Ancient Mariners

At low tide on a foggy afternoon in Cadiz, a fisherman walks past stranded boats on the beach of La Caleta. Cadiz, the oldest city in Europe, was founded in 1104 B.C. by Phoenician sailors. It sits on the end of a bulbous peninsula of land that juts out into the Atlantic to form one of the best natural harbors in Spain. Alternately ruled by Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and Christians, Cadiz has always been a port of high strategic value. Christopher Columbus chose Cadiz as the starting point for two of his voyages, and the port later became the terminus for treasure fleets returning from the Americas with gold, silver, gems, tobacco, spices and other New World plunder.  Photo ©Mike Randolph

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6 Responses to Ancient Mariners

  1. LAC December 6, 2012 at 14:12 #

    Let us not forget Huelva, dulce Huelva, y Palos de la Frontera, de donde salio Colón la primera vez. Maybe not as pretty today as Cádiz but Huelva is where my heart dwells, native New Yorker though I am.

  2. Mike Randolph December 6, 2012 at 14:29 #

    Why does your heart dwell in Huelva? Does it have something to with gambas de la Bahía and jamón de Jabugo? Doñana? All good reasons, but just curious.

  3. LAC December 6, 2012 at 15:46 #

    Jamón tasts so good that it made me weep (I’ve been to Jabugo and there’s a road sign that says, “Jabugo, la cuna de jamón serrano.” The gambas are to die for. The COQUINAS, dios mio, there are no words. But Huelva calls to me. She’s not a very pretty city, in fact, she’s an industrial cty with a lot of pollution. She’s not a very touristy city, and as you may aready know, she’s not a city that even los españoes know or want to know. When I was arranging my travel from Madrid to Huelva and discovered that there was only one train, and that it arrived in Huelva at around midnght, my friend in Alcalá kindlly explained to me that “Es porque Huelva es el culo de España y no hay nadie salvo para ti, que tiene ganas de ir a Huelva.” (I took it quite well and still laugh when I think about it). Why does a place all to a person? I don’t know. I just know that sometimes, it does. Not BECAUSE of what it holds or how it looks, but sometimes despite those things.

  4. Jonathan Moreno December 6, 2012 at 21:03 #

    I understand where Lac is coming from. I have the same sentiment about Bilbao. My family is there. I spent quite a few years growing up there and then visiting most summers. Not very pretty but, it is changing. Love the strong, proud Spaniards that live in the north.

  5. Mike Randolph December 7, 2012 at 11:14 #

    LAC: Thanks for such a thoughtful reply. I like places off the tourist path as well. And I love coquinas too. Maybe I should spend more time in Huelva!

    Jonathan: Bilbao has changed a lot, you’re right. The Guggenheim had such a profound influence on the rebirth of the place. Amazing, when you think of it.


  1. Cooling off in Cadiz | Spain. By Mike Randolph - July 5, 2013

    […] season is here. For a look at this beach at a different time of day (and a different time of year), click here. Photo ©Mike […]

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