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Published: November 17th 2007
Ola Bo & Dud,
Another action packed week. Last Sunday we moved just to the north of Cadiz on a site at El Puerto de Santa Maria. This is within the Sherry triangle, so guess what - a visit to the winery of Tio Pepe owned by Gonzalez Byass. Sherry is something that I’ve only ever used in cooking and it’s usually been something like Harvey’s Bristol Cream - not really my tipple. This visit however has introduced my taste buds to something completely different.
Wine has been made on this site since 1835 and is still run by the Gonzalez family who still make and age their wines in the traditional way. It was interesting to find out that wines have been made in this area since before the Romans settled here. The chalky soil and the continuous sunshine make the conditions in this region idea for wine making. After a tour of the vines and the vineyard we were introduced to a selection of sherries and a few nibbles - very civilised. As we have almost polished off the Port we made several purchases and clanked our way home.
Our day out following the coast road deserves
First, came the beach then the golf course then a huge complex the size of Dronfield. The complex was as deserted as the beach was.
a mention; first we came across a huge American Naval base. This covers an area far bigger than Gibraltar - why are the Spanish not trying to get this land back? After this comes Ballena - this resort is purpose built around a golf course. The beach is long, straight, clean and very beautiful - the houses, flats and apartments are for the most part deserted. During the summer and for the golf tournaments this place must be buzzing but in late October it’s a ghost town. And finally ….. while looking for a place to lunch between Chipiona and San Lucar de Barrameda, Howard thought it would be a good idea to take us onto the beach. This was not one of Howard’s best ideas - we got stuck!!! Fortunately, there was lots of detritus on the beach, so with the help of drift wood, pebbles a plastic shoe and a flip flop we were able to build a sort of make shift road for each wheel and slowly - v e r y s l o w l y - we were able to move off. Howard was positively ‘glowing’ by the time we drove off - I
Gonzalez Byass Bodega
Barrels full of wine before the Sherry process begins
had rather a dab on too (and clenched teeth!).
Now, I know that you think this travelling lark is easy going but it can be quite stressful when faced with the question “what do you want to do today - Trafalgar or Cadiz?” Trafalgar is the most stunning place and looking out from land I bet it was incredible to watch the battle taking place. While we were there the Spanish Navy were on manoeuvres - 3 ships of various description and 2 helicopters. I personally think that at least 1 of the helicopters was delivering the sandwiches for lunch - no one got blown up.
Our visit to Cadiz was on 1st November - this is All Saints Day in Spain and a Bank Holiday. On this day the Spanish visit the graves of their dear departed - they take flowers and a picnic. The local newspaper reported chaos and grid lock on the approach roads to the cemeteries. This was to our advantage as it was easy to drive into Cadiz and get parked; we then took the red bus tour of the city before lunch and had a walk around afterwards. Cadiz, rather surprisingly, is
The Sherry is stored here
an island - the east side of the city is quite industrial, docks etc., but the west side is a rather beautiful mix match. There is an incredibly long beach running alongside the Cathedral, the narrow streets of the old town and fishermen’s cottages, as well as new apartment buildings and hotels. There is a walk way leading out to the fort (as seen in Hornblower) and the amazing Parque Genoves. The park was created for the Bourgeoisies to stroll, meet and chat. It is elaborately planted with exotic trees and plants and a large squadron of parakeets have made it their home - the noise they make is deafening.
On Friday we made our way through the mountains of Parque Natural de los Alcornocales to the Mediterranean. The scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, eagles, small hillside villages was a brilliant place to be able to tow the caravan. So here we are in Marbella Playa to meet up with Barbara & David Hutton. They very kindly entertained us to a most excellent dinner on Saturday evening; I hope to return the compliment as they are going to spend Christmas in Spain and we are hoping that they will
I always thought this was something exotic it’s actually Spanish for Uncle Joe
visit us for the day at Torre del Mar.
So, that’s it then, legs down tomorrow, awning up, stuff out of the car and a couple of months of settled living. I don’t expect any sympathy but touring can be quite exhausting. I imagine that over the course of the weeks to come my letters are going to become very boring. I’ve been keeping a diary so may be able to fill you in on some of the things that I’ve not included in my weekly letters.
love + hugs + kisses
H & H x
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