Cadiz and a lost bit of history

Some 500 years ago Sir Francis Drake came with a bunch of ships and attacked Cadiz. There were some strategic reasons for this unfriendly move, but there was also the fact that Cadiz was the home port of the Spanish treasure fleet carrying its rivers of gold from South America back to prop up the Spanish economy.

Not long after that the Spanish launched an Armada to invade England and put an end to the growing thorn it represented. That armada was famously a disaster and the average English schoolchild spends a lot of time learning about how superior it made them to the Spanish and, by extension, all those other European chappies.

All this is well-known to a more or less well-educated child of the British school system. Turns out there’s more to the story though. The following year the British launched their own armada – led by Drake – and this foray was an enormous and unmitigated disaster that made the Spanish Armada look like a success story by comparison. However the few people who struggled home from the British Armada – fewer than ten percent of the 30,000 who set out – took an approach that would be all to familiar to a modern politician and simply said loudly and repeatedly that it had all gone wonderfully. And, and this is amazing, that was seemingly accepted by everyone in England and they went on their merry way claiming superiority over the Europeans up until this day.

All that is a long-winded way of saying we are in Cadiz after a five-hour train-trip through the heart of a surprisingly green Spain.

Recovering while watching the Cathedral in the Sun

From the Spanish point of view Cadiz was a key player in the time when their country ruled the world. Then, much later, it was also the only city in Europe which Napoleon failed to take after attacking. So there’s an argument that it’s a pure little bit of Spain that didn’t have to rebuild and re-stock after being looted by the French and the British.

We arrived in Cadiz after 5pm so after a recovery beer in the Sun in our hotel’s rooftop bar we wandered the streets of the old town and then watched the Sun go down over the Atlantic.

Atlantic sunset

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