Today we’re heading to the beach and our luck was in – Delia was again our guide. She picked us up with our driver, David, who was also lovely. He spoke a little bit of English, so we ‘Spanglished’ our way through the day with Delia as our interpreter.
Cádiz, we learned is pronounced like Cardiff, but the a ‘th’ instead of the ‘ff’ at the end, and is Delia’s home town where she grew up, so again, this was a personal highlights tour. First we hit the breakwater wall out to the Castillo de San Sebastian. It was a pretty windy day, so the water was choppy, but you could imaging how lovely it would have been on a flat day.
This building used to be the place where royalty would come to ‘spa’. Heaven forbid they get a bit of sand on their feet or mingle with the common folk. It’s now the Underwater Archaeology Center Headquarters.
Here it is on a warmer day with more people – (obviously not my photo)
And here it is at low tide… (again, not my photo)
Once we’d taken in the sea breeze and I nabbed myself a couple of bits of seaglass (Chris – you would have been beside yourself!) we headed into the main part of town. The plan was to hit the markets, grab some food for a picnic and head to the beach.
Naturally in the middle of the town – there is a church.
The walk through the town was lovely – this old knife shop had been around since knives were invented.
And this building shows you what it was like back in the days where you paid taxes by the amount of windows you had…
Delia suggested that we try a local drink – sherry mixed with 7up. We weren’t sure ourselves, but with the assurance that somebody else would drink if it we didn’t like it – she bought the smallest amount on offer – 2 litres! This is also a way to support the local shops.
I think this shop keeper was a bit sick of answering this question…
Then – of course, churros, to eat while we looked around the market…
Then to the market… Stall after stall of fruit, cheese, meat, seafood and desserts.
We were discussing whether or not we would try a custard apple, and Me Jenny reached in, as she does, to give it a squeeze – well Delia almost tripped over herself – arms reached out with a slow motion “Noooooooo, please don’t touch!” Apparently the shop keepers prefer that you don’t squeeze their merch before you purchase it…. have you seen the avocados at Woolies? They might want to adopt the same approach.
With all our goods in bags we made our way back through town to the church square – check out this hotel pool that overlooks the church!
David picked us up in the van and we were away to our next stop of Vejer de la Frontera, which claims to be one of the most beautiful villages in all of Spain! Big call, I’ll let you be the judge, but it was certainly interesting…
Let me start with ‘La Cobijado’ – the traditional dress of the Vejer woman. At first glance I thought that she depicted a lady of Islamic faith as the scarf and dress look like the burqa, however, this dress comes from Castilian origins which would’ve been a mix of muslim, christian and jewish customs of women covering themselves (or at a least their heads) in public.
Over the centuries this traditional dress has been mandatory, discouraged and forbidden during the times of civil unrest because it was so easy to hide weapons underneath it and it is only recently that it has been bought back for special occasions.
The dress consists of a white petticoat with embroidery bands, a white blouse with lace, and a black skirt which is tied at the waist, then on the top – a black gathered cape, with a silk lining that enables the woman to be covered completely, except for an eye.
The cape can then be flung off to hang from the waist down to reveal the inside of the head covering and starts to look a lot like dress with a bustle… #fashion!
It seems that every city/town/village in Spain has a Plaza de Espana – some more grand than others. Vejer’s is the one with the lady and the fountain. It was at this spot that Me Jenny and I were waiting for our guide when we overheard two men and a woman walking up the street.
Man 1: (in a very posh English accent) Well, you’re not going to find a man bag up here Kevin!
We watched the trio heading up the street and into a shop where Kevin did in fact exit the shop with a purchase. Well done Kevin!
Up the hill, we had our own little win….. this chap was perched in his favourite spot….
Then as we passed he rolled over….. what was I meant to do?
Just wandering through these streets, cool with the shade and beautiful with their white colour and pretty flowers was proof that it deserved to be in at least the top 10 of pretty villages.
Remember I mentioned that Delia had told us in the Hidden Gems tour of Seville that there are no signs left that Jewish people lived there – they’d all been destroyed, Vejer was the same, except if you know where to look…. This is a Catholic Church, but if you look closely – there is a Star of David above the door.
Just a random door way….. why, what does your foyer look like?
Then we came to one of the prettiest views in the town…
All those people eating lunch clearly didn’t realise that if they had moved their chairs up the street a little they could be looking at this instead of the wall.
You see, it doesn’t take much to make your windows look pretty….. sure these are a little dead, but at least they tried.
There was one last thing to see in this town – the castle.
Where you could get these kinds of views….
- Back in the day there was a rule put into place that only residents of Vejer de la Frontera are allowed to work in on the lands around the village. You’re not allowed to bring your cousin in from Seville to work and that rule is still in place today.
- It’s very important to have a terrace attached to your property and it’s important to fill it with plants and antennas.
- That’s Morocco.
- Wind power the old fashioned way
- Wind power in the 21st century
- A pic of me – just in case you thought I wasn’t on this trip!
Time for lunch. It was late afternoon – just right for Spanish people, for us – we were a little peckish! We knew it would be too windy to eat at the beach, but it was nice to head down there and dip our toes into the Atlantic, and just to the right of that old fort you can vaguely see the outline of some hills – that’s Morocco again. Besides Tenerife in the Canary Islands, this is the closest to Africa that I’ve ever been.
So into the natural park we went for our picnic. Here Delia is mixing our 2 litres of sherry wine spritzer while David looks on to make sure the measurements are correct. Me Jenny can’t wait. We didn’t think we’d like it, but result – at least ½ a litre was drunk.
I’ve not been good at taking photos of the food because I’m generally too hungry at the time and then when we’re finished I think – ‘Oh damn! should have taken a photo!’
However, I did get a pic of the figs. We also had a couple of different types of ham plus some dried tuna (which I didn’t love), 3 types of cheese, bread, olives, nuts, custard apple (non squeezed), and a special chocolate cake for dessert. Lovely!
Let’s just go back here for a little minute.