Jerez, often called Jerez de la Frontera because of its past, is a city in Andalusia which is close to the Costa de la Luz. So we were leaving the Costa del Sol and the Mediterranean Sea for one day to visit the Atlantic side of Spain, more precisely the province of Cádiz. It has an airport with flights to Jerez from the Uk. There are also many beautiful Hotels in Jerez. Not to forget the world famous Motogp circuit.
It was a long ride: about 230 kilometers from Málaga to Jerez which meant 2 hours and 20 minutes in our car. Luckily it was a very comfortable one.
Jerez for a long time was a border town between the Moorish and the Christian Kingdoms; this is why it is called ‘de la Frontera ’ which means ‘of the border’. There are still a lot of remains from the Moorish times like the Alcázar which we wanted to visit first. It’s a former fortress which now contains a park. It is located in the city center on a little hill.
Even though we had already seen a lot of similar buildings and parks, this one was still impressive. Ponds, trees and plantings surrounded by a Moorish building with horseshoe arches, fountains in the inner courtyards and star-shaped lights in the ceiling. And because the Alcázar is on top of the city we had a beautiful view from up there. We could already see our next destination: a bodega. But first we decided to go for a walk through the charming old town of Jerez. Beautiful narrow streets with small shops and decorative house entrances; some of the streets were even made out of mosaics.
The bodega was already close; there were a lot in Jerez but we decided to visit the Tío Pepe Bodega. Why Sherry? Such a British drink? The name of the drink sherry comes indeed from the city Jerez! This is because the city is famous for the production of this good. To get to know this tradition we visited one of the great sherry bodegas, the wineries, where we could see where and how the wines are made. The bodegas have a very long tradition: about 250 years ago Irish and Scottish entrepreneurs came to Jerez and established their own winery businesses. Because of the soil in the area around Jerez, a special sort of grapes can be cultivated there. This is what makes Jerez’ wine industry so special.
Out of this tradition, some sort of wine aristocracy was formed. The descendants of British emigrants ruled the culture but in the past centuries somehow converted into a typical Spanish wine dynasty. Their love for horses is still visible until today and is shown by the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre, the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. After just under 10 minutes in our rental car we arrived at the area of the school. But before entering, we wanted to have a snack.
Unfortunately we didn’t visit on a Tuesday or Thursday so we could not attend to a show but we still had the possibility to watch the stallions in training. It was amazing to watch and everyone who has a passion for horses will definitely melt away: beautiful harnesses for the horses and wonderful costumes for the riders. The animals were performing interesting choreographies and it looked as if they were dancing.
After enjoying the show we visited the Carriage Museum in which contains old carriages and attachments for those. The exhibits were very decorative and beautiful and it was a good experience, especially after seeing the horses’ performance.
Besides the sherry and horse culture, Jerez is also home to a typical Spanish but very different tradition: The Flamenco. This is why we decided to have dinner at a restaurant called La Taberna Flamenco which offers local food and dancing shows. It was really interesting and a lot of fun; and of course delicious.
Another aspect unique to Jerez would have been the race track a little outside of the city: it’s a ground where many important teams, for example from the Formula I, use to train and where a lot of important events were and are hosted. One of them will be the World Motorcycling Championship of 2013.
Our head full of new impressions of a day that was definitely worth the long journey… 🙂
- Roads are very good to get to Jerez. If you can take the Antequera – Campillos – Algodonales road
- Be careful with drinking and driving. The guardia civil knows Jerez is the Sherry City 🙂
- Check out the famous “Feria de Jerez” , the first big Feria of the Year.
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