| Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2016
Greek Islands Voyage
There is usually a stop somewhere down the West coast of Spain or Portugal on ones way to or from the Mediterranean. Cadiz is an interesting town, and it is also the port for tours to Seville. It was our fifth visit and we knew it was an excellent town to walk around, and within easy reach of the cruise terminal.
Cadiz is said to be the oldest inhabited town in the western world, with 3,000 years of history. It is a major port, and is near to Jerez for exporting sherry and brandy. Seville is 80 miles away. Cadiz is a compact city, and is almost an island because it is circular with a narrow join to the rest of Spain. The old town is easy walking, and the Plaza de Espana is just outside the dock gates as well as the HopOn HopOff bus. There are recommended walking tours, each painted a different colour on the pavement, and the orange one is along the city walls, through the Alameda de Apodaca and Alameda Marquis de Comillas gardens, and along the Genoves Park to the Castle of Santa Catalina, then along the Playa de la Caleta sandy beach to the Castillo de San Sebastian. We followed this path in December 2013 on the Queen Victoria Mediterranean Delights Cruise and decided to do the same again.
The San Carlos walls which were constructed at the end of the 18th century and were the start of the yellow walking path. We preferred to climb the walls for the views instead of following the path around the base and then descended into the Almeda gardens with ceramic tiled benches and water features, passsing the pink baroque church of Saint Teresa and the bastion of La Candelaria. We then reached the Engineers Building which dates from 1760 although the small square tower was added later. It is now the HQ of the Reina Sofia Cultural Centre and contains offices and exhibition rooms. We looked at the permanent exhibition of prize-winning work of Juan Luis Vassallo who was born in Cadiz in 1908 and died in 1986. Entry was free. Further along the coast the castle of Santa Catalina was again closed. It was built on the orders of Felipe II after the Anglo-Dutch looting in 1596 in order to protect Santa Catalina Cove. The work was completed under Felipe III. The chapel of Sanata Catalina inside was constructed in 1693.
Turning along the beach the impressive Naval College and the derelict old Hospice next door are exactly as we remembered. The Balneario (Spa) of Our Lady of La Palma, built on the site of the old Royal Baths in 1924, is more modern and now contains offices. The other end of the beach is protected by the Castle of San Sebastian at the end of a long breakwater. It is worth the extra walk because it is interesting to visit and there has been reconstruction work since our previous visit. It is easy to walk along the top of the walls and the views towards the sea are good. It was named after a hermitage built in 1457 by crew members of a venetian ship who were recovering from Plague. In 1706 work on the fortified enclosure began. The lighthouse is modern and was built in 1908. Continuing along the coast the one option is to go directly to the cathedral but instead we turned towards the Market which was open and on a Friday had a good selection of fish and vegetables on display. From there it was easy to find the Carrefour supermarket, the Tavira Tower with its camera obscura and the Alamada cake shop. It was too early for Christmas specialities but we purchased the Sultana con Yema, soft large coconut biscuits sandwiched with an eggy cream. Revived we walked towards the New Cathedral and were confronted by a series of large statues; the Henry Moore travelling exhibition had arrived in Cadiz
The square in front of the cathedral was busy with tour groups, many paying to visit the cathedral. The nearby Fray Feliz Square is one of the most important spaces in Cadiz, including the Old Cathedral, the Cathedral Museum and the Bishops House. Nearby we again visited the Roman Theatre where work seems to have now ended. It is possible to walk through the tunnels and sit on the steps of the theatre, looking across at the exhibition rooms of the museum. Finally we followed the blue walking path to the Town Hall in the Plaza San Juan de Dios. The nearby interesting building is the Casa de los Pazos de Miranda. This square has a line of fountains, leading to the port. We had completed our anti-clockwise exploration.
I have gathered together a number of activities which are not connected with the ports from throughout the cruise, mostly from the long passages at the start and end of the voyage.
|Copyright © Peter and Pauline Curtis
Content revised: 1st November, 2016