Cadiz

Star Travel Rating

4/5

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Travelled with

Wife

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Date of travel

March, 2018

Taking advantage of ridiculously cheap (by UK standards) train fares brings almost anywhere in Spain within reach from almost everywhere. Jerez to Cadiz was little more than a walk in the park.

We arrived mid-morning and walked in bright sunlight to the tourist information office near the harbour. As everywhere, the staff were helpful, providing maps and directions to the museum we wanted to visit. That done, we could – we thought – enjoy a stroll around, find a restaurant for lunch and decide how to spend the time before our return.

The museum seemed easy enough, except we went into what must be the administration entrance, in a separate building. A courteous official redirected us, and we found equally helpful people at the reception desk, who explained that admission was free, we could take photos but not use flash and – later – that there were no refreshment facilities but we could leave our bag in a locker and return after coffee.

Excellent coffee and cake later, we resumed our tour. It is a beautifully presented range of finds from prehistoric through Carthaginian, Roman and Moslem to Spanish antiquities, currently with contemporary works installed in response to the old. Hard to say which was the most impressive, although the Jupiter statue and the gigantic Roman administrator (with head modelled elsewhere) had to rank highly.

Museum visiting makes for hunger, and we had a waterside tapas bar in mind. Problem: anywhere near water we met wind, not just sharp but cold, taking a good few degrees off the thermometer reading. Inside with a view proved impossible. We trailed around a few narrow streets, remembering always that pedestrian priority still means dodging traffic. Some attractive squares had bars but none with the food we were looking for. Cadiz seems less provided than Jerez, Sanlucar or Arcos with the kind of tapas bars we had anticipated. Perhaps we were searching the wrong area. Eventually we settled on a restaurant, for a meal that was good but not outstanding.

There was still plenty of time afterwards to explore streets, shop windows and buildings. We had hopes for the Roman amphitheatre but it was under repair and looking as if it would be so for a long time. The sea wall nearby was at least on the wrong side for wind, so we enjoyed views of the old and new (or less old) cathedral. Of course the market was closed after lunch but there was a grand statue of Concita Rosa, a flamenco dancer on the terrace above.

Cadiz is very much a working city and tourists have to find what they need wherever it occurs. That makes it less commercial than many, an advantage except when you are lost. We were for a short time but a consultation with the map soon corrected that. A walk to the station and the journey back before the working day was over meant we could relax and enjoy the birds on salt pans and mud flats while reconsidering the delights of the museum.

John.Pelling

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