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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Life is so full of sweet, sweet things, I’d like to do some tasting

Jerez is sherry city and we had looked forward to visiting a sherry bodega and tasting some different sherries. We chose the Sandeman's bodega and as the only people on the English tour, learnt about how sherry is made from our guide and breathed in the syrupy aroma of the sherry ageing in the casks, before being sat down with three different glasses of sherry each to taste, along with a bowl of crisps. After so much alcohol it is not surprising that we emerged from the shop, that is handily placed before you exit the bodega, with a carrier bag full of sherry, we are only grateful that even in our alcoholic haze we managed to resist the souvenirs that were not sherry.

Jerez had other delights, aside from the bodegas; the railway station alone is a work of art, the tiling in the photograph is from platform one. The city has made money from exporting sherry to the UK and beyond and the wealth is obvious in the city's ornate buildings.

We are camped at El Puerto de Santa Maria, a small town, across the bay from Cadiz and extremely convenient for visiting Jerez by train and also Cadiz by train or boat. The site has good facilities and friendly campers and we are inclined to stay a few days; maybe even fitting in a second bodega visit.

Spain does not have Sunday shopping and Sundays here have their own atmosphere; cycling around El Puerto de Santa Maria between 3 and 4 pm on a Sunday afternoon you notice the restaurants are all thriving, the Spanish lunch time is usually from 2 pm. It may be January and only 15C, but the Spanish are tough and prepared to sit at tables outside. Those families not eating out are at the multi-screen cinema or on the beach; Sundays feel like a lively day here.

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