Cádiz: Nothing Important Happened Today

But that’s no bad thing. I’m here for a month and can’t do ‘important’ things every day. And it’s not saying that the ‘unimportant’ things that I did do were nevertheless uninteresting; they weren’t. So what were they? Well the lessons this morning of course (we were studying… err… I can’t quite remember – I’ll come back to that later), including my thrice-weekly one-to-one hour long session where we did some more work on present tense verbs. They do seem much more complicated than their French equivalents. Then I returned to the apartment for a short siesta. It was my first during my visit to Spain (which is one week old today) and I’m still in the Beazer Homes League when it comes to siestering. Does that analogy still have meaning today? The verb to siesta does have meaning but little grammatical validity. You know what I’m talking about however. So it was a short rest on the bed listening to Radio 5 Live after which a quick visit to the bathroom resulted in me being locked in the windowless room for five minutes as I struggled to unlock the door. I was on the verge of smashing it down when the lock decided to open and I was released! I would be useless as a hostage. Fleeing not just the bathroom but the flat I set off for for tourist office to find information about several things, but en route I stumbled upon my local bike shop and got chatting to the woman who appeared to be in charge. She spoke English but quite rightly reverted to using quite a lot of Spanish when I revealed that I was in Cádiz trying to learn Spanish. She knows the people who run the K2 language school and she told me she would no doubt bump into me in the square outside the school and where I am currently sitting typing this. And guess what? About five minutes ago she walked past and we exchanged ‘holas’. I feel like a local already. Her name is Met (short for Marie-Theresa) and she is going to email me when she has a sufficient number of people signed up for a cycling tour of the city. The shop is called Urban Bike Cádiz incidentally and here’s the link to their website. A meandering wander later (can wanders be non-meandering?) I was at the tourist office speaking to the lady behind the counter. She too spoke good English but stuck to my language rather than hers even when she discovered why I was in Cadiz. I didn’t complain as to explain about English language walking tours of the city, where I could find a swimming pool and (thinking longer term) where I would find campsites along my cycling route through Andaluca would probably have been beyond my abilities of comprehension, especially if it veered away from the present tense (which it clearly did). The department store El Cortes Inglès was next on the list and after a half hour walk into the newest part of the city (next to the bridge which is still in the process of being constructed) I found three floors of 21st century shopping glory. It was like being back in The Oracle in Reading. I was on the search of some running shoes. Now if you were paying attention to twitter yesterday you would have noticed that I was a little disappointed with my running efforts. It was a very stop-start jog around the perimeter of the city and very unsatisfying. At the risk of being accused of being a poor workman who blames his tools, I blame the trainers that I brought with me from the UK. They are my waterproof heavy duty cycling (non SPD!) trainers that lack a certain amount of flexibility. I have now purchased a pair of alarmingly day-glow Asics (reassuringly made in Cambodia, home of all quality running shoes) running shoes. I fully expect to jog around the perimeter of Cádiz tomorrow afternoon in record-breaking time. Perhaps. More meandering through the streets of the city brought me back to the square in front of the school and only a couple of minutes walk from ‘home’. I’m trying to explore as many different streets as I can and have taken to walking from place to place following no doubt very bizarre routes. If I think I haven’t walked down a particular ‘calle’ I will do so and then adjust my subsequent route if I feel as though I am hopelessly out of place. It’s actually quite difficult to get lost in a small city that is surrounded by the sea on three sides and which is built on a more or less grid pattern. The greatest risk is getting knocked over by a car along the narrow streets. Along with a small beaker of beer (for €1 – I’ll be back!) I’ve just enjoyed my first tapas since being in Spain – see below. One potato-based (and delicious), one chicken-based (and a bit less so). More tapas is literally on the menu for tomorrow when along with the other students from the school I’m off on a tapas-themed night out. It should be fun. I still can’t remember what we were studying this morning in the Spanish lesson but too bad. Perhaps I need to perfect my siesta skills in order to allow such intellectual morning exertions sink in properly… I’ll try better tomorrow, aided by my run around town.

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