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When I wake up in Galway after travel, I look everywhere for cortado coffee. Even if, I only drank black Americano. But, recently, I hit with Spain. And Cadiz became my third home, full of light.
Although I am currently sitting on the sofa, I am still standing on the white roof of our tenement house, staring at the azure Atlantic, a red ship with a painted fish, palm trees growing from the neighbor’s pots against the background of laundry and the slender El Puente De La Constitución De 1812. In the meantime, I am tasting tocino de cielo, aniseed cortadillos de cidra and tiny yemitas, traditional pastries from Confitería el Populo near the cathedral.
Then I descend the marble stairs, open the beautiful gate, step out into the narrow street and almost stick to the honey-and-brick wall of a hundred-year-old building when a car, a scooter, or a dog passes by.
In a moment I will get lost again in these narrow streets, but my intuition leads me to Mercado de Abastos – the central bazaar, which is located under the Doric columns in the ruins of the courthouse of the old monastery de los Descalzos. There, on Saturday morning, I eat crispy tortillas de camarones – an Andalusian specialty, flat pancakes with shrimps.
And in the evening, stalls with vegetables, fish and chorizo turn into tiny booths with homemade food. And the bazaar becomes a huge, packed restaurant. It’s really hard to find a table but you can hunt down a stool or even two. Put on it a glass of local Viña Matalián Blanco and the most delicious sandwiches in the world with salada russa and salmon.
My clock is the sun. I drink a cortado full of caressing wind and compose a poem while relaxing under the umbrellas in Plaza San Francisco before we head to the heavenly beach of Bolonia. It’s quite close to Gibraltar and an hour and a half drive from Cadiz. Biggest waves I’ve ever seen. And the leather shell ring I bought from Javier is still on my finger.
However, in beautiful Cadiz and Andalusia, I also find a bit of melancholy. In los pueblos biancos – white towns situated on hills where you have to really climb. In cedar alleys on the highway, oranges scattered on the pavement, an easterly wind that heralds heat, an unexpected fire in nearby Puerto Real, a missed flamenco lesson, and meetings with neighbors because of no electricity.
Beige-red erth – enamorado de la vida que a veces duel –in love with life that sometimes hurts (from the song Camarón de La Isla).
A flamenco dancer raises her arms – wings in La Cava tavern and mercilessly tap dances as if she wanted to scream about what is not coming true. My shoes are blue and I tread carefully on the cobblestones, covering a smile or maybe tears with a fan.
When I feel big emotions, I like to sit under a tree in the quiet Plaza de Argüelles, my favorite square, where two girls and a boy are playing board game at a table, and sand is falling from the orange blanket on the balcony opposite. Then elegant old ladies pass by, a dress with foxes flashes. A bit as if I found myself in the frame of an Almodóvar film.
Cadiz – the oldest city in Spain on the Costa de la Luz, lies on a peninsula between the blue sky and the turquoise of the Atlantic. The city that shines in my heart.
When I sit on the train to Seville, Jarabe de Palo sings a song for me:
Como esa calle que siempre me lleva a ese sitio al que quiero Illegacomo esa bar en la carretera en el que me paro a descansar
Me gusta como eres
Like this street that always leads me to where I want to go
Like that roadside bar where I stop to rest. I like the way you are
And maybe it’s about Cadiz, or Spain, about my love, perhaps not a perfect trip, or about what happens in our life.