Cadiz: Day 1

This will hopefully be a shorter post since we spent most of the day traveling to Cadiz, a peninsula on the southern Atlantic coast of Spain. Mikey has been here before (albeit almost 20 years ago) and vowed to one day return. Let’s just say that it was a most surreal afternoon spent wandering through the narrow and winding medieval streets. You see, dear reader, the last time Mikey was here he had just taken one of the longest bus rides of his life from Tarifa.

At the time, that southernmost Spanish city had the highest per capita suicide rate in all of Europe. (This is due to constant winds which blow through the mouth of the Mediterranean and force the inhabitants to walk at a nearly 45-degree angle at all times out of doors.) Although perhaps more homicidal at the time, Mikey and his traveling companion were on the outs following a brawl wherein Mikey allegedly attacked a member of a certain protected primate species and got both Lauren and himself banned from Gibraltar. After a miserably windy overnight stay exiled in Tarifa, the now silent refugees made their way slowly to Cadiz whereupon they quickly parted ways for a couple of days. This proved to be an almost spiritual awakening for Mikey as he found that solo travel is really fun. I mean, if you like yourself … oh, and if ever kicked out of a country – well, it’s your own damn fault (allegedly).

The cathedral of Cadiz was a favorite hangout spot for Mikey on that trip. Ok, not actually inside the church, but sitting in front of it either on the steps or at a cafe table in the plaza.

You might notice a latitudinal break somewhere midway up on the building’s facade. Although not intentionally planned at its architectural inception, this is basically where the builders ran out of funding and had to wait a while before they could afford to finish construction. Although lengthy breaks in construction were not uncommon during that period, their timing was a bit off as architectural fashions had drastically changed.

We’ll definitely cover more about the cathedral and even give you a tour of the inside tomorrow, but Mikey wants to show you his serendipitous find of the day. These yellow arrows or flechas will play a most important roll in the coming days as they will direct us to Santiago de Compostela.

Housed in a former hospital, the Iglesia de San Juan de Dios was completely charming and empty save Mikey and a disturbingly casual-dressed priest. After an awkward few minutes, the polo-shirted priest in khaki cutoffs crossed the altar and made his exit through a hidden door. On cue, Mikey raced out of the door and made his way to the sea. Hey, here’s an idea – let’s just show you:

Ok, we’ll have Mikey work a bit more on those time-lapse videos. Still, it brought us out to the sea where we could finally see the Atlantic Ocean.

As would be expected, Cadiz is surrounded by a high seawall designed to protect it from the sea and from potential invaders. As we will see tomorrow, it has worked much better against the incursions of the former than of the latter.

Still, no matter who controlled Cadiz, most powers allowed nature to flourish and the resulting centuries-old trees are proof of man’s sometimes mercy towards nature. (And talk about your dream climbing tree.)

As we mentioned before, Cadiz is a peninsula surrounded on all sides by a mixture of both ancient and modern seawalls that are most beautiful to walk alongside, but doing so can really raise one’s appetite.

We give you: costillas a la barbacoa. Yeah, Mikey has tried barbecued ribs in most areas of Spain, but these really stood out. Super tender with only a fork needed to pull the meat from the bone and just the right amount of mildly sweetened sauce. Oh, and that Syrah paired so well!

It is amazing how an afternoon and evening can fly by so quickly. Last stop: O’ Connell’s – the only Irish pub in Cadiz. What, pray tell, is that nightcap? Café Irlandés. And if Mikey doesn’t stay out too late tomorrow, he’ll show you how it’s made – fire and all!

Buenas noches a nuestros lectores.

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