Cadiz: 3,000 years and still going strong

23 Oct

Sometimes you do just get lucky. This weekend I got really lucky!

It started with the hotel room upgrade. I booked the 86 euro online special for Hotel Montepuertatierre just outside the old Cadiz city gates. When I arrived by train from Seville at 10:30am I was asked to wait for a room to be ready. Check-in is usually 12md. I gave them my mobile number and went to the bathroom. As I came out five minutes later the receptionist called me over and gave me my room key. It was a huge suite with the longest bath I have ever seen. The price behind the door said 189 euro.

And it just got better. These were some of my luckier moments:

I went into the hair salon, Kitty Santana, on the spur of the moment and asked to have just my mullet trimmed (Aussie slang for that hair at the back of your neck that seems to grow faster than the rest and make you look a complete dag). The owner did a neat job and when I went to pay she said ‘Don’t worry about it’. I tried to insist but she smiled and said ‘No, it was my pleasure’. That’s her salon in the photo.

The weather forecast was for heavy rain, my first in two months. It did rain, about ten spots in the middle of the day Saturday then a shower while I was waiting for my train home Sunday. Otherwise it was sunny with a fresh salt tang onshore wind that blasted all the Seville cobwebs away.

I saw the funniest animals – witness the doggy in the window photo below. It had me in stitches for five minutes. Then there was the boy with the mouse he carried in his pocket and the monster croc and dinosaur in Parque Genoves. Cadiz also has ridiculously huge sea gulls. Maybe it wasn’t so nice to see the council workers trapping and crating up pigeons on the Alameda but they do make a mess and carry disease.

The city is looking in much better shape than when I was here five years ago. A lot of work has been done in the Alameda gardens, on the sea wall walk and bikeways and several plazas. It’s certainly not bad considering it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe.

I saw a society wedding and the installation of the new Bishop of Cadiz (looking happy and dapper in his new bishop’s purple cap) and attended mass.

But my biggest stroke of luck was the free flamenco. At the Centro Municipal de Arte Flamenco ‘La Merced’ they put on an evening ‘Espectaculo de Baile’ featuring Daniel Saltares, a Cadiz boy who had a lot of friends and family in the audience and was supported by five gorgeous, talented young musicians.

Daniel was outstanding, fast and strong in technique with an authentic emotional connection with the singers (see full review on my Flamenco page and the Flickr videos and photos). He danced three long pieces with a costume change for each. I scored a second row aisle seat.

I then walked five minutes to Peña Flamenca la Perla de Cadiz hoping to catch the last part of the singer and guitarist’s performance. They’d finished but it was announced that there would be a second act of young musicians and a dancer who’d be performing together for the first time. Fifteen minutes for a quick tortilla roll and glass of Rioja (total 3.5 euro) before they took to the stage. Leo Power has the right name as her voice is mighty and she has great presence. Marie Angeles Roman danced a very perky Alegria (full details on my Flamenco page).

Seville wins the competition for the most opportunities to study Flamenco but Cadiz is a real contender for the best value performances!

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