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Magic of Spain, Discovering Jerez
May 18, 2006

It s Linda Plummer here from

to deliver your monthly update on Spain via the newsletter
The Magic of Spain!

Regular readers will remember Sarah McInerney, whose
delightful website - dedicated to Tossa de Mar - is:

During Easter, she spent a wonderful time discovering
the south of Spain.

In her following article, she introduces us to world-renowned
Jerez de la Frontera ...

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Jerez de la Frontera: Sherry, Horses, Flamenco and Muchas Tapas!
by Sarah McInerney
Jerez de la Frontera is situated in the heart of Andalucia, about
an hour and a half from the magnificent monuments of Seville, and
half an hour from the Atlantic-lapped shores of the Costa de la Luz.

It s an ideal place for a weekend of Spanish culture - only two and a half
hours on average from the UK, with low cost flights from RyanAir. Jerez is well known throughout the world as the crux of the sherry
producing triangle of Andalucia. It is home to dozens of bodegas,
including the famous Gonzalez Byass, well-known for its Tio Pepe brand.

I visited Bodegas Tio Pepe and was very impressed by the tour, which
included, amongst other things, an interesting film, and a trip round
the vineyards and gardens.

Another popular Bodega is Williams and Humbert, whose tour includes
an equestrian show. Some of the bodegas, including this one, require
advance booking, so check before you go. One of my favourite sights in Jerez was the Alcazar, a 12th Century
Islamic Fortress. I spent a blissful afternoon in the glorious sunny
surroundings of the gardens, punctuated with cooling water features
and filled with the scent of spring and summer flowers in a cascading
kaleidoscope of blooming colour.

Ducking out of the sun for some shady relief was easy: the Arab Baths,
the Mezquita and the Oil Mill were cool - and very interesting. Any visit to the Alcazar must - without fail - take in the Camara Oscura,
an innovative feature that really is worth the few Euros it costs to see.

You are taken to the highest point of the Palacio Villavicencio, another
highlight of the Alcazar complex. Here, you are ushered into a private room
with about 10 or 12 other people, and gathered round what looks like a
large white satellite dish.

The doors are closed, the lights turned off, and your guide introduces you
to this innovate "camera" which involves refracting lenses and results in
a panoramic, real-time view of Jerez where you can see exactly what is going
on at the time across the city: people walking, sitting chatting - even waiting
for a bus!

Our guide warned, "Be careful what you do when you are in Jerez, you may be
caught on camera!" Another highlight of Jerez is the Fundacion Real Escuela Andaluza del
Arte Ecuestre (The Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art -, known all over the world for its show "How the
Andalucian Horses Dance" - a unique exhibition of horsemanship.

The show takes place every Tuesday and Thursday, and Fridays in August only,
at 12pm. Mention must also be made of the city s Flamenco Heritage. The Flamenco
Centre, with its studios and museum, must be on the itinerary of anyone
who harbors a passion for this art. On a walk through the pretty cobbled streets, where you ll find an orange
tree-lined square at almost every turn, you will not go hungry. Tapas is
the name of the game here, in fact, it is so much considered the staple diet,
that you ll not find very many "proper" restaurants at all.

The best tapas we sampled were at the famous Gallo Azul. It was standing
room only on the night of Easter Thursday, but we tucked our elbows in and
literally rubbed shoulders with the Spanish, joining them for dishes of duck
in plum sauce, smoked salmon and cream cheese terrine, octopus on "paprikered"
potatoes, and something that involved tuna and puff pastry.

We didn t catch the name, but it certainly tasted good washed down with a cold
cerveza. You can find out more about the city by visiting My website at:

is dedicated to Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava, northeast Spain.
My DVD showing scenes of Tossa goes on sale this autumn, and includes
bonus footage of some of the most beautiful cities of Spain, including
Jerez de la Frontera.

The DVD also covers Semana Santa in Spain. Pre-orders are being taken now.

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks Sarah for a wonderful article. That DVD certainly sounds
good! And, of course, if you re now tempted to visit Jerez, you ll
find a fine selection of tours at:

This coming week, I ll be off to Madrid again for a few days. We ll
be going through the heart of La Mancha - with its windmills -
and visiting Toledo, Alcazar de San Juan (Ciudad Real), El Toboso
and Mota del Cuervo.

I ll let you know how I get on in my next newsletter ...

Until then!

Linda Plummer

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