Days Nine, Ten & Eleven
A last party weekend of the summer including some beach time, but still with a couple of opportunities to sketch - firstly along the beach during lunch at Platja de Sant Sebastia on the Saturday and of the main central church (Parroquia de Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla) from the waterfront on the Sunday.
I love Sitges - it has a great atmosphere, it has a pretty and lively centre, fantastic beaches and is so close to the vibrant city of Barcelona. I feel very content there.
And finally on Day Eleven, the return to the UK on the early Monday morning flight and straight into work. The end of an amazing summer visiting so many beautiful places in Europe!
As I was catching an afternoon flight from Jerez Airport, I decided to get up early to take a train from Cádiz to the centre of Jerez itself to have a look around.
One of the main centres of Spain’s Sherry industry, the city has a very different feel to both Seville and Cádiz. Small in scale and chilled in character with a mix of cute Andalusian houses and a few not so sympathetic contemporary blocks, the old quarter surrounds an 11th century Moorish fortress, the Alcazar de Jerez.
Firstly a sketch of Plaza Esteve in the city centre focusing on a charming corner building of El Gallo Azul and the a visit to the very chilled Alcazar itself before catching a train to the airport for my flight to Barcelona. A final party weekend in Sitges to celebrate the end of summer!
I wanted to take some time to sketch the cathedral. Plaza de la Catedral is a fabulous space - the building itself hovers as a majestic main focus to the square. Marvellous!
A long breakfast was spent around the cathedral scribbling away. Then as the weather got warmer, I walked south along the beach to the new part of the city. Cádiz is almost an island connected by bridges and a narrow strip of land further south.
On returning I sketched the old city from the beach area and one final sketch of a lovely cluster of buildings in Plaza de San Juan de Dios that I had noticed a few days before.
The city has grown on me immensely and it is a very lovely, interesting and comfortable place to spend a few days. I’m sure it will be properly discovered one day soon as a ‘must see destination’. I'm really glad that a friend suggested it to me and I came to see it.
Decided to use the really useful tourist information walking map to make a route through the city and decided to create quick sketches as I walked around this fascinating city. Sometimes tourist information offices produce a series of walks through a city and I find this a great way to get introduced to a new place. Cadiz has a great atmosphere (well it is in Spain so what should I expect!) and is a lovely city to visit.
It reminds me of a fusion of several places (including some south coast UK towns bizarrely) and there are a series of delightful squares punctuating the tight urban grid. There are so many places to sketch and so much history here.
I’d love to do an architectural competition project here!
After a leisurely breakfast and sketch at my favourite cafe in Alameda de Hércules, I checked out of the hotel to walk to Santa Justa railway station to catch a train to my next destination, Cadiz.
Less than two hours later I arrived in the Atlantic city. Set on a thin peninsula, the old city sits at the head, the new city set to the south. The former main base of the Spanish navy, the city is an eclectic mix of styles - Spanish colonial, moorish amongst others.
The exposed location that made it perfect as strategic military base has apparently caused a decline in modern times - the city can’t expand and the average age of the population has increased markedly as the young seek jobs and homes elsewhere. It looks to be a really interesting place and I’m excited to get to know it better over the next few days - first impressions are of a city that is maybe slightly struggling to find its place in the 21st century.
I walked around the complete perimeter of the old city this evening, particularly enjoying a thin garden area Almeda de Apodaca next to the Atlantic that proved to me how a relatively narrow area can provide a lovely lush landscaped space. This contrasted with a rather nasty contemporary landscaped deck structure that lined the waterside at Parque Genovés. It probably featured in landscape design magazines of its day and in plan I have no doubt looked stunning but unfortunately the reality is rather nasty.
A final quick sketch of the day in the delightful Plaza de San Juan de Dios with its backdrop of the main city hall was followed by dinner in the bustling streets.
After breakfast and watching some street Flamenco dancing in the city centre (I so love the passion of the Spanish), I returned to Plaza de España - a place I had to sketch - an amazing place - romantic, whimsical, beautiful yet rational - love it to bits!
I thought I was going to do a montage of images but decided to sketch one simple image in ball pen - I like these cheap simple pens because you can get great line weight and depth. One of my all time favourite places!
Later a coffee and quick sketch in a lovely neighbourhood around Plaza de Alfalfa. Sitting amongst the bustling residents made me conclude that the UK has no idea how to make proper cities - urban designers, architects and developers are failing misably at providing coherent and intelligent solutions to the housing problem - we either seem to produce gated ghettos or wasteful and characterless urban extensions.
Today starts with a visit to Metropol Parasol (allegedly the world largest timber structure) and a striking interpretation of how to regenerate a square in a previously deprived part of the city. The views from the canopy are stunning.
Then lunch in a cafe with a good view of the cathedral bell tower (originally a minaret) and a quick sketch.
The weather continues to be very hot and a gentle stroll around the beautiful Real Alcázar and gardens seemed a great idea. The palace is still used by the royal family and it is the oldest European palace still in use. The moorish influence on Seville is everywhere and particularly at Alcázar. I couldn’t resist a sketch of the Patio de las Doncellas - a beautiful moorish courtyard despite the fact I was told I could only stand and sketch, not sit!
A wander round the city in 40 degrees plus stopping for a sketch over breakfast and a walk along the river (but no cooler!). The architecture is very beautiful. Managed to find a shady sketch corner overlooking the the Torre del Oro, a 13th century military watch tower.
I ended my walk in Plaza de Espana. In 1929, Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exposition World's Fair and built this amazing structure and public realm. I love the audacity and scale and want to go back later to sketch it - absolutely stunning!
Arrived on a easyJet flight from horrid Luton Airport to 39 degrees at 10pm! Went to a few bars in the Alameda de Hércules district near the cute H10 hotel. Buzzing!