Carnaval in Cadiz was more that I could have asked for, while I don’t think I would return (or at least, I would go with a program that doesn’t require you to stay until 6am). Somehow, though, we made it a full 24 hours from departure to arrival back in Granada. It is impossible to even try to find lodging in Cadiz less than 2 months in advance, so most people elect to sleep in the streets or not at all (we chose the latter).
Although Discover Excursions offered a free program to Cadiz, we elected to go through one based in Granada, as they provided food and allowed for more time in the city. After departing a bit late and after making multiple stops, we only arrived about 2 hours before the free trip, half of which we spent waiting in line for the Burger King bathroom. The food provided was cold croquettes, cold french fries, cold mysterious meatballs and some dry chocolate cake. While the trip was not at all executed as promised, our busing experience surely surpassed theirs.
We showed up at the parking lot and were met with hundreds of costumed individuals, from men dressed as Dora and Miley Cyrus to a group decked out as the Last Supper to a clan of “Pescanovias” or “fishing for girlfriends,” to multiple racist consumes of Asians, Mexicans, Indians and more. Our costumes were a lot more low-budget as we showed up with cow, cat or tiger ears and tails. We eventually got on the bus, a double-decker with pink faux-velvet lining. The group was singing along to the same 8 remixes that were on repeat for 5 hours, making jokes in Spanish that we didn’t understand, drinking, and smoking (both cigarettes and weed, though they breathed the marijuana smoke out the emergency exit window on the bus’s roof). One of the guys kept standing up and acting like a horse, which apparently was very funny to the Spaniards, but we did not understand it.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get more rowdy, the program directors came around and passed out condoms (as promised. We thought they were kidding). The group of boys in the front of the bus eagerly grabbed them and asked for more. We were just rolling our eyes at their high hopes for tonight when condom balloons started flying to the back of the bus. As it turned out, their excitement wasn’t what we had expected.
After 5 hours on the bus, we arrived in Cadiz and made a quick stop at the bathroom. Unfortunately, the stop wasn’t so quick as we waited in line for 45 minutes. There, we came across two men dressed in very convincing Navy Seal gear, but with patches that didn’t sit well with us. One, for example, was the Tommy Hilfiger sign and said “Taliban Hilfighter.” It is difficult to say the intention of their costumes for certain, but they clearly were not sending a positive message.
Once we made it out of the bathroom, we made our way over to the coast and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean and decided to go join the party. Unlike Freakfest there was no music, so essentially Carnaval consisted of people in costumes from all over the world drinking in the streets. We met people from Texas and Poland and Russia and New Zealand and more all while attempting the impossible feat of keeping your feet away from the mountains of broken glass bottles that littered the street.
We returned to our bus around 5am and sat exhausted in the parking lot. Somehow our friends who had ridden the bus with us to Cadiz, and who had been partying for about 18 hours, made it back though with slightly less energy. Getting back on the bus made us realize how truly disgusting it was, with thick air that smelled of sleeping drunk people and cold french fries and croquettes and empty bottles littering the floor. I got home, laid in bed and gave in to Netflix and despite enjoying the night, said my final goodbye to Carnaval in Cadiz.