October 19, 2013, by Guest blog
Feeling immediately like a local in Southern Spain
Stepping out of the Ryan Air plane onto the warm Southern Spanish terrain was a welcoming assurance of the summery climate we would be living in! We caught a taxi from Jerez to Cádiz crossing the bridge and heading down the long strip of flats and shops which eventually lead to the walled ‘Casco Antiguo’ which would soon become our new home.
Walking through the narrow, cobbled streets of the ‘Casco Antiguo’ on our first evening we eventually arrived at the Plaza de la Catedral and were met with a vibrant and sociable square full of Spaniards socialising and dining in front of the monumental Cathedral of Cádiz. On seeing the same square during the day on a Saturday the atmosphere was similarly overflowing but with tourists. Despite the small size of Cádiz centre, and its many hundreds of tourists and locals meandering through the narrow streets, the atmosphere was suddenly alleviated when an elderly Spanish ‘vecino’ started to play the harmonica and guitar in the Plaza de la Catedral accompanying the inhabitants’ day.
On moving into my new flat I was made increasingly aware of the close proximity of life here in Cádiz. Due to the compactness of the streets the barking dogs on the balconies, base of the car radios, drilling of road works, screaming of children, zooming of mopeds and blaring of televisions was intensified. However, being aware of this proximity made me immediately fond of this small city, as I felt part of the daily life and immediately like a local. Encountering the fresh meat, fish, fruit and veg market in the centre of the city was a mesmerising experience as I gazed at the array of fresh produce! This was a pleasant surprise as I knew I would have access to some great, fresh Mediterranean food.
It wasn’t long before my first impressions of Mediterranean beaches and soothing street music were slightly shaken however; as I began my first lectures I was instantly thrown aback by the speed and nature of the ‘gaditano’ accent. Although this made me question my abilities in the Spanish language my first impressions have begun to change as I have started to become assimilated into the community and culture. This is something that will certainly take time and I am excited to learn more about and get to know the people, culture, language and history of this loveable city.
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