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Andalusian Spring: May 13-18, 2019


Itinerary

A spring escape to Andalucia– the most exotic part of Spain. Traditions in cuisine, winemaking, horsemanship, and flamenco are palpable on the streets of Jerez de la Frontera and reach their most robust expression in the springtime Feria del Caballo, or Horse Fair, in Jerez.

Start your trip in Cadiz – settled by the Phoenicians and said to be the oldest city in Europe–where the intact medieval and Baroque quarters are as lively and jammed with tapas bars as any in Spain. Cadiz has long been envied for its island-like feeling, its magnificent clear light–loved by painters – and the stunning sand-draped beaches nearby. Having secured a spot on the 2019 New York Times Places to Visit List, now is surely the time to visit this most southern of Spanish cities. As the New York Times states: “One of Europe’s oldest cities is new again. Cadiz … has a vibe that’s more Havana than Madrid.”

In Jerez de la Frontera your immersion into horses, sherry and traditional cuisine at the hands of locals will reveal a vibrant culture lived by the Andalusians. You will be accompanied by a local expert for deep dives into local cuisine and wine. Your hosts will introduce you to Andalusian tapas and traditional cuisine, sherry wine, purebred Andalusian horses and classical dressage, traditional flamenco culture and the Feria del Caballo.

Day 1, May 13: Arrival

Arrive at the Sevilla airport. Pick up your rental car and drive to Cadiz. Check into your 4* boutique hotel in Cadiz’s historic center. Welcome dinner in Cadiz. Dinner at a local restaurant where the young chefs fuses traditional ingredients with modern touches – and a daily list of Spanish wines by the glass.

Day 2, May 14: Cadiz

Breakfast at your hotel.

Enjoy a private walking tour of the old town of Cadiz, learning about the city’s growth as Spain’s port to the Americas in the 18th century and its unique architecture and geography. Visit the market with your guide for a tasting of local charcuterie, mountain goat’s-milk cheeses and wine at an outdoor table.

For lunch your guide will escort you to a Cadiz restaurant specializing in locally caught fish. The restaurant is a favorite among chefs for the brilliance of flavors coaxed by the delicate cooking. (B)

Day 3, May 15: Jerez de la Frontera

Breakfast at your hotel.

Drive to Jerez de la Frontera and meet your private guide. Visit a private horse breeding farm outside of Jerez where the majestic purebred Andalusian horses are raised and trained. You will see a performance or a training session, depending on availabilty because many of the farm’s horses participate in the Feria del Caballo where you will be later in the week.

Visit two sherry bodegas in Jerez, the historic sherry capital, and learn why many of the world’s top wine critics believe that sherry is the most underrated fine wine in the world. Visit a family-owned artisan winery that specializes in biologically aged fino, as well as palo cortado, amontillado and oxidatively aged oloroso. All of their wines are dry sherries. You will have a vertical tasting (from the youngest fino to the finished 6 year-old wine) straight from the casks. Next visit a premier sherry producer housed in a historic “wine cathedral” and taste through their line of finos, amontillados and olorosos. Put your sherry knowledge to work at a tapas bar in Jerez, where you will pair traditional tapas with sherries.

Dinner at a traditional ultramarinos – bars which started as stores selling preserved goods such as mojama (salt-dried wild tuna), jamón ibérico, cured sausages and the many types of canned fish so appreciated both in Spain and abroad. Later these stores began serving beer and wine to accompany their food, and bars were born. (B)

Day 4, May 16: La Feria del Caballo

Breakfast at your hotel.

Your guide-escort will pick you up at your hotel for your Feria day. Together you will attend the annual springtime Feria del Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera. This spring celebration of horses, sherry and flamenco boasts complete buy-in from the local population. Watch the horses in their finery parade through pulling elegant carriages. Check out the purebred Andalusians (caballo andaluz) ridden by men and women in traditional Andalusian attire. In the late afternoon the flamenco dancing starts, and the sherry flows. Don’t think it’s all drinking. There are tapas bars set up throughout the feria grounds so food is never far away.

Once you’re ready to leave your guide will drive you to your hotel in Cadiz. (B, L,)

Day 5, May 17: Sanlucar de Barrameda

Breakfast at your hotel

Today will be peaceful after the clamorous feria. Drive down to the Atlantic coast to Sanlucar de Barrameda known for its manzanilla sherry, made only in Sanlucar, and the jumbo prawns (langostino tigre) caught in the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. Visit the market before heading for a seafood lunch at a restaurant overlooking the river that serves up piles of SanlĂşcar prawns and other local seafood. Enjoy your farewell dinner at a Cadiz institution known for their award-winning traditional tapas. (B)

Day 6:

Breakfast at your hotel and checkout. Drive to the Sevilla airport for departure. End of services. (B)