Friday, 25 November 2011

Cadiz, Spain

I saw the Cathedral from the top of the ship this morning as I was taking my walk.  I couldn’t see any clear path that lead to it – only a maize of streets.  How hard can it be to find something that high, I thought as I was walking the deck.  But as soon as Wyona, Greg and I got on the cobbled streets, the Cathedral disappeared from our view.  We walked through narrow streets, enjoying the wrought iron balconies, the tiled walls of the the plazas and the marble under our feet and searching for a way through the streets to the church.

The entrance fee was three euros for Spanish pensioners, and five euros for all others except those in groups for whom the price dropped to three Euros again.  “Do you want to form a group and get in a little cheaper?” asked Wyona to people behind us who were also looking at the entrance fee. 

And that is how we made our way into the cathedral for 3 euros where we spent a quiet Friday afternoon trying to see what it is about the neo-classical style of the 19th century that is definitely Spanish. The old stone out of which the church is built is porous and  disintegrating.  The ceiling is falling into the nave of the church.  A fine net is strung from one end of the church to the other to keep that ceiling from falling on the worshipers and the travellors as well. I was trying to figure out what about the design of the church was definitely Spanish – a square border, the corners of which all had squares in them, but which were definitely offset and not symmetrical, for example. 

The church also houses the tomb of Manuel de Falla, which is why there was a portrait of a musician, obvious because of the notation manuscripts around him in the painting.  “Falla?” said Greg.  “Does anyone know this musician?”

“Fie-ya,” I could hear the announcer on CBC saying.  But then I couldn’t remember if I should pair him up with the Firebird Suite or with something else.  Where, oh, where is the internet when I need it.  The same thing happened at lunch today.  We had brandied lattice cups that held lemon perrot.  I could identify the waffle-latticed cups but not the lemon perrot it held – this sharp delicious lemon flavoured confection, but what about it means perrot?  I will probably even have forgotten the question by the time I get back to my blessed internet.  I had no idea how many times a day I go to it to find out the answer to some question, which no longer burns in me when I have discovered the answer.

Greg left us to explore Cadiz on his own.  Ever since Italy he has been looking for a lemon pastry that escaped him there.  Wyona and I like to travel down the narrow old streets.  I had gone to the destination lecture about Cadiz and looked at the Port Explorer, published by the ship.  I had gone to sleep in the lecture, but I didn’t know if I was out for just a few seconds or for much longer.  I did remember enough that I could identify the 17th century stone walls, a spotted the Coastal Walking Path, located on the Atlantic side of Cadiz, and when we passed the Spanish Plaza, I could hear the words of the lecturer – “Every Spanish town has a main plaza.”  Wyona and I stood for a long time looking at the monuments, celebrating liberal assembly.  Burned into my brain was the man on the square who stood holding a long banner onto which these words were written:  all I want is what others have – a democracy to live in.  Living in one,  how often do I forget that others don’t have that.

Passenger watching.  That is what we do a lot of.  When I was first boarding I saw an old couple, dressed absolutely fit to kill.  Beautifully tailored cothes and I one point when I looked at the clothes carefully, it seemed he garments were hanging on skeletons.  Wyona saw the same couple often – they must be Celebrity Pinnacle Passengers, for they are always early to the theatre and get the reserved seats for people who have travelled with the line often, and always impeccably dressd – she with a lovely hat and matching coat; he with a tailored evening coat and a beautiful scarf at his neck.  Tehy are so old that the two hardly have any meat left on their bones.  I have no idea how they got their luggage on board for they look too fragile to even carry themselves along.”  Wyona pointed the woman out to me one night in a show.  There is a box of seats especially reserved for Platinum members (people who have cruised for over 80 days are diamond plus members and the platinums are above that).  This time the woman was wearing a sequined sparkling cap to die for, one like women wore in the days of the flappers.  The third time we saw them was at an elevator around lunchtime.  The woman had a hat on again, a beautiful rhinestone piece on its headband is what I was admiring.  The elevator came.  I saw someone gently take her shoulders, turn them 180 degrees and say softly in her ear, “The elevator is this way, dear.”  And then push her gently forward.  Then her husband, again in a lovely suit with a silk scarf at his neck, slowly tugged on her hand and she took tiny steps, barely staying upright, into the elevator. 

That is how long I want to cruise.  All the way until I don’t know which way to the elevator, though I still want to be able to put on a beautiful silk dress and hat to look good for that journey to the elevator.

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