Jan 19 Jerez

We were so close to Jerez, the home of sherry, it seemed daft not to go there. We had heard about a handy camperstop, Autocaravanas Del Morada, and decided to give it a try. The first thing that happens when you arrive is that they give you a glass of sherry. How is that for a warm welcome?! It was very close to Jerez and had a bus stop just across the road.

Next day we were on the bus for an enormous sum of 1.20 euros each. We found the tourist information office and gathered some useful local knowledge. The advisor was extremely proud of his town and pointed us in the direction of the main attractions of which there are many. He advised us to partake of the free flamenco in Tabanco El Pasaje, rather than paying over the odds. The Tabanco is a small sherry bar in a narrow back street and there is a flamenco turn twice daily. We actually saved the treat for the next day and enjoyed a couple of glasses of sherry whilst being amazed at the male flamenco dancer!

Flamboyant male flamenco dancer in Jerez

The singer and guitarist were excellent and it was a different but enjoyable experience.

I digress. We started off our explorations by visiting the Alcazar and its surroundings. It is a grand building surrounded by a large park with views of Bodegas such as Sandeman, Tio Pepe and Gonzales Byass.

Alcazar
Alcazar entrance
View from Alcazar to the Cathedral
Interesting weathervane!

The cathedral was a bit pricey to enter and did not have a good write up in our Spain book so we spent the money on a glass of sherry in one of the delightful squares.

Cathedral
Lots of horse drawn carriages in Andalucia, and Jerez
Perfect setting for a glass of sherry

Warmed by the liquor, we wandered happily around the streets and admired the squares and buildings. The place was buzzing with activity until 1400 when suddenly siesta time had arrived and the crowds seemed to disappear.

Interesting curved eaves
Statue of Gonzales Byass himself
Small square with orange trees
Apparently there has been a glut of oranges this year!
Main shopping street
So much water in this fountain

We had arrived at Jerez on a monday and had planned to visit the School of Andalucian dancing horses on the tuesday. We were disappointed to learn that they only hold the show on a thursday in Jan and Feb. As we were so close, we decided it was worth hanging on until thursday which gave us extra time to explore Jerez. The show day arrived and, as we were now practically locals, we hopped off the bus close to the school and made our way down the back streets. The Real Escuela Andaluza Del Arte Ecuestre is an amazing place. The grounds that house the school are tremendous and the museum of horsemanship and the carriage museum were interesting and informative. There is a lot of history around the showmanship that is associated with these horses and their riders. The show itself was wonderful and apparently I had an enormous smile on my face throughout. It is forbidden to take photos in the museums or at the show but we managed a few shots around the grounds.

Fountain in the grounds
The main museum building
Horse in the exercise wheel
Arena before the show
Front gate

The school and the show was the highlight of the visit for me but there was so much to enjoy in Jerez that it would be a worthwhile destination for another visit. I would thoroughly recommend it as a short break destination.