It’s hard to believe that another week has passed here in Jerez — we’ve done almost nothing touristy. In our defence, it has been very cold and we’ve spent most of our time holed up inside, working.
Monday 26/11: After a (quite successful) day of work, I managed to drag Craig out for a walk. We visited the supermarket and dropped into an exhibition that’s been put up in a marquee in the middle of one of the squares, which was all about trees and forests. The thing I liked best about it was the smell — they’d obviously developed a “forest perfume” that smelled just like leaf litter.
Tuesday 27/11: Craig managed to get the website more or less back online, with an attractive new theme to boot, and I spent my day checking some of the site’s pages for code issues. In the afternoon, I walked across town for a language exchange with a Galician woman called Mónica. I’d seen her ad online and had no idea what she’d be like, but she was really nice. We’re planning on meeting up regularly.
Wednesday 28/11: I’m trying to spend at least a couple of hours out of the house each day, but I didn’t manage it on Wednesday — and Craig was even worse. I at least went to the library to collect my new library card (yay!) and borrow the two books that I’m allowed to take out at a time (boo).
Thursday 29/11: After a morning of work, I walked across town for a job interview of sorts. They wanted to hire me for just three hours a week, which would be fine if it was three hours of conversation classes with adults, but no — I’d be teaching 28 four-year-olds. I very graciously turned down the offer.
In the evening we met up with Diego and Ana and their friend Hugo in a bar called Bar Moderna. The food and drinks were tasty and well priced, but the best thing about this bar is that it contains part of the old city wall. Diego took us to look at it, and while he was explaining why it’s in the middle of a bar, another patron interrupted to give us a little more history. Apparently the archway we were standing under was an illicit gateway used by the Jews to avoid the Spanish Inquisition. Fair enough, really.
We stopped at another bar for a small sherry tasting with commentary courtesy of Hugo, then spent a couple of hours at the Spanish-English language exchange.
Friday 30/11: A couple of years ago we were interviewed for a video podcast by a couple of Kiwis, and one of the guys who interviewed us (Glenn) has since moved to London. However, he’s still working for a New Zealand radio station and is working on a series of programmes about what to do in 2013 — and he wanted to interview us for the travel section of the show. So we spent the morning recording the show with him over Skype. It was fun, and I think it went well.
In the afternoon I headed over to Mónica’s house for another language exchange. She studied performing arts and has excellent diction… and I don’t, really. At least not in Spanish. So she’s working with me to improve my pronunciation, which is great but quite difficult.
Saturday 1/12: Our Jerez ritual is to buy fish at the markets on Saturday and cook it up for lunch. This week we chose a likely-looking piece of salmon… and it was absolutely delicious, thanks to Craig’s superior fish-cooking skills.
After lunch we turned on the heater (which, oddly, is under a table covered with a tablecloth) and played a few rounds of Dominion, one of our favourite board games — Craig has discovered an online version. Afterwards we watched Wall Street, which was enjoyable but very heavy on the clichés.
Sunday 2/12: When we saw Ana and Diego on Thursday they had told us about these awesome restaurants called mostos, which seem pretty similar to Austrian heurigen. They’re only open for part of the year, and serve young wine called most as well as freshly prepared, simple food. Craig doesn’t get excited about much, but he was pretty keen to visit a mosto — so Ana and Diego invited us out to one.
We met them and Hugo in the centre of Jerez and drove a short distance out of town to a mosto Hugo knew about, where we were joined by another friend. The large room was filled with long tables set for six to ten people, and we were among the first to arrive. When we’d finished eating, though, the place was packed and there were about thirty people waiting to be seated. The most was delicious, as was the food, and we all ate and drank too much.
Afterwards we headed back into town and spent the afternoon in a bar drinking, talking, and teaching Hugo how to play Monopoly Deal — he was unfortunately quite good at it!