Tim likes to travel. Follow his adventures as he explores the world.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cádiz, Spain: La Costa de la Luz

Synopsis: I have been trying to get down to Cádiz and Gibraltar since I moved here, and I finally have some time to do it. Plus, I found some friends to road trip with me, so we can move around and do more in the area. Brittney and Ainhoa will ride with me in the car as we go down the Ruta de la Plata, and Eduardo will take the train and meet us down there. We got a nice AirBnB apartment near the beach and not too far from downtown.


This can't be safe, but it's fun
Road trips are the best, except when they're not, then they aren't
1,000km along the Ruta de la Plata
1,000km along the Ruta de la Plata


Day 1: Pick up Britney and Ainhoa at 7am to hit the road. After about 3 hours, we stop for breakfast at a rest stop, but the kitchen isn't open because it's only 1030am and life in Spain starts much later. 
Stop 2 hours later in Cáceres and grab a bite to eat at a traditional tourist place where we have authentic touristy food (they claimed the migas del pastor was a local treat, but it tasted like the migas we have in Navarra). After eating, we walk around Cáceres a bit and check out the sights before hitting the road again. Make one more gas stop, just outside Sevilla, before reaching Cádiz. 

Eduardo is already at our airbnb and has already gone to the supermarket to get breakfast for tomorrow, so we go straight out to the historic center to eat dinner. Ainhoa and Eduardo talk to guy who recommends Los Flores, where we get some pretty good fried seafood. 

We stop at a bar in el Barrio del Pópulo where we are thoroughly entertained by a local woman who sings to us and recommends the Dickens out of her favorite bed and breakfast, while we taste Oloroso, a local sherry, before heading back to the house. 

Thoughts: Road trip = car games, music, and fun conversations. The airbnb is really nice and equipped but has no wifi. Wow, the Spanish here is just difficult to understand, even Ainhoa and Eduardo are struggling to understand the locals! Everything in Cádiz is about 1812, the year they drafted the first Spanish constitution.

Handstand in Cáceres
Handstand in Cáceres 

Brittney taking a photo of me taking a photo... of me
Brittney taking a photo of herself taking a photo of me taking a photo...
...of me
...of me
What else could a driver as for?
What else could a driver ask for?




In the Plaza de San Juan
In the Plaza de San Juan

In front of the famous cathedral
In front of the famous cathedral 

Everyone recommended Los Flores, so we went there, and it was delicious
Everyone recommended Los Flores, so we went there, and it was delicious

Trying some local sherry and so much more
Trying some local sherry and so much more


video



Day 2: I wake up and make omelets for everyone, which we eat with Ainhoa's homemade bread, while listening to Christmas music. 

Head to the nearest beach and play palas and then do a workout on the beach. To cool off, we jump in the freezing cold water for a bit, before we walk along the beach to old town and eat lunch at El Rincón de Marín. 

We run into some French girls and invite them to watch the sunset with us at Playa Caleta. We walk the long bridge to Castillo de San Sebastián only to find it closed 15 minutes earlier. So we watch the sunset from the bridge and relax. 

After saying farewell to our new French friends, we head back to the apartment but stop at the grocery store to pick up dinner and food for the week. Brittney and Ainhoa prepare a delicious meal and some ice cream for dessert. We go back out into the city for a drink and tentempié, cow kidneys and cheeks (yum; like seriously, it was good). I try Magno's brandy de Jerez and it's pretty good, but a bit too strong for me. 

Thoughts: Really strange that there weren't many other people at the beach on such a beautiful friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. Brittney notices there are many cats living on the rocks along the coast. The Playa Caleta looks just like San Sebastián, especially since it has a building that looks just like La Perla.

Some good eatin'
Some good eatin'

We had the whole beach to ourselves
We had the whole beach to ourselves

There's always time to workout
There's always time to workout

video
New show, coming soon


Still no one at the beach except us
Still no one at the beach except us

With the famous cathedral in Cádiz
With the famous cathedral in Cádiz

At the San Sebastian castle - well in front of it, since it was closed
At the San Sebastián castle - well in front of it, since it was closed

With our new French friends, watching the sunset
With our new French friends, watching the sunset

video
Playing with the effects on my phone

We found gluhwein in the store!
We found glühwein in the store!


Day 3: Brittney and I make blueberry stuffed French toast for breakfast and it's spectacular. One of the best things about having our own apartment is that we get to cook and make delicious food. 
240km to and from Gibraltar
240km to and from Gibraltar

An hour and a half to Gibraltar and we cross the Spanish-UK border and drive up to the base of the rock. We buy the walker tickets for 1€ and head up the Upper Rock Gibraltar Nature Reserve. We see macaques (monkeys) and beautiful views. We can even see Africa. We eat a snack at St Michael's Cabin, where the employees are constantly shooing the monkeys out of the store/restaurant. We walk further up the hill to cable car top station and take in the views. Then, we walk back down to the car, and drive to the city center to get some souvenirs.

We head back to Cádiz, shower up, and then go out for dinner and drinks. Eduardo runs into some singers and we pretty much lose him to his love of music. He makes friends with some tunas and we are serenaded all night by the female group at Café Bar Centenario. 

Thoughts: Going up the rock of Gibraltar is a really nice experience and worth seeing at some point. The walk isn't too hard and the monkeys are fun to watch. In Gibraltar they use the pound, but thankfully they take euros and dollars, so you don't have to exchange money. 

After the beautiful day yesterday and today, it was a bit shocking for the weather to be so cold at night - but in reality it was still 11 or 12 degrees. I never knew anything about tunas, but Eduardo has an extensive music background, and I learned quite a bit about these groups.

Brittney introduced me to blueberry cream cheese stuffed french toast. (drooling)
Brittney introduced us to blueberry cream cheese stuffed french toast. We ate like kings





Gibraltar handstand

We met some friends along the way
We met some friends along the way

Plus a headstand for good luck
Plus a headstand for good luck




Travelin' the ancient world
Travelin' the ancient world

A bit chilly in the center of Cádiz, but we have lamps to keep us warm
A bit chilly in the center of Cádiz, but we have lamps to keep us warm

Eduardo playing with the tunas and all of the ladies swooning
Eduardo playing with the tunas and all of the ladies swooning


Day 4: After an omelet, we head to Chiclana de la Frontera. Walk up to Ermita de Santa Ana and see the beautiful views of the city. Then, we go to Puerto de Conil, then through Conil, then to El Palmar, where we grab a snack before walking along the beach. 
100km along the Costa de la Luz
100km along the Costa de la Luz


We stop at Vejer de la Frontera on the way back to Cádiz, and there are more people in this small town than any other place we've been, with tourist buses and live music. We go back to Cádiz and go out for dinner. 

Thoughts: In El Palmar, a lot of people, maybe 50, in the water surfing or at least practicing with the small waves. The day is quite sunny and nice and then as soon as night arrives, the temperature drops! 


The amazing view of the city of Chiclana de la Frontera
The amazing view of the city of Chiclana de la Frontera

Yes, I had to do a handstand here
Yes, I had to do a handstand here

That coastline though
That coastline though

The beautiful Port de la Conil
The beautiful Puerto de la Conil

On the beach at El Palmar
On the beach in El Palmar

Inside the castle in Vejer
Inside the castle in Vejer de la Frontera

One of many Plaza de España's that we saw on our trip (this is in Vejer)
One of many Plaza de España's that we saw on our trip (this is in Vejer)



220km checking out los pueblos blancos
220km checking out los pueblos blancos
Day 5: Wake up early to go workout at the beach. Eduardo catches the train home and we go to Arcos de la Frontera.  

In Arcos, the views are really nice and we walk along the narrow streets. We try manzanilla Sanlúcar, which is a local sherry, and just like the first one we had, it's very sweet smelling yet less sweet tasting. 

Back in the car, we drive through some more pueblos blancos: Bornos, Prado del Rey (Ainhoa stops a guy to get directions to a nice pastry shop called Sandra's), and lastly to El Bosque, which is the smallest town, but seems to have the most life. 

Head back to Cádiz and check out Plaza de España. Ainhoa pops her head in somewhere and next thing you know we are getting a private tour of the behind the scenes of el caminito del virgen Angustias. Then, we go to a friend of Ainhoa's mom's house to have merienda. She is very nice and we have a good time. Head home to make dinner and relax and play Uno before the drive home tomorrow. 

Thoughts: When going to the pueblos blancos, the difference in landscape along the way is very noticeable, as this area is drier, less tropical, and less green. The pueblos blancos, obviously from their name, are full of white buildings, usually on top of a hill, which are a stark contrast to the landscape.



Quesadillas for breakfast!
Quesadillas for breakfast!

A photo posted by @tpmaxwell2 on


Climbing the walls of Arcos de la Frontera
Climbing the walls of Arcos de la Frontera

The view from the top of the hill
The view from the top of the hill in Arcos

In the gardens of a convent in Bornos
In the gardens of a convent in Bornos

Handstand in the Plaza de Espana in Cádiz
Ainhoa and I handstand in the Plaza de España in Cádiz

Getting a private tour of all things del virgen Angustias
Getting a private tour of all things del virgen Angustias

I still don't understand the rules to this game
They had colors and numbers in their hands. All of my cards just said UNO.


Day 6: Leave at 7am and stop in Mérida for breakfast and a quick tour. Today is a holiday and it's 9am, so there is nothing open and very few people on the streets. See the amphitheater and Roman ruins from outside the gates, since we don't want to pay 12€. See the alcazaba (Moorish fort) and the Roman bridge, and later the Arco de Trajano. 

Thoughts: Driving back to Pamplona, you could tell when we were in the north of the country, since it started raining and got cold. The drive home was a bit tougher than the one going, since we did so much on the trip and were quite tired. It was all worth it though.


Totally could have lived in medieval times and been an assassin
Totally could have lived in medieval times and been an assassin


The Roman bridge is one of many Roman things in Mérida
The Roman bridge is one of many Roman things in Mérida

The Arco de Trajano in Mérida
The Arco de Trajano in Mérida


Final Thoughts: I drove over 2,600km during this trip! So, Cádiz is the name of the city and the name of the region, which wasn't confusing at all... except using the GPS, which had us flying over rivers and other amusing weird things. Everywhere we went we had to walk uphill - every city in the region is built on top of a hill! You can check out the post we did for Pamplona Speaking Time's blog for this trip. Also, I do not own a selfie stick; that was Ainhoa's, and it broke at the end of the trip. (insert sad face). 

Who's going with me on the next road trip?


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Location: Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain

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