Our brother-in-Law, Joe, told us that we had to visit El Puerto de Santa Maria while we were in Jerez. His advice wasn’t because the town is beautiful or has fantastic food, but because it holds within its borders Bodegas Grant. You probably haven’t heard of Bodegas Grant, have you? We hadn’t. It’s in a hard to find warehouse with an entrance at the street corner in one of the many pretty but nonsensically arranged side streets in the small town of El Puerto de Santa Maria. We did, eventually, find it, and boy were we glad we did. When we walked in, we were met by a friendly woman who spoke no English (thanks for speaking Spanish, Laurel!), but exuberantly thrust full glasses of Fino into our hands. After having already taken multiple tours at Bodegas in Jerez and gone to a sherry tasting dinner, this Fino was the best Fino we had in Spain. The sample was free-ninety-nine, and a liter was three Euros. WHAT?! Joe had told us that their Palo Cortado was the Holy Grail, so we loaded up with a few liters of that and one of the Fino. Joe wasn’t wrong about the Palo Cortado. It was excellent and, again, the best we had. Bodegas Grant was also unique in that they packaged in two-liter water bottles and simply filled them straight from the cask until we said stop. Cheap prices, delicious sherry, and friendly people. Go if you’re ever within a ten hour drive.
The front counter at Bodegas Grant, and our bottle of Fino on the counter:
Our new best friend pouring sherry straight from the cask:
After some hearty sampling of the sherries at Bodegas Grant, we headed off for Cadiz (with me at the wheel, since Laurel did most of the sherry drinking. Poor thing.). While driving over the causeway onto the island, we were taken aback by how built up it was. It reminded us more of South Beach than Southern Spain, but once we passed through the gates into the old town the high rises faded into the background, and we found ourselves in a charming maze of cobblestone streets and quaint shopping districts. The beaches there were beautiful, but after resting for a bit on the main crowded beach we realized there was a quieter beach full of small tidal pools and beautiful views.
The main, busy beach at Cadiz:
Who doesn’t love a thatched beach umbrella?
Tide pools at the quieter beach:
Walkway out to the lighthouse:
Having reached our quota of sun for the afternoon (Well, I had. Laurel’s a lizard.), we strolled into Old Town with the intent of getting tapas at a recommended restaurant. Unfortunately it was closed, but we took advantage of the chance to spend a few hours wandering the enchanting side streets, taking pictures, and enjoying the soft afternoon light in the alleys.
Mosaic on the church (the picture Laurel was taking as Brian took the one above):
Iglesia de San Antonia: