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If you are longing for a cruise with many lazy sea days and the odd hour in a distant port of call, you are better off bypassing Oceania Cruises. Where most cruise ships can be seen leaving port at sunset in order to maximize Casino and bar spending on board, it is utterly refreshing to discover that most Regatta voyages include ample time in the various ports of call to really get a feeling for distant shores.

On a dull, gray Sunday morning, Regatta pulls in to the port of Cadiz, located at the very southwestern tip of the Iberian peninsula. The ship will remain in port here until Monday evening, giving us the opportunity to discover the charming city of Cadiz today and head off for Seville tomorrow. Cadiz is the oldest city in Europe and has a fascinating history, including a short spell as Spain's capital. In the golden age, Cadiz was the starting point for most voyages of discovery and it was from the city's fortifications that Columbus sailed to the New World in 1492. The cobblestone streets of the old town are just like the ones found in Spanish colonial cities like San Juan, Puerto Rico and Cartagena, Colombia. With its brightly painted houses, spacious tree-lined squares and a colorful outdoor scene Cadiz feels vibrant and alive, even on this Sunday morning.

The sun comes out in full force as we stroll through the Old Town, admiring the centuries-old architecture. In true Spanish tradition, we order some tapas on a terrace overlooking the giant Catedral Nueva. The views from the bell tower are breathtaking and definitely worth the exhausting climb up. If you are in town on a Sunday like we are, don't miss the lush Parque Genovés. There is no better way to sample what life in southern Spain is all about, with children playing in the park and their parents sharing the latest gossip with friends underneath a palm tree. Refreshingly, Cadiz  has not yet given in to the lures of mass tourism, which makes it all the more interesting. 

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View from the bell tower of Cadiz Cathedral

Playa de la Caleta, Cadiz

San Juan? No, Cadiz!

Floral extravaganza in the Parque Genovés

Plaza San Juan de Dios with Cadiz City Hall

San Juan? No, Cadiz!

Regatta docked in Cadiz

Ornate tower of Cadiz Cathedral

Terraces in the shady of the mighty Cathedral

Iglesia de Santa Cruz

 

All photos and text: © 2003 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com. All rights reserved

First published on November 24, 2003