Wednesday, April 30, 2014


We were up nice and early this morning--no more Lazy Lunds!  After our usual slow wake up with a cup of coffee in our room, we went down for breakfast, then headed right out for our first stop--the central market that we saw yesterday.

The market dates from the mid 1800's, but has been remodeled on the inside.  Some of the original architecture, like the columns, have been retained.

Cute artwork around the outside:

The center is all fish vendors.  The variety of fish was amazing--sure wish we had one of these at home.  It is the best fish market we've ever been to!

Scary looking fish:

Mmmmmm good!

Around the perimeter were several shops selling delicious looking sausage and cheese:

This guy has a pedal powered knife sharpening business--pretty ingenious!

After admiring all that wonderful fish and seafood, we walked back through the plaza.  There are several of these flower towers around the plaza--they are gorgeous!

We walked down to the port area, looking for the ferry ticket office.  We finally found it, after a few wrong turns.  We bought two tickets on the "fast" catamaran--across the bay to a small town of Puerto de Santa Maria.  The catamaran really wasn't fast, but it was a nice 25 minute ride across the bay.  It was a beautiful day to be on the water!

We docked in Santa Maria, and walked the pretty streets.  It's a sleepy little town, and very different from Cadiz--no tourists! Well, except for us….

Here we are in front of a fountain in a pretty park:

We came to another plaza, this one with a big church:

The entrance was quite ornate:

We spotted several stork's nest on the roof of the church:

We popped in for a quick look--we were surprised at how ornate it was.  Gothic architecture, with crystal chandeliers!

This was the most ornate chapel, with a silver altar piece:

This dome in this chapel was nicely painted:

The church has a few stained glass windows, this is the rose window:

A small side street leading from the plaza, we ate lunch at a small cafe on the corner:

David at lunch, we had a nice view of the church and plaza:

These mussels were delicious--so fresh and sweet that we ordered another plate of them!

We wandered around town, found this wine seller--we could have done a wine tasting, but had already had a glass of wine with lunch.  And it was the best wine of the trip--just the house red wine, a Rioja.

Santa Maria has a big bull ring.  This bull fighter statue is in a plaza next to the bull ring:

 The front entrance to the bull ring, with a bull statue:

We wandered back to the port area, and caught the 2:30 ferry back to Cadiz, another beautiful sunny trip across the bay.  Here we are!

We walked back to our hotel and relaxed for a few hours.  We are finding that Spanish Siesta time is messing with our schedules--we're trying to adjust!

For dinner tonight we went back to the same plaza as last night, as we had really enjoyed the fun atmosphere.  I think there were even more kids tonight!

We picked a different cafe and had a wonderful dinner.  We relaxed for an hour or so with a glass of wine, as the kitchen didn't open till 8:00--no problem!

These are albondigas de Choco--cuttlefish meatballs.   They were very good, we'd order them again:

Roasted red peppers with fresh tuna--mmmmm good!  The peppers had a wonderful smoky flavor:

After our leisurely dinner we slowly made our way back to our hotel, once again it was a nice night for a stroll.  We sure have been lucky with the weather this trip!

We are ready to leave Cadiz--it's a nice little town, but not exactly what we expected.  We have had a relaxing three days here though, which is what we wanted for a mid-trip break from hectic sightseeing.

Tomorrow we are moving on!  We have a three hour bus ride to Ronda, a small walled town up in the mountains.


In keeping with our Lazy Lundbury theme, we slept in this morning till 7:30!  We woke up slowly, enjoying a cup of coffee and some computer time before going downstairs for breakfast at 9:30.

The Hotel Catedral includes breakfast in it's room rates, and it was a decent spread.  They made us very good espressos, and there was an assortment of breads, a little meat and cheese, and some fruit.  Good enough!

Our "job" for the day was to get a lab test done for David, checking his warfarin levels.  Before leaving home I had researched and asked questions on some travel forums about how to accomplish this.  A nice gentlemen from the UK answered my questions, as he has friends in Cadiz who need to have this lab test done.  He was kind enough to include the names and addresses of two clinics--so I felt quite well prepared.

We took a taxi to the first clinic on our list, walked in and I explained to the receptionist what we needed.  I had this all translated, and had practiced my sentences many times.  She did understand what we needed, but did not speak a word of English, so communication was difficult.  After several back and forths, I finally understood her to say that it was not possible at this clinic--or the other clinic on my list.  OK, now what?

I asked her "donde es possible"?  Where is it possible? (Did I mention my Spanish is a bit rusty??)
Somehow we each managed to make ourselves understood, and she was so kind and showed us on the map where to go, writing the address on a card.  It was several blocks away, but armed with our trusty tourist map we managed to find the new clinic, and much to our relief it was a very modern, nice lab.

We walked in and once again I used my excellent (ha!) Spanish skills to explain again what we needed.  The receptionist understood what we wanted, and did her best to communicate with us.  She soon realized we weren't understanding a word she was saying (it might have been the absolute blank looks on our faces).  She said uno momento, and quickly returned with a lovely young lab tech that spoke excellent English--hallelujah!

She was delightful!  We waited about 30 minutes, then they came for David.  Here he is, waiting in the "Zona de Extraccion" area, for some reason that name tickled my funny bone!

It was quick, easy and painless.  They told us to come back in about 45 minutes for the results, and they would also email them to us.

It was time to pay for the lab test, so I asked how much.  Being the shopper that I am--I KNOW how to ask how much something costs in a few languages!  I thought they said 60 Euros and I was thinking "gee, that's not bad at all".  But I wasn't positive I'd heard them right, so I asked again just to make sure.  I was wrong--it was 6 Euros--SIX Euros!  That's about 8 US dollars.  It would be at least $100 at home, plus a fee for the doctor, and several more fee$ tacked on.  Bargain!

While we were waiting for the results we walked down the block, had a cup of coffee, then walked across the street to the beach to see what it was like.

It's a very nice beach--but still no little cafes or bars on the sand:

After about 45 minutes we went back to the clinic, and the results waiting for us--very efficient.  David's levels are perfect--just what we wanted to hear.  We emailed the results to his Dr. back home, and by evening we'd heard back from him.  Long distance health care!

None of this was difficult, just time consuming and a little frustrating with the language barrier.  We were lucky to have encountered kind and helpful people to help us along the way.  Heaven forbid we should ever need serious medical attention in a foreign country, but if we did, I'm sure we'd manage somehow.

By now it was after 2 pm, and we decided we'd catch a local bus back to "old town"--it was way too far to walk.  The bus system here is easy, and in no time we were near our hotel.  We walked from the bus stop, looking at a few menus along the way.

We had a nice lunch of a few small tapas to share, and our usual beer and sangria.

Delicious salad of roasted peppers topped with some fresh tuna:

Albondigas (meatballs) in a pepper sauce--really good.  We ate the meatballs, left the fries.  We also shared a small grilled squid--delicious as always.

While we were eating lunch a very crippled beggar woman came by, so of course we gave her a few coins.  The owner of the little cafe caught our eye, and started rattling off something in rapid Spanish.  Then he pantomimed "she'll be walking upright" tonight using his fingers and hands.  I replied--it's fine, not important. He just threw up his hands in disgust!  I'm sure he was thinking "those stupid tourists".

Matt:  this story is for you--I guess this lady really does put her legs on straight when she gets home!!  You're right, I'm a sucker…...

The rest of the afternoon was spent just wandering around.  We had read about some 1st century BC Roman ruins located right behind the cathedral.   We wandered around the church, and could see just a bit of the amphitheater through a fenced off area, but couldn't find an entrance.  Later we asked at the hotel and they said they were doing more excavation--so it was closed, darn it!

Near our hotel is a part of the original wall to the city, c 1260.  It's called The Rose Arch:

We also discovered a good sized covered fresh market near our hotel, but it was just closing up.  We plan on checking it out tomorrow morning.  We also finally found a grocery store--the first one we've seen since we've been in Cadiz.  We popped in for a look around, bought a couple of snacks for later.

It was now siesta time for us two lazies--so we relaxed in our room for 2-3 hours;  and yes, I even took a little nap.

We went out about 7 to find an ATM and look for a restaurant for a quick dinner.  We walked a long ways, ending up clear at the tip of the peninsula.  We were far away from "tourist central",  and that's a good thing!   We followed our ears, and soon came to the very lively and busy Plaza del Nina.  There were lots of noisy, screeching happy kids running around,  playing in the small park in the middle of the plaza and riding their bikes or scooters around and around.  Plenty of cafes to choose from, so after looking at a few menus we sat down and enjoyed a leisurely dinner.  The waiter, I'm thinking he was the owner, was friendly and welcoming.

 The food was just OK--the best part was the great atmosphere in the plaza with kids, families, couples and neighbors all enjoying the pretty evening together.  We had noticed this in Seville, too.  Evenings are spent socializing in the neighborhood plaza--not at home in front of the TV or computer--and that's another good thing!

It was a long stroll back to our hotel but we didn't mind at all, it was a beautiful night for a walk.

Another fun travel day--not terribly exciting, and that's OK with us.

Goodnight from Cadiz……….

Monday, April 28, 2014


Hello from Cadiz!

After a nice 2 hour train ride from Seville, we arrived in Cadiz mid-day on Monday.  The train ride was uneventful and even though we weren't on a high speed train, we still zipped through the pretty country side at almost 100 MPH.  The trip was through farming/agriculture areas--mostly orange orchards, but also some olive groves and fields of produce.

At the Cadiz station we easily found a taxi to our hotel in the Old Town section of Cadiz.  We are staying at La Catedral, a small hotel right across from the Cathedral de Cadiz.

Here's the front of our hotel, our balconies are the 2nd floor, the two on the right:

Our room is nice, fairly roomy, and with two balconies facing the Plaza.  I asked for a room with a view of the Cathedral, and we sure got it--it's right in front of our window!

(the red barriers are left over from Semana Santa celebrations)

Our room wasn't ready so we left our bags and set off exploring, looking for a place for some lunch--breakfast was many hours ago!  We wandered through the narrow streets until we came to a large Plaza.  We chose a small bar/cafe with outside setting (duuhhh!) .  We had a delicious lunch of grilled squid and octopus--both very good.  Of course, we had a couple of cold beverages--beer for David and sangria for me.

We also had entertainment with our lunch.  A flamenco dancer set up a small wood platform in front of the cafe, and accompanied by just a solo male singer, proceeded to dance her heart out!  It was lovely--and we enjoyed how she put her "all" into her art.  I LOVE the sound her shoes made on the wood platform!

After our relaxing, entertaining and delicious lunch we walked back to our hotel to see if our room was ready.  It was, so we quickly unpacked and then wandered around some more, getting acquainted with our new neighborhood.  It was siesta time, so most places were closed.

We did manage to accomplish something--we found the bus station and bought our bus tickets to our next destination--the small hill town of Ronda.  There isn't an easy way to get there from Cadiz--so we'll have a 3 hour bus ride; it's all part of the adventure!

We walked through the pretty Plaza de Flores--a small plaza lined with shops and several flower vendors:

We turned down a side street towards the ocean and walked for a few blocks.  The ocean was sparkling, the skies were brilliant blue and there was a nice breeze.

We were expecting a much different ocean front and beach scene in Cadiz.  We'd pictured beautiful beaches lined with small cafes and bars, envisioning long walks on the beach, leisurely fresh seafood lunches and drinking ice cold sangria with our toes in the sand.  Hmmmm--don't think we'll get that here in Cadiz!  So far, we haven't found any beachfront dining--the cafes and restaurants are across a wide street from the beach, mostly in fancy hotels and such.  These are in the newer part of town--not really much beachfront in old town.  Oh, well--we are pretty adaptable, and I'm sure well relax with a few cold sangrias--even if our toes aren't in the sand!

A view of the back of the cathedral, with it's interesting tiled domes:

We turned back in the direction of our hotel, and  noticed that the Cathedral was open--so we decided that now was a good time for a visit.  We paid our admission fee, which was kind of expensive at 5E each--I think this is the most we've ever paid to see a church!

La Catredal de Cadiz, completed in 1838, sits on the site of an older cathedral that was built in 1260.  It's style is an odd mix of baroque, rococo and neoclassic.   While it wasn't the most interesting or beautiful church we've seen, I think it had a simple charm and nice ambiance.

A small chapel along the nave:

The main altar:

We went down into the crypts beneath the cathedral--they were interesting.  There is a large round chamber at the entrance to the crypts, and the chamber has incredible acoustics!  There was an erie echo from our footsteps as well as our voices.  It was cool!

A small altar with crucifix in one area of the crypt:

 It was now almost 6 pm, so we decided we'd rest up a bit before we went back out for a late dinner.  We relaxed for awhile, and then both took a little siesta--we're lazy again today!

About 8 pm we went out for dinner, walking a big loop through the winding streets.  We ended up back at the same plaza where we had lunch.  After looking at menus at most of the restaurants, we just picked the nearest cafe, plopped ourselves down and each ordered a plate of pasta and a glass of wine!  Nothing fancy, but good enough for us.

Good night from Cadiz!

  Our plan for tomorrow: To get a medical (blood) test to check David's warfarin levels.  His Doctor wanted his levels checked mid-trip--now that should be an adventure!