We had an early start this morning, we wanted to catch the 9.05 train into Jerez and we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss it. We took a different route to the station,this time we went up the car park steps to the main road and followed it over the bridge. The weather was a bit manky so for once we were organised and kitted out for rain and cold weather.
We had a short wait for the train and the journey to Jerez took about as long as our walk to the station. The train was so smart that I was convinced the seats we were about to sit in were 1st class seats. The train and the seats seemed so much wider than ours and there was lots of leg room. It only took 15 minutes to get to Jerez and during that time I got to see some storks as the train passed a field they were wandering around in. What a nice start to the day.
The station at Jerez de la Frontera looked very smart with large designs on the walls made with ceramic tiles, the front of the station was also very pretty. We bumbled around on the steps of the station trying to decide which way we needed to start walking.
We noticed a roundabout in the distance mainly because there was an enormous statue of a torso placed in the middle of it and beside that there was a sign giving directions to something historical so we made the assumption that there might be a Tourist Information Office somewhere near there. There might well have been a T.I.O there but we couldn’t find it so Darren went into a hotel instead and they gave him a map and directed him to the Equestrian Centre we were looking for in order to buy tickets for the horse show.
We found the Equestrian Centre, bought the tickets and then went to see whether there was a sherry tour running at Sandeman next door. Our luck was in, there was a tour due to start in 15 minutes so we sat and waited with a German couple. Shortly before it began another couple joined our group, they were Polish. The 4 of us were given a tour of Sandman which we thoroughly enjoyed, our guide was very informative. Afterwards we were taken to a table with lots of glasses set out on it, 3 each for Darren and I and 9 each for the Polish couple who were very embarrassed. None of us had realised quite how much sherry/brandy would be in each glass, we discovered at that moment that it was an extremely generous amount. The four of us were in hysterics at the thought of how they were going to taste all those samples. I know you’re only supposed to take a sip but it seemed such a terrible waste not to drink at least half of each glass. Unfortunately I’m a light weight when it comes to alcohol, when I was young I worked for Stowells of Chelsea and they would occasionally invite our department to a wine tasting, just SMELLING the glasses of wine used to make me tipsy, wine tasting was definitely NOT my forte! Unsurprisingly I couldn’t finish mine, the couple very kindly kept asking us to try their tasters too, so we’d had a sip of a couple of their tasters too. I can’t imagine they succeeded in finishing their samples but as we had to leave pretty sharpish to stagger up the road to the horse show I’ll never know. I’m glad the 4 of us did the tour together they were such lovely people, and fun to chat with, their company enhanced the tour. They told us they live in Bristol and that they love travelling (which was why they were in Jerez for the weekend) we wholeheartedly recommended touring in a motorhome.
We left far too early, we weren’t sure whether we needed to be in our seats at a reasonable time before the show started so we got there 10 minutes before it should have begun. We forgot this is Spain so it started 10 minutes late anyway and a short while after the show had begun the Polish couple were shown to their seats on the other side of the arena. They’d been trying to decide whether they’d be able to buy tickets and get to the show on time, and they did.
The show was absolutely stupendous, I’ve never seen horsemanship like it. The man who opened the show sat so still on his horse that no matter how hard we tried we couldn’t see how he was instructing the horse. We weren’t allowed to take photos in the show, which is fair enough, but we had the unexpected treat of seeing a tractor come into the arena to iron out the lumps and bumps in the sand during the break, so Darren took a photo of that instead!
After the show had finished we went to the little cafe downstairs and had a drink and a roll then we went outside to look around the grounds, it was great because everyone had left so it was nice and quiet. Unfortunately as I was photographing the pretty buildings a stork flew above me so poor Darren had to wait around for ages while I did a stork photoshoot. Just as I was beginning to think I really should stop I suddenly noticed a sign mentioning that there was an enclosure with a Prsewalski’s horse in it, I’ve only ever seen them in a book so I had to go and see it and OF COURSE take some photos. Darren eventually dragged me away.
From the Equestrian Centre we walked round Jerez looking at the architecture, there were lots of beautiful buildings but when our feet started to ache we decided to call it a day stopping only for a coffee and cake before hopping on the train back to El Puerto de Santa Maria.
There we took the short way back along the main road which gave me the opportunity to photograph the bridge.
As we walked down the steps into the car park we heard a loud cracking noise and looked over to see a man crouched down by the wall smacking the concrete floor with a club hammer and a bolster!??? Ours not to reason why……. we kept our heads down in case we unintentionally made eye contact, and scuttled back to the safety of our van where we were unexpectedly entertained by another motorhomer who started racing his remote control car around the car park.
What a great day AND it didn’t rain on us. We enjoyed exploring Jerez very much.
I was hoping for another good night’s sleep, it had been surprisingly quiet last night considering we were parked next to a main road AND the railway line.
However I was not in luck, first a storm kicked off and the wind kept rocking the van, then at around 3 o’clock in the morning a VERY loud intermittent metallic noise started up, it had been going on for ages before I finally got up to see what was going on, the sight that met my eyes was bizarre to say the least, I could see a man (I’m assuming it was the man from earlier) crouching down on the bridge hitting something which clanged with every blow, after a while he would get up and wander off the bridge then move a bit further along and start all over again. I’m guessing he was cutting the padlocks off the bridge and selling them for scrap metal. Who knows, whatever he thought he was up to it was certainly very strange behaviour. I was thrilled when he eventually got bored, stopped making the racket and wandered off, it gave me the chance to finally get a couple of hours sleep.