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Journal 1 - Arrival in Cádiz

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006

We arrived in Cádiz after a long and trying travel. We had delays in both New York and Barcelona and by the time we reached Madrid, we were running late if we were to catch the last bus to Cádiz. Our luggage took forever, We didn't have money, we couldn't find Jenna Martin, and when we did meet her, we learned that one of her bags had not made it on her plane. We decided to get it shipped to our hostal and to rush and make the bus. After one ride on the metro subway, we realized we would not make it in time. Laura Schildt said we were supposed to take the train, because Moira had made connections with Hostal San Francisco in Cádiz for that night. So we slowed our pace and made our way toward the train station.

At the station, Laura started a conversation with a friendly young woman who was headed also to Cádiz. She had lived there the last few years after growing up in the Canary Islands. She turned out to be a helpful resource as we made our way south. Once in Cádiz, we took a taxi to our hostal, which ended up being a nice little place tucked back in narrow roads with buildings lined with small Spanish balconies. Everything seems very European, from the cars and trains to the styles and designs.

I decided I was too tired even to brush my teeth after only a few weak hours (if there were indeed more than a single hour) of sleep. It was cool and I got out of bed more than once to put on more cloths.

This morning we slept in almost until noon, which is close to a US morning (6 hours behind). I first used the internet for some quick "we're here" emails, called Rebekah briefly, and then joined Laura and Jenna for breakfast/lunch at a small restaurant on our street. They had toast and bread and I had some tapas, which are a traditional food that come in a variety of forms of meats and cheeses. I've understood that meals are scheduled differently here, and that there is a late afternoon snack/supper and an evening snack/supper at around 10:00. I suppose when we leave the hostal and live with others we will see more of how that works.

After that we made our way around the coast of the peninsula. "Casco Antiguo" is the older part of the city with many historical buildings. I understand that closer to the mainland are many new residential buildings. Anyhow, we walked from the northern end down around to the southern coast, seeing a variety of stone coasts, walkways that are built up, beaches and most interestingly, old fortresses. I'm not sure about many of the details yet, but Cádiz has always been a port city, and at one time, quite fortified. I'll say more as I learn more about that as I learn more.

Our walk ended close to the train station where we had arrived last night, which helped to orient ourselves somewhat. I don't expect it to be too hard to find my way around the city, but we'll see how it goes. As I write, I can hear a street jazz guitarist (the narrow street acoustics are great) and the noise of people out for the evening below my porch. Work schedules are different too; what would be a siesta time in Latin America goes for a good bit of the afternoon, and stores reopen for the evening. The evenings get cooler, but during the day it was sunny and in the 50s. People bundle up like it's cold. People are friendly; we've had a couple times where local folks have gone out of their way to give us extra information or to tell about themselves and all.

The plan right now is to stay here and familiarize ourselves some with Cádiz until Sunday, when we'll move along to Ceuta for the next phase to learn about some issues surrounding immigration.