It crept up on us, but today was our last full day in Jerez. Once again the weather was good and we enjoyed being outside.
We set out to find a good breakfast place where we could sit in the sun for a while. We were in no rush for once. We ended up at La Vega and in enough sun that Patricia had to change her seat a couple of times. Today was Andalucía Day and many businesses and stores were closed. That meant they the restaurants were crowded. We had a breakfast treat: churros. I think that technically churros are fritters, but whatever they are called they are good. They come as puffy strips and are best when dipped in warm, thick chocolate.
As we walked around Plaza Arenal today we saw several groups of people dressed in funny (funny as in “odd”) costumes playing kazoos and drums. I think it is a carryover from the Cádiz Carnaval. Each group moved from location to location and each attracted a crowd when it stopped. This went on most of the afternoon.
We had invited our new friend Amarita to have lunch with us this afternoon and we chose Restaurante Albores as the place. We ended up taking 3 hours for our lunch. We had several starters (tapas of different sorts) as well as entrees. One nice thing about the restaurants here is that they never seem to rush you. Albores is in a good location for people watching and there were definitely a lot of people out this afternoon. We hit it off well with Amarita.
We finished lunch in time to go back to the apartment and get some quick website work done, and then headed off to La Guardia del Ángel for an off-festival performance. Amarita’s dance teacher was putting on a show and we were able to get tickets. This was the fourth espectáculo we have seen there and this one was just as crowded as the others. Marta de Troya put on a show that demonstrated technical skill combined with a clear enthusiasm for what she was doing. The entire audience liked the show, as far as I could tell. We had seen the cantaores (singers) at other performances and we thought they did a great job. I did not know it for sure until today, but many of the cantaores, bailaores, palmeros, and guitarras are independent and are hired by the performance. It is no wonder then, that we keep seeing the same faces with different headliners.
After the show, and before we had to be at Villamarta, Amarita took us to a favorite spot of hers and introduced us to a treat called “bunuelos” which are a sort of fried fritter that puffs up. If you sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them, they are even better.
At Villamarta we saw our last festival show of the year, Manuel Linán’s ¡Viva!. We saw the show at the Albuquerque flamenco festival and I was very curious about how it would be received here in Jerez. All of the dancers are men who are dressed as flamencas. I could be seen as camp or disrespectful, but it is neither. All of the dancers are outstanding and I thought the performance went well. Throughout the show there were cheers and applause and at the end there was riotous approval. So much for my thinking that Jerez might be too conservative to approve the show.
Saturday will be the day that we leave Jerez and take the train to Seville, where we will spend the next 5 days.