Sightseeing in Cadiz and Sipping Sherry in Jerez
Time with Lady Ann was beginning to run out. We sailed together to Rota, and then visited Cadiz. As luck would have it, the direct ferry from the marina in Rota had broken down so our alternative mode of transport was in fact Lady Ann as Ingemar and Ann-Britt decided to go to the marina in Cadiz and stay there overnight! An unexpected hour’s sailing was followed by an excellent day exploring this unusual and fascinating city. The old city is a labyrinth of very narrow streets, absolutely straight, and stretching for what seems like forever, with 3 and 4 storey houses on each side. A feature of these houses is a central tiled atrium open to the sky above. It is therefore cool against the hot sun, and in most cases abundant green leaved plants add to the atmosphere.
Cadiz was where Sir Francis Drake ‘singed the King of Spain’s beard’ just before the Spanish Armada, and also from where Columbus sailed on his second voyage to the Americas. One of the first trading ports for clippers to visit on their return from the spice islands, spectacular watchtowers were built on top of merchants’ houses, so they would be ready at the harbour to trade with the ships when they anchored. The cathedral has a domed roof, tiled in gold, which reflects the sunlight to the south and west, the direction the clippers would be coming from, and so attract them to the harbour. The only sad feature is the fact that there is no money to repair and renovate the cathedral, and the saline atmosphere has severely damaged the interior and exterior masonry. So netting is strung across the aisles to protect visitors from falling lumps of stone!
We also travelled 35 km by bus from Rota to Jerez de la Frontera, where the Gonzales Byass winery famous for its Tio Pepe sherry was well worth the visit, even if slightly oversold! Way back in history, the Muslims called the town ‘Scheris’ the root of ‘Jerez’ in Spanish and ‘sherry’ in English. With several memorable tours of whisky distilleries in the Western Isles of Scotland under our belt along with port houses in Oporto and now Gonzales Byass perhaps we should ask ourselves whatever next?
From Rota we sailed south with an overnight stop in unremarkable Barbate, but did pay homage to Lord Nelson as we passed Cape Trafalgar that afternoon.