…the 11 pm performance on Friday and to a peña performance at Las Cernícalos this afternoon but last-minute thoughts changed our minds.
On Friday morning we had a quiet start to the day. It has surprised both of us that we have not gone out to breakfast each and every morning. We have met our friend Amarita at Bar Cristina a couple of times but have not had much there. Now that we are getting closer to the end of our visit to Jerez, we thought we might go out Friday morning. However, we had plenty of breakfast food here. The only thing lacking was good coffee so we settled for the coffee from the coffee maker in our apartment, which Patricia finds nearly unacceptable. Not completely unacceptable, mind you, which would mean going out for coffee. And, if you aren’t going out for coffee, there really is no reason to go out until after 10, when the shops open, is there?
We arranged to have lunch with Eva and Marisol (Encinias). Follow this link to learn something about Eva and this link to learn a little about Marisol, who is also the Executive Director of the National Institute of Flamenco. [But no short write-up can do them justice.] Patricia had a head start on me because she wanted to do a little shopping on the way to lunch and she knows that I am generally not interested in going into store. When I reached Taberna Jerez, everyone else was there, including Vicente Griego. Vicente is a great cantaor from New Mexico. [scroll to the bottom of this link for some info about Vicente.] Vicente is the cantaor for Yjastros and was part of the performance on Tuesday. Patricia was looking quite pleased with herself.
We had drinks at a table that bordered Plaza de Arenal and did some people watching. After some discussion, we decided on various tapas instead of individual entrees. Once we had ordered from the fast-talking waiter, they converted our small round table into a large square table simply by putting a round top on it. The waiter spoke so quickly that all I could understand were the ¡Ole!s that peppered his patter. Tapa after tapa, from patatas bravas to calamari, was delivered to the table and we had a good time passing them around. It was a good lunch with great conversation and I think we all enjoyed it very much. Lunch ended up taking about 2.5 hours.
I mentioned that Patricia looked pleased with herself. Just before we ordered all the tapas, she excused herself to return to a store where she had put something on hold. She returned shortly carrying a new pair of pantalones [pants]. She had not quite made up her mind about them when lunch started, and she had to get back to the store before siesta time. In Jerez, many stores close at 2 pm and open again at 5 pm. Fortunately, most of the cafés and restaurants stay open.
In the evening we met Amarita at her apartment, which is close to where we are staying. She showed us the apartment and we all walked to Villamarta for an 8:30 performance. On the way we stopped at her studio workshop.
Our opinion of the Eva Yerababuena show Re-fracción (desde mis ojos) does not seem to agree with others who saw the show. We did not like it. We thought there was a lot of posturing and posing–and no dance or cante–for the first 10 or 12 minutes. There is no denying that she can dance or that the cante and musica were good, but the whole production did not come together for us.
When we left Villamarta, we decided the day had been long enough and we headed back to the apartment. Despite our intentions, we are finding the late night performances are sometimes to late for us.
Saturday morning was another opportunity for us to go out relatively early for breakfast. Another opportunity we passed up. But we did get out in the morning to just wander around. We feel like we know our way around this area and if we find ourselves someplace we don’t recognize we don’t feel lost. We stopped first at a book and toy store named Baobab, which is not too far away on Calle Povera. We looked at children’s books, games, and puzzles.
We then walked down Calle Larga, one of the main streets in this area, which is lined with shops, stores, and cafés. I did not say restaurants becuse most of the cafés are small with outside seating and limited menus. Ater stopping at dozens and dozens of stores, we were ready for a meal. It was a little late for desayuno so we opted for lunch. [Here is where original intentions were modified again.] We found a nice restaurant called El Mirador del Arenal at the southeast corner of Plaza del Arenal. You need to understand that restaurants line 2 sides of the plaza, so there is plenty of competition for diners. The seating at El Mirador was outside and we were headed towards it. We were probably 50 feet from it when a waiter came out waving menus at us and saying “Come! ¡Venga! I have the best table for you.” And he did, in fact, show us to a nice table. We had a good lunch and I even ate fish by choice. But here is where the Saturday intentions changed. As we finished the main course–about an hour and a half into the meal–we had to decide if we should have desert, which would mean we would not make it to the peña performance at Las Cernícalos. Since churros and chocolate were on the desert menu, it was actually pretty easy to decide. Churros it was. Because we were now the waiter’s “special friends,” he brought us a special type of sweet wine (not sherry) called Pedro Ximénez which is served after meals. AND some ice cream. We could not possibly turn that down, could we?
While we were seated at El Mirador, we saw–and heard–a small group of people in costumes including peacock-feather headdresses forming up for a parade. Once they got started I left our table and took pictures. We encountered them again on Calle Larga on the way back to the apartment.
You can see how meals like that a) require extra walking and b) can fill an afternoon. We had no choice but to go back to the apartment and take a rest. before going out for an evening meal.
We did go out for an evening meal. In fact we went out to eat twice. No, we aren’t gluttons. I forgot to check the opening time of the restaurant I chose and we got there shortly after 7 pm. There was no one seated at a table, but we went in anyhow, only to be told the restaurant did not open until 8 pm. Lesson learned. We had a traditional Spanish meal of spaghetti Bolognese and pizza. We did not care much for the pizza crust which was typical of true Roman pizza: thin and soggy. Fortunately, the restaurant was close and we had an easy walk in nice weather.
Speaking of weather… in years past, the weather in Jerez at festival time has been cold or rainy or cold and rainy. The weather this time has been very good. It has been in the low 30s in the morning and rising to the low 60s in the afternoon. The skies have been blue and mostly cloud-free. That began changing today. The weather was in the mid-60s, but the sky has been mostly overcast. There is supposed to be rain here on Monday, which is the day we leave for Seville.
I will add more pictures to the pictures page when I get someplace where it doesn’t take 4-5 minutes to upload each picture.
Below is a map of where we walked today.