A Travellerspoint blog

Spain

Jerez Horse Fair

9 May 2011

sunny 80 °F

kissing horses

kissing horses


Ferrias 2011

Ferrias 2011


So you would think that to have a horse fair or horse week as it has been called you must have some horses! Multiple people have told us that the horses really make an appearance at the fair on Wednesday! Unfortunately we leave on tuesday.
Jerez horses

Jerez horses


Today is our day to see the horses. The tourist info guy told us that at 1200 or 1230 today there would be a bunch of flamenco ladies and horses parading around the fair grounds. Being a bit overzealous the taxi dropped us off to a nearly deserted fair grounds at 1145.
green girl

green girl


Slowly, slowly other people bagan to arrive but the guy in the TI was clearly wrong. Some of the casetas looked like they were just recoverying from the night before. ONe was actually playing music and had some ladies to teach flamenco. They gave us a shot of the medium sweet sherry that Jerez is famous for. I thought it was quite good but Curt said it would be better with some soda.
Eventually the party got over run by a group with downs syndrome so we were removed.
flamenco ladies

flamenco ladies


Left wondering when the horses showed up we came across a huge group of older ladies with casetas. They walked along stopping to sing a dance when they found some shade. Apparently no end destination was in mind so we gave up on them.
horses on the move

horses on the move


Its late for dinner now so one of the casetas that had a bunch of people in gave us refuge from the sun.
our caseta

our caseta


Beer, tortilla de patatas and tortilla with shrimp revived us. It was also an excellent location to take photos of the horses and carraiges that eventually rolled around.
flamenco ladies with horses

flamenco ladies with horses


Lots were carting ladies in their beautiful flamenco dresses. I stopped in a shop and those dresses go for 200-300 euro.
yellow mom and daughter

yellow mom and daughter


blue mom and daughter

blue mom and daughter


Today seemed to be mother and daughter day which was too adorable not to take several photos of. Eventually the novelty of the dresses and horses wore off and we took a taxi back to the hotel for a siesta.
bored horses

bored horses


The weather is absolutely perfect for a dinner out in the evening breeze with some sangria. A few restaurants were recommended but seemed fancy and a bit stuffy. Street food was more the order of the day and our last night in Spain for the foreseeable future.

MOre photos of the day....
horse and carraige with caseta

horse and carraige with caseta


us

us


Jerez horses

Jerez horses


Jerez horse fair

Jerez horse fair

Posted by ErinDriver 13:44 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Jerez, Espana

8 May 2011

sunny 77 °F

Jerez door knocker

Jerez door knocker


After a late start and breakfast at the hotel we were off to explore Jerez. The logical first stop was the tourist info office so we could put together a plan. The fair didn't really start until tonight with the lights coming on at 2200. Gibralter was too far away so we went with just exploring the city.
cathedral in Jerez

cathedral in Jerez


Eventually we came to the castello which had a flea market right behind it.
Jerez castello

Jerez castello


We didn't find anything of interest for us but there were a lot of flamenco dresses for sale!
Jerez flea market

Jerez flea market


The weather is absolutely perfect so we spent a long, lazy lunch outside watching people go by. I think mostly due to our sedentary jobs walking around all day exhausts us pretty quickly. We picked up the philosophy "If you can't beat them, join them" and went for an afternoon siesta with the rest of the Spanish.
girls club

girls club


This gave us energy to head to the fair groups around 2000. I instantly fell in love with all the little girls looking like flamenco princesses. I couldn't stop taking photos of them....
pink flamenco girl

pink flamenco girl


girl in amazement

girl in amazement


red flamenco girl

red flamenco girl


pink family

pink family


The fair could be anywhere USA - there is still cotton candy and a ferris wheel!
ferris wheel

ferris wheel


and who could have a good time without bumper cars?
bumper cars

bumper cars


We made the mistake of coming too close to one of these rides and got a little wet!
water ride

water ride


Kebabs were dinner under the light of fireworks. Most people just kept right on walking past the stands and completely ignoring the opening of the festival.
fireworks

fireworks


At 2200 all the lights were turned on and the place was lit up like the Griswalds house at christmas.
more lights

more lights


Casetas lined the fair grounds where people sat drinking and chatting and occasionally breaking in to some flamenco.
lights of las ferrias

lights of las ferrias


Tomorrow the place will be lined with horse and flamenco clad ladies - I can't wait...and we still have to have some sherry too!
ferria barrels

ferria barrels

Posted by ErinDriver 15:02 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Unexpected Flamenco

7 May 2011

overcast 70 °F

Today was a day of the unexpected. Munich airport security wants to look at my camera EVERY time we go somewhere. This, however, was the only time when one of the security guards wanted to take our picture!!
Munich Airport

Munich Airport


Next was all the flights to Madrid were delayed due to the weather there. They were having storms. If our flight from Madrid to Jerez was not also delayed we were going to miss our connecting flight. So we left Munich not expecting to make it to Jerez. Our connecting flight was delayed 45 minutes or so and we made it!!
A taxi took us to our lodging, Hotel Dona Blanca for 17 euros (more this week because its horse week) and we hit the shopette across the street for some snacks and drinks.
I booked us a flamenco show at La Taberna Flamenco tonight – it was one of the only places doing shows since the fair was starting tomorrow. The place was a rustic tavern with appetizers of jamon and cheese, pickled carrots and beets. Then came gazpacho soup followed by the main course of fish for me and pork for Curt. At the end of the meal the show started and I was surprised once again. I’m sure when you imagine flamenco you don’t think of this…..
male flamenco dancer !!

male flamenco dancer !!


Or this…..
orange flamenco dancer

orange flamenco dancer


But something more like this?
purple flamenco dancer

purple flamenco dancer


That was what I expected too. The show comprised of two male dancers (I didn’t even know they had those) and 2 female dancers with one singer? And a guy on the guitar.
interesting couple

interesting couple


The difference in character actually brought more entertainment to the show and the hour passed quickly. A five euro cab ride later we were back in the hotel!

Posted by ErinDriver 15:13 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Valencia, Spain

20 March 2011

sunny 65 °F

churro stand

churro stand


Valencia continues to have wonderful weather and closed restaurants. It is amazing how quickly the aftermath of the celebration last night is swept away. We headed out by 1000 and all that was left was a few scorch marks on the sidewalk. On the way to the Old Town we continue our food challenge and give in for more churros and bunuelo.
The mission for today is a market that is supposedly hopping on sundays with valencian souveneirs. Cafe and Tea seemed to be a chain restaurant but it was open and had seats outside. Paella was the expericnce of the day and we spent the better part of an hour watching the well dressed locals walk by while we ate.
Valencian balconies

Valencian balconies


Streams of people were all headed in the direction of the market Rodonda. About 50% of the shops were open in the round set of shops. We learned the Valencian way to tie a scarf in one of the shops from a very persistent salesman. I hit the jackpot in a couple of shops and ended up with a pile of pretty cheap clothes.
valencian architecture

valencian architecture


We were dead on our feet by the evening but hauled ourselves all the way home. No restaurants are open for food prior to 2030 but we spotted a pizzeria that advertiser 2000. At 1959 the lights popped on in the restaurant but the guy in the pizzeria said we needed to wait until media (2030). By 2030 we were about to fall out from hunger when we got our pizza margeritas and lambrusco.

Posted by ErinDriver 11:29 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Fallas Festival

19 March 2011

sunny 70 °F

churros

churros


Last night nothing much was accomplished outside of arriving, finding our hotel Melia and eat some churros with chocolate right outside our hotel. Little did we know this would only be the beginning of our vain attempts to eat in Valencia.
Our neighborhood witch falla

Our neighborhood witch falla


Our excitement was high when we left the hotel on Saturday in search of Fallas. These are paper mache displays much like parade floats that are placed in each neighborhood on the 15th of March. Each neighborhood has a childrens fallas that is small and a larger one the adults worked on. The communities can take almost the entire year to build their display. These are burnt to celebrate the end of the winter and coming of spring. The witch was the one right outside our hotel.
main street in Valencia

main street in Valencia


Unfortunately to get to the Old Town where much of the action is we had a 30 minute walk. It wasn't much of a problem on day one because we had beautiful weather and it gave us a chance to come across plenty of displays like this one we affectionately called the world.
The world

The world


demon bridge

demon bridge


The Old Town was right across this bridge which of course I figured Curt would appreciate with the demons.
Here are some more photos from the many fallas we spent most of the afternoon photographing....
pinocchio

pinocchio


Camel with detail

Camel with detail


The details on the displays were amazing - this camel is a pretty good demo of that.
Harry Potter makes it to the fallas!

Harry Potter makes it to the fallas!


Snake lady falla

Snake lady falla


I call her pocahontas falla

I call her pocahontas falla


naked ladies falla

naked ladies falla


toilet falla

toilet falla


The devilish falla

The devilish falla


The following were all pieces of the winning falla for this year...you could pay 5 euro a person to take photos up close. All others were restrained behind guard rails. The theme seemed to be the animal world taking over the humans.
rhino turtle

rhino turtle


me with the dogs

me with the dogs


me with part of the #1 falla

me with part of the #1 falla


mice torturing human falla

mice torturing human falla


class on capturing humans

class on capturing humans


#1 winning falla

#1 winning falla


At one point along the street they had a falla that was destroyed. I think it was there for people to see what they were made of. They looked like wood as a skeleton then styrofoam and a paper mache outside.
inside the falla

inside the falla


Occasionally we would see one of the fallas queens who will later light the fallas on fire. I think that each neighborhood must have atleast one representative.
one of the falla queens

one of the falla queens


falla queens

falla queens


Most of our day was spent either walking around looking at displays or shopping at the markets that seemed to be around every corner.
shopping street

shopping street


We were pretty despirate for a place to sit down and heading back home when we passed the bull ring.
bull ring

bull ring


People were showing tickets and going inside but we weren't sure for what. The ticket window had quite the gaggle surrounding it but no one was at the window so I asked what was going on. As it turns out a bull fight was starting in 30 minutes. I had very conflicting ideas on if I wanted to go but in a spontaneous moment bought two tickets for 100 euros.
The seat was at the very top row of wooden seats and very small. Being near the top made it easy to look outside when the bad parts came up.
bull fighting ring

bull fighting ring


I wonder about the statements that you sometimes here about people being inherently good when I am sitting in a stadium PACKED full of people cheering on the pretty brutal torture and murder of not just one, but six bulls.
matador practice

matador practice


First the matadors come out in their fancy outfits and practice waving around their capes.
bullfight

bullfight


When the bull finally comes out these guys with the pink capes basically tire them out making them run all over the ring. When the bull gets close to them though they hide out behind the wall.
matador hiding places

matador hiding places


THen a couple guys come out on horses and the bull attacks the horse while the man on top stabs him with some kind of prod. Then 3 or 4 guys put some kind of sticks in his neck that hang out. This whole time the bull is bleeding out and getting more and more tired. Finally the guy with the red cape comes out, tires him some more then puts a sword straight through the back of his neck. He is still kicking around until he gets cornered and then finally put out of his misery with another stab that I assume severs the spinal cord. Some horses come out and they chain the dead bull up and then drag him off. THis whole time the crowd is cheering!!! We had to sit through this SIX times!!!! It was definately an experience but nothing I want to experience EVER again.
After a very short rest and room service for dinner we went to the burning of the childrens fallas at 2200. The entire community gathers around wearing matching sweatshirts. The queen and I guess king are given a piece of the display. Then they through wood, firecrackers and gasoline on the display. A string of fireworks is attached which is lit by the king and queen. When the fire catches the display sprays fireworks.
childrens falla with fireworks

childrens falla with fireworks

Every watches, then circles around it until there is nothing left of it. Then the community heads to their party tent to await the burning of the adult falla at midnight. We go to the room to rest again before seeing the witch go down.
The witches house is on fire!!!

The witches house is on fire!!!


Fireworks were in her house and shoot out of the top which really looks cool. Then it appears as if she is flying away from the fire.
flying from the flames

flying from the flames


and then finally she is no more.
The witch goes down!

The witch goes down!

Posted by ErinDriver 12:34 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Teide National Park

20 February 2011

sunny 65 °F

first view of Teide National Park

first view of Teide National Park


Last night with the new book on Tenerife we found a place to go hiking. Teide National Park is on the interior of the island with tons of hiking trails. We chose Route Roques de Garcia. The drive was curve and curve so no quick thing. By the time we arrived the parking lots were overflowing. We made ourselves a space along the road and hit the trail.
road through Teide National Park

road through Teide National Park


This was to be a two hour walk and relatively flat. Everywhere you looked was a different kodak moment with little salamanders sliding into the bushes as you passed.
Rock piles in Teide National Park

Rock piles in Teide National Park


landscape of Teide National Park

landscape of Teide National Park


lava between the rocks

lava between the rocks


Jerilyn and I taking a rest

Jerilyn and I taking a rest


my favorite rock

my favorite rock


The last photo was my favorite rock that we passed at the end. It looks like someone piled up a bunch of log rocks. After this one you have to go uphill to get to the parking lot which was a bit of a challenge.
The walk had us famished but we made it nearly home to a mexican restaurant and gorged ourselves on tacos, mango margaritas and nachos.

Posted by ErinDriver 00:19 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Driving Tenerife

19 February 2011

sunny 65 °F

Sleeping in and free breakfast were the first order of the day followed by showers and starting off on a drive of tenerife.
I'm not even sure what we set out to see but we were sent in the opposite direction as we came yesterday. We stopped at a road side gas station for some snacks and drinks.
cafe along highway

cafe along highway


Can you believe the view even at a gas station here?
Jerilyn found a place on her phone internet where you could feed monkeys so we set off for the South side of the island where there seems to be more things for tourists to do.
ocean view in small town on Tenerife Island

ocean view in small town on Tenerife Island


About half way around we got hungry and saw a little restaurant on the edge of the rocks overlooking the ocean so we did a quick stop.
restaurant by the ocean

restaurant by the ocean


The place was crowded but I think maybe more for the view than the food. I had spaghetti though which it is hard to mess up, even for me.
restaurant view

restaurant view


The town had a few shops so we went in one and got a book on Tenerife and a few postcards. Of course I also had to get Bella a souveneir toy banana that she just loves :)
shop in tenerife

shop in tenerife


By the time we got to where Jerilyn's GPS on her phone said the monkeys would be it was late afternoon. We parked and went on a search for this park but never did find it. We asked an old couple sitting by the road with a map. As it turns out they were from the US which is kind of rare in the canary islands. They found the park on the map which was not in walking distance.
Beach in Tenerife

Beach in Tenerife


We abandoned hope of monkeys and walked out to see how cold the water was. I guess no matter what we will be okay because there is a McDonalds nearby.
Monkey Bar

Monkey Bar


Instead of feeding monkeys we went to the Monkey Bar for some drinks and dinner. I loved the canvas photos of the animals and every once in a while the little dolls would strike up a song and dance.
We took the opposite way home after dinner which resulted in a complete circling of the island today!

Posted by ErinDriver 23:49 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

20 degrees to 70 degrees in five hours

18 February 2011

sunny 68 °F

plants at hotel

plants at hotel


Ahhh, My favorite feeling is getting on the airplane cold and having warm air hit me when I get off. Unfortunately this isn't a Driver trip. Curt left for the flight surgeon course so the pharmacist at the clinic, Jerilyn Arneson, and I went to Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
We flew in to the south side of the island, rented a car and drove along the coast to the north side and our hotel - Rural Costa Salada. To get here you must curve along roads similar to New Zealand - and we are doing all this without a GPS. I was proud of myself for actually finding the place.
ocean view from room

ocean view from room


As it turns out the hotel is on the edge of the cliffs over the ocean. We have amazing views and because Jerilyn booked a junior suite we have our own beach chairs out front of our room.
beach chairs outside room

beach chairs outside room


Our flight left early from Nurnberg so we were ready to spend the afternoon reading and listening to the ocean on these chairs.
The Spanish eat dinner really late so we were starving by 8:00 when the restaurant at the hotel opened. It left something to be desired in the food. I had meatballs and pasta that were a little dry. Tomorrow we will have to explore some more for our food!
Before going to bed we watched The Idiot Abroad on Jerilyn's IPAD. The show is hilarious about a british guy sent off to see the seven wonders.
cactus at hotel

cactus at hotel

Posted by ErinDriver 23:40 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

New Years on Lanzarote

1 January 2011

sunny 75 °F

beach chairs with lava border in background

beach chairs with lava border in background


We rested on the beach…..ALL DAY LONG!!!!

lounging on the beach

lounging on the beach

Posted by ErinDriver 08:20 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

New Year's Eve 2010

31 December 2010

sunny 77 °F

Safari Diving site

Safari Diving site


Lanzarote has many dive companies but I had scheduled us with Safari Diving. After breakfast in which you could get an included omelet but had to pay for the ham and hash browns, we walked 10 minutes to the dive site.
Safari Diving Shop

Safari Diving Shop


The bay in front of the shop is the only place to enter the water so all dive companies convened here. The place was buzzing with divers. Our gear was given out and our group of 6 did a shore entry. This was a first but I liked not having to try and help get some heavy boat into the water and then heave myself into it. The first dive was in Lanzarote Bay and was 38 minutes long. The most interesting thing was several squid that were actually moving around instead of hiding in the rocks.
palm trees at dive site

palm trees at dive site


The second dive was not until late afternoon so there was time for a lunch of pizza at the hotel and some rest. The next dive was a boat dive and had many more people. The Lanzarote Harbor wrecks were the area we explored. Once again the experience was much more pleasant for me than the past. We simply put on our gear, walked 100 meters to the boat and hopped on. No lugging heavy equipment to the boat and trying to put it on later. We also did not have to go over the back of the boat – we just stepped into the water from the back stairs. As soon as we went down there was a ship wreck with plenty to explore. The dive went along a rocky ridge with plenty to see. I was slightly behind Curt when an angel shark swam underneath us. It was pretty awesome to see and our first shark!!
sunset in Lanzarote

sunset in Lanzarote


Diving brings on hunger and fatigue so after a nap we set out to eat again! Curt wanted some California rolls so we went to a Chinese/sushi restaurant called the New World. It must be popular as half the place was set aside for reservations. We did it tapas style having sushi gambas (shrimp), California rolls, triple fried rice, crab wontons, pork dumplings, meat empanadas and chicken skewers.
sushi with carrot fish

sushi with carrot fish


The California rolls had an excellent presentation with a carved fish swimming over a potato rock. The food was delicious and we left fat and happy.
After another nap we woke up with enough time to see the fireworks on the beach in front of our hotel from the balcony. I have never seen a fireworks display framed between two palm trees and probably never will again! It was magnificent and a promising start to 2011!

Posted by ErinDriver 08:16 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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