Cadiz – Casco Antiguo – Carnival Madness

I was really excited to be finally coming to Cadiz as I’d heard so much about it and I was determined to make the most of my two nights here. As luck would have it my second night coincided with the Saturday night of Cadiz’s famous carnival, and I could let my hair down as I’d finished work and was flying home from nearby Gibraltar on the Sunday.

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The two week carnival is the most famous in Spain and attracts (so I’m told) about 100,000 visitors, many of whom who are bussed in for the main weekend. Apparently it dates back to the sixteenth century when they started to emulate the Venice carnival, a city with which Cadiz had a lot of trade.

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Music is a very important feature of the carnival and there are several different kinds of performances, some serious some light hearted. When I was eating at El Faro on the Friday night the restaurant was invaded by a troupe of Chirigotas; singers who perform humourous satirical ballads about politicians and current affairs. I didn’t understand the lyrics but just the way they sang was funny and they had their audience in stitches.

Some examples on Youtube here and here to give you an idea of what they get up to.

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On the Saturday evening I met up with John, a school owner in nearby San Fernando who I’d become pals with. After a few refreshments in a marisqueria near my hotel we headed into town to meet his buddy Mario.

 

They’d been friends as teenagers before John went to live in NYC for a few years and were now reunited as partners in crime. I couldn’t want for two better guides.

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As described in my previous post they took me around a string of tapas bars and one drink led to another!

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Saturday night is when everyone puts on fancy dress and parties in the street, so we met a few characters.

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Many of the costumes were inspired. One of my favourites was this platoon of plastic soldiers.

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The atmosphere was fantastic and the light drizzle (which John says happens every year) did nothing to dampen anyone’s spirits.

We kept going till about six in the morning  (I think) but eventually I had to go back to the hotel and pack before getting my bus to the airport.

I had a really great time thanks to your fabulous hospitality guys. Cadiz is my kind of town!

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