englishman abroad, travel

Back from Cadiz

Well, I’m back again.

Just like on the previous project meeting trip to Bordeaux, I couldn’t speak the language in Cadiz. Thankfully my Boss, Peter, is fluent in Spanish and therefore we did pretty well. Cadiz is a beautifully well-preserved city, and the old town is a maze of winding alleys broken up by incongruous plazas and squares. The streets are mostly narrow and winding, with tall buildings everywhere — a rat warren for extremely privileged rats. You’ll be heading down a series of vertical channels, the slender, high-walled streets forming tall, upended rectangular spaces, and come suddenly out into an unexpected plaza, the rectangle, sideways and wide, vision horizontal once more.

The place is filled with historic buildings which, back in Oldenburg or other cities like it in Germany, would be a museum in their own right. In Cadiz, these buildings are so frequent as to be almost unremarkable. The buildings are so tall because Cadiz is a port city, the tall buildings dotted with watchtowers used by old merchant families to control trade routes to and from the new world. And yet, the buildings are not tall. The Tavira tower is the tallest tower in Cadiz, and that’s a mere 45 metres. Going to Cadiz is like going back in time.

This is where we had our latest partner meeting for the TRAILs project. The first work packet (or Output 1) has been finished, and Output 2 is well underway. Output1 was Jade University’s, mine and Peter’s responsibility, and the provisional findings were presented to partners. Output 2 and 3 (Cadiz University and Poznan University, respectively) were also updated and introduced.

Aside from the meetings and work, there were excellent dinners. There were museums and forts and history and things to do. There were even oranges growing on trees with fragrant blossoms. There was even sunshine. To top it all, I saw my first opera at the “Gran Teatro Falla”, it was Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. It was fantastic.

Cadiz is a wonderful place, and I thoroughly recommend it as a holiday destination. I’ll certainly go back in my leisure time.

Just before Cadiz, Peter and I were in Hamburg for the kick-off meeting of another project. This project involves a company and the funding is a bit different, so I can’t say too much about it. Suffice it to say that I’ve got quite a lot more travel coming up in the coming years: Cyprus, Finland, Poland, Italy, Croatia and possibly some others, too. All of this travel is part of my work; all of it connected to the EU and the Schengen area.

It would be impossible to continue in my job if I hadn’t become German just in time…

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