What’s Really Going on out There?

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Published: August 3rd 2023

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Playa de Santa Maria del MarPlaya de Santa Maria del MarPlaya de Santa Maria del Mar

I head off for another aimless wander through the narrow backstreets of beautiful Cadiz. Our apartment’s in Calle Ancha, which I think means “wide street”. l suppose it might possibly be half a metre or so less narrow than most of its counterparts.

First stop is the lively Plaza de la Catedral, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is in front of the city’s cathedral. I read that this was built between 1722 and 1838, so like a few other cathedrals we’ve seen in Spain, they again took their time. The ever-reliable Wikipedia says that it’s a declared “good of cultural interest”, with its “type“ classified as “immovable”. Yep, that would be right I think. It has a large crypt which houses the tomb of the composer Manuel de Falla, who was apparently born here in Cadiz. I don’t think he was a big fan of General Franco – he moved to Argentina straight after Franco won the Spanish Civil War. The Generalissimo then kept trying to bribe him back with offers of a large pension, but Falla kept refusing. Falla’s will stated that he was to be buried in Argentina, but it seems the bully wasn’t going to take too much notice

Plaza de la CatedralPlaza de la CatedralPlaza de la Catedral

of that minor detail … and he presumably got out of having to pay the pension. I really don’t like bullies.

I climb a long ramp up one of the Cathedral’s two towers. They views out over the city from up here are excellent. Signs warn that the bells go off every fifteen minutes, which is unfortunately only helpful if you happen to be wearing a watch. Why is it that I always seem to get stuck standing right under one of these things when they clang with enough force to wake the dead? At least I don’t need coffee anymore.

I wander along the waterfront behind the excellent Playa del Santa Maria del Mar with its long wide expanse of golden sand. It’s clearly very popular, with no shortage of sunseekers enjoying a day out as the waves roll in. Next stop is the attractive fountains and flowers of La Plaza de la Constitucion which sits in front of the city’s eighteenth century walls. Then it’s on to large Plaza de San Juan de Dios in front of the cruise ship terminal. It’s dominated by the impressive late eighteenth century Cadiz Town Hall.

It’s siesta time,

Enjoying the sunset from Puente CanalEnjoying the sunset from Puente CanalEnjoying the sunset from Puente Canal

then it’s off to watch the sunset. We take a short detour to the very striking Gran Teatro Falla, which was opened in 1910 and is now named after one of the city’s favourite sons… the one who isn’t buried in Argentina.

It seems that the place to watch the sunset from here is Puente Canal, a long causeway which leads from Playa de la Caleta out to the very mysterious looking Castillo de San Sebastian. The tide’s out exposing rock pools and mud flats which only serves to add to the spectacle. According to Google Maps the castle’s “temporarily closed”, but the ever-reliable thinks that there’s a marine research laboratory out there. The gate’s locked and it all looks very sinister. It seems the makers of James Bond movies thought so too – we read that it was used as the setting for the evil Dr Alvarez’s “DNA replacement therapy clinic” in “Die Another Day”. We speculate as to what might really be going on inside there now – experiments on unearthly deep sea creatures deemed too terrifying for the public to know about … I think now might be a good time to eat before hunger stimulates

Enjoying the sunset (or looking at your phone) from Puente CanalEnjoying the sunset (or looking at your phone) from Puente CanalEnjoying the sunset (or looking at your phone) from Puente Canal

our imaginations any further.

We dine in the Plaza de la Catedral. The food’s terrible … well half the food’s terrible – we’re not sure who thought it was a good idea to deep fry the corn chips on the nachos. The service is terrible too, and we’re sitting right next to a really spooky looking merry-go-round. But it’s OK, the entertainment‘s provided by what must surely be Spain’s loudest and most animated person – the woman sitting with her three much younger companions on the next table. It somehow doesn’t seem to matter that we can only understand a tiny fraction of what she’s saying.



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