Driving through this part of Spain (Andalucia) brings some ancient advertising hoardings to view. These towering monuments to commerce were outlawed in 1994 along with all other roadside hoardings but were brought back by public outcry and now the Osborne Bull and the Tio Pepe guitarist reign supreme in the Andalucian landscape as part of the National Heritage.
We were heading to Cadiz which was built on a peninsula but the need for easier access to the city necessitated building yet another enormous bridge.
The bridge has a nickname and is called “la Pepa” perhaps after a popular children’s TV character. It is one of the highest bridges in Europe and I would have loved to have stopped in the middle for a bit of fishing but I would have needed 69 metres of fishing line just to reach the water.
We went to Cadiz knowing that we could stay on a large mixed parking site near the port for just 3 Euro a night. (See the dot on the map below.) The port noise was present but not too disturbing – lorries reversing, fork lifts lifting and ships shipping etc. What we didn’t know, however, was that we were just by a theatre and even closer to a nightclub. Once the port quietened down after teatime, the local drum and trumpet band turned up (Yes a DRUM and TRUMPET Band) and started practicing outdoors for the upcoming carnival parade. They marched, drummed and trumpeted within 20 metres of our home until about 10:00 then gradually wandered off. Time then for the nightclub to open. They had a DJ whose sole purpose in life was to keep us all awake until 3a.m.
I had hoped to do some fishing just by the car park but the sea wall was lined by a giants sugar cubes. These blocks were 3 metres on a side in order to create a barrier to the waves. They created a more than effective barrier to fishermen, if you fall between the blocks you are crab food. I did walk out to the end of the “Y” shape on the map and despite joining several other fishermen and women, I caught nothing!
Cadiz old town is a very interesting city and boasts several hundred watchtowers used in ancient sailing times to get the owners in touch with their incoming vessels. The shot below is a half dozen pictures sewn in to one 360 degree panorama. It was taken from the top of one of those towers.
The tower housed a “Camera Obscura”, an arrangement of mirrors and lenses that focussed an image on to a 2 metre wide tabletop screen within a darkened room. (The “camera Obscura” bit.) We were able to get an English language guided tour of the city without moving an inch.
We were able to follow this up with a visit in person as it were to many of the sites of the city. We visited a busy fish market with the most amazing range of seafood species. There were whole swordfish with metre long swords, spiny sea urchins, crabs, whelks, and 50 shades of prawns.
Cadiz old town is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways. Tiny doorways with interesting door furniture lead to even narrower ways. So easy to get lost there.
Luckily there are plenty of landmarks around the centre. We visited the cathedral where I spent a happy hour listening to my own personal tour guide courtesy of a pre recorded message on a tiny hand held mp3 player. We were able to climb the bell tower where they had lots of …..you guessed it – bells.
Unfortunately for my hearing we arrived just before midday and despite a friendly warning from a local (who appeared to have climbed the 40 metre spiral slope just to get a signal on his mobile phone as he talked on it all the time he was in view) we stayed to listen to the 12 chimes. Standing within a couple of metres of the bells, they were as impressive as the view.
After another night at the same car park, (Surely – Surely they wouldn’t repeat the same noises as last night?) with an exact encore of the previous evenings performance, we paid up and drove on towards the town of Conil De La Frontera passing a few interesting sites on the way.
The port of Conil is a centre for the tuna fishing boats and is a hive of activity. There are, however, some very strange sights here including the hundreds of anchors awaiting ships:
And the graveyard of smaller boats:
We arrived at our destination; Camping Rosaleda in Conil just about teatime and the view from our window was impressive enough to convince both fo us to stay here for a while.