Cádiz, on Spain's Atlantic coast, must rank among one of Europe's most unsung cities. Admitedly, it enjoys some stiff competition from the likes of Granada, Sevilla and Córdoba. But still, it deserves more praise: it's a gem.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, nearly all of the wealth of Spain's American colonies passed through its port. Its old town, a walled peninsula joined to the mainland by a precarious isthmus, was altered somewhat in the nineteenth century. The twentieth seems to have passed it by entirely.

It's full of narrow streets, elegant bourgeois mansions, charming squares and the ground floor bustle of antiquated little shops.

While I was in Cádiz, I was lucky enough to come across an international folklore festival. These girls were rehearsing, and had just popped out for a quick cigarette. Later, dozens of performers from different countries paraded through the streets...

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