Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

As you know, we had been regularly shooting ourselves out of our home base in Seville, Spain, in order to see villages and towns in the surrounding region. As we spent our morning in the nearby town of Arcos (see the post here), we had some time to kill and figured why not spend a few hours in Jerez?

After all, Jerez is actually the epitome of Andalusia. It might not be known by a lot of people, and it’s certainly not as popular or famous as the towns of Seville, Granada, and Córdoba. But in reality, it is the definition of life in this region.

Known for its horse culture, it’s also the center of flamenco and the epicenter of sherry-making. We’re not particularly into any of those three things, but we were already going through the town and we’re always down for a new adventure. Alas, we probably shouldn’t call this a “day trip,” as it was more like an unexpected stop in a city that is way too big and way too interesting to be handled in a few hours. Nonetheless, onward!

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

Sitting about as far southwest as you can get in Spain without being on the coast, Jerez was once known as Xerez. I’m sad they changed it, because I think any name looks cooler with an x. Arbitrary preferences aside, Jerez is inundated with a whole lot of bodegas, which make sherry as well as wine and other spirits. This was unmistakable as we made our way on foot from the bus station to the center of town, already passing some of them along the way.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

As is typical for Spain, we began to approach plaza after plaza, admiring the little statues, flora, and random people sleeping on benches. It was siesta time, so we weren’t sure if they were bums or employed folk taking a bit of a nap.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

Walking along, we finally hit the massive Plaza del Arenal, which is the center of town and hosts gardens as well as plenty of cafés and restaurants around its perimeter. Being the time of day that it was, we felt the urge for sustenance.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

Strolling down a side street, we landed at Plaza de la Yerba. Much smaller than the previous one, I quite enjoyed the coziness of this plaza as it is covered by trees and surrounded by a few stories of apartments. This enclosure made it feel special, as if we had discovered a hidden plaza on our own. Never mind the fact that it is well-known and was filled with dozens of people.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

Oh look! Table. Food. Drink. Seats. Don’t mind if we do!

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

We sat down at La Cruz Blanca, along with plenty of other locals on siesta and visitors who either stumbled across the restaurant or found it in a guidebook.

Not extremely hungry, we opted for drinks and a few tapas, starting out with this concoction of goat cheese, caramelized onions, honey, and balsamic on toast. I cannot express to you how good this was.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

Following that, we dug into one of the region’s favorites: stewed pork cheeks. Think pot roast but with more pop. We love these things and order them wherever we go.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

After stuffing our faces with more than we planned – par for the course – we got up to do some walking. And as our luck would have it with the unpredictable rains at this time of year, the clouds opened up and we instantly patted ourselves on the back for bringing umbrellas.

That’s not to say it wasn’t annoying. I don’t really see the point in trying to get hardcore with exploration as the rains come down. It’s the equivalent of having a fly in your face while you’re trying to get lost in the internet get some work done.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

We did our best, though, walking by the local alcázar (palace) and seeing absolutely no people or entrance.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

Figuring it was closed and ever so annoyed by the rain, we took some quick photos and made our way to the Bodegas González Byass.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

This is one of the major players in the sherry and wine games, mostly for its ubiquitous Tio Pepe brand. They’re also said to have tours that include a mini train-type thing that takes you around the estate.

Approaching the front desk, we realized it was also closed. For the day. Because we had just missed the last tour. By less than 10 minutes. D’oh! No mini train or samplings or González Byass for us! Hrmph.

We would have at least hoped there’d be a shop or something at the entrance. As none were to be found, the rain was getting a bit more annoying, and our train would come relatively soon, we decided to walk back through town and slowly make our way back to the station.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

At least we got to admire the brilliant train station from inside and out. This place is really to be admired, with blue tile work everywhere and a very historic style that thankfully hasn’t been replaced by some glass-walled, 21st-century monstrosity.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

Reflecting on our short stop in Jerez, we are very happy we decided to give it a few hours. Despite being bitter about the rain, it was nice to see a town with such rich culture and history – even if we didn’t experience much of it due to our short, impromptu schedule and inclement weather.

Jerez de la Frontera by Jets Like Taxis

We think Jerez would make for a great few days of lingering around its cafés and bodegas, and we’d love to come back and spend more time here. We highly recommend it, especially if you want to get away from where everyone else seems to go, by visiting this city that is unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – neglected by many visitors to Andalusia. Thumbs up for this one!

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Have you ever been to Jerez? Would you like to go? Random thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know what’s on your mind!