Getting from Africa to Europe was no easy feat. We needed to get from Asilah to Tangier to Tarifa to Algeciras, before we could finally make our way to Cádiz. Our host in Asilah advised that we take the bus to Tangier, as it’s cheaper than the train. However, after waiting at the ‘bus stop’ for 45 minutes, we were informed that the bus no longer stops there. Our next best option was to get a ride in a white van running a shuttle service between the two cities. After we were the first to board the van, we were concerned when the driver seemed intent on leaving with a full car. However, the van quickly filled up, and we soon realized that the driver wasn’t about to limit himself to the number of seats available. By the time we reached Tangier, the van felt like a clown car, packed to its limits.
We then managed to find our way from the bus station to the ferry terminal and boarded a boat to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. It was a quick trip, and we disembarked in Tarifa an hour later. The ferry company (FRS) provides free shuttles to Algeciras, so we took advantage of the service and stayed the night there. Algeciras has a large industrial port, but a small tourism industry. However, we were able to stay at a beautiful hotel (Reina Cristina) and enjoy fantastic tapas at Restaurante la Carbonería while there.
The following morning, we took a bus to Cádiz. The oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe, Cádiz is a bustling city on a long, narrow island just off the Spanish coast. We stayed in an Airbnb in the new city, which occupies the southern portion of the island. The new city is replete with high-rise apartment buildings, occupied primarily by retirees. It has a quiet, relaxing atmosphere, and you are never far from a beach. The old city sits at the north end of the island, and portions of the city walls are still intact. There are a couple of small castles at the northern tip, and a beautifully manicured botanical garden called Parque Genovés.
The old city itself contains many brightly painted, well-maintained houses on narrow, cobbled streets. We wandered through these streets on our way to the Cádiz Cathedral, while admiring the city’s many balconies en route.
For lunch, we enjoyed a modern take on traditional tapas at La Candela. It is a great place to try something different: dishes like their Spanish ‘bao’ and their decontructed cheesecake were delightful.