Thursday 2 September 1999
After breakfast we drive to Vejer de la frontera. A white hill top village. The village has a strong Moorish feel to it. It was founded as the Moorish stronghold Bekkeh. In 1250 it was reconquered by king Fernando III. The addition de la Frontera which many Andalusian villages and towns carry in their name, refers to the fact that it was once a Christian stronghold in the frontline against the Moors. Many narrow streets, lined with white washed house lead to the central square, Plaza de España, adorned with a tiled fountain. The Torre de la Corredero is a watch tower and can be reached through the patio of a residential house. The elderly lady living in it is so kind to let us in and does not mind getting a small reward in return.
We move on to Coníl de la Frontera. This coastal resort has a large beach. The beach East of town, across the tiny river becomes a nude beach, after a few hundred yards. We spend some pleasant hours on the beach until we go back to Coníl for lunch. We drive back in the direction of Tarifa. We turn off the road at Bolonia beach, where catch some extra sunbeams.
In the evening we dine at Villanueva's. I take their specialty, Urte en Coñac , bream in cognac sauce.
Friday, 3 September 1999
Cádiz is our next target. The city is built on the westernmost tip of the Costa de la Luz ,on a peninsula. The old town is surrounded by the sea. The town is densely populated, with lots of narrow streets and alleyways. After some effort we find our hotel, Francía y Paris, on a nice square in the old town. We go about checking out the old town. We take a look at the covered market. It is a daily market for meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. It is extremely busy. We are too late to visit the Cathedral. It closes at 1pm. We then start looking for a place to eat. Erik orders a tortilla. I choose mussels (I think), but get cockles instead. After our daily siesta, we resume our walk around town. Among others along the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri. Here in 1812, after the Napoleon's French troops had left a parliament convened and adopted Europe's first liberal constitution. This constitution did not last very long, but it did have a important impact on European constitutional thinking throughout the continent. . Next to the Oratorio is the municipal museum, which owns a 18th century scale model of the town and a painting of the parliamentary sessions of 1812.
In the evening we attempt to check out Cádiz gay scene. Cádiz has a very liberal reputation to live up to. We're told that even in the annual carnival parade there are a couple of Gay floats taking part. Finding the gay bars of Cádiz is less easy. Café de Levante is gay/straight mixed and El Poniente opens only at 11pm and doesn't really get going way after midnight, but is very pleasant when it does.
Saturday, 4 September 1999
We stroll through the city in the morning. We take a look at the Parque Geneves at the waterfront, with its trimmed trees. We continue along the waterfront and arrive at the marina. Here too is the Castillo San Sebastian, one of the city fortifications, and the city beach. We now enter the Bario de la Viña, the old fisherman quarter of Cádiz. Narrow streets, lots of eateries and loud inhabitants, but apparently all very gaditano, or very typical of Cádiz. This time were in time for a visit of the Cathedral. The visit is rather disappointing. Every is covered in dust, as major restorations are underway. Late afternoon we drive out to El Chato beach. From the El Chato restaurant we reach, after some 200 yards the beach. The water is a bit difficult to bathe in because of the rocks.
At night we eat at El Faro, the prime fish restaurant of Cádiz. Even king Juan Carlos and the royal family and the Prime Minister (both the present and the former) frequent this place. Proof of this are numerous photos on the walls showing the celebrities side by side with El Faro's proud owner. The boss comes to our table to assure himself that everything is fine for us. It sure is. The setting is lovely, the service glides on wheels and the food is delicious. The bill is quite reasonable. Around eleven thirty we hit the bars. El Poniente has "Brazilian party" going with a drag show.