Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 5th - The Rain in Spain Thrashes Down on Cádiz!

In my lecture on Cadiz, I'd explained what a laid-back sun-drenched atmosphere they'd be entering into – which meant that the passengers (and I) were totally unprepared for the tempestuous conditions that greeted us in Cadiz. The wind was howling and the torrential rain was sheeting sideways – within 10 seconds of walking down the gangplank, you were totally soaked. In the morning, many people got half way down the gangplank and gave up.

As we struggled into town, every rubbish bin was filled with a growing pile of mangled umbrellas, torn apart by the furious tempest. Within 20 minutes, my jeans were soaked to above the knees, so we sought refuge in our favourite cafe by the market, where Spanish families sheltered from the conditions muttering about it being the end of the world.

Seeing as this was a place that we're considering eventually moving to, we thought that it was a waste of our time just sitting in a cafe, so we ventured out into the hammering rain again. It was a decision we soon came to regret, as we ran from shelter to shelter with the rain bouncing up off the pavement, our soaked shoes squelching through the puddles. Rather than hunting out the favourite bars that we'd planned, we ended up in dodgy bars that we'd never have gone into normally, with slightly disappointing food results.

As our moods darkened, the skies at last began to clear, and by 5pm, it was the Cadiz that we knew again (apart from the puddles we were tip-toeing around). So, we walked around the sea walls, and pondered whether this really was a place we could see ourselves living in – we were assured by the fact that one of the bar owners told us that this was the first significant rain in the last 5 months.

As the ship was staying till 10.30pm, we stayed out for the night and headed to our favourite tapas bar, El Faro. Unfortunately, we'd forgotten that the Andalucians are such night owls, and the place didn't even open until 8.30pm – which meant that we'd have to leave at 9.20 to make sure we got back to the ship for all aboard at 10.

So, we found a different bar to sit outside (on our own), while the time ticked down to tapas-o'clock. Eventually, it was 8.30, so we had the ignominy of waiting outside the door for them to open up. We knew that by 10.30, the whole place would be packed, but at this time we were the only people in there – it was like torture.

Anyway, we ignored the lack of atmosphere and started ordering some of the most delicious tapas you can find in Andalucia. Gradually, it started to fill up and get lively just as it was time for us to go back to the ship. We vowed that next time we came here, we'd get here late and stay all night.

So, we didn't see Cadiz at its best, but it's still a wonderful place.