Thursday, June 07, 2007
Cadiz is on the southern coast of Spain on a peninsula and is thought to be the oldest inhabited city in Europe. Years ago I got it in my head that I would love Cadiz, so I am glad to finally have visited it. I arrived by bus and as we drove through Cadiz I was disappointed by how modern (as in USA in the 1970s sort of modern way) it appeared. To my relief, a few miles later I was greeted by the charming buildings that I associate with Spain. There´s a beautiful cathedral, and of course the ocean breeze is a constant in this laid-back sort of feeling port city.
For the first time I arrived in a city without a hostel reservation. All of the online booking sites showed no availability except for pretty expensive places. Even the first hostel I walked to from the bus terminal wanted about $47 for a room (and with a hallway bath). Note: I am sure I could have gotten a dorm-type room much cheaper, but I was weary of dorms at the time. So I pulled out my cell phone (99 cents a minute here in Spain) and called a place recommended by Let´s Go and found a single room with a balcony (but hall bath of course) for about $25. Afterwards I wondered around, got my bearings, and took a nice stroll along the paseo along the water. Of course I had my daily pastry...this time it was some sort of cream with honey and cinnamon sandwiched between what appeared to be two graham crackers but was actually much softer and pastry like.
On day 2 in Cadiz I enjoyed hot chocolate in a cafe. Of course, all they have is whole milk; sometimes they just give you the packet of hot chocolate mix to the steamed milk yourself; and it is always accompanied by a big packet of sugar. After exploring some more, I enjoyed the afternoon on the widest beach I have ever been to, I think. After school let out about 30 boys had two soccer games going on between the ocean and me. Seems like a fun after-school activity.
And if you´re ever in Spain in February, Cadiz is evidently off the hook. My guidebook says that Carnaval insanity there is legendary and that week-long frenzy "makes New Orlean´s Mardi Gras look like Thursday night bingo at the old folks´ home."
Yesterday I thought a lot about answered prayers and blessings, and I must say that I feel quite overwhelmed with gratitude for the experiences I´ve been having...everything from seeing new places and meeting new people to just waking up when I wake up, wearing skirts and flip flops every day, and what feels like freedom from so many of the chores of life for a bit. After what ended up being years of prayer about what I should do next, I am so grateful for both receiving an answer and the answer itself--and of course, for a faithful God.
p.s. I´m grateful for my One Year Bible, which fits conveniently and easily in my backpack (I am almost finished...finally!).