MERMAID OF THE OCEAN
Lord Byron baptized Cadiz “Mermaid of the Ocean”, also popularly referred to as “the little silver cup”. It is, no more and no less, the oldest city of the western world. The ocean can be seen from every point of the city: on one side is the bay- a huge natural expanse surrounded by a labyrinth of dunes, canes, salt lakes and beaches; on the other side is the impressive Atlantic shore. In the air... aromas of salt, low tide, seaweed, humidity...and of mouth watering fish stews.
A walk from the Caleta may remind the visitor of the boardwalk at La Habana since, for years, Cadiz was the centre of exchanges between Spain and the New World...thus that special colonial feel of the city. Because it became a magnet for pirates, the city had to be fortified and even today the Gates to the Land (Puertas de Tierra) still clearly demarcate a new part of the city which was reclaimed from the sea.
The old historic part of the city, with its narrow streets and pretty squares, is divided into picturesque neighbourhoods where fishermen and their families live. A constant hum of typical Andalusian “cante flamenco” can be heard in the background. A ‘must-do’ for all visitors is to “tapear” (eat tapas) in the sidewalk cafes of the city under the stars of the warm summer nights. The cathedral, with its golden dome, glows both in the sun and in the moonlight...visible, like some form of an unusual lighthouse, from the sea.
The local inhabitants, spontaneous and friendly, will easily get smiles out of the traveller and will win their hearts with the simplicity and generosity that are characteristic of the “Gaditanos” (the people who live in Cadiz). They say that participating in the amazing Carnaval of Cadiz will convert you into a “gaditano” forever, as will the magnificent sunsets of the Playa de la Caleta.