There was no direct flight from our local airport, Bristol to Jerez in Southern Spain so we decided to take some cheap Easyjet flights to Madrid and stay overnight there before travelling by rail from Atocha station to Jerez by train the following morning.
We arrived from Bristol at 10.00pm and took advantage the speedy blue and yellow airport bus from the Airport to Atocha which took about half an hour. We had pre-booked Hotel Mediodia in Madrid for our overnight stay because it was so easy to find, reasonably priced and very convenient to Atocha – just across the road. Its name was emblazoned in HUGE letters right across the top of the building! We were also able to sample some tapas and beer just outside the hotel, but off the main road, before going to bed. We were on the sixth floor which probably reduced the noise of traffic, in an en-suite room which, in our opinion, could have been painted a much lighter colour, but it did not stop us enjoying a good night’s sleep!
We had pre-booked our train about 60 days in advance from Madrid to Jerez to ensure a good price as well as a range of seats from which to choose. There were films to watch each way – in Spanish, but fairly easy to follow even without a good knowledge of the language. The refreshments – breakfast, drinks etc. were good value for money. When we arrived at Jerez we decided to take a taxi as there were four of us, but we checked the price first with the driver before deciding! It was 5 Euros for about 2,500 metres but with the sun beating down and a temperature of about 30 degrees we thought that was pretty good value.
The Sherry Park Hotel was one of the pleasantest hotels in which we have stayed! We booked in advance, but did not need to pay until our arrival! All of the bedrooms seemed to have a balcony to sit out on. Ours overlooked the extensive gardens and the swimming pool which we used daily. Bathing towels were available from Reception for 10 Euros returnable deposit. The gym and sauna looked good, although we did not have enough time to use them as we had a full schedule of places we wanted to visit in Jerez! Our en-suite was modern, light and included double washbasins and a bidet. The hot water was almost instant. We were given the Wi-Fi code on arrival. Wi-Fi was free and easy to use on both our tablet and mobile. The air conditioning was excellent, once my practical husband had worked out how it worked! We have suggested in our direct feedback to the hotel that they make the aircon instructions more user-friendly to visitors in the future.
Room Tip: We had bedroom 222 which overlooked the pool and the gardens. Our friends had an adjoining room 223 with an equally good view.
The lounge and bar areas were spacious, welcoming and comfortable.
We had one evening meal in the resplendent restaurant. The evening meal was served at 8.30pm and comprised of three courses with bread, water and wine. It cost 22 euros per head which we felt was very good value for money, taking into account the choices available for each course and the general ambience.
The staff, with whom we came into contact: receptionists, cleaners and waiters – were courteous, smiling and ready to help.
It was about a 15 minute level walk into the old part of the City where some of the narrow streets in the shade looked inviting. We had to have our fix of ice cream each day – wonderful flavours! There was plenty to see as well as numerous restaurants, cafes and bodegas.
The high spots of our visit were:
Bodega Beam: the home of Fundador, Domecq, Harveys and Terry. Having come from Bristol it was mandatory from our point of view to make this visit! None of us had ever tried Harvey’s Bristol Cream on ice before – it was wonderful. The other samples on offer to taste were almost equally as good! Many rich and famous people had their names on barrels of their favourite tipple which had been reserved for them.
The Alcazar was built on the site of the original Moorish Palace in 1664. There was so much so see here, including a table plan of the city as it would have been in the 12th century. Outside the main building there were some Arab baths, views over the city, a tranquil garden with an interesting vegetable area, a huge former underground cistern, etc. etc. The various archaeological digs showing parts of former buildings of interest were well explained by numerous informative information boards within the Alcazar both in Spanish and English. We were able to obtain the cheaper rate of just under 2 Euros (for over 60s) instead of 5 Euros.
The Museo Arqueologico de Jerez is ‘Numero Uno’ now in our archaeological museum visits! We particularly liked the audio facilities which were available in several languages as well as the generous amount of seating around to view the wonderful films and artefacts on show there.
On Sunday we went by train from Jerez to El Puerto de Santa Maria where we caught the passenger ferry to Cadiz. The trip across the Bay of Cadiz was magnificent and well worth doing for only a few Euros each. The Corpus Christi religious procession was taking place that day in Cadiz attracting many people, including us. We were able to watch the numerous bands and heavy statues on plinths being carried by perspiring enthusiasts. We caught a direct train back from Cadiz which took us across the salt flats back to Jerez.
We could not believe the price of meals in Jerez, particularly breakfast which cost us 2 Euros each a day. That seemed to be the going rate for coffee and cake; toast or croissant which we thought was amazing!
Our tip: visit Jerez before the prices rise when others realise what they have been missing! Among other places of interest would wished we could have seen was the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. Unfortunately we ran out of time! Hopefully, we will be able to visit Jerez again in the not too distant future.