I arrived here in Cádiz in the early afternoon of Saturday 28th February. (What do you mean you don’t remember?! Weren’t you paying attention?) I’ve now been in the city for three weeks. It was a beautifully sunny day. I perspired slightly as I carried my bags around the narrow streets waiting for 6pm to arrive and my rendez-vous with the lady who was to give me the keys to the flat. As the afternoon morphed into the early evening I gave up wandering and sat down in a small park near the flat where I’m now living. The primary thought in my mind was ‘what the hell am I doing?’
I had chosen the school where I would be studying Spanish in Cádiz on the basis of (and I’m not making this up) the fact that when I looked on Google Streetview, it had a nice square in front of the building which was full of bars, tables and parasols. The alternative schools in the newer part of the city didn’t have such essential nearby facilities. The thought of starting the day with a strong black coffee and ending it with a small beer seemed just as important as anything academic. I have yet to regret my decision.
However, I remained concerned as to who I would be spending my four weeks in Cádiz with. Teenagers? Students? Twentysomethings? Thirtysomethings? I could have survived with the penultimate category but hoped that the final group would predominate. My concerns were misplaced to say the very least. I’ve spent the bulk of the last three weeks with fiftysomethings, sixtysomethings, seventysomethings (perhaps even an eightysomething) and every one of them has been a delight to meet and spend time with. So why am I telling you this now? After all, I still have another week and three days at the school before heading back over to Estepona, picking up Reggie and setting off in the direction of Nordkapp in Norway. Well, I have just had my last supper with Irish Bernie, Dutch Mike and the Americans Kate and Paul. Bernie is heading to Granada to continue his language learning. Mike is returning to Paris to pick up his wife and then fly to Cuba for a few weeks. Kate is off to Barcelona for a coaching course before meeting up with Paul in April to walk the Camino de Santiago. I’m the only one left. They have all been extremely good company in the last two weeks (in Bernie’s case, three weeks). Interesting, affable, funny, opinionated (in a good sense), open, generous… Just damned good company!
But now they’ve gone. Well, nearly. Paul is around for a few days and I’m meeting him on Sunday for a trip to the mainland but when I return to the school on Monday morning it will be me and, well… who knows?
I’m not worried. The cycle is now close and that will keep me motivated. I’m no longer concerned as to whether I’ll be spending the next week and a bit with the young or the old. I just hope they are as engaging as Bernie, Mike, Paul and Kate have been. Only one thing is playing on my mind… The blue skies of three weeks ago have now disappeared. They have been replaced with grey skies and almost constant rain. I’m beginning to miss the sun.