24 hours in Cadiz

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Taking a Walk with La Pepa (Constitution of 1812)

 As sung in Cádiz in 1812 "French bombs make Cádiz tirabuzones". This phrase perfectly describes the character of the residents of this city, with its 3000-year history and Phoenician origin, which next year in 2012 will celebrate that which for years made it the capital of Spain and the world; the place where it was decided that personal liberty and sovereignty stood above absolute power. A city that smells of the sea, tastes of seafood and light reigns.

¡Cádiz, salada claridad! (Manuel Machado)

9:00 Chocolate with Churros

Have an enjoyable breakfast of churros with chocolate or coffee in one of the bars around the Market or the Plaza de San Francisco. For example, the best is to go directly to the churro stands in front of the Food Market and buy a paper full of them. Ask for thin and thick, delicious. You can also find them in some of the bars in the area. You can also go to the bar La Marina (in front of the market) offering their own home-made churros. If you prefer a typical breakfast, try toast with tomato spread and olive oil or with "manteca colorá". For other palates, at the bar Le Poème (c/ Alcalá Galiano, 3) also next to the market, you can find a delicious French bakery where you may have an authentic croissant. 

10:00 Tour of the Constitution

If you prefer, you can enjoy a dramatised tour guided by a group of actor-historians (De Ida y Vuelta ) dressed in the vintage attire of the times transporting you to the past, with as much fun and entertainment as possible, which never fails in Cádiz. Check out the itinerary. 

We begin the tour, which is always on foot as Cádiz, "The Little Silver Cup" is east to cover, through Plaza de España, which today is one of the most emblematic sites, and there you can see the Monument of the Cortes built to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Constitution. The entire plaza is surrounded by XVIII Century historical buildings such as merchant houses with their watchtowers from where they looked for the boats arriving with their goods from overseas. Two of special note are the House of Five Towers (la casa de las Cinco Torres) and to its right is the House of Four Towers; both from the XVIII Century.

This is the beginning of the route that continues along the Alameda Apodaca facing the Bay, one of the most beautiful walks in Cádiz, dating back to 1617 and was a place of enjoyment and relaxation for residents of Cádiz. Do not miss two impressive centenary ficus trees brought from America.

At the end of the Alameda is the baroque style church of el Carmen. This is the place where they held the "Te Deum" in thanksgiving for the conclusion of the constitutional text.

Near this church it is essential to make a stop at the Plaza del Mentidero, ancient Cruz de la Verdad, which was chosen as the site to read, for a second time, the text of the Constitution. We continue on down calle Vea Murguía toward plaza de San Antonio and make a stop at the bar-grocery Veedor, of which there are still many in Cádiz, in order to enjoy Iberian pork, cheeses or its famous omelettes of every variety.

Next we come to the Plaza de San Antonio, neurological center of the city and witness to the 3rd proclamation of the constitutional text. It is also known as the Plaza de la Constitución. It was the civic and religious center of the XIX Century and still preserves beautiful buildings with the architecture of the times. La casa Aramburu, el Casino Gaditano, and the building that was the café Apolo, a perfect example of what was customary in 1812, held meetings and social activities in the cafés in order to learn about what happened in the Cortes, and the Apolo was the prime spot for gatherings.

 Did you know that the first Spanish National Lottery drawing was held in Cádiz, May 4, 1812? The costs incurred in the defence against the French made it necessary to raise funds for which the Cortes established the Spanish National Lottery in March of that year. There is a commemorative plaque that marks the site in this plaza.

Finally, we come to the oratory of San Felipe Neri (c/ Santa Inés), a prominent site for the Constitution of 1812; it was here where the Magna Carta was conceived and signed and also where the doceañista delegates debated. Next to the building is the Centre of Interpretation of the Pepa 1812 (Centro de Interpretación de La Pepa 1812), the tour includes the first two floors for the exposition of three thematic groups.

In the adjacent building you will find the Museum of the Cortes of Cádiz, which will help to understand the history of La Pepa. The main attractions are a large-size model of the city in 1777, made from fine wood and ivory as well as the stained glass on the main staircase, which allegorically recreates the pledging of the Constitution.

The next step of the tour brings us to Torre Tavira (c/ Marqués del Tesoro,10 ) officially designated watchtower for the port of Cádiz in 1778 due to it being the highest point in the historic centre of the city. Currently it contains a tourist attraction, the Darkroom (La Camera Oscura) in which the city is reflected in real time and motion, from its roof, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Cádiz. Do not miss this tour.

13:00 Visiting with the Shrimp!

After climbing the Tower, the tour takes us to an indispensable stop, the Food Market (Mercado de abastos), with its surprising variety of products, especially fish and seafood. You may also try some tapas in its Cuisine Corner, where you can find anything from Cádiz style sushi, Argentinian Cuisine, Iberian cured products or tapas from Cordoba such as salmorejo.

Toward The Cathedral after the market, stop by and see the Museum of the Cathedral, or climb the Torre de Poniente to see a great view of the city from above. In this same medieval barrio, Pópulo, the oldest in the city, is the Church of Santa Cruz or the Baroque style Cathedral Vieja and the Roman Theatre, the second largest in Spain, also currently in renovation and will be open soon. 

 A nice lunch of fish and shellfish from the bay would be the finishing touch for this intense morning; try the bar-restaurant Terraza (plaza de la Catedral, 3) to enjoy a traditional Cádiz lunch and where the papas aliñás will not leave you indifferent or the restaurant El Baluarte, in the Alameda Apodaca overlooking the Bay, where traditional meets modern. Perhaps tapas would be good idea. The bars on c/ Zorrilla, near the Plaza de Mina are a great option, as well as on c/ Plocia, next to City Hall.

16:00 What Art!

A visit to the Museum of Cádiz, which contains an interesting collection of primarily Phoenician and Roman art and which highlights a Phoenician sarcophagi, and in the Fine Arts section there are important paintings by Zurbarán, among others, supposes diving into the history of the different cultures that came to this land.

In the Oratory of la Santa Cueva (calle Rosario) you may discover frescoes from Goya. The promoter of this historic place, the Marquise de Valdeíñigo, commissioned the Baroque musician Joseph Haydn to compose a musical piece to play on Holy Friday, which wouid be the Oratory of the Seven Last Words of Christ, which is still played each year on that date.

What was once the Military Command now is the Reina Sofía Cultural Centre (Alameda Apodaca), with the art collection of one of the best sculptors of the XX Century, Juan Luis Vasallo, among many other expositions.

The expositions are held in different centres such as the castle of Santa Catalina, the ECCO-Contemporary Creative Space and the Museum of Iberoamerica.

18:00 - 20:00 - The sun sets between two castles

This is best time for a stroll around the walled section along the seaside bordering the historical area, passing through charming parks such as la Alameda, the Parque Genovés and defensive citadels until reaching La Caleta Beach, a small cove in the middle of the barrio and Marinero de La Viña, home of the Carnival of Cádiz, to finally sit down for a drink and watch a spectacular sunset.

At this beach you can see two magnificent castles, Santa Catalina and San Sebastián, XVI and XVII Centuries respectively, as well as a XIX Century spa, which is today the Underwater Archaeological Centre.

The streets and plaza of the city centre are filled with churches and convents linked with the New World such as Santo Domingo, San Francisco, San Agustín, etc. There is also a commercial area still existing from that era with cafés, inns and eateries; many classics of the Cádiz cuisine were born here as well as, of course, the French Omelette, which originated here; yes, we are sure of it. Due to the difficulty of finding potatoes because of the French siege, the people of Cádiz had to make due with only eggs for their omelettes and thus named them French Omelettes to distinguish them from the Spanish.

21:00 Tapas or dinner...that is the question

If you stay in the city you can try Shrimp fritters from the tapas bar with the greatest variety in the city, the restaurant El Faro (c/ San Félix, 3). In the barrio de La Viña in summer, you can enjoy Mackerel with diced tomatoes, green peppers and onion (caballa con piriñaca), in any of the bars on calle la Palma or in the Plaza del Tío de la Tiza.

 Beyond the centre, along the Seafront is Barra7 (at Avda. Amilcar Barca and Callejón del Blanco) a different concept to enjoy tapas or the restaurant Arsenio Manila (Paseo Marítimo, 12), specialising in international cuisine with a tapas bar and terrace, which becomes a bar with music at night. 

If you want to dine we suggest the historical Ventorrillo El Chato (1780-Ctra. Cádiz-San Fernando) in existence since 1812, which boasted a battery of cannon to harass the French and later around 1823, was also frequently visited by King Fernando VII. It has been told that when on a visit to the province of Cádiz, King Alfonso XIII stopped at this Inn to have some Jerez wine and the waiter covered his glass with a slice of cured ham to prevent dust and sand from falling in, thus giving birth to the Tapa (Cover in Spanish).

Another suggestion is to dine with a Michelin Star, but you will have to go to El Puerto de Santa María at the restaurant Aponiente (c/ Puerto Escondido, 6) of Ángel León.

23:00 - Drinks

 For drinks there are several options; in general throughout the year people go out in the historical centre due to the different bars and pubs, such as El Cambalache to listen to a little jazz, El Habana Club to enjoy mojitos, daiquiris, etc. and listen to traditional island music, the café Levante, which sometimes has book readings and other cultural activities, the café El Pay-Pay in the barrio of Pópulo, which offers all types of live music and even theatre acts; for younger people night clubs and bars can be found at the point of San Felipe. During the summer the atmosphere also includes the beach area with beach bars where you can enjoy dinner or a drink with great music.



¿Qué es el Carnaval de Cádiz?
El Campo del Sur y la Catedral de Cádiz.