacent table, elderly, well-dressed, imperious looking matrons were enjoying an amazing looking soufflé that looked like nothing we had recognized on the menu. We headed off, following the purple line. Despite the dull cold, the alleys and homes were interesting but soon the sky fulfilled its threat and poured rain. The cobblestones glistened, puddles formed, and peopled sought cover where they could. We encountered two street hawkers, one selling sun glasses, the other umbrellas. At least one of them had the use of their merchandise. We continued to explore but despite the intriguing light, the cold and wet were unpleasant so we returned to the ferry terminal to await our bus. Needless to say the rain stopped and sun emerged just as our bus departed. We returned to camp thinking that Cadiz deserved a second chance, besides, I was still looking for that iconic Cadiz image I had seen at the tourist office. The next morning we were excited to find the ferry running. Unfortunately, what with harbour regulations and high winds on the open water, the ferry (a 15 meter catamaran) never did make it up to speed. The views were disappointing, but even had they been good, the high winds and pitching ferry made remaining seated mandatory and photography nearly impossible. On arrival, we had our customary coffee and pastry before setting out in search of an iconic image of Cadiz. The weather changed rapidly and for a while I regretted bringing the big cameras and lenses as I wrestled with rain gear, my camera bag, and plastic bags trying to keep the cameras dry. The weather cleared and warmed in the afternoon and walking was much more pleasant, but surprisingly, I preferred the dark moody atmosphere of the previous day. We never did find the vantage point I was looking for. However, I now understand why the tourist maps, guide books, and brochures always show high angle oblique views of the points of interest. Things are so crowded together that you cannot really see and appreciate the monuments and buildings from street level. Still, as always, we had enjoyed the search, absorbed a little of the culture, and tired ourselves out.

April 22 El Puerto de Santa Maria -

Villafranca de Cordoba

We left Cadiz pleased that we had explored, but feeling that it had not lived up to expectations. That is the problem with expectations. If they are too high, it leads to disappointment. If they are too low and you don’t go, you may miss something wonderful. My best experiences are the discoveries of things totally unexpected and wonderful, but without knowing what’s in the area, you can miss so much. Sheila’s research avoids our missing too much, and my ignoring the guide books leaves me the reward of discovery, but even so, expectations are hard to avoid. It was market day when we left for Granada; many of the streets were closed to traffic and we had some difficulty getting out of El Puerto de Santa Maria, but once on the road the Osborne Bull and Tio Pepe Gaucho bid us buen viaje , and it was an uneventful drive to a quiet, shaded, well maintained campground at Villafranc de Cordoba outside Cordoba.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map
Castillo de Santa Catalina guarding Cadiz harbour Constructus interruptus? Fountains and pool at Plaza de San Juan de Dios. Rain glistened on the cobblestones puddled in the streets. The playa de la Caleta from the Castillo de Santa Catalina. The Osborne Bull and Tio Pepe Gaucho (Sherry company  mascots) bid us buen viaje