Kickin ya heels, isn’t that what they call it? We are going to hang about down here for two reasons, firstly ‘Semana Santa’ or ‘holy week’ in Saville starts in 2 weeks and secondly, we need to get Charlie’s nose fixed, the little accident in France seemed so long ago, so to kill a bit of time we head for Cádiz.
The oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in western Europe is just up the road. Cádiz, almost an island, connected by a finger of land and two new land bridges to the rest of Andalusia. The camp site was close to the ferry terminal and the fare was only €12 return for 2 people, superb value for money.
[WARNING: HISTORY LESSON ALERT]
The largest part of the old town was consumed in huge fire in 1569, then in April 1587, a raid by the Englishman Francis Drake occupied the harbor for three days, captured six ships, and destroyed 31 others, an event which became known in England as ‘The Singeing of the King of Spain’s Beard’. The attack delayed the sailing of the Spanish Armada by a year.
The city suffered a more serious attack in 1596, when it was captured by another English fleet, this time under the Earls of Essex and Nottingham. Thirty two Spanish ships were destroyed and the city was captured, looted and occupied for almost a month. Finally, when the royal authorities refused to pay a ransom demanded by the English for returning the city intact, they burned most of it, before leaving with their booty. A third English raid was mounted against the city in 1625 by the Duke of Buckingham and Edward Cecil, but the attempt was unsuccessful. During the Anglo-Spanish War, Admiral Robert Blake blockaded Cádiz from 1655 to 1657. In the 1702 Battle of Cádiz, the English attacked again under George Rooke and the Duke of Ormonde but they were repelled after a costly siege.
Such a rich history and this is only just a little of it. It’s been held by the Greeks, Romans and North African Muslims too, all have left their mark, some of it is still here to see. Nowadays, it’s a little finger of Spain you could forget ever existed. The city seems to rotate around itself, self-indulgently, ignoring the problems of the mainland, flats are small, streets tiny and full of retail opportunities, shops like-wise, compact, whereas the huge public buildings have an ancient monopoly on space and grandeur.
In times-gone-by Cádiz’s main job was a port for shipping trade, from all over the world. In order to see the next ship to port, residents built look-out towers on top of their houses, periscope type contraptions so they could keep a look-out into the bay. You probably can’t see it on the photos, but there are lots of little turrets on the top of the original buildings and all face the sea.
It was turning cool in the shadowy streets about 4ish so we decide to head for the earlier ferry. Fifteen minuets later we docked & were riding back to the campsite along pleasant little cycle paths around the coast. I’m still amazed to see all this lovely soft sand, palm trees & sunshine …and not a soul on the beach! ahh…if this were Skeggy on an August bank holiday, it would be standing room only!
Have a great Easter…Wayne.
PS. the maps page has been updated, so you can now see how far behind I am with the blog. 🙂
Feel free to comment…’yall still out there?