Welcome to my place... Cádiz
Stephen Lynam and Barry Mulcahy live in the Spanish city of Cádiz, taking a short career break from the world of politics and human resources. The couple married in 2014 and on honeymoon cooked up the idea of a Spanish career break. When in Ireland, they live in Dún Laoghaire in south Dublin. Where is the first place you bring people to when they visit Cádiz? We live by the beach, just south of the historic centre of the city, but our first destination is always into the old town itself. With its centuries- old narrow streets and bustling open squares, the majestic golden dome of the city’s cathedral is visible from miles away. You can do a self- guided tour, climb one of the many towers and take in the view. The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money, are... To get a sense of the historical importance of Cádiz – Christopher Columbus twice set sail from here – the ruins of the Roman Forum with their excavated theatre and small interpretive centre are a good starting point. Built, it is thought, in the first century BC, and only rediscovered in 1980, entry is free.
The newer part of the city is flanked by Playa de la Victoria, three kilometres of golden sands and sparkling water. You can soak up the sun, swim in the Atlantic Ocean or just look at the Gaditanos – and their dogs – wander by.
Of course, sitting out on one of the many squares in Cádiz such as the Plaza Mina or Plaza San Fernando is a great way to get a feel for the city and watch the world go by. What would you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Cádiz? As you would expect here, fish is king. Dogfish, calamari and shrimp fritters are particular specialities. You don’t have to look far to find them and any tapas bar or chiringuito will serve them.
The best place to sample all of the above, though, is the Mercado Central – either to take home and cook for ourselves or to have served to, ready to eat, while we stand together with the crowds and a lunchtime cerveza.
For something a little more leisurely, there’s a wealth of restaurants but we we tend to go to Ultramarynos, a favourite of the celebrity chef Rick Stein and which serves, without doubt, the best ribs we have ever had.
And because this is the land of sherry, we try to finish it off with a glass of Pedro Ximenez Where is the best place to get a sense of Cadiz’s place in history? Cádiz defends its reputation as the oldest city in Europe, and the entire old town is a reminder of that claim. As well as the crests and pillars that adorn most of the buildings, the bollards on many street corners to protect the edifices from wayward cars are actually disused cannons from the fleet that fought in the Battle of Trafalgar which took place less than 15 miles of the coast. What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Cádiz? Disregard everything you knew about sherry, and bring home a bottle of the local tipple.
From delicious dessert sherries to the dry and crisp “fino” you will find it everywhere here in Cádiz’s Sherry Triangle. If you want to try before you buy, take the ¤ 2.50 ferry shuttle from the port to El Puerto de Santa Maria for a quick sherry tour in one of the town’s many Bodegas, including the world famous Osborne Bodega. If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@ irishtimes. com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself.
We’d love to hear from you.
Stephen Lynam and Barry Mulcahy ive in the Spanish city of Cádiz