Saturday, July 28, 2012

Parsa Gets to Know Cadiz

A very popular beach destination for Sevillanos is the beautiful southern port town of Cádiz. Filled with history (it is the oldest continually-inhabited city in the Iberian peninsula, and quite possibly in all of southwestern Europe), radiating with natural beauty, and alive with the rich culture of the extremely warm, welcoming, funny, and beautiful people of the city, Cádiz is a city I found myself enamored with from the second I stepped off the train and felt that cool ocean breeze.

As one could imagine given my thoroughly detailed description, Cádiz was too beautiful to go just once; I had to go twice. The first time I went with a group of TTU kids right after we went on our Itálica excursion. From the moment we stepped onto the beach, the welcoming nature of the locals was evident, as we instantly began to play football (soccer) with a group of guys on the beach and conversed with them. I then went on to meet a multitude of people on the beach, one group with which I walked around and talked about the differences between American and Spanish culture, music, etc., and even the differences between normal Andalusian culture and that of the Caditanos.

We went on to relax on the beach, and then went out to try and find a hostel, for which I had no intention of paying. That being said, we continued on with our festivities for the night, meeting and conversing with tens of people along the way (well, I speak for myself), and a few of us then ran into a group of twenty-somethings on the beach dancing and playing flamenco at night. One of the dudes was from San Diego and was teaching English abroad in Cádiz, and one of the guitarists actually ended up being amongst the best guitar players I have seen in my life (let it be known that I have seen more than my fair share of concerts in my time). He even busted out some Mississippi Delta Blues and blew my mind right there on the beach in Cádiz, Andalucía. What a surreal experience that was.

So, having said that I didn't want to pay for a hostel, safe to say I didn't stay in a hostel. A few friends and I slept on the beach (perfectly legal in Cádiz), which started out being one of the most comfortable and relaxing sleeps of my life... it did not end that way. Let's just say the ocean breeze that once welcomed me, was no longer so welcoming. There must be balance in the universe, no?

My second trip to Cádiz was equally memorable. A group of the TTU kids went to Cádiz earlier in the morning, but I wanted to sleep some more so I took a later train in. This time, my friend from back home was studying abroad in Cádiz, staying right next to the beach I slept at last time, and so most of my time spent was either by myself exploring the city or with him and his buddies. It turned out that the night of the Saturday that I got there was Carnaval in Cádiz, so it was quite the experience that night in the streets. A Brazilian singer, Carlinhos Brown, was there on a huge 18-wheeler with a stage on top of it putting a concert on in the streets. I went to that and then proceeded to get a real taste of the nightlife in Cádiz with a group of students like myself who knew where to go. 'Twas indeed a great time. Met more of the beautiful Caditanos (including Caditanas of course) whom I have come to love, and came away with more stories to tell. And yes, I slept on the beach again. This time, it was later in the summer so the breeze was my friend. And let's just say I went a bit more prepared than just the towel I had taken the previous time.

The next day I couldn't get a hold of my friend, so I explored the city on my own. Went to a new beach I had yet to go to (La Caleta), explored perhaps the most beautiful park of my life, complete with dinosaur sculptures (I thought I was in Jurassic Park!), and took many a photograph, before making my way back to the train station to make my way back on over to Sevilla. Many memories have been made in Cádiz, and hopefully more to come in my lifetime. Until we meet again, Caditanos!!

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