Sherry, Horses and Flamenco

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

'It must be a big place then..'
'How come?'
'They've got a Carrefour..'

The fact that it hacked it down constantly all day today didn't do too much for our sightseeing plans. There's a lot to see in Jerez and as we'd got a potential longy on our hands we were out and about early getting our feet wet.

Jerez is famous for its sherry making, its horses and its fantastic displays of traditional Flamenco.  Armed with umbrellas, we took the historic 'panoramic' route and got oursleves lost over and over again in the incredible maze of tiny cobbled streets that make up the Old Quarter.

By early afternoon we'd ducked into the 'González Byass' bodega and whiled away a good few hours on a tour of one of the finest. The old quarter is wonderfully spacious and lined with a ridiculous number of orange trees and two-stroke scooters. The cathedral's absolutely magnificent and I found the odd skeleton-like exterior fascinating. The inside was positively stunning.

We'd read a little about the 'Alcázar' over breakfast. Apparently it's an 11th Century Almohad fortress, which seems to constantly stick out like a sore thumb on every map, leaflet and street sign. While there were some beautiful examples of old architecture there, I didn't really get the point of what was on display. Neither did I get the 'camera-obscura' observatory thingy at the top, just came away with a dull photograph of the city in the distance which looked as gloomy and as dark as the clouds hovering above it all.

La Taverna Flamenca

The highlight of the day by far was a visit to an old, traditional and extremely rustic taverna for an energetic and passionate performance of traditional flamenco. Wow. I really don't know what to say, other than I haven't witnessed the old man sit so quietly for so long. We were speechless. Such a magnificent display of emotion and passion. The rhythms were thoroughly captivating and the crescendos were delivered so powerfully it was like being blown up by a balloon from the inside. Utterly fantastic. I only wish I could have understood the story, even on the surface. A truly humbling experience..

Tapas count:- 26
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