Wel­come to my place... Cádiz

The Irish Times Magazine - - TRAVEL- BAG -

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

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