It was my birthday today. Happy birthday to me!
Darren very kindly made me a special fruit salad for breakfast which had custard fruit in it, I love custard fruit but it has LOADS of big black pips in it and takes ages to prepare so that was a true labour of love by Darren.
The weather forecast predicted rain and thunderstorms today so we decided to stick close to home just in case. We planned to explore El Puerto de Santa Maria and have a proper day out tomorrow in Jerez when we hoped to visit the Andalucian horse show.
We weren’t expecting much of El Puerto from what we’d seen of it during out walk up to the ferry yesterday but we were pleasantly surprised.
We saw some unexpected things during our walk in, the underground car park which had unintentionally become a swimming pool and a gap between two buildings where the middle one had been demolished, nothing unusual in that except the exposed wall of the house on the right had been covered with the usual orange expanding foam but the one on the left had been covered in a GREEN expanding foam, we didn’t know they made it in that colour and apparently neither does anyone else as that’s the only house we’ve seen it on during our travels.
We had a wander round the town and had a close encounter with a bus as we walked down a narrow street, luckily we found a doorway to stand in as the bus squeezed past, breath in! It seemed strange that the bus was down there but at the top of the road there where diversion signs, I’m sure he had been thrilled to see that!
During our journey through Spain we have noticed that a lot of the huge wooden external doors to apartments are left open so naturally we’ve had to peer in through the doorway. 99 per cent of the time the inside of the building is very ornate with tiled vestibules opening into a planted courtyard. They’re so pretty which is often quite a surprise as the outside of the building appears to be crumbling away.
As we turned a corner we found a pretty square with a huge white building at one end. Whilst Darren went into a shop I stood in the square and people watched. There were a couple of old men sitting enjoying the sun and near the big building I watched a lady throwing a ball for her dog, he was thoroughly enjoying himself and when another little dog appeared he was ecstatic and they had a game of chase for a while.
We had another good find as we were uuming and aahing about whether to go into a cafe. Darren went to read the menu and noticed another notice board beside it, it was talking about the history of the building beside the cafe and invited people to come in and look at the hallway. It had been beautifully restored, it even had a scale model of how it looked when it was originally built.
Our next find was a square with a beautiful church in it, but we were on a mission to find somewhere to eat so we didn’t hang around too long, just long enough to take some photos (but none made the cut!). We passed lots of restaurants, looking for one with a suitable menu del dia for me. We had stopped to read the menu in a restaurant called Entre Mareas when a lady sitting next to it kindly explained what the items on the menu del dia. She told us the food was gorgeous in that restaurant and luckily for us she was quite right.
I think it was possibly the best gazpacho soup I’ve had which is saying something as every soup I’ve had has been scrumptious. We had a very tasty 3 course meal with a drink and bread, in fact the bread basket was replenished for our second course. The waiter was very friendly and helpful. While we were waiting for our meal to arrive a man came past with a beautiful bird of prey on his gloved hand, he was begging for money by allowing tourists to hold the bird. It looked very well cared for. Darren and I both held the bird, I’ve never held a bird of prey before, I’ve watched our children do it at The Hawk Conservancy in Andover when they were young but this was a first for me. It was great to be so close having seen so many fly overhead in Tarifa. I was a bit nervous when he started staring at me.
We had been very lucky with the weather, it actually turned out to be a nice sunny day but as the afternoon wore on it began to get a bit windy. We stumbled across the Tourist Information Office which didn’t open again until 17.30 so we decided we’d go back to the van and come out again later but not before we walked round the outside of the castle that was situated next to the Tourist Information Office, we weren’t expecting to find something like that in El Puerto. Unfortunately it was only open on specific day but we were intrigued to discover, as we walked round one side of the castle that the castle wall suddenly disappeared and became a row of houses! I wonder whether they’d used the wall to form the back wall of the houses?
We sauntered back to the van where we closed the blackout blinds, lowered the front bed in the van and added some cushions to make a mezzanine seating area and ‘Bob’s you uncle’ our own mini cinema. It felt very lazy watching TV during the day.
Later on in the afternoon we went back to the Tourist Information Office and the lady gave us a map. We’d visited most of the places on there already but we hadn’t visited the Bull ring so we traipsed off to the other side of the town to see it. It was a very grand building with two statues outside, one of a bullfighter and a bull and the other of a solitary bull.
While we were looking at the front entrance to the building three teenagers came out, it looked as though they’d been to bull fighting lessons. One of them must have been the stand in bull, he was carrying a pair of bulls horns, the others had some long metal things and what looked like a folded up cape, as we went into the bullring there was another set of horns leaning against a bag by the wall.
By a stroke of luck as we came back into the older part of town I spied a lady eating an ice cream and as we haven’t had many ice creams while we’ve been in Spain we decided to treat ourselves and what a treat, the ice creams were enormous, we could have shared if we’d realised how big they were although on second thoughts, in the butchered words of Joey Trebiani (Friends) “Darren doesn’t share ice cream!” It was well worth the calories.
After we’d stuffed our faces with the ice cream we went back to our ‘cinema van’ and had a film night.
What a great day and tomorrow is likely to be equally as good.