Taking the train to and from Santa Justa, the main railway station in Seville, worked fine, and although SJ’s a bit out of the centre of town, you can get there easily by bus (the C2 out, the C1 back – the airport bus also stops there, but the kindly driver directed me to the C2 in front as it’s much cheaper).
Approaching over a narrow isthmus, you get the impression right away that Cadiz is set apart: one foot in the Atlantic, the other in the Mediterranean, and centuries of maritime history and salt-rubbed stone scars to show for it. It has something of the feel of the southern French towns on the Riviera, climatically at least, although, at least for now, not price-wise. It’s where a lot of Andalucians from the heat-stricken cities of Seville and Cordoba come for a break, so that trade, the cruise ships and the still-working port give it a relaxed, funky feel in the sea breeze.
We only had a day there, mind, but for relaxing and chilling the main squares around the town hall and the cathedral are obvious places to stop, have a drink, and collect your thoughts. Plaza de las Flores is a smaller square a bit further in, with, the day we visited (a Thursday) a flower market going on.
The Old Town on the isthmus is basically egg-shaped, and you can wander the length of it easily in less than an hour. The gardens at Alameda Apodaca are a good place for a bit of peace and shade; while you’re up there, cousin Guillermo had recommended a tapas place if you’re peckish.
This was La Taperia, in Calle Beato Diego de Cadiz, which was not a street that looked like natural tapas territory. However, it’s well worth the walk to the end of it to find the place, as it’s full of character, patronised by Spanish people in the main, and serves excellent food, wine and beer (Estrella Galicia on tap – a rare treat).
Unfortunately, Guillermo’s other recommendation, La Fragua (Calle Plocia) was closed, but Volapies, part of a southern Spanish chain, kept us pretty well supplied as we waited for the train back on Plaza San Juan de Dios, even if we were so full from lunchtime we restricted ourselves to some calamares.
Heading back out over the isthmus, picking up speed as the westering sun cast its white-gold rays like infinite fishing lines across the bay, I knew we’d be back soon.