The Historic Sights & Gastronomic Delights Of Jerez
On 22nd January, 30 of us of mixed nationalities, set off from Nerja towards Jerez, stopping outside Antequera for breakfast. This is always a nice ice-breaker, especially for those who haven’t travelled with us before.
Suitably refreshed, we continued through beautiful countryside to Jerez and straight to Bodega Fundador. Here we were given a guided tour, an explanation of the sherry making process and a visit to their Museum with old, original equipment, including shoes with nails in the soles for crushing the grapes. That was thirsty work ! A tasting was undertaken followed by a delicious lunch of tapas, paired with 5 Harvey’s sherries. We then checked-in to the Soho Boutique Hotel (a former winery) for some R & R before meeting for a short walk to have a guided visit of a private Palace. In spite of its faded elegance, it was enjoyable to see such a Palace which is lived-in and to be shown around by a member of the family. We then had a short walk to a wonderful fish restaurant for dinner – the quality & quantity of the food and attention shown to us by the staff was excellent.It had been a long day and so we walked back to the Hotel and retired for the night.After a buffet breakfast, our Guide came to the hotel to collect us for a walking tour of the City. His commentary was very good and he included some amusing anecdotes. He is a local of Jerez and very passionate about his City – there is a lot to see !His Tour finished by escorting us to the Bodega Tradicion, a smaller bodega, which only makes rare, old sherries – some are 30 years old. Here we had another explanation of the process which differed from yesterday’s, due to the age of the sherries. We also had a very tasty tasting (!) and then time to look at their private Art Collection which includes works by Zuberan, Goya, Velazquez & El Greco. Some people decided to take taxis back to the Hotel to relax before meeting to go by coach to a special Flamenco show – wow. This was followed by dinner at a really wonderful restaurant, a former winery, for a very special pairings menu. It was stunning. More wow ! Next morning, after another delicious breakfast, our luggage was loaded and we set off for a visit to The Palace of Time (go on, guess – yes, a Museum of clocks).The Museum is set in beautiful grounds with a large Gyroscope on the central lawn. The Palace itself is a neoclassical style Mansion, dating from 1881 and refurbished in 2002. It houses more than 300 clocks – English, French & German timepieces, displayed beautifully, with classical music in the background. The atmosphere is so calm and tranquil apart from on the hour, when a fusion of tinkles, tunes and gongs announce their presence !Our guide Miriam was excellent. She is very knowledgeable, has very good English & a lovely personality.Some of us enjoyed a walk in the gardens before boarding the bus for our visit to the Escuela de Caballos and a performance of the Dancing Horses. This, as always, was wonderful. The horses look in such good condition and seem so proud to strut their stuff. When the performance ended, we had time to buy some souvenirs before heading off for lunch. This time, a selection of raciones to share, with a choice of sherries and wines – a wonderful way to end our stay in Jerez.We boarded our coach for the journey back to Nerja with a comfort stop en route. A very happy group – people have already been asking “where next”? !