One Friday in late February, my program took us on a day trip to Jerez de la Frontera and Cádiz. Jerez de la Frontera is known for a few things: gypsies/flamenco, horses, and sherry.
But especially the sherry. Free wine tasting, here I come!
Jerez de la Frontera has a world-renowned wine industry. Jerez is what the word “sherry” is named after, and this famous wine originated here. So, naturally, we went on a tour of one of the oldest and most famous bodegas in Jerez. Followed by that free wine tasting I mentioned. Weeeeeeee!!!
The bodega was really cool though. I saw tons of large wine barrels piled pyramid-style on top of each other, and the rows were endless. Someone could get tipsy just by walking into the bodega. As soon as you cross the threshold, the smell of wine and fermentation smacks you in the face. It was intoxicating (Haha! Get it?!?!).
After the tour of the bodega and the wine tasting, we went on a small tour of the city of Jerez itself. Our guide was a gitana! She was so cool. She knew everyone who passed by on the street, and she was very welcoming and warm. She explained some of what it means to be a Gypsy, including their belief that they are citizens of the world. They don’t believe they are better than anyone, but they also believe they are no worse. The Gypsy population in Jerez is one of the most well-integrated in the world: they own businesses, their children go to universities, and they aren’t looked upon like a scourge. When the people of Jerez talk about their Gypsies, it’s with pride. Jerez also has some of the best Flamenco in all of Spain.
I was only in Jerez for a couple of hours, but if I get the opportunity I’d love to return. I want to eat Gypsy cuisine, watch a Flamenco performance, and enjoy a copa of wine. 🙂