It’s obvious that it’s our last full week in Jerez — we’ve been going crazy trying to do all the things that we hadn’t managed to do in the three months we’ve been here. Of course, having Alba with us helped a lot!
Monday 4/2: Alba had never been to Seville, so we decided to spend an entire day there. We walked through the Plaza de España and the neighbourhood of Triana, and met up with Shaun, a Twitter contact of Craig’s who runs tapas tours. She took us to a couple of really excellent tapas bars where we spent most of the afternoon eating high-quality, delicious food.
Due to short opening hours, we’d missed our chance to visit the cathedral or the Alcázar by the time we finished eating, so we went up the setas (mushrooms) for a view of the city instead.
Before catching our train home, we made a stop at El Corte Ingles to buy Alba some new shoes — all that walking had given her blisters!
Tuesday 5/2: After a slow morning, Alba and I headed to Gonzalez Byass winery to do their tour. It was more or less as I expected: a pretty good tour but quite a lot more touristy than the other ones we’ve done. And only two (not great) wines were included in the price, which was one of the most expensive in the city. (Bodegas Tradición is the only more expensive one, but their tour includes a visit to their excellent art gallery and tastings of all six beverages they produce).
In the afternoon Craig worked, Alba read her book in the sun, and I had to have another tooth pulled. It didn’t go well, but at least I never have to go through it again. Ever.
Wednesday 6/2: We had to make an early start to get a lift to Cadiz with our landlady Isabel. She kindly gave us a quick tour in the car, then dropped us at one of the main squares.
We spent most of the day walking around and exploring; we visited the Castillo de San Sebastián and the Castillo de Santa Catalina as well as stopping by the market and poking our heads into the cathedral.
Craig had to head home to work after our stop at Torre Tavira (the camera obscura is awesome), but Alba and I kept exploring. We visited the museum, had a tasty lunch at La Gorda te da de Comer, and checked out the constitution exhibition at el Oratorio de San Felipe Neri.
Thursday 7/2: Alba’s train left at 10.15, so we walked her to the station to wave her off. On the way home, we finally stopped at a cafe we’d been meaning to visit for awhile — they always have such tasty-looking cakes in the window. When we got home we really had to settle down to work, though I also chatted with Oliva before our German lesson with Tanya at 5pm.
In the evening, we headed to La Porvera for the language exchange. Tanya was there and introduced us to her host father Pedro and his friend Amparo. They’re both really nice and Pedro’s into modern board games — it’s a pity we didn’t meet them earlier!
Friday 8/2: We’d obviously made an impression on Pedro, because we got a message from him in the morning inviting us to a party in the evening. So we spent the day working, then headed over to Amparo’s house at around 9pm. There were lots of interesting people to speak to, and they were playing the finals of the Cadiz carnival singing competition on TV in the background, which was interesting to watch. Later, a bunch of us sat down to play Lobo, which is more or less the same as murder in the dark, which we used to play almost every week with our youth group friends.
Saturday 9/2: We’d been offered tickets to the Yeguada de la Cartuja horse show, but I’d forgotten to look up directions. It was a bit of a nasty surprise to realise that it’s a long way out of town — we had to catch a quite expensive taxi.
The show was great, though. The visit started with a tour of the premises — we got up close and personal with several of their 300 horses, and visited the operation theatre and a carriage museum. The show started an hour or so after we arrived, and it was great — a herd of stampeding colts opened the spectacle, and there was also a dressage exhibition, a demonstration of mares working in line, and a carriage speed test, among other things.
We had a quick sherry and met our contact Patricia, then headed out the gates to work out how to get home. There were a couple of tour buses in the carpark, so we asked one of the drivers if he’d be going past Jerez and if he could drop us off. He and the tour guide were happy to oblige, and the trip back home was one of the most hilarious in our lives. The guide told jokes, got everyone singing, and occasionally just turned on the mike to hum a few bars of a song. Our seatmates chatted to us the whole way and seemed indignant that we were being dropped off at the side of the road — for us, though, it was great. We were still a half-hour walk from home, but we’d been deposited within 100 metres of a mosto, a seasonal farm restaurant. So of course, we stopped in for lunch and filled up on shrimp fritters, mushrooms and ajo del campo soup. Yum.
We spent most of the rest of the day working, the met Ana and Diego in Tabanco Plateros for a drink and a few tapas. The new discovery of the day was mojama — slices of tuna cured like ham! It was mad. Also, tasty.
We realised that we probably won’t have another chance to play Monopoly Deal until Ana and Diego visit us in Berlin, so we went back to our place for more tapas and a few drinks.
Sunday 10/2: I decided to celebrate our last Sunday here by going to church… Also, I wanted to finally see the inside of the cathedral that we’ve lived next to for three months! The service was pleasant and the building was lofty; it was a really nice start to the day.
After that, Craig and I went to the flea market that’s held every Sunday in the square outside the Alcazar — in other words, about three minutes from our place. Somehow, we’d never quite managed to get there.
Lunch was a menu del día in the Plaza Arenal. The food was disappointing but it came with a free show — almost all the kids running around were dressed up for Carnival. There were a LOT of princesses.
On the way home we noticed a crowd (formed principally of people in Puss in Boots costume) in our local plaza. We’d noticed the stage set up for the past couple of days, and finally something was happening! We joined the crush to watch a group of guys of all ages singing a chirigota — these satirical songs are a staple of carnival here.