Crowning the skyline of the peninsula, the central gilded dome shines bright with her two sentry towers standing watch over breaking waves of the Atlantic and the bustle in the plaza below. As I rounded the bend from La Caleta on my bicycle, the cathedral rose above the pastel oceanfront houses. Winding my way there, the towers only rose higher as did the sounds of musicians playing, singers serenading the passing sight-seers, and dancers tapping about the cobblestones as I entered the Cathedral Plaza with my face hurting from my smile brimming across my face. Before stepping inside what would be my first cathedral visit in Spain, I took a few minutes to take everything in around me while I enjoyed a cup of coffee with a full view of the happenings of the plaza from the flamenco dancers to the children waving down to family from the church tower above! Then after my caffeine dose of the day had been resolved, the true adventure began and I made my way to the entry point. For a few euro, five if I recall correctly, you can visit the entire interior to include the massive crypt and make the serpentine climb to the top of the Levante Tower.
Once I passed the queue, my architecture adrenaline was peaking within milliseconds! Firstly, this cathedral's construction spanned nearly 120 years and over those years were significant changes in design styles and construction. With all of that, 'Catedral de Santa Cruz de Cadiz' was intended to be styled in the fad of Acerco's time which was baroque. But, as he passed and other architects came and went, the cathedral has touches of rococo and mostly completed with neoclassical elements. Although, with that extensive mixture of architectural aspects, the beauty of each of them blends perfectly together to create this celestial cathedral. I was already in awe as I made my first few steps, but when the choir chamber came into view I was even more excited when the pipes and trumpets of the organ met my eyes! After making two rounds of the interior (had to make sure I got my money's worth!), I made my way to the base of the Levante Tower. To my surprise, the tower is not climbed by the traditional winding stairs but a ramp! As one nears the top of the tower, there is a "fun" sensation in the shins! But, the trek up the spiraling path is beyond worth the climb! A full view of the ancient peninsula city along with ocean views and a direct look into the whole harbor! Best part of the tower tour, you are among all the bells and if you are lucky and the hands pass over to the new hour, you can hear the big ones! For my first cathedral exploration, I could not have asked for a better day and a better place to do so!