On the 26th March at 8am we left Ayamonte and headed out towards Rota. At the entrance to the River we noticed the distinct difference in the colour of the water as the salt water mixed with the fresh water of the river.
Rota is a small town on the Bay of Cadiz, Andalusia. It is 36 km away from Cadiz by road but only a short ferry ‘hop’ across the water. We left as the sun was rising on the horizon, in the company of ‘Sally’….Race On!! The journey of 59 miles took us 10.5 hrs of slow but pleasant sailing. At one point there were fish jumping all around us with one even bumping it’s head on the side of the hull!…..still the fishing lines remained empty! Both boats arrived within 10 minutes of each other and were immediately greeted by customs police who were checking our papers before we had even tied up to the ‘welcome’ pontoon! I think they were in a hurry to get home!
The town had two long sandy beaches either side of the Marina and a cycle path ran along each. We spent the first day exploring on our bikes with the occasional break for coffee of course! We were surprised by the number of American families enjoying the beaches on Sunday afternoon, but then realised that there was, in fact an American Naval Base on the outskirts of the town.
This was Easter Week, Spanish towns were holding daily processions depicting the crucifixion and resurrection. They were held at various different times of the day from early in the afternoon to 2am. Rota was no different. We walked into the town the evening after our arrival and having enjoyed a meal in a local restaurant where we ordered and enjoyed grilled pulpo (octopus) for the first time, we joined the crowds of people to await the evening procession.
Cadiz is an ancient port city. It is the home of the Spanish Navy and in the 16th century was a base for exploration and trade. It has over 100 watchtowers and an 18th century Cathedral. We had decided to take the ferry across to Cadiz whilst in Rota rather than move Money Penny across the waterway. We spent the day wandering around the narrow streets which have various different walks that you can follow by coloured lines on the pavements. Green – Medieval District, Orange – Castles & Bastions, Purple – Shippers to the Indies & Blue – Cadiz Constitution. I was a great way to see the sights.
We ate lunch in a small ‘street side’ restaurant – in fact there WAS no street as it was taken up my the many restaurants along its way. We walked out to the Castillo de San Sebastian and also visited the most amazing fish market we have ever seen. The size of the fish on display were immense. The photograph of the tuna does not do it justice.
The following day we began our trip towards Gibraltar.