After a long day (and almost 15000 steps!) this was a lovely reward. The Hotel Alfonso XIII courtyard bar is always an indulgence, but some days it’s worth it.
Stayed for the first time at Hotel Convento in Cádiz and, faulty shower door issues aside, we really enjoyed it. Located a short walk from the train station, it’s also close to lots of bars, central squares, and the Cathedral. The courtyard is stunning, and our room was quite spacious, clean and comfortable.
Full review coming soon on Azahar Spain.
So you really can’t go to Cádiz without taking this iconic postcard shot of the Cathedral with the pastel painted houses on the left, the sea in front of you, and preferably with a cooperative seagull passing by. Could’ve done without the ugly building crane on the left, but oh well.
And just below this viewing spot dwell a crazy number of “sea cats”, who always look to be thriving. In fact, there are little cat houses put out for them, with food and water dishes outside them. Given the number of orange cats roaming around (even more out of camera shot) there must have been at least one big ginger tom out there having a good time recently.
Just above “cat city” I spotted several seagulls vying for ownership over a whack of small fish that were laying across one of the boulders. Clearly tossed there by someone. And then one of them posed nicely for me…
Looking up at the Cathedral from the square. From being either high above the city to being on the beach at low tide, I went from giddy to almost giddier, but it was all very enjoyable, and I got LOTS of extra FitBit steps in 😉Looking out from the clock tower – very windy (eek!)
Looking down from Tavira Tower
Looking out at the sparkly sea from La Caleta beachLooking at the sea from the San Sebastián Castle.
You can’t see them but there were some (crazy) people out there, walking along the bits of land still above water at low tide, on a very blustery day.
View from La Caleta beach at low tide
For years I’ve been bumping into Pilar and Juan Antonio at various food & wine events around Sevilla, and we always say we will meet up sometime in Cádiz. Pilar has a food blog called Túbal Aquaviva and is originally from Sevilla, but has been living in Cádiz since 1992, after she and Juan Antonio got married. Above is the only photo you’ll see of all of us… it turns out that Pilar is just as camera shy as I am.
Anyhow, when Peter and I first arrived in Cádiz for the final Birthday Getaway, after dropping off the luggage at our hotel, we made a beeline to the central market (really, my favourite food market in Spain) and Pilar met us there for Beer O’clock. I originally thought we were just going to have a nice beer and a chat, but Pilar had bigger and better plans for us. We were about to be taken on a Tapeo Extremo, with some cool cultural bits thrown in along the way. First stop was to visit the old salazones (fish salting plant), the remains of which are to be found in an obscure side street. Later we were shown where to find the also not-very-well-known Oratorio de las Cuevas, which have original Goya frescos in the upper chapel. And by then it was time for some refreshment, so we made our way over to Salicornia to properly start our tapeo.
Here are Peter and Juan Antonio at Salicornia – the latter arrived shortly after us bearing some fillets of fresh salmon he’d picked up at the market for lunch at home, having not been fully informed about our Tapeo. So after we’d tried some delicious dishes off the menu (butterfish ceviche, boletus and truffle rice, presa Ibérica carpaccio) chef Juan Höhr Herrera made us some amazing fresh tuna tartare with Asian spices and wasabe from Antonio’s “catch of the day”.
Another place on Pilar’s list for us to visit was La Curiosidad de Mauro, recently moved from the original location in Puerto Real. But before that we had to stop in at what turned out to be one of my favourite “discoveries” of the entire trip, a tiny hole-in-the-wall fish place called the Mini Bar. Here we met Paco, who’s been serving up super fresh no-nonsense fish dishes for 45 years. Seriously, you can’t spend money there. But as we had other other fish to fry (so to speak) we just shared a ración of fritos variados and were on our way. Mauro’s was also very good, but after the last two spots, which seemed much more relaxed and natural, we felt a bit like we were obliged to like the food… I dunno, it was a bit too “gastro-bar” for me.
We finished up (as one always must when in Cádiz) at the fabulously OTT Café Royalty, for their famous picatostes, which go perfectly with either coffee, cava or cocktails. Just to be sure, we had all three. The picatostes are a bit like a very thick French toast, dusted with icing sugar. Delish.
At this point we were joined by Ania @ania_marchlik but that’s another story… 😉
It was a great day, and it was so lovely that Pilar and Antonio took such good care of us. Gracias amigos! xx
This Córdoba Getaway was a delicious mix of revisiting well-known and well-loved places and discovering a few “new” spots too (well, new for me). By what turned out to be a lucky chance, two of the places I had planned on revisiting were closed, so we ended up changing our Thursday lunch booking at La Regadera to Wednesday and I set about looking for somewhere else to go. Then it hit me – who better to ask about good places to eat than one of my favourite Cordobés chefs?
So although it felt a bit cheeky, I sent chef Adrian from La Regadera a Twitter DM asking if he could recommend somewhere nice, and that’s how we ended up the next day in a barrio of Córdoba I’d never been in before (San Lorenzo) having a spectacular lunch at a bar I’d never heard of – La Cuchara de San Lorenzo. Luckily we were averaging about 20,000 steps a day (according to FitBit) to compensate somewhat.
Looking forward to a quick trip back with Janet Mendel when Noor reopens in the spring.
No matter how many times you see the Mezquita in Córdoba it will always – ALWAYS – take your breath away. Obviously this little square pic doesn’t do it justice, but really no photo will ever do so. It’s been a few years since I’ve been inside (last time I think was with Craig & Susan?) and I loved it all over again.
A new experience for me was a morning visit to the Mahidat al-Zahra, which has only been open to the public since 2009. It is the site of a city built outside Córdoba around 950 BC for the Moorish king (Caliph), which only lasted about 80 years. The only down side to the visit was that we weren’t told until we arrived at the site by bus that the Salón of Abd-ar-Rahman III (ie The Main Attraction) was closed for repairs. Still, it was a nice walk around on a beautiful blue morning.
This was a totally last minute booking after a quick look on google… and I couldn’t have been luckier. Especially as I found out up on arrival that the Hotel Soho Boutique Capuchinos has only been open four months (!!!). A great location for me as it’s just a 10-15 minute walk to/from the train station, which makes it easy with the suitcase.
Not quite as central as other places I’ve stayed in Córdoba, but to be honest, I preferred the proximity to the train station, and even appreciated the walks to and from the centre (about 15 minutes), which were uphill (well, more upslope) on the way back. So got all those extra Fitbit steps in to help counteract the delicious food and drink we enjoyed. More on that later. And there will be a proper hotel review later on Azahar Travels.