The aroma of Jerez’s famous sherry wines that lingers through the Gonzalez Byass bodega mixes with the floral perfumes and colognes of the crowd that congregates in an old wine cellar to watch some of the most beautiful Andaluzas model the latest in flamenca fashion…
Of all countries on earth, Spain, perhaps, is that which has the most festivals and fiestas per capita. An exhaustive list of its festivals would run into the hundreds, possibly thousands, though there always seems to pop up another one which you hadn’t yet heard of. Springing forth from the community itself, with few rules and regulations, little respect for traffic flow, and a socially diverse crowd of old and young, these parties are truly organic, civic celebrations. Continue reading “Festival of the…Sea Urchin! – Photo Report on Cadiz’s ‘Erizada’”
When teaching is for the teacher a chore, then so too is learning for the student a chore, but when teaching becomes a pleasure, so too does learning. Unicaja English Camp Director Eric Horne told me this as we ate lunch in the camp dining hall overlooking the hills of the Serranía de Ronda, a sweltering hot region of Andalusia famed for its breathtaking geography and its history of sultans and bandits. Eric’s insight gets to the essence of his camp; its ability to have the kids to begin to see English not as just another school subject to be passed or failed, but as a genuine interest, even a lifelong passion. Continue reading “Al Fresco English: Your TEFL Summer Camp Essentials”
On the road to the ‘Utopia towards Peace’
‘Marinaleda!?’ we call out to the few cars rolling down the country road to an Andalusian utopia. Most drivers unwillingly decline – headed elsewhere, they indicate; no room in the scoop, a tractor-driver laughs – but soon enough one stops to help out two lost pilgrims. Francisco is his name, and he tells us that our promised land, though beautiful, has both its disciples and its dissidents; those who would call its mayor, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, a prophet, and those who would call him a despot. Continue reading “The Power and the Passion of Marinaleda: A Vanguard Village (Feature)”
Beltrán Domecq and César Saldaña together make up the heart and head of the Sherry world. Who is which is too hard to say – both house a bodega’s worth of knowledge in their heads, a lifetime’s worth of Jerezano lore in their hearts.
Whether enjoyed as a glass of red after work or a copa of fino with friends, wine is a beautiful thing. But there is in every glass a drop of some grape-picker’s or bottler’s sweat running from their brow to your lips, and this salty note should be savoured as much as the wine itself, but some disagree on how much value it adds. Today, in Jerez de la Frontera, home of sherry wines, conflict ferments over bodega workers’ pay. Continue reading “A Bitter Drop: Conflict in the Bodegas of Jerez”
Jerez’s Santiago Quarter, famed for its gypsy and flamenco culture, came alive today with a procession of an enormous gilded float through the barrio’s streets and laneways. A group of men carried upon their shoulders a figure of a tormented Jesus Christ on the road to Calvary. After hours of slow manoeuvring around the tight corners, the figure was finally delivered to the newly renovated Church of Santiago, where it will rest until next year’s Semana Santa celebrations.
In Jerez de la Frontera several hundred people took to the streets to demand the termination of the secretive TTIP Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the US, a deal which threatens to bolster the legal power of multi-nationals against democratically-accountable states. The act was part of hundreds of similar protests across Europe, with tens of thousands taking place across the continent. Thanks to the anti-TTIP protest movement, the TTIP agreement is now facing further delays, with many observers predicting that the deal will soon be scrapped entirely.