Exploring Cadiz for the Weekend

Hey everyone!

I’m sorry if I worried anyone with my last blog post, but I want you to know that I am doing much better! I’ve even made a few new friends (: lucky me! Everyone goes through a rough two weeks when first moving abroad and I wanted to share what it was like with you all, but please don’t worry!

In my previous post I mentioned that this past weekend I was going away with my host family to Sanlucar de Barrameda. We had Monday off from school so it was the perfect chance to getaway. They have a house by the beach there. My host Dad, Julian, is from Sanlucar. It was a very nice weekend, both relaxing and tiring (if that makes any sense). I had the chance to catch up on some sleep but my days were busy spending time sightseeing and playing with the kids. 

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The beach was a 5 minute walk from their house!

On Friday night, we drove to Sanlucar (about an hour and fifteen minutes from Algeciras). The following day, we headed out to explore the town. We visited a market, walked through the commercial district and went inside some very old and beautiful churches.

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Santo Domingo Church (1558)

We also went inside a quaint bakery, where my host Mom bought some sweets for us to take home. It smelled like Christmas cookies inside!

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My host siblings outside the bakery–Julian, Mario and Sofia

In the afternoon, we headed off to one of the beaches. This beach was actually where the Guadalquivir River runs into the Atlantic Ocean. Across the mouth of the river is a famous National Park. We ate some lunch there and enjoyed the view. (I learned that the first ship to sail around the world left from Sanlucar!)

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After lunch, we went to a palace in Sanlucar that is now a hotel. It overlooks the whole city and we sat in the beautiful gardens for dessert.

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Palace of Medina Sidonia
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Can you guess which piece was mine? (Trick question–we shared!)

Around 4pm, we finally left the city and went back to the beach near our house. Although it was cold, the kids were determined to go swimming. My host family explained that there are famous horse races along the beach in the summer. (The beach is so long so I can imagine it’s the perfect location!)

On Sunday, we went to Jerez for Mass inside a beautiful church, San Miguel. My host Mom, Susana is from Jerez, and her and Julian were married inside San Miguel Church. After mass, I met some of Susana’s family, including her mother and her brother’s family. We all drove to the countryside together for a nice lunch.

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San Miguel Church

We honestly had a FEAST. We had salad, then soup, followed by a ton of PORK! My host family explained that this restaurant was known for having really good meat–and they weren’t kidding! (We were so full from lunch still, that later that night we just had some yogurt and cookies for a “dinner”).

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They ordered all of this just for me!! (Crazy)

After lunch we drove to another place for dessert and coffee. It overlooked a beautiful lake and the kids enjoyed feeding the ducks in the water.

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The view from the cafe in the countryside
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Mario feeding the ducks!

When we finally got home that night, I had the chance to go for a run along the beach. I had forgotten that since we were on the opposite side of the Atlantic, I could watch the sunset over the water! I had almost the entire beach to myself and that serene moment was exactly what I needed. The sunset was beautiful and I was glad I got out for a while on my own to enjoy the peace and quiet.

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For our last day, we packed up the car and left Sanlucar. On our way home to Algeciras we stopped at a few different places to check out the view and get some food. One of my favorite stops was in a small town called Vejer. All the buildings were white and the streets were very close together. (It reminded me a lot of Morocco). It had an old castle that overlooked all the open land! I took a lot of beautiful pictures of the streets and views here.

 

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Street in Vejer

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View from castle of the countryside

We also stopped in Tarifa on our way home (which is about 20 minutes outside of Algeciras). Tarifa is known for having beautiful beaches and is a famous place for kite-surfing because of how windy it is there! We stopped for coffee at a hotel, with an incredible view of the beach.

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My favorite thing about Tarifa (besides the beautiful beaches) was the fact that you could see Africa across the water!! I will definitely be back again when the weather is warmer.

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On a mountain in Tarifa, overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco!

Overall, my weekend was quite an adventure. Every time I got into the car with my host family, I was unsure where we were going next, but was never bothered by it! Instead, I just enjoyed the ride. There beach house had no wifi, so I was able to unplug for the weekend, only using my Spanish phone to touch base with people from home briefly. I finished the book I was reading, I did some writing and watched movies with my host family at night. Although I am relieved to be connected again, I think this weekend was helpful in my adjustment! Besides that, I was able to explore 3 beautiful cities with my host family as local tour guides.

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Palace Medina Sidonia Gardens

Overall, Cadiz is an impressive region in Spain and I highly recommend visiting. They’ve got great beaches (both touching the Mediterranean and Atlantic) as well as historic towns to explore. I especially loved Jerez and I think Mark and I might meet there this weekend to explore some more! 

Hope you enjoyed the re-cap of my weekend! Now back to teaching again!!

Much love, Amanda


2 thoughts on “Exploring Cadiz for the Weekend

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