Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

"Cádiz is pretty in a way peculiar to itself." And that's as true today as it was when a traveller penned those words 200 years ago. The most important Atlantic port in Andalucía played a key role in mediating Spain's relationship with the Americas. And it invented the classic fish supper.

article summary —

There is of course only one proper way to arrive in Cádiz and that is by boat. The Spanish port is perched on a finger of land that was once merely an island in the Bay of Cádiz. Although now connected with the mainland, Cádiz remains a city of the sea, a place that looks out to the water — and surely neither God nor the city’s Phoenician founders expected visitors to arrive overland.

Would that we could say we arrived in Cádiz on a cargo vessel bringing in a haul of fine silks and exotic spices. Real life is more prosaic. We came on a boat from El Puerto de Santa María, which is a mere dozen kilometres east of Cádiz. A regular ferry links the two communities.

There is something rather grand about setting sail from El Puerto and cruising down the Guadalete River with the open Atlantic ahead. This is just what Christopher Columbus did in September 1493, when he embarked on his second voyage to the Americas.

Our journey by sea was marginally less ambitious than that of Columbus, and after just half an hour on a bumpy green and white catamaran we were back on dry land in the very centre of Cádiz.

That thirty-minute voyage across the Bahía de Cádiz had been a tutorial in local life and culture.


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About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 37.