The Other Side Of Easter in Cadiz… – Guest Blogger Robert Gordon

Guest blogger Robert Gordon reflects on the recent Easter migration to his corner of the Bay of Cadiz…

Benidorm

Just over 10 years ago the area in which I live was covered in woods and fruit orchards, indeed my own home is set on what was an orange grove – as you can see from the photo many changes have taken place. The development of this part of La Bahía de Cádiz has established it as a considerable attraction for Spanish tourism, indeed over ninety per cent of the visitors here are Spanish, most of whom are second home owners.

In my barrio, the Spanish swallows arrive from Sevilla, Cuidad Real, San Sebastian and mostly from Madrid. What brings them to a fairly ordinary town to pass their well earned holidays, and how do they pass their time?

Well in most part they come for the ambience. Los Gaditanos have a reputation: “Ellos saben reírse de sí mismo” (they know how to laugh at themselves) even in these difficult times. During fiestas they form sizable groups in the cork woods, break into song, and will adapt any handy object into a form of percussion to enjoy day long festivals created by their own initiatives and paid for by their “vaquita” (piggy bank).

Many of the city dwellers that arrive have told me they seek “turismo nacional” and it can be found here in a form much less “bomdardeado” than in many other parts of coastal Spain. They are “con su gente, como estar en casa” (with their own people, they feel at home).

Semana Santa, Easter, represents “un aperitivo del turismo” with the main course served in July/August. Alongside the week long religious festival, the visitors relax, recharge batteries, and enjoy the local attractions which are mainly the food, spectacular light, and the beaches.

I at first doubted that the food here (fish) had a national reputation, but those doubts are long gone. Seeing Madrileños queue 40 minutes for a table resplendent with a “surtido” of fried/grilled fish and an uncountable variety of mariscos is proof enough for me. After lunch they stroll around town licking their preferred ice cream from tiny plastic spoons.

Benidorm

The swallows also tell me they love the beaches, not just for their natural attractions, but also for the fact that they have remained authentic in that they are both free and “bring your own”. There is no hiring of sun loungers, parasols etc. This leads to wonderful streams of beach pilgrims penguin-padding down to the shore laden with… well almost the kitchen sink.

During Semana Santa beach occupation is light, it is after all only the aperitivo, but the swallows are suffering from winter withdrawal symptoms. So down on Playa Santa Catalina they bask, preen and dip their wings in the fresh sea, revitalize all working parts and restore the canyons of their minds which have suffered from the winter grind.

They are easy to spot, sporting their recently purchased “pijo” (posh) spring outfits. During my evening stroll through my barrio, I see them, rollerblading, biking in family groups – enjoying themselves. They elegantly walk by with their tiny lap dogs cradled on their forearm. Couples with v-neck sweaters draped around the shoulder swan neck the plots which have changed since their last migration.

Their gardens come alive at night with chatter and sounds of local dishes being eagerly devoured, and later hoots and hollers over shared jokes and card games. I very much enjoy their arrival and whilst they are now gone, they will soon return for their summer visit, which will take both a similar and different form. For me there is something quite wonderfully distinctive and impressive in the style that my Spanish visitors pass their days here in Cadiz.

13 thoughts on “The Other Side Of Easter in Cadiz… – Guest Blogger Robert Gordon

  1. mightykaboosh

    I love your writing style it whisked me away to a happy place, more to come I hope!

  2. Jon

    Having visited Cadiz and surrounding areas on 3 occasions in the last 5 years ,an area i love also, i recognise it very well from the article ,which is very polished and affectionate in its style.

  3. Tiffany

    Great article! I almost gasped aloud when I saw you were writing about Cadiz – I spent almost three weeks there in 2007, and I definitely left my heart there. It is so beautiful. I hope to visit again soon. So.. nice choice! 🙂

  4. MrMark

    Looks like a great place to visit. The deserted beach (both meanings ha! ha!) reminds a lot of the beaches in the north, except of course it’s hotter down south. Those Madrileños hey? They snap up all the best places!
    thanks for your blog Robert

  5. josyannie

    Nicely written article Robert! Have visited Cadíz and the surrounding areas several times and I can certainly vouch for the lovely beaches, the people and best of all the fried fish.. certainly worth queueing up for and don’t start me on the mariscos, felt like I had died and gone to seafood heaven! Hope to go back again one day.

  6. pbphoto

    Mucho bueno Roberto – I love your prose. Your pen is indeed a mighty one! I am drawn to the core of your words as they describe an area most dear to me. It seems that your eye for detail has been matured through many varied experiences and that you too have been a swallow once upon a time. You have chosen your current nest well mi amigo. Adio.

  7. RayTibbitts

    Happily, I can say that just seeing the people walking around (and otherwise) in Cadiz can make you happy, even if you didn’t mean to be.
    Sadly, this is the only place I’ve actually visited. I have some planning to do if I’m going to visit the places all you great guest bloggers have written about.

  8. Carlota

    Me ha gustado muchísimo este artículo. Está muy bien escrito, me gusta el estilo y la manera como está redactado. Refleja muy bien la zona de la bahía de Cádiz y la forma de ser de los gaditanos. Conozco el lugar y las fotos son muy buenas. ¡Enhorabuena!

  9. Carmelo

    Fidedignas pinceladas cuasi Sorollistas de la costa gaditana.
    Color y musica en tus letras, muy propias del sabor de tu tierra.

  10. Alexander Aguirre

    Me ha gustado mucho la metafora empleada como hilo conductor de esta buena interpretación de las cosas más sencillas pero más valiosas de la vida típica en esta zona. Enorabuena por el artículo.

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