Friday, May 8, 2015

Laurie's Birthday Present, Jerez de la Frontera and Cádiz

Thursday, 7 May, 2015:


When we first sat down to organize our Circumnavigation of the Iberian Peninsula, we had decided on two possible options for today's leg. Our goal was to arrive in the afternoon at the historic Atlantic Ocean port city of Cádiz.

We were going to wait until this morning to finalize our actual route.

Route #1 was a northernly approach that would send us from Nerja to Cádiz via two stops in Málaga and Ronda.

Route #2 was a southernly approach that would send us from Nerja to Cádiz via two stops in Málaga and Gibraltar. This approach to Cádiz would also serve as a bit of a scouting trip for our friends Susan and Mike D'Antuono who will be cruising this coming Summer in Europe with stops in both Málaga and Cádiz.

So what did we decide?


Today was Laurie's birthday, so at the last minute, I did a little late night internet searching. I found out that in the city of Jerez de la Frontera, on Thursday's at noon, the Fundacion Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre puts on a marvelous 90 minute show of their fine horses and excellent riders doing dressage the Spanish way only twice a week.

Today was one of those two days.

Laurie loves horses.

The decision to reroute was made.

You may have heard of the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna and wondered why Spanish? The answer is simple, when the Austrian king opened the school, he brought instructors and horses from this school for a proper foundation, thus the name.

To get to Jerez de la Frontera in time to buy tickets to the usually sold out show, we would have to strato-streak through Málaga, take faster but costly toll roads, and bypass all cities previously mentioned in a non-stop three and a half hour dash to see the spectacular horse show.

Sorry Mike and Susan, our Málaga report for you two was the first victim of my inspired birthday present for Laurie.

A last memory of Nerja in the morning

Make that two memories

We left wonderful Nerja a little after 7:00 a.m. with Laurie back on her GPS and photography duties.

Passing the Rock of Gibraltar

Morocco Ferry Exit

We do not know

The Spanish Bull

The Spanish highway system is good

Don't tailgate if you are a motorcyclist

Wind power was all around us


This sherry bodega might have 
also been a good stop for Laurie

No, she likes the horses better.

But not by much.

The grounds were immaculate

Training in the outdoor arena

I learned that mixed breed horses at the school have cropped tails like this horse. Pure bred Andalusian steeds have long, flowing tails.

The horses are all either stallions or geldings. If mixed with mares or fillies, problems ensue in the training regimen apparently.

The school itself is open to all EU riders of either sex. No problems ensue in their training regimen apparently.

Dressage practice

Apure bred

A riding lesson


Bold gait

Glistening coat

Laurie lost it here

Some training exercise footage

And some more footage

The 12:00 show would be in here

Nice but pretty empty inside

Crane's nests are HUGE

Walking ring

Saddlery building with . . .

. . . lots of tools

Saddle and bridle adornments

It was time for the show
but no photography was allowed

This was OK because the show
had not started yet

Happy Birthday Gigi!!!

Abuela Gigi was pretty fired up at our second row seats before the start of the festivities!

Half Time GLEE!!!

That tractor acts like a Zamboni
machine smoothing out the suface
during the intermission

We need him at El Campo de los Sueños on Cobra game days.

I think that Laurie was quite happy with our last minute trip to Jerez de la Frontera.

We still had about a 45 minute drive to our hotel for the night in Cádiz, so away we went. 

A new bridge still being built
in Cádiz's harbor

Our hotel, the Hotel Las Cortes de Cádiz, is well located in the city's historic center that features streets just big enough for a small ox cart. Thus, driving through the Casco Historico's one way streets to find it was a challenge.

But we made it

Our room had no number,
all rooms are named


88 degrees Fahrenheit at 4:00 p.m.

 We love Cádiz's narrow,
odd angled streets

They were designed this way to provide maximum shade during Andalucia's oppressive Summers and to make it harder for pirates or invading armies to give chase to the locals.

Cádiz is considered to be Europe's oldest continuously inhabited city being well into its fourth millennium of existence. Phoenician traders are believed to have first settled in current day Cádiz in 800 B.C.

Columbus' three ships embarked on their historic journey in 1492 from the harbor in Cádiz. The cities Golden Age occurred in the 18th century when 75% 0f Spanish trade with the Americas was channeled through its harbor.

Jesus is BIG here

Very BIG

Cádiz's Cathedral

The Cathedral's Tower

Murcia's is better.

Since they charged admission to enter the Cathedral, we decided not to enter.

The birthday bouquet I gave
to Laurie

What are these two up to?

Café Break

The four best words
in the Spanish language

But not on a hot  day like this one.

Condom machines are located
on the outdoor wall of
many Spanish pharmacies

Affording you easy access for all of your 24/7 needs.

An angel I suspect

We wanted to wade in

I don't think for a minute that we were the only ones on this plaza with this same thought.

These dolphins may need that
condom machine

 Cigar rollers

Ben Todd's kind of city

 Lots of narrow streets

A Matador lived and died in this building

 An old street sign

A public school building

Another view of the Cathedral

 The Cathedral has multi-architectural
styles that do not necessarily mesh

The Atlantic Ocean sea wall

How could we make it better?

I know!

 Now I like it!

 Near the Cathderal with
Jesus checking on these two kids

Interesting mortar


Another Camino route

 Gorgeous Gardens

More gorgeous desserts

 You stick outgoing mail
in his mouth

 At the Central Market

Bird and man with the same
eye also at the Central Market


 Do you think that He ever
really dressed like this?

No, me neither.

That crack on the right of this
church wall had me a bit nervous

 Damn, they were closed for siesta

 The Gran Teatro Falla

 The sunlit back side of 
The Gran Teatro Falla

Snake oil for sale?

 One pill cures all for days

These two fun signs were outside of a pharmacy.

 Another beautiful garden

An old city indeed

Is that the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

Church entryway


We had an extremely strong recommendation for dinner and this was not it.

We stayed the course somehow but thoughts of croquetas were now swirling in my head.

Big, extremely BIG

Birthday Dinner at El Aljibe
Calle Plocia 25, Cádiz
Open 1:00-5:00 and 8:00-midnight


They offered us a full dinner menu but we were told that the real treasure here was the tapas.

On request, our nice waiter brought us a tapas menu and the feast began.

For starters, croquetas (surprise)
 and a chicken liver and bacon paté

We had good wine, gazpacho and salmorejo soups plus an amazing array of tapas. The tapa made of goat cheese on nut bread with with a blueberry glaze was a joy to the palate.

The Aljibe is a MUST when visiting Cádiz. It was one of the best meals we've had in Europe! 

Walking off our meal on the sea wall

The back of the Cathedral at night

The Cádiz Post Office

To sum up the day, the horse show was really entertaining and Cádiz was a treat.

Cádiz makes me think of what Havana might look like about ten years after full diplomatic and tourist relations are re-established with a blend of a refurbished historic area and lots of modern buildings backed by capitalist money.

Again this is just complete conjecture on my part as travel to the Forbidden Island has not been allowed for over 50 years and I would certainly not want to break the law.

We enjoyed Cádiz immensely and would have liked to spend another day here to enjoy the beaches but we must continue our odyssey.

Next Circumnavigation Stop: Lisbon, Portugal


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