Cádiz: “Camera Obscura,” Castillo de Santa Catalina & Populo
by Chris Bond – Cádiz Program Director As we start counting down (sadly) the days until the end of the trip, we’re still keeping quite busy. We visited the Torre Tavira the other day. This is one of the original merchant towers here in Cadiz, towers built so that the merchants could keep an eye on the port and the approaching ships (during the 18th-19th centuries, when Cadiz was the principal port of entry for all products coming from the Americas). Today, Torre Tavira is run a museum and contains one of the few Spanish Camera Obscura exhibits. Basically, for those who don’t know, a camera obscura is like a huge pinhole camera–something like a periscope–that operates with a mirror and two lenses, like a normal camera, allowing one to project real-time images of the entire city on a parabolic screen inside a dark room. It’s a very cool thing to check out, and the students loved it. The views from atop the tower were also quite amazing.
On Tuesday night, we had our annual Tapas Contest, in which we (the staff) act as judges of the Spanish cooking of the students. They all did a great job. We enjoyed flatbread pizzas, bacon-wrapped potatoes, mini-grilled cheese sandwiches, Spanish hamburgers, roasted red pepper, and grilled steak toasts, and a delightful Arroz con leche whipped up by some of the boys for dessert. All very, very delicious.
Yesterday (Wednesday), in our afternoon class, we visited the Castillo de Santa Catalina, one of the principal fortifications of the city, originally used in the protection of the city from outside invaders. It is now a beautiful museum that sits atop the ocean. The views are gorgeous and the art is always fascinating. This time we got to enjoy an exhibit of Posadas prints and newspaper clippings (Posadas is the maker of some of the most famous of Mexican Day of the Dead images–you may recognize some).
Finally, last night the students got to check out the Populo neighborhood and eat at some great tapas restaurants (against which their own at times compared favorably), eating croquetas, meat skewers, shrimp, meatballs, and a whole ton of other food items.
As the clock ticks and our time here comes to an end, we’ll be keeping very busy still, and I’ll keep you posted as it all happens.