ISSUE 21 窶「 NOV-DEC 2007

White magic Pueblo blanco with a special ambience




Making a business venture pay dividends

The many marvels of the Medina

Contemporary touches bring new life to an old cortijo







Christmas flowers and an invaluable guide to planting and harvesting your own vegetables

Staff Director Chris Mercer Managing Director Tony Summers Tel. (+0034) 650 162 696 Advertising & Sales Kelly Summers Tel. (+0034) 655 047 054 Editor Jenny Kean Tel. (+0034) 655 865 569

Contents 4

Letters Editor’s introduction and all your comments


News All the latest from around the province


Printer Fotocromía Pol. Ind. Las salinas de Levante, Avda Inventor Pedro Cawley, 2-4 El Puerto de Santa María 11500 Cádiz, Spain Tel. (+0034) 902 101 105 laluz magazine is published by La Luz Communications SL Depósito Legal CA 551/2004 CIF B-11784022 Registered address Apdo. de Correos 39 Vejer de la Frontera, 11150 Cádiz,

Another Time Angel Tinoco rolls back the years in our new bilingual feature


A Day in the Life Former fisherman Antonio Garrido spends time with his canaries when he’s not running the family hardware shop


Property What’s the best move to make in an uncertain market


Ask the Experts Advice from those in the know

Insight Three very different tales of expats who have decided to go it alone in the business world of the province


Cooking Culture Sweet tooth special as we focus on the new wave of bakers and confectioners who are putting Vejer on the pudding map


Cádiz Christmas Well-known local personalities reveal what the Festive Season has in store for them


Eating out Our reviewers head for the beach, the tapas bar and the Oriental express


Day Tripper Go back in time with the Living Bethlehem in Arcos or a trip from Cadiz to El Puerto on a 50-year-old steam ferry


What’s On Where to go and what to see and do this


Advertising Directory Local services, business and classified adverts


Homes & Interiors Quadrupei imputat Caesar. Ossifragi infeliciter insectat saburre!!!


Why I love… A laluz reader explains her love affair with the pretty hilltop village of Olvera.


Weekender The sights and sounds of the ancient Moroccan city of Fez unravelled before your very eyes


A Town Like... Jimena has an air and a cultural blend unlike anywhere else in the province


Wild Side Walk Take a stroll through history in La Janda, an area teeming with wildlife


Gardening Christmas flowers and an invaluable guide to planting and harvesting your own vegetables

© 2007 laluz Communications Reproduction of this magazine in whole or part without the written permission of the publishers is strictly prohibited. The publishers reserve the right to amend any submissions. The views expressed by contributors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the publishers. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information and the advertisements within the magazine, the publishers cannot accept any liability.


The sights and sounds of the ancient Moroccan city of Fez unravelled before your very eyes


Production Tony Jefferies Designer Raúl López Cabello


Eating out

Our reviewers head for the beach, the tapas bar and the Oriental express

Cover San Francisco church, Jimena de la Frontera. Photgrapher: Taka



Making the move pay off Coming to live on the Costa de la Luz is easy. You can just fill up your car with a few belongings – like we did – and drive down here. But staying here takes a lot more; you need to plan how you are going to live, and that includes what you will do to fill your day and (perhaps more importantly) to fill the coffers. It’s not an easy place to find work, so one option is to start up your own business. In this issue, we’ve spoken to three people who have done just that, and can pass on their tips and advice for how to make it work. I certainly found it fascinating talking to these inspirational people, so even if owning your own business isn’t your thing, their stories will have you engrossed. We’ve got plenty of other practical advice on visiting this area or living here for good – including a trip to the lovely pueblo blanco of Jimena de la Frontera, plus our usual food and restaurant reviews and even how to create your own veg garden. But there’s also a real flavour of Christmas, with a guide to the belén viviente in Arcos, when the cobbled streets and alleyways are transformed into a living Bethlehem. We get a glimpse into how Spanish and British people living in the province spend their Christmas, and you can even cook up some authentic pestiños thanks to our recipe on p59.

‘Even if owning a business is not your thing you’ll find the stories engrossing’

But of course there’s always the option of escaping Christmas altogether, with a quick skim across the Straits to Morocco. Miriam Reik travelled by train to the royal city of Fez last Christmas, and the colours and smells of this ancient medina are beautifully conjured up in words and pictures on p31. Here at laluz, however, we’re really getting into the Christmas spirit and counting down the days to our magnificent Christmas Ball at the Andalucía Playa Hotel in Novo Sancti Petri on December 15th. We’ve got some fantastic offers for subscribers which we’ll be launching on that night with the unveiling of our special laluz club. You won’t believe the cash savings on offer – it really will be like Christmas has come early.

Jenny Kean, editor

I look forward to meeting you there in person – book quickly to avoid disappointment as tickets are going fast.

> Feedback If you have a question or want to make a point, or if you just want to tell us how you feel about the magazine, write to or by post to: The Editor, laluz magazine, Apdo de Correos 39, Vejer de la Frontera, 11150 Cádiz. We reserve the right to edit letters for publication

Public nuisance A question which maybe someone can answer through your splendid magazine, please: I live in the campo near Vejer and am now too old to drive a car safely, so I need to use public transport. Getting about on trains is no problem; Renfe issues accurate timetables (and has a nice discount on fares for the over-65s). But buses in this area are a problem. The timetables dished out by the local tourist bureau bear no relation to reality whatsoever, and I have found none on any of the bus companies' websites I have looked at so far, so the only answer seems to be to telephone the relevant bus company. Yes, and I can ask the right question; but neither my Spanish nor my hearing can cope with the reply in quickfire Andaluz. So how can I find out which bus goes where I want and when? D Mostyn, Vejer > Information is not always easy to get hold of here, so let’s hope someone can help you solve your dilemma. My only suggestion would be

if possible to draft in a good Spanish speaker to help on the phone. Don’t forget that we can all help each other out by posting tips and information on the laluz forum as well. Since the website was updated, we now have lots of different areas for people to contribute to. So do go to and click on ‘forum’ and register. It’s good to talk…

____________________________ No bad words I would like to say how much we enjoy the restaurant reviews that you publish. In fact, we made a special trip to Al Lago in Zahara de la Sierra as a result of reading your recommendation in issue 20, and it certainly lived up to expectations. However, I do wonder about the fact that there never seem to be any bad reviews? After all, not all restaurants are good! Philip Wolston, by e-mail > It’s a good point that you raise. We feel at laluz that what our readers really want is to know where to go to get a good meal. So we have never gone in for food critiques as you might find elsewhere, but prefer to stick to just recommending places where our

readers know they can go and eat well in pleasant surroundings. The emphasis is on the positive.


A good read My husband and I are subscribers to your magazine and would like to say how much pleasure each issue gives us. It’s so informative and has made our move out to Spain for retirement so much more exciting. Of particular interest in the September issue was the Christmas Ball which we are planning to come to. My husband is very interested in playing golf the following day but we can’t get through on the email address mentioned in the info. M Graham, Conil > Unfortunately there was an error in the email address printed in the last issue, so apologies for the confusion. For golf bookings, please contact Tony Summers on or call 655 047 054. Also, if anyone wants to arrange a special table so that friends and family can all sit together, Tony is the person to contact to arrange this as well. We look forward to seeing you there.


laluz news Animal abuse | A-48 protests | sherry row | river pollution | kitesurfing champion


Barbate mourns its dead after fishing boat disaster

A judicial investigation is under way into the tragedy surrounding the Nuevo Pepita Aurora, the fishing boat from Barbate that sank in September whilst returning from Moroccan waters. Eight of the crew died and six weeks after the accident, the bodies of three were still missing. As laluz went to press, families of the missing men were organising their own dive to examine the mass of nets that still remain underwater and in which they believe the bodies may be tangled. The Nuevo Pepita Aurora capsized in waves of up to five metres, 22 kilometres off Barbate. Eight survivors were picked up. The boat remained upturned but afloat for a while and there were hopes that some of the crew might have survived in pockets of air. But an attempt to tow the vessel closer to shore the next day failed and it sank in waters more than 130 metres deep. The depth of the water, together with the strong currents and levante wind, hampered

further attempts to access the boat and 10 days after the incident, several thousand people marched in Barbate to protest at the delays. It was only when the boat was dragged into shallower waters a fortnight after it sank that the bodies of two men were recovered, bringing to five the total number of confirmed dead. The town of Barbate, a tight-knit community that has lived off the sea since Phoenician times, was devastated by the tragedy. The fishing fleet initially helped in the rescue operation, but then stayed in port for nearly two weeks as a mark of respect. One of the survivors, José Crespo, described what happened. Hit by strong winds and heavy seas, the boat overturned and he was trapped underneath in a pocket of air. “But I knew I had to get out in order to survive, so I took a big breath and went under – initially swimming downwards in order to get out of the boat and then up towards the surface. I hardly know how to swim, but I managed to save myself. After 24 years, I’m finished now with the sea. I don’t want to ever go back.” The communist union, the CCOO, has criticized what it called the “succession of mistakes and disinformation” in the rescue operation. It described as “incomprehensible” the fact that even though the boat was afloat, the authorities managed to lose it during the early hours of September 6th, the day after the incident. The Nuevo Pepita Aurora was built in Galicia nine years ago. Three years ago, its exact copy, O Bahía, sank off Galicia in similar circumstances after being struck by a wave. In that instance, 10 sailors died.

Conflict over African immigrant claims September and October saw a surge in the number of immigrants arriving on the shores of the Costa de la Luz from Africa In one six-day period from September 7th, more than 230 immigrants were picked up either at sea or after they had landed. At least five other boats are known to have landed along the coast near Barbate and Conil but their occupants were not found. Nearly all those picked up were due to be returned to their countries of origin, mostly in North Africa. The authorities denied that there was an ‘avalanche’ of immigrants, and they rejected speculation that immigrant ‘mafia’ were seeking to take advantage whilst the military and coastguards were preoccupied by the sinking of the Barbate fishing boat, the Nuevo Pepita Aurora. Government sources were quoted as saying that this summer was “the quietest in decades” and that the coastal surveillance system, SIVE, was working well.


‘Horrific’ scenes of animal abuse at Puerto Real pound A dog pound in Puerto Real that picks up thousands of stray cats and dogs from several areas in the province is under investigation by the Civil Guard after allegations of abuse. Four people – including the owner and the vet – are being treated as suspects. An animal protection charity, El Refugio, described the pound at Puerto Real as “a horrific place where dogs and cats are put down as a matter of routine”. It said the animals were killed using a method which meant they suffered “a long and agonising death by asphyxiation”. In a statement, the charity added

that the cheapest method was used, costing just €35 euros to put down 10 tons of cats and dogs. A complaint was also made by a couple who discovered that their three dogs had been put down at the pound. El Refugio has put a video on the website YouTube showing disturbing scenes of animals being kept in terrible conditions and piles of corpses. Around 2,000 people gathered for a protest outside the town hall in Cádiz on October 7th. It’s believed to be the first time that proceedings have been taken against a dog pound in Spain for alleged abuse.

Jerez housing is cheapest Two recent studies by national estate agents have named Jerez as the city with the cheapest house prices in Andalucía, if not in the whole of Spain. In a sample of 15 cities across Spain, the leading estate agency Tecnocasa found that Jerez came out cheapest at €1,473 per square metre. The study also found that Jerez bucked the trend in terms of the difference in price between smaller and larger properties; in most places, smaller places cost more per square metre, but in Jerez, Córdoba and Alicante, the difference was negligible. According to Tecnocasa, the average mortgage in Spain currently stands at €185,642, compared to €172,174 a year ago. Jerez and Huelva were the cities that had seen the biggest jump in mortgage values. Another study, by the online estate agency Fotocasa, named Jerez as having the cheapest house prices in Andalucía, whilst Cádiz had the most expensive.

Last train to San Fernando?

Clean-up bid for Pago de Humo A British resident in Chiclana has mounted a one-man campaign to get a local beauty spot cleaned up. Stephen Cole first came to live in Pago de Humo two years ago, and says the Laguna de la Cruz near his house was a special place where wild flowers grew and horses

grazed. “Now it appears to have become a rubbish tip. Builders come and tip all sorts of waste here – lorries arrive all the time, and no-one seems to stop them.” Stephen has written to his local councillor and also wrote to the town hall, which says it will send someone down to

inspect the Laguna. So far, no further action has been taken but Stephen says he’s determined to pursue the matter. “I want to return this to a place of beauty for future generations to enjoy. It’s worth saving, and the Spanish people as well deserve better.”

Ongoing works on the railway at San Fernando have led to confusion for travellers. The old station has been knocked down – all except for its façade – and the faster trains which used to depart from there to Jerez and Seville now go from the new station at the Bahía Sur shopping centre. Meanwhile a debate is continuing about what the new stations should be called. The town council wants Bahía Sur to be renamed ‘San Fernando’, and the old station – once it’s renovated – to be called ‘San Fernando Norte’. But railway company Renfe has announced that there will be no change to the Bahía Sur name, although for those purchasing tickets to and from Jerez, Seville and Madrid, it will appear as ‘Bahía Sur-San Fernando’ in order to give its “geographical identity for travellers coming from other parts of Spain”. On the Renfe website, however, Bahia Sur appears as just that and San Fernando is not mentioned anywhere as a destination. While all medium and long-distance services to Jerez and Seville now go from Bahía Sur, a temporary unmanned station has been erected near the old station where a local stopping service between Cádiz and Jerez (Linea C1) will call.


New organic café in Chiclana Saturday the 20th of October saw the opening of a new organic café in Chiclana at the Eco Algaia health food shop. The new venture was celebrated with a night of organic tapas, drinks and entertainment. The owners (Suzanna López and Luis Miguel Cantero, pictured above) explained that not only do they want to provide their customers with healthy and delicious organic breakfasts and snacks but also to provide a meeting space for people to share skills, knowledge and ideas. Courses will also be held at the café throughout the year, starting this autumn with meditation and sound therapy workshops. More info: Opening hours: 8 to 2 and 5 to 8.30. tel. 956 405 549 or visit

New road plans under fire from Vejer The latest planned route for the motorway linking Vejer with Algeciras has been given a cautious welcome in Tarifa – but has prompted concern in Vejer where villagers say it will destroy homes and be an ecological disaster. In Tarifa, the plans have been changed so that the A-48 will not run right along the coast by Punta Sur and Valdevaqueros as campaigners had feared. Instead, a tunnel more than two kilometers long and four viaducts are being proposed that will take the road further back. But in Vejer, where the motorway currently ends, earlier plans for a tunnel have been

scrapped due to cost. Instead, a new plan has been outlined which would take the road along the bottom of Santa Lucía and across Cañada Ancha. Protestors say it would mean several houses being knocked down, and would be a “disaster” for the environment. The plan was open for consultation until October 25th and a definitive plan is expected in around a year. The mayor of Algeciras, Tomás Herrera, has said he doesn’t believe that the new road will be completed until 2016 – provided work starts next year.



Bodegas tread fine line as sherry ‘war’ looms Chiclana proves model attraction A total of 12,000 agents and journalists from 48 countries have been visiting Chiclana, Jerez and El Puerto for a presentation of Volkswagen’s latest car, the Tiguan.

Battle lines are being drawn over proposed changes which could see fino banned from being produced in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. At the moment, manzanilla sherry can only be produced in Sanlúcar, because the climate and soil conditions are what makes it manzanilla and not fino. Now fino producers want the same exclusivity to be given to their product, so that it can only be aged in Jerez and El Puerto de Santa María. The majority of bodegas in Sanlúcar have signed a statement declaring they are willing to give up the right to make fino in their town in order to protect their exclusive rights to manzanilla. “Today, manzanilla is a wine of huge national and international prestige,” the statement said,

adding: “Its sales have grown while sales of fino have fallen…therefore the primary objective is the defence and promotion of manzanilla and of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.” However, a minority of bodegas in the coastal town which do produce fino are fighting the changes. The mayoress of Sanlúcar has waded into the debate, saying the town had been making fino for 60 years and she vowed to use “all the weapons at our disposal to prevent anything that might be to the detriment of our town”. The Consejo Regulador, which governs the denominación de origen for sherry, has put forward the changes but they have yet to be approved by the Junta de Andalucía.

The salesmen and scribes were being flown in to Jerez for a series of two-day programmes between early October and mid-November which included the chance to drive the new four-wheel drive vehicle on roads around Chiclana, the Bahía and La Janda. Altogether, 350 Tiguans were brought specially from Germany for the unveiling. The guests were staying at the Hotel Valentin in Novo Sancti Petri and were being treated to an evening at the Monasterio de la Victoria in El Puerto and a visit to a traditional hacienda on the outskirts of Jerez. Volkswagen said it had chosen the Chiclana area “for its fantastic natural surroundings, its infrastructure, the location of its hotels and the possibilities offered by its network of roads for testing the vehicles”.


Thousands of fish die in sierra river mystery

Thousands of fish were found dead in a river that flows through the Sierra de Grazalema in September. The disaster was discovered in the River Guadiaro at Jimera de Libar, just inside Málaga province. Local resident Toph Smith described what he saw: “There were dead fish as far as the eye could see. The smell was awful and there was foam rising up over the top of the waterfall. Thousands of fish, all barbel, had packed themselves into a stretch of water 15 inches wide to try to escape the pollution – and had suffocated and died. Elsewhere, it was as though the Atlantic fishing fleet had disgorged a record catch. It was beyond belief.” Environment officials cleared away 6,000 kilos

PASSENGERS FLOCK TO JEREZ The number of passengers using Jerez airport in August – 188,465 – increased by 30 per cent compared to the same time last year. There was also a 25.4 per cent increase for July.

of dead fish. An investigation is under way into what caused the disaster, but local people blame sewage pollution from Ronda and its surroundings, or a chemical spill from farms and industries upstream from the village. Jimera’s mayoress, Maite Dominguez, said: “They’ve destroyed the ecosystem of the river. Everything is dead.” A spokesman for Ecologistas en Acción, Antonio Muñoz, told laluz he believed the fish had died as a result of lack of oxygen in the water. A number of factors were to blame, he said, including torrential rains, blockages in the river, over-extraction of water and overdevelopment. “It is also true that there are insufficient treatment plants in the area. We are very concerned about the river,” he said, “and we want a definitive solution”

More flights continue to open up from Jerez. Low-cost airline Vueling is introducing three flights a week from Jerez to Paris from December. And Air Berlin is stepping up flights between Jerez and Palma de Majorca from three a week to daily flights.

However, Monarch flights to Manchester finish on November 4th. A spokesman for the airline said they would not be operating the route over the winter and had not yet decided about next year’s summer schedule.

NEWS IN BRIEF > Prehistory centre Work has begun on a new €2 million pehistoric visitor centre in Benalup. It will give visitors a glimpse into the culture and lives of the prehistoric peoples who lived around the ancient lagoon of La Janda, with exhibitions on food, clothing, weapons, music and burial traditions. A ‘time tunnel’ underground will help immerse the visitor in the past. The centre is due to be finished next summer. The Tajo de las Figuras, a cave with prehistoric wall paintings, is located near Benalup, together with neolithic tombs (see issue 19, Wild Side Walk)

> Gas for Rota Gas company Endesa is constructing a 22km-long pipeline from El Puerto to Rota, providing natural gas to Rota and opening up other areas along the coast including Chipiona and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The €4.2 million project should be completed by the end of the year and is part of Endesa’s plan to provide piped natural gas to the whole of the Bahía de Cádiz.

Work on upgrading and expanding Jerez airport is continuing and the airport authority AENA says it wants to be able to handle three million passengers by the end of next year – double the capacity in 2006.



Gisela back on top


of world

NEW STORES BRING 3,000 JOBS TO JEREZ Jerez’s new, massive retail and leisure park was due to open its doors early in November, and includes the first Primark store to open in Andalucía. Area Sur covers a total of 68,000 square metres over three floors with 150 shops and restaurants, a multiscreen cinema and a

bowling alley. In addition to Primark, the fashion and lifestyle retailers include Zara and Zara Home, Adolfo Dominguez, Cortefiel, H&M, Sfera, C&A, Mango and Intersport. The car park has a capacity of 2,400 spaces. The mayoress of Jerez, Pílar Sánchez, described the opening of Area Sur as “a great moment for our city, especially for the 3,000 people who will find work either

Gisela had secured her latest victory on the PKRA circuit two races before the end of the season and managed to scoop the title despite suffering a jelly fish sting in Brazil. Gisela said she was delighted, adding that the most important win for her this season was the one in Tarifa. “My family was there and all my friends. They all cheered me on. That was a very special experience.” “With kiting, it’s about technique and not physical power. Because I’m technically better than the others, I win – although a 20year-old is naturally stronger than me.” Gisela was born in Barcelona but moved with her family to Tarifa in order to be able to train every day. She competes all over the world and manages her studies in between.

directly or indirectly as a result”. She rejected fears that it would threaten traditional businesses in Jerez, saying it would simply bring more people in from outside who would then use the city centre shops. Area Sur is part of the bigger commercial zone that will include Parques 21 where a new IKEA store is due to open in either 2009 or 2010.

NEWS IN BRIEF > Microlight death An Austrian man died when his microlight crashed into high tension wires near Conil and plummeted to the ground. The man, who was an instructor, had 180 hours of flying experience and had taken off from the aerodrome in Medina Sidonia earlier. Witnesses said he appeared to be flying very low and crashed into the cables.

> Curtain up in El Puerto El Puerto de Santa María’s new Teatro Municipal opened its doors at the end of October and a four-day theatre extravaganza was being held in the town between November 6th and 9th to celebrate the new venue. The new venue is next to Plaza de Polvorista.

> Charity boost A charity fiesta organised by a British woman living in Chiclana raised just over €2,000 in aid of a local cancer charity, the AECC. Carol Bevan organises the event twice yearly in Pago de Humo, and the event on September 1st included a bar, BBQ, music and dancing and a raffle with prizes donated by local firms. A small crafts market also helped raise money. “Each fiesta takes many weeks of preparation,” said Carol, “so thankyou to everyone involved. It raised much needed funds for the excellent work done by AECC for cancer sufferers in this area.” The next fiesta is planned for February.


A bad break Angel Tinoco, Vejer’s former cinema projectionist, tells the story of the lebrillo, a huge earthenware bowl that was used for washing clothes, kneading bread and other domestic chores. It was handed down from father to son as a prized possession – unless the unthinkable happened and it was broken.

El Holocausto de un lebrillo Acaeció en Vejer que un tal Mora de profesión zapatero, había heredado un lebrillo. Le fue legada por su difunto padre al ser el primogénito, su padre a su vez lo había recibido como legítima de su abuelo, y éste a su vez de otro ancestro y así sucesivamente, según las actas de los escribanos de turno. El motivo de citarlo en esta historia no es por su valor arqueológico, artístico o histórico, el valor del lebrillo fue meramente práctico, y dentro de la miseria de entonces poseer un lebrillo era algo así como tener un blasón. Tener un lebrillo era ostentar frente a los demás. El lebrillo era y es, aunque ya está en desuso, un recipiente de casi un metro de diámetro por unos 25 centímetros de ancho, con la parte superior mayor que la inferior, las paredes del mismo tenían un grosor de unos cinco centímetros. El material con que se fabricaba era arcilla o barro, el mismo que las tinajas, por la parte de dentro estos estaban vidriados, con lo que se conseguía que no se resumieran y por lo tanto se consideraban recipientes estancos, su peso estaba por encima de los cuarenta kilos. Se usaba como bañera, así como artesa para amasar y hacer el pan, en las ‘muertepuercos’ para hacer los chorizos, las morcillas y todos los embutidos, pero su uso más cotidiano lo tenía como lavadero de ropas y de ahí su gran importancia, el que no disponía de este elemento, tenía que bajar al lugar de la Barca de Vejer donde aún existen las ruinas de siete pilas para lavar a diferentes alturas del suelo. Nuestro hombre, Mora el zapatero, estaba casado y no tenía hijos, vivía como la mayoría de las gentes humildes del pueblo, en una casa habitación de unos seis metros cuadrados, sus muebles eran una cama catre, dos sillas y

una mesa, más el lebrillo descrito, que era apoyado sobre un viejo cajón de madera, de esos que antiguamente traían el tabaco al pueblo y que vendía la estanquera a veintiocho reales, o siete pesetas. Estos cajones cuando nuevos eran muy fuertes, y a su vez ligeros y por supuesto muy cotizados. Con el tiempo de tanto caerles el agua se áflojaban, con los vaivenes del lavado se movían a un ritmo sincronizado. Tenían unos crujidos característicos y hasta chillaban o al menos a mí así me lo parecía. Con este preámbulo y centrándome en la historia tengo que decir, que la mujer de nuestro zapatero todos los días tenía que sacar del habitáculo el lebrillo y colocarlo sobre el cajón, hasta que un desgraciado dia el lebrillo se resbaló, se cayó y se rompió. ¡Tierra trágame! Repetía una y otra vez la desdichada mujer, entre lamentos, llantos y lágrimas, porque ella sabía que sin romper nada, la mayoría de los días su esposo la zurraba, y claro está ella pensaba para sí y se decía: ¿Qué hago Virgencita de la Oliva? De pronto recapacita y urde un plan para que el fiera de su marido la indultara. Éste consistiría en mostrarse cariñosa una vez ya en la cama con él, y así lo hizo y cuando se encontraba su esposo en pleno gozo, esta le contó la historia del holocausto del lebrillo, a lo que el marido le respondió: ¡No pare! ¡Sigue, sigue...! Así una y otra vez, hasta que cuando nuestro hombre quedó satisfecho y perdió la euforia, le dijo con un inquisitorial interrogante: ¿Qué me estas diciendo, mujer perversa y mala pecadora? ¿Que has roto mi lebrillo...? Al día siguiente aparece la mujer con un brazo en cabestrillo, toda llena de cardenales de la brutal paliza. Y así acabo este matrimonio... como el lebrillo.

The lebrillo’s destruction Once upon a time there lived in Vejer a certain Mora, a cobbler, who had inherited a lebrillo. Being the eldest son, it was bequeathed him by his late father, who in turn had received it as an heirloom from his grandfather, and he in turn from another forebear, and so on, as recorded by whichever clerk happened to be on duty at the time. I tell you this not because of the archaeological, artistic or historical value of the object. For the value of the lebrillo was purely practical. Owning a lebrillo in those poverty-stricken days was akin to having a coat of arms. Owning a lebrillo meant you could lord it over everybody else. The lebrillo was – and is, though it is no longer in use – a vessel almost a yard across and a foot deep, the upper part wider than the lower, and the sides two inches thick. It was made of clay or mud, just like the tinaja or earthenware jar, and the inside was glazed and therefore not porous, so it was deemed a watertight container and weighed upwards of one hundred pounds. It was used as a bath, or as a trough for kneading dough and making bread, or by the pig-slaughterer for making chorizo, black pudding and all kinds of sausage. But in everyday use it was for washing clothes in and that is why it was so important – anybody who didn’t have one of these vessels had to go all the way down to La Barca de Vejer, where to this day you can still see the ruins of seven wash-troughs dotted about the vicinity. Our man Mora the cobbler was married without any children and lived, like most of the poor folk of the village, in a one room dwelling about eight feet square. His only furniture was a cot bed, two chairs and a table, plus the aforementioned lebrillo, which stood on an old wooden box, of the kind which in bygone days was used to bring tobacco up to the village and which the tobacconist used to sell for twenty-eight reales, or seven pesetas. When new these boxes were very strong but very light and accordingly highly-prized. However, with the passing of time, and with so much water pouring on them, they used to loosen at the joints and shift in time to the pounding of the washing. They made a characteristic squeaking sound, or they would even squeal – at least that’s how it seemed to me. So much for the preamble. Back to the story. I should explain that every day it was the job of the wife of our cobbler to take the lebrillo out of the room and place it on its box. Until one unhappy day the lebrillo slips, falls, and breaks. The unlucky woman can only repeat over and over, “May the earth open up and swallow me!” all the while moaning, lamenting and crying, since she knows that even without breaking anything her husband always dishes her out a daily thrashing. And of course she’s brooding about that and saying, “Oh my sweet Lady of the Olives, what do I do now?” But soon she thinks it all over and hatches a plan whereby her fiend of a husband will forgive her. She will lavish her tender charms on him as soon as they are in bed together. And that’s what she does, and when her husband is at the peak of his pleasure, she tells him about the destruction of the lebrillo, at which point our man can only gasp, “Don’t stop! Keep going, keep going...!” And so forth, time and again, until when at last our man has had his fill and has come off the boil he interrogates her, inquisitorially, saying: “What are you saying, you depraved woman? You wicked sinner? You’ve smashed my lebrillo?” The next day the wife appears with her arm in a sling, covered in bruises from the brutal battering. And that’s how the marriage ends... just like the lebrillo. Translated by Glyn Perrin


Trade secrets Jenny Kean takes an in-depth look at how expats can enter the world of commerce in the province and talks to the people behind three successful ideas “I arrived in Spain at the age of 44 and thought: ‘I’m too young to retire.’ But I didn’t have much Spanish and those jobs that are available have mostly pretty low wages. So after three years of nearly dying of boredom, I was ready for a new challenge.” For Mark Vedmore, of Arcos de la Frontera, that came in the form of La Alternativa, Jerez’s first vegetarian and gayfriendly café, which he opened with business partner José Cuetos in September. The business has proved such a success the pair are already looking into the possibility of opening a second premises. The search for work is a common enough story for British people who come here to live – even for those who are semi-retired but are not yet ready to stop completely. According to the vice president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Andalucía, Chris Chaplow – himself the owner of successful website – finding something to do is a widespread problem. “We incomers mostly don’t speak Spanish well enough to get jobs in established Spanish companies,” he says, “and the areas we tend to settle in along the coast are not where these companies are in any case. They are usually based in places like Madrid and Barcelona.” So the obvious option is to start up your own business. Of course it helps if, like Mark, you go into business with a fluent Spanish speaker and the owner of a law degree, as José is. But Chris Chaplow says people shouldn’t be daunted by the idea of starting up on their own. “Like anywhere, of course it’s not easy. There is a whole set of problems here – like communication and bureaucracy – and the perception often is that it’s so much more difficult in Spain. But there must be problems in the UK as well – just different ones.” The language of course is central. Kirsty Biston and husband Gary have been running their guesthouse, Casa de Medina, for three years in Medina Sidonia. The business has gone so well, Kirsty has now expanded into the wider field of property management. “I already spoke the language and that is absolutely crucial,” says Kirsty. “I work with all local builders and suppliers, so being confident in Spanish and getting on with people is so important. If you speak to people in their own language and with a smile on your face, you’ll get along much better. It’s simple people relations. Too many Brits come over here thinking they’re going to get ripped off and that attitude of suspicion simply alienates people.” But setting up in business here requires more than just a good knowledge of Spanish. It may sound obvious, but you need to choose an area which matches your skills and

experience. Between them, Mark and José had 45 years of catering experience before they set up La Alternativa. And before moving to Medina, Kirsty and Gary had spent many years working in the travel business so they knew what clients would be looking for when they set up Casa de Medina. “I’ve heard of people who sell up in the UK,” says Kirsty, “and then get here, can’t find work, so decide to open up a B&B or something. It just doesn’t work like that. You need to know what kind of people come here, when they come, what they’re looking for. But most importantly, you need to like people, not just want to change your lifestyle.” Knowledge and experience were certainly what went into Active Language in Cádiz, the only place along the coast that provides training and TEFL qualifications for people wanting to teach English. It was opened in July 2005 by two couples, Dani Jones and Simon Pearlman, and Joanna Duggan and Daniel Barber. All four had worked in the business for several years both in the UK and in Spain. “We took the best bits about places we had worked before”, explains Dani. “But I think we also have something different to offer. Most TEFL centres are in big cities like Seville, whereas Cádiz attracts people who want to go somewhere a bit smaller. We also knew there were a lot of British people coming to live here and thinking about teaching English which is a good way to earn money here. So we tend to get slightly older people on our courses, rather than young people fresh out of university, which is great.” Offering something that’s different also worked for Mark Vedmore at La Alternativa. “Everyone told us there weren’t any vegetarians in Jerez, but we’ve had a fantastic reaction. Also, we’ve had lots of support from local bars because they know we’re doing something different from them so they don’t see us as a threat.” From Chris Chaplow of the chamber of commerce, the advice is to take time in getting everything right – including all the paperwork. “There is a perception among some foreigners here that this area is a bit like the Wild West during the gold rush, a feeling that they can get away with things. But the authorities will catch up with you in the end. “It’s also worth thinking about why you’re doing this. Is it just to make money, or is it something you really enjoy? In my experience, the latter works much better as you’re really doing something you believe in.” Mark Vedmore agrees. “You don’t go into something like this expecting to get rich quick. I wanted a Spanish life among Spanish people, and La Alternativa has given me that. It’s a great reason to get up in the morning. I love it.”


La Alternativa in Jerez is the city’s first vegetarian café; The interior patio of guesthouse Casa de Medina in Medina Sidonia; Two couples, Daniel Barber and Joanna Duggan (left), and Dani Jones and Simon Pearlman (right), started Active Language in Cádiz two years ago

step by step guide José Manuel Díaz Jerezbased abogado for the tax, accounting and advisory firm Konsilia explains the process of going it alone

Starting up You may find some useful business advice in your own country’s consulate office or chamber of commerce. There is a good guide published in English by the networking organisation ICEX. If you are operating as an agent, branch or subsidiary of an international company, please be aware of the commercial, tax and accounting rules and laws applicable in Spain. All international business must comply with local regulations when operating in a different country. If your business is related to selling insurance, pension or financial services or products this is of paramount importance.

Financial, legal, tax and accounting • Check with your adviser if there is EU, national, regional or local financial support to help your business. Spain is made up of 17 regions (Comunidades Autónomas), with their respective parliaments and laws. Within these, each province and municipality may have different regulations and laws on some business aspects. • Depending on your expected turnover and your tax or legal position, you should consider trading either on your own or as a company. In Spain you can operate as a sole trader (Empresario individual or Autónomo), in partnership (Sociedad civil), as a limited company (Sociedad limitada, SL), a public company (Sociedad

anónima, SA) or as a cooperative (Sociedad cooperativa), as you would do in the UK. Trust arrangements and beneficial ownership matters are not clearly regulated in Spain as in the UK and you will need to seek professional advice to draft any deed in this respect. • Employment legislation and social security regulations are considered by many international businessmen as one of the main barriers to operating in Spain. The social security costs could be as high as 30 per cent of gross salary and you must organise your staffing and PAYE related matters well in advance. • Corporation tax rates for your business are in the 25-32 per cent region based on turnover. Personal income tax on dividends is 18 per cent and on employment could go up to 43 per cent. All businesses in Spain are subjected to VAT

and there are no minimum registration requirements like in the UK. • Banking and financial arrangements can be made with Spanish and international banks and you will find that the Spanish bank system is more conservative that its UK counterpart. It is crucial to get a proper business plan presented according to Spanish accounting rules, if you do not have a financial or credit history in Spain. There are many other points to be discussed and checked, and there is no substitute to taking proper professional advice before setting up in business in Spain. _________________________ Konsilia Costa de la Luz office, Tel: 0034 902 555 045 or e-mail


José Cuetos (left) and Mark Vedmore had 45 years of catering experience between them before setting up La Alternativa in Jerez

La Alternativa, Jerez MARK VEDMORE


“We were up and running in September within six months of having the idea of opening a vegetarian café in Jerez. I’d been doing some holiday rentals but needed a new challenge. So I approached José [Cuetos] and we went to the bank to get the finance sorted. I used my house in Arcos as a guarantee which feels like a huge risk but I know it’s achievable. “We were fortunate in that José knows the system and the language. With the finance behind us, we were lucky enough to find these premises which already had the licence. We had to completely refurbish it as everything was dark stained wood. Then we had to create a company, sort out all the environmental health issues and do all the

paperwork. I strongly advise people to get the best possible professional advice and even go to several different asesores to find the right one. “One tip is – for the business escritura, you have to put in three stated business aims. Make these as wide as possible in order to give yourself scope to expand and change direction. “It is hard work, but it’s getting easier. Don’t underestimate the time you’ll have to put into the business and build in time off for yourself. When I came to Spain, the last thing I wanted was to work in catering again. But doing it for yourself is completely different.” ___________________________________________________ La Alternativa, Calle San Pablo 7, Jerez. Tel: 956 343 961; Open Tue-Sat 8.30pm-midnight & Wed-Sun 12-4.30pm


Kirsty and Gary Biston, who renovated Casa de Medina and turned it into a successful casa rural. Below: the stunning pool on the rooftop terrace which has views across the Bay of Cádiz

Casa de Medina & Andaluz Property Management, Medina Sidonia KIRSTY BISTON “We moved to Spain early in 2004 and our daughter Lily was born three weeks later. We spent 12 months renovating our town house in Medina before opening as a casa rural. I pride myself on always working with local people and it makes a real difference if you’re part of the community. The mayor, for example, has been very supportive because he knows our children go to the same school as his and he can see that we’re trying to fit in and bring work to the area. “The second business grew naturally out of the first one. I saw an opening and wanted a new challenge. People were coming to Medina to buy property, but were limited about where to go to buy their kitchens and furniture because it had to be somewhere that spoke English. I already knew which shops had the best prices and the best service. I’ve now extended the business to include pools and gardens.

“My second child, Oliver, is now one and you do have to juggle. This isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. We knew that when we started. The phone is never switched off. So we make time during the day to play with the kids, but then I might be still on my computer at midnight. “Spain suits me and Gary, it fits our personalities. We’re both entrepreneurial, we like to make our own lives. We’re also very positive people. We don’t see it as hard work, because it’s our lives and we love it.” ___________________________________________________ Casa de Medina, Medina Sidonia see or tel: 646 489 069. Andaluz Property Management, email or tel: 690 626 360



Active Language in Cádiz is the only TEFL training school along the coast and co-owner Dani Jones (above right) says graduates are in big demand


Active Language, Cádiz DANI JONES “We had the idea together – on my 30th birthday in London where we all worked in a language school: ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely to set up a school in Spain.’ Then we got teaching work in Spain and ended up in Cádiz in 2003. We sat at a restaurant overlooking the sea and thought ‘this is it, this is the place’. “We all moved here and lived together for a while. Jo [Duggan] was pregnant at the time. Through our local women’s organisation, we signed up for a six-month business course run by EOI, the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas that was originally set up by the Spanish government. It was very intense but covered everything from law to finance and accountancy. It was really helpful, although doing it in Spanish was tough. “We did our first course in the summer of 2004 and opened in our current premises a year later, just two months after I’d

given birth. One tip – don’t start a business and a family at the same time! But the fact we had time here before opening the school meant we got a feel for the best location for the school. We also got to know people and made contacts. “It’s wonderful to be working for ourselves, although the down side is that it’s all down to you. And having kids means juggling. But we’re a really close group of friends. We know each other so well, we’re like family to each other. We make it a rule to have regular nights together when we don’t talk business. “There’s a big shortage of qualified TEFL teachers at the moment. We’ve got a lot of employers ringing us and all the people who’ve been on our courses have got jobs. Our dream was to be here in Cádiz. We never thought we’d do it, but here we are.” ___________________________________________________ Active Language, Plaza Libertad, 4, Cádiz. Tel: 956 221 426;

Further Information British Chamber of Commerce For information on joining, see; Tel: 933 173 220 or e-mail The new Andalucía branch is organising speakers and meetings including a talk by Max Clifford on Nov 8th. Contact Chris Chaplow on

Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas (EOI) Originally set up by the Ministry of Industry and Education, this is now run by a non-profit making foundation offering business and marketing courses. Instituto de la Mujer Aimed at promoting women’s development, there are branches in many larger places. Tel: 913 638 000 (Madrid office), e-mail or visit

HORECA The umbrella organisation for the hotel and restaurant trade in the province. Tel: 956 252 406 or visit Red Territorial de Apoyo a emprendedores Junta-run support centres and business schools across Cádiz to help with new business ideas.; Tel: 956 252 910 or e-mail



From frosty mornings to pulling crackers in the sun Everyone has a different way of celebrating Christmas – especially here in the province, where expat tradition can become mingled with local customs. LALUZ spoke to some well-known residents to find out how they will be celebrating this year James Stuart runs one of the area’s best-known hotels, La Casa del Califa, in Vejer and is the founder of the activity holiday company, Discover Andalucía. He has lived in Vejer since 1988 and is married to lawyer Carmen Atkins García. They have two children, María and Isabella, who was born this summer I’ve always enjoyed Christmas and I always remember as a small child one Christmas morning in Scotland waking up early. It had snowed heavily overnight and my bedroom window overlooked our unfenced garden. There were three deer nosing around in a hedgerow and I remember thinking that these must be Father Christmas’s reindeer. Eventually they ran off but I spent the day in a trance – the whole Christmas legend was true! Now I have a family I hope to re-invoke that spirit of excitement and adventure for my girls. Our daughter María was born on Christmas Day so this is a special day for the whole family. As we are a bi-cultural family (my wife was brought up in Seville) we take full advantage of celebrating both days. On the 24th, we usually do a big lunch as I’ll be working in our restaurant in the evening. We load the table up with langostinos, jamón and usually a dorada ‘a la sal’. For dessert we love our turrón and polvorones

María Malo started designing T-shirts when she moved to Tarifa from Madrid seven years ago. Today, she’s producing two full collections a year for her fashion label Mala Mujer with its distinctive logo. She’s now got five shops around Spain and sells her clothes in 200 outlets, including abroad. This year she’ll be going back to Madrid for Christmas

and I drink too much oloroso. On the 25th, Carmen prepares a roast turkey with all the trimmings and of course Christmas pudding. It’s easy to buy mince pies here now, but I remember my first few Christmases in Vejer without them – very sad. Of course this year there will also be a birthday cake for María who will be three years old.’ Until I got married I hadn’t had a ‘family’ Christmas since I was 17. I went to work in the Alps after leaving school and ever since have worked every single Christmas Day. The first Christmas Carmen and I spent together we were up at 6am and by midday we were having a Christmas day picnic with a group of clients on the peak of the Aljibe in the Alcornocales Park. Over the years Christmas Days have seen me teaching, skiing, guiding bike groups, clearing acres of snow from hotel forecourts, washing mountains of plates and glasses, serving tables and, on one occasion, serving tea in a goat skin tent to clients in the sub-Sahara. Just staying at home this Christmas will be a pleasure for me. My best Christmas present this year? A day off.

Why do I love Christmas? Because it’s the one time of the year that the whole family gets together. We catch up on what’s been going on in our lives over the past year. We decorate the tree, we put up the crib, we laugh, we talk… and we eat – lunch, tea and supper. For the Christmas Eve meal my mother prepares salmon, langostinos, shellfish, turkey…and when the meal is over, we put on some music and dance – all of us, from the very youngest to the oldest. Now that my siblings have small children, Christmas is all the more special. It’s children that give it that happiness and mystery. When I was young I used to try and make my little sister’s presents as imaginative as possible – and that’s what I do now with my siblings’ children. Pressures of work mean that I’ll only be able to take two days off, so I’ll be back in Tarifa for the rest of the festive season. If the family can’t come down for Los Reyes Magos, I’ll be spending it with friends. We always do the ‘invisible friend’ game. Everyone’s name goes into a bag. You have to make a present secretly for the person whose name you pick out. You’re only allowed to spend about €20 – so you’ve got to really use your imagination to make something magical that the person is really going to like. It’s a real pleasure. Is there anything in particular that I’d like this year for a present? That’s difficult. The truth is that if I’ve got the children around me, then that’s more than enough.

Tim Holt is International Marketing Director at La Gitana bodegas in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. He has lived there for 17 years, and is married to Rocío, who was born in the town. They have two children, aged seven and two. Tim designed the award-winning packaging for the famous La Gitana manzanilla. Our Christmases are invariably spent in England with my family, my parents, sisters and others. I’m from a big family which makes Christmas an important family time for me. Rocío enjoys it tremendously as it is the typical Christmas card setting – the Victorian house in the Oxfordshire Cotswold countryside is where I grew up and naturally when the snow falls the picture is complete. The children love the cold weather, with the ice and snow when it happens, but also the warmth of a classical English home with the log fire. We always have the traditional turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding with a choice of brandy butter or rum sauce, accompanied by some Pedro Ximénez wine, the ‘Triana’ from Bodegas Hidalgo of course. One Christmas does stick out in mind as it was a bit different. It was in Australia where I celebrated with my sister and her husband in the outback. The temperature was 45ºC – with no air conditioning – but we still had the obligatory roast turkey and Christmas pud. My sister insisted on lighting the Christmas candles which promptly wilted and drooped in the heat as we ate. Looking back, the childlike magic of Christmas seemed suddenly to disappear one year for no apparent reason other than that I was growing up. Now with my children and nieces around us, that sense of fun and magic is back again. I’m a keen sailor and get out a lot in my 420 around Sanlúcar. But I’d love a more family-friendly dinghy, so that’s what’s on my list this year.


Gabriel Granados is a 40-year-old, Jerez born artist but has sailed and travelled in many different countries. He uses intense expressionistic colours and geometric shapes in his work (see above), which has been exhibited in the province of Cádiz and in Miami. Having lived in El Puerto, he and his English-Spanish partner, Tara, are now moving to Jerez.

Melanie Coe comes from north London and has been living in Spain for the past 12 years. She lives with her husband Antony in Olvera, where she set up Olvera Properties four years ago, and has two children aged 18 and 20. My favourite Christmas in Spain was in the year that we moved here. We invited everybody – my husband’s brother and sister, their relatives, my husband’s mother and my best friend and her son. The first time you have Christmas away from home, you can’t help but miss the UK. But it was the first time that I had sat outside for Christmas. We were living in Tarifa, sitting in the garden looking out to sea. We had a huge tree and even now the children say to me: ‘Mum, can’t we have the tree in silver and blue like we did that year?’ I find it gets harder and harder to keep it up every year though, now we’ve got our real estate business. For the last two years I’ve been working right up until Christmas as more and more people seem to want to buy a house around this time. I suppose the Christmas holidays are when people get the time off to be able to do this. I prefer a traditional English Christmas to a Spanish one. For me, Christmas is about family and getting everyone together. It is a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it. We usually eat around 4pm on Christmas Day and we do like to have a turkey, but I have to say I haven’t found it easy to find good free-range turkeys here. Perhaps laluz readers can help me on that one. You still have to go to Gibraltar really to get the full Christmas spirit in the shops – and crackers of course are a must. My ideal Christmas present would be a Mini Cooper in beige. I’ve seen them on the streets and they’re just my ideal car – but I can’t see anyone buying it for me!”

I don’t like Christmas as it’s understood today in our consumer culture. I believe this is a time for meditation and introspection. I don’t like the emotional and economic pressure people put themselves under. That is why this time of the year I would rather travel, discover new worlds and relate freely with different cultures and people. As a child in Jerez we used to receive a little something on the 25th, not from Father Christmas but from baby Jesus. I grew up in a traditional Catholic family, so Father Christmas was not in the picture at that point. Most of our presents arrived on January 6th with the Three Kings. Just before bed time on the fifth, we used to leave them three copitas of jerez (sherry) and some food for the camels. Early the following morning we would check to see if they had drunk their copitas. Our traditional Christmas meal would be on Christmas Eve, after

midnight mass in Jerez cathedral. We would normally have pavo trufado, a kind of a turkey meat loaf, cooked for hours in plenty of oloroso sherry. We also had langostinos, different types of canapés, serrano ham, turrón and polvorones, another traditional Christmas sweet made with flower lard, sugar, lemon, cinnamon, chocolate etc. I do remember one particular Christmas. I must have been about 10 years old and early on January 6th, my little brother and I were both full of excitement opening our presents. First I saw my set of little naked Indians with their bare horses; then I saw my brother with his set of Seventh Cavalry soldiers in full uniform, with guns, swords, horses in full tack… I felt cheated. My brother, being so kind, shared his set, but it wasn’t the same. Today I realise that the best present you can have is a healthy life. This year we will be spending Christmas in Cornwall. We are staying in a farmhouse in Bodmin, where some friends live. They’re vegetarian, so no traditional turkey and they make their own Christmas presents. Cornwall is a beautiful part of England, full of magic. I want to go to St Ives and visit the Tate Museum, go for walks on Bodmin Moor and go to Land’s End; it will be quite different I think.


days out The Casco Antiguo in Arcos goes back to Biblical times for one magical night a year



Belén viviente Arcos de la Frontera’ The Plaza del Cabildo in Arcos is a beautiful space, flanked on three sides by historic buildings and on the fourth by a breathtaking clifftop mirador. More’s the pity, then, that the town’s showpiece square should have turned into a car park serving local government functionaries and guests at the Parador Hotel. But once a year the cars are banished and the clock is turned back, way back to an age when four legs were good and you could only find four wheels attached to a cart. It’s not a question of reaching into Arcos’ rich past – this is a recreation of the Holy Land in year zero and, more specifically, Bethlehem at the moment of Christ’s birth. Since its inspired inception 24 years ago Arcos’ Belén viviente (Living Bethlehem) has spawned a number of imitations, both within and beyond the province. Nothing, though, is comparable in scale or spectacle – or setting – to the original.

The Casco Antiguo, or Old Town, with its narrow, winding streets, is perfect as an imitation of a Palestinian settlement under Roman rule. The whole of the Old Town is turned into one long treasure trail with clues taking the form of scenes from the Nativity played out in patios, porches and even garages. Maps marking the 20-plus sites of the Visitation, the Adoration of the Shepherds and Magi, the world’s most famous stable and, of course, the vast tableau of Biblical Bethlehem in Cabildo are handed out at entrances to the Casco Antiguo. Arcos is tough enough to negotiate by car at the best of times. It’s simply not possible on Belén viviente night – and why would you want to drive when there’s the prospect of 20,000 pedestrians engulfing your car? This human tide of locals, gaditanos and visitors from all over Spain have five

hours of a Saturday evening in December to take in the sights, sounds and smells of a Biblical town, so this is not a trip for the claustrophobic. But the crowds shuffle along the cobbles in typical good humour and everyone gets the chance to view the carefully crafted scenes, even if there’s a bit of a wait. The detail is impressive: we’re not talking about a couple of old tea towels and a dressing gown here. Costumes are as authentic as all our Biblical images lead us to believe, old pots and pans are as muddied and stained as you’d expect and even the Three Kings’ gifts look pretty precious. All this is a sideshow, though, to the spectacle which is central to the evening. Tons of sand cover the floor of the Cabildo’s fenced off central area and flocks of sheep and teams of oxen, horses and donkeys are hitched to carts. There are imported, mature palm trees, streams created, huts and shelters erected and camp fires lit as close to 500 Arcos residents put on their finest show of the year. Little knots of women and children sit around the fires cooking bread and stews and singing traditional Christmas songs. Elsewhere, mixed groups wander the streets or base themselves in small plazas to enact buñuelas (seasonal singsongs fortified by glasses of mosto wine and the strips of dough from which the activity takes its name). The overall effect is something special for Christians, Jews, atheists alike. On a more temporal note, the bars of central Arcos do a roaring trade – this is the busiest night of the year and one which guarantees the proprietors will have a good Christmas. It makes for a curious paradox to hear the swell of voices from the crowd, the shouts and chatter tumbling out of bars and the braying of mules and the bleating of lambs all in the same instant. By midnight the crowds have dispersed and the massive clean-up operation is underway. And if you stroll through the Cabildo next day, it’s as though the cars never moved. Still, there’s always the memory of a magical evening – and next year’s Belén Viviente to look forward to. ROBERT FRIEDLANDER ________________________________ Belén Viviente in Arcos takes place on Saturday, December 15th (6.30-11.30pm). Parking facilities in the lower town car parks. More information from the ayuntamiento website which will run a web camera from the Cabildo on the night. Other towns staging similar tableaux include Medina Sidonia, Espera, El Gastor, Los Barrios, Puerto Real, San Roque, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Villamartin. Details from local tourist offices



El Vaporcito Cádiz to El Puerto de Santa María Nights are drawing in and the sun’s lost its fierceness, so this is the time to get out and about and, without a hint of smugness, remind yourself what all those poor souls back in Britain and across the rest of northern Europe are being subjected to. Rain, fog and cold may have set in for the winter ‘back home’ but here the days are generally bright and warm. And one of the best ways I can think of to make the most of this temperate autumn is to head down to Cádiz, walk the sea walls and – by way of a distraction – nip across the bay to El

Puerto de Santa María on the old steam passenger ferry. The area around the cathedral on Campo del Sur makes a good starting point. Head south west to the Castillo de San Sebastian, and beyond to Playa de la Caleta (good place for a pit stop at the café in the sea wall) then the Castillo de Santa Catalina, which you can wander around; there’s also a temporary art installation here. On, through the pleasant gardens of Parque Genovés, you reach the Alameda de Apodaca. Cut back through the city here to Avenida del Puerto and the commercial port, where you’ll find the ferry jetty. The crossing is a lovely one and takes around 40 minutes. Though the steamer is based at El Puerto, It’s better

to travel this way because you can trip off the boat and into one of the fantastic fish restaurants on El Puerto’s Ribera del Marisco for a lunch of gambas, fried fish, calamares and maybe some excellent fishy broth. Suitably full and fortified, waddle back to the jetty for the return trip then head north from the port past the Cádiz ayuntamiento in Plaza San Juan de Dios for the shortest route back to the cathedral. GLEN MACPHERSON ________________________________ El Vaporcito steam ferry (€4 return; Tel: 629 468 014 has an hourly morning and evening service between El Puerto and Cádiz with a couple of additional boats during the afternoon

The Adriano Tercera, which has been plying the same route for more than 50 years, leaves El Puerto on its way across the bay to Cádiz


Light and colour

rise from old stones Scott MacNaughton tours a cortijo near Tarifa which has been painstakingly restored and given a stylish modern twist

Clockwise from above right: The claw foot bath was transported from Britain; Light fills the open plan sitting room and hallway; Many furnishings and ornaments were bought in Tangiers; Richard’s favourite place to relax is in one of the hammock chairs on the terrace



properties came up that they liked but they ended up being let down either by the vendor or the lack of legal papers. “Every time I left Tarifa I felt like I was leaving more and more of myself behind,” Cheryl says. “And then one trip when I was in the UK, Richard called me on the last day saying ‘I‘ve found it! It’s going to be a huge amount of work, but I have found it’.”

The story behind every beautiful achievement is almost always long, often painful and frequently fraught with equal quantities of joy and disappointment. Las Piedras Viejas – located in a stunning valley less than two kilometres from Tarifa – is no exception. Fortunately owners Richard and Cheryl Galey had considerable experience with the ups-and-downs of property refurbishment. They have several large scale family home projects in the UK behind them, and Richard’s background as a developer and architect brought valuable experience and the right temperament for a project like this. “We originally looked for a place on the Costa del Sol, but it was far too built up for us,” Richard says. “Then we both fell in love with the light and sense of space along this coast. We also love the spirit of small community that exists here. Everybody knows each other, whereas further up the coast, you feel totally anonymous.” Cheryl smiles as she recounts her first day in the town that marks the mosty southerly point of the Iberian peninsula. “Richard drove me into the centre of Tarifa and I said straight away, ‘this is the place for us’.” Finding the right house proved less easy. They were looking for somewhere close to town that they could develop. Five or six

Richard says he knew instantly that this was the right place. “It’s nearly impossible to find a cortijo like this in a beautiful valley, within walking distance of Tarifa, and even harder to find one that you can develop into a home like this. There was never any doubt. It had to be here.” The development process, however, proved extremely difficult. The cortijo was a ruin, and the couple embarked on six months of work to redevelop it. Richard is philosophical as he imparts the darker side of the old stones’ story. “We had a fantastic builder, a local architect with good taste, but we ran into one brick wall after another in terms of keeping the build going. The biggest disappointment for us was not being able to extend the house as much as we would have liked. In


Cheryl (right) realised her dream of having a bath in her bedroom; dark furniture in the kitchen (far left) offsets the turquoise floor tiles

fact we ended up with complications over the legality of the first floor of the house despite working closely with an architect. This was the heartbreaking side of the project, as it became clear to us that many projects are undertaken illegally and unwittingly, we fell into that category.” Today, however, they are the proud owners of a beautifully restored cortijo. The main focus of the exterior of the building is the sun drenched patio; here there are hammocks for relaxing in and a circular iron table which has been the site of many discussions over the last four years. For Richard, this is the best ‘room’ in the house. “We bought these hammock chairs in Tarifa, and my favourite place to hide is in one of these. Maybe it’s the child in me, but I would rather ‘hang’ here than anywhere else in the world.” Like most family homes, the working front door opens up straight into the kitchen. The kitchen is a remarkable smoky blue colour, the cupboards blending perfectly with the floor tiles that are such a feature throughout the house. Each looks like the colour of the the sun on a

tropical sea. “The tiles are usually one of the first things that people comment on. We got them from a fantastic furniture man in Tangiers, who has become a good friend over the years.” Elsewhere in the house, light is a key feature. The hallway houses a small office area tucked beneath the stairs and opens up into a comfortable and airy sitting room. The window faces east, bathing the room with an extraordinary light. A favourite piece of furniture here is an unusual display case picked up in Tarifa. “It was in a shop selling bits and pieces. The girl looked at me strangely when I asked how much for the whole shelf,” Richard recalls. But the pièce de resistance lies upstairs as far as Cheryl is concerned. “Ever since I was a child, I always wanted a white bath in my bedroom,” she explains. “The builders thought I was crazy. But once it was in they reluctantly agreed that it looks fantastic. I lie here and enjoy the view out of the windows. We shipped the bath from the UK, it took its time to get here, but it was worth it.” Richard and Cheryl acknowledge that while they have ended up with a beautiful home, the process was a testing one. “We have certainly been through the mill,” says Richard. “We feel like the house took three times as long and as for the financial side – well, let’s not talk about that today. “We love our home, but we are extremely aware that although tough and heartbreaking at times, at least we have the space we want, whereas others haven’t been so lucky. So the message is – double check everything to make sure that the escritura, the architects, the builders and the documentation are what they say they are.” Tough times apart, however, at no stage do you get the feeling that this house was rebuilt from scratch. Instead, it feels that these stones have always been here. “I feel like that sometimes myself,” says Cheryl.

Address Book Arena, Tarifa Furnishings, antiques, gifts and clothing. Richard found the special display case here. Calle Batalla del Salado, 10. Tel: 956 627 255

Kokko, Tarifa The hammock chairs were bought here, also some small tables, cushions and throws. Ctra Cádiz-Málaga (N340), km82.7. Tel: 956 627 412 Bazar Tindouf, Tangiers Lighting, curtains and artisan products. Rue de la Liberté, Tangiers


Why I love…


Mari Rolland revels in the fiestas which bring out the best in her adopted home of Olvera

Our first visit to Olvera was during Christmas in 2004 when we went to see my sister, her husband and children. Though officially a pueblo blanco, Olvera is now more of a town with a population of around 10,000. The friendliness of the local population was one of the first things that attracted us to this bustling little settlement - particularly when we tried out our Spanish. The attraction proved so great that during the summer of 2006 my husband Sean and I decided to move to Olvera from Leamington Spa. We finally arrived in late October and started working with my sister in the family holiday-let business. Olvera is close to the meeting-point of Cádiz, Sevilla and Málaga provinces, deep in the heart of Andalucía, with access to a wide variety of more famous neighbours such as Ronda, Jerez Sevilla, Cordóba and Granada to name but a few. The town is surrounded by stunning sierra and national parks and we have found Olvera to be a superb location for exploring the rural charms of the area. The ferias and fiestas, as in the rest of Spain, are breathtaking, exciting and above all fascinating. National events, such as the fiesta de los reyes, carnaval and the semana santa processions are as popular here as they are

elsewhere. However it is the local fiestas that are the most interesting to us. The romería del lunes de Quasimodo takes place on the first Monday after Easter and is particular to Olvera. The entire town empties and reconvenes on the hillsides circling the stunning church – Santuario Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, just outside Olvera. It is here that thanks are given for the winter’s rain. This fiesta is a riot of colour, music and noise. Families dot the hillsides with make-shift tents and barbeques, often bringing a dining table (or two) and chairs. Flamenco dancing, horse displays and food are the order of the day. As visitors roaming around we were invited into family tents for impromptu flamenco lessons, food and drink. This is a perfect way to improve your Spanish, as we were frequently told. Above all the people were friendly and welcoming. This local fiesta sums up all that we love about Olvera. We are fascinated by the history of this area. Renovations to the Castillo Arabé have enabled visitors to climb to the highest point in the town, revealing the strategic importance of its location. For those able to brave the winding, ever narrowing staircases in the castle the reward is panoramic views across the surrounding mountains.

The mountain slopes supporting flawlessly aligned olive trees provide most of the agricultural income for the area. These are a sight in themselves, as far as the eye can see in many directions. Not only is excellent olive oil produced here, a town co-operative makes beauty products containing locally produced oil – from soaps and shampoo to perfume. This co-operative approach to life in general is one of the main attractions for us and the family. Mutual co-operation goes a long way here. Being able to contribute to the local economy plays an important role in our lives both personally and within our business, in this typically Spanish town. Olvera is the perfect location from which to experience rural Andalucía – and develop your own rustic side. _______________________________________ Do you have a favourite place in or experience of the province you’d like to share with other laluz readers? It doesn’t have to be a town or village – it could be a beach, a bar, a monument or simply a favourite view E-mail around 600 words to: or post to laluz magazine, Apdo de Correos 39, 11150 Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz


Medina mayhem Miriam Reik is swept along on a chaotic festival trip to Morocco where the sights, sounds and smells of the ancient city of Fez leave an indelible impression Friends had invited me to meet them for Christmas in Fez – Morocco’s ancient capital and the world’s largest living medieval city. It all seemed straightforward enough: a skim across the Straits to Tangiers and then a train on down to Fez where we were to stay in a renovated riad in the heart of the ancient medina, Fès al Bali. But I had failed to take two factors into account, each of them enough to inject a sense of chaos and adventure into the journey. For a start, I hadn’t realized that Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for Moroccans returning home from all over Europe, taking advantage of the break to spend some time with their families. Secondly, one of Islam’s most important annual festivals – Eid alAdha – fell on New Year’s Eve last year. So this particular journey was more than eventful, full of delays and complications, highs and lows – and lots of sheep. All Moroccan families try to observe Eid by purchasing and slaughtering a sheep. If they can’t afford it, they buy on credit or sell their television. Quite apart from the sheep, my chance encounters with fellow passengers on the train proved so engaging that there was little time to gaze out of the window at the picturesque scenery speeding by. Once I did finally arrive, my experience of the Fez medina was dominated by its people and their existence, so different from our own, so untouched by modern life. The excitement of Eid just added to the strange smells, sounds and sights. The eighth century city is a living museum, throbbing with the myriad activities taking place within its shaded, confusing mass of 9,000 narrow streets and alleyways. There is plenty to see in the medina with its mosques and medersas, or student residences, fondouks (inns), palaces and the endless wonderful souks, but orientation can be a problem. A good marker and the main entry into the medina is the Bab Boujeloud, one of the four massive city gates. From here, just negotiating the tangle of skinny streets, trying to avoid overloaded donkeys and carts along the way, is a rewarding escapade. Hiring an official guide, at least for the first day of a visit, will

help in getting your bearings and provide a better insight into the city’s history. Fez was founded by Moulay Idriss, the great -grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, and is Morocco’s oldest imperial city. But his son, also Idriss, is considered the real father of the new capital. He welcomed refugees from Córdoba and from Kairouan in Tunisia, and their craftsmanship and mercantile experience established Fez as a commercial and industrial centre. The Kairaouine University was also set up, making it the oldest university in the western world.

if you’re ready to be challenged and uplifted, make the trip to the edge of Africa and on to this great and ancient city. Fez remained Morocco’s major city up to the 20th century and under French rule it was declared a historic monument in 1912, when economic and political authority was transferred to Rabat. Today, the old city functions as it’s always done, with production and consumption intimate accomplices. No supermarkets, just fresh market produce and of course Fez remains most famous for its handicrafts. More than 50,000 artisans are reputed to live and work in the medina, where they carve, weave, sew, spin, pot or hammer away in their tiny stalls. Copper and ironwork are turned into beautiful lamps and table bases. Silk and wool are spun and woven into stunning bedspreads and covers. The whiff of wood shavings pervades as you inspect the large intricately carved doors for sale at the carpenters’ shop. A trip to the tanneries is a must – if a somewhat uneasy experience. We were taken to the Chouwara tanneries at sunset by Ahmed, our guide. As we entered the labyrinthine shop ‘Terrase de la Tannerie’, with its brightly coloured

leather bags, slippers and clothing dripping from ceiling to floor, we were handed sprigs of mint to sooth our olfactory senses and led to the terrace to view the tannery yard. The scene was virtually biblical. All was monochrome with dust and age, save for the intense hue of the vegetable and mineral dye vats, that the hides are soaked in. Having finally chosen our purchases, we got down to the mandatory job of bargaining whilst sipping traditional mint tea.It’s worth taking the short taxi drive to see the royal palace (though you can’t go inside). From here the mellah – the old Jewish quarter – is just around the corner. Wooden balconies face out to the street, hanging on perilously in their advanced state of disrepair. The Idn Danan synagogue is a newly restored 17th century building and well worth a visit. We walked on through Fès El Djedid, the ‘newer’ 13th century medina (more souks) and managed to pick up a ‘faux’ guide who took us a very round about way back to Fès al Bali for lunch. Be warned – these unofficial guides always have their own agenda and will eventually lead you to their uncle or cousin’s shop or restaurant, where you will be ‘very welcome’. Still they are usually quite informative and restaurants are not always easy to find on your own. Unesco has declared Fez medina a world monument. With its architectural heritage in such serious danger, it has pumped crucial money into the city, the main evidence being the wooden struts supporting the most precarious buildings. I met Hanane, a young fashion designer whose family house is in a bad state of disrepair and she’s trying to sell it to help finance her own business. About a hundred houses have been restored in the past seven years and the riad we stayed in had been immaculately renovated by an American. But the dilemma of preservation is that it can encourage too much gentrification and a balance has to be maintained so that Fez doesn’t lose its singular identity. Part of that is the cuisine and it’s worth seeking out pastilla, a sweet and savoury meat dish encased in pastry, as



Clockwise from top left: The exquisite tiled entrance to the Royal Palace; Bab Boujeloud, one of the four main gates into the medina; A pickle stall; The scene at the city’s tanneries is almost biblical; wooden balconies in the Jewish quarter overhang the narrow streets


Fez is famous for its handicrafts, including leather, tiles and pots, metalwork and marble engraving

well as couscous or the famous tajines. The best meal of the day for me however was the breakfast of delicious breads and pastries from the local cooperative bakery, served on our terrace overlooking the city. A drive out to the hills gave us a wonderful view of the city and included a visit to a tile and pot factory where the entire site was enveloped in a blanket of grey clay.

At times my Western sensibility found it difficult to accept the sheer hard work and conditions involved in producing these crafts, but the people of Fez were so charming and eager to talk (English as well as French and Spanish) that I just had to accept the cultural differences or get off the ride. My return to Spain was another unpredictable experience in itself: being patient when train connections didn’t

connect and calm when chaos ensued (as it did on arrival at Tangiers, when the whole city seemed to be evacuating for Eid – and onto my train before I got off it). If you’re after relaxation, don’t take a trip to Fez – but if you’re ready to be challenged and uplifted, make the trip to the edge of Africa and on to this great and ancient city.

What you need to know about Fez GETTING THERE FRS ferries Tarifa -Tangiers. Takes 45 minutes and costs around €55 return. See or tel: 956 681830 Train from Tangiers to Fez takes just over 5 hours, see

projects in the Fez Medina. Tel: 00 212 (0) 72 513 357, Hotel Palais Jamais Large, luxury Moorish style hotel in former palace with beautiful gardens and pool, overlooking the medina. Tel: 00 212 (0) 55 634 331

WHERE TO STAY Fez Riads Offers holiday accommodation in traditional houses to support restoration

WHERE TO EAT Restaurant la Medina 13 Bis, Derb El Hamman, Guerniz, Fes Medina.

Tel: 00 212 (0) 35 635 857). Traditional House in medina. Licensed for wine and beer (open lunchtimes only) Palais de Fes 15 Makhifi er R’cif, behind Cinema Amal. Tel: 00 212 (0) 55 761 590) has great food and a terrace The Kasbah (just inside Bab Boujiloud) is inexpensive and has a terrace and rooftop view

WHERE TO GO Kairaouine Mosque and University Best view is from the main entrance near Souk El Attarin Terrasse de Tannerie (10, Hay Lablida choura, Ancienne Medina. Tel: 00 212 (0) 55 636 625). Leather goods shop overlooking the Chouwara Tanneries

Dar Bartha Museum Late 19th century palace housing arts and crafts collection with lovely gardens. Near Hotel Bartha Bou Inania Medersa and Water Clock (Talaa Kebira) Outstanding 14th century college/ dormitory/ mosque complex recently restored. One of the few functioning religious buildings nonMuslims may enter


El Ejido



€4 from 99 on ,0 ly 00

€1 from 51 on ,7 ly 63

Fairway 14 is a group of 8 luxury semidetached villas overlooking the wonderful 14th fairway and Gonzalez Byass vineyards beyond.

El Ejido is a residential development, made up of townhouse style properties. The architects have kept the traditional Andalucian Pueblo style, which is prevalent in this corner of the province of Seville.

Here we are able to offer these top class properties from as low as €499,000 so a saving of almost €100,000 on similar properties. We have 2 properties on offer at this remarkable price, the remaining 6 will range between €525,000 €575,000.

We are fortunate to be able to offer a fabulous townhouse design, which has the following layout: • Entrance hall • Ground floor shower/WC • Open plan lounge/diner • 3rd bedroom/office • Fully fitted kitchen & rear patio • First floor – 2 large bedrooms • Family bathroom • Terrace with stairs to a large rooftop solarium.

Built over 3 levels each property comes with: • Luxury fully fitted kitchen • Private lift to serve all 3 floors • State of the art airconditioning system • Built in wardrobes to all bedrooms • Porcelanosa ceramic tiles • Double Glazed window • Multi TV points • Built in window blinds • Integrated alarm system Each house has it’s own front garden and drive way with automatic gates, as well as back gardens laid to grass with automatic sprinkler systems installed.

All properties will also benefit from pre-installation of air-conditioning, double glazing and top quality ceramics. There will be a private communal swimming pool & children’s pool, plus garden area.

Mercers: Spanish Property Specialists On display is just a small section of our extensive portfolio. For further information please contact us on one of the following numbers. We look forward to being of service to you.

Uk Office St Mary’s Court, Market Place Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire RG9 2AA

Tel: +44 (0)1491 574807

Jerez City Centre: Property Special

Only 2 left!

Only 2 left!

New Release!

Edificio Mirabal 1 is a project of 8 top quality apartments situated in a lovely tucked away square in the “Casco Historico” or historic centre of Jerez. The location is ideal and although in the centre of Jerez, the sense of peace and quiet is remarkable. Special Features • Top quality construction • Privileged location • Pre-installation of air conditioning • Porcelanosa Bathroom Suites • Private patios and terraces • Rooftop solarium • Wooden flooring • Triple glazed windows • Aged Marble flooring • Fully Fitted Luxury Kitchen

€1 from 65 on ,0 ly 00

Casa Flores

€2 fro 18 m o ,2 nly 95


€1 from 54 on ,9 ly 99


Just off Calle Porvera (one of Jerez’s most famous tree lined avenues) is this lovely 15th Century “Casa Señorial” or Grand house. Transformed into 5 top quality apartments (some even incorporate the ancient stone arches) with a central Andalucian patio, this is a wonderful project in an ideal location.

Located next to one of the Domecq bodegas and with views across to the Cathedral, the Alcazar and Gonzalez Byass bodegas, Casa Flores is right in the heart of “old Jerez”.

Special Features • Air-conditioning fully installed (hot/cold) • Double glazed windows • Burglar alarm installed • Private rooftop sun terrace • Built in safe • Shared patio • Video door entry system • Excellent location Situated in the historic centre of Jerez, Calle Gaitan is close to a whole range of bars, restaurants, shops etc.

Jerez Office

Vejer Office

Calle Porvera, 31 Jerez de la Frontera 11403 Cadiz

C/Pintor Morrillo Ferrada Local No.5, Urbanizacion La Noria Vejer de la Frontera, 11150 Cadiz

Tel: +34 956 329572

Tel: +34 956 455075

Casa Flores is an old bodega that on completion will be transformed into 17 top quality apartments. 2 one bedroom, 13 two bedroom and 2 amazing penthouse apartments. All of the properties are situated around a central open patio. The rooftop swimming pool really does set this project apart from most other projects in Jerez and will be a clear winner with potential renters. So great for investors. All properties come with fully fitted kitchens, top quality ceramic tiles, wooden floors in bedrooms etc.

Our passion is property


Pure white product of historical mix ALL PHOTOS: TAKA

Michel Cruz enjoys the authentic rural atmosphere of this sleepy settlement lying deep in a national park

Clockwise from top left: Perched on top of a hill, Jimena’s castle commands views across the valley; The white houses are decorated with bright flowers; View across the tumbling roofs

Although unmistakably a pueblo blanco, Jimena de la Frontera is in many ways not so typical of the villages that cling to mountain-edges in the sierras of Cádiz province. It does follow the trend of being built on safe high ground that rises steeply towards a castle-topped hill, but although they’re undulating the surroundings of Jimena are not exactly precipitous. What’s more, it doesn’t require a hair-raising drive to get here. For those who love the calm, quaint and typically Andalusian atmosphere of a white village, but don’t relish seesawing through roadrunner territory, it is an ideal combination. In fact, reaching this pretty little town is part of the pleasure, as you follow gentle gradients through green valleys and attractive farmland before arriving at this white dot on the edge of the Alcornocales nature reserve. With its steep, cobbled streets, intimate squares and charming array of houses and churches, Jimena de la Frontera is compact and pretty. Its atmosphere is authentically rural, this being a truly agricultural area, so although there are plenty of small inns and hotels Jimena is not the kind of place where busloads of camera-wielding tourists are offloaded on a regular basis.

The narrow streets are really too small for cars, but try and tell the locals that. For visitors, though, it’s a pleasure, albeit a slightly arduous one, as you clamber up sharp gradients and pick your way through an array of alleyways, steps and terraced allotments that back onto sweet little cottages. A small number of foreigners have started doing these up to live in, but only those who enjoy Andalusian life the authentic way come to settle in these parts. Although they form the beginnings of an expat community in the area, they live spread out, many on smallholdings in the valley – and it’s refreshing to see most expats speaking Spanish fairly fluently. You still need to integrate here to get on with things. “We’re drawn to a life in the real Andalucía,” says Suzana Odell, an American who runs the Hostel El Anon and has lived here for more than 30 years. She’s right. This is a place where you see kids kicking a ball in a square as old men gather to gossip, women stop to chat while on some domestic errand and entire families congregate on the terrace of a local restaurant. Life has a soothing sense of continuity here, forming an almost tangible link to a history that incorporates Iberians, Romans and Moors. José Regueira Ramos explained that renovation work on the local castle unearthed not just




The courtyard of the Claustro Victoria (top), and narrow winding streets lead up to the castle (below); La Sauceda (bottom) makes a great base for mushroom foraging in the Alcornocales

Roman and Moorish archaeological findings, but even evidence of an ancient Phoenician dialect being used in these parts over 2,500 years ago. The people of Jimena clearly draw on a number of influences and origins. As its name suggests, this was also a frontier zone where war raged between the Moors and Christians. The reconquering Christians had made it to Seville by the late 12th century, but it would take almost two more centuries before they pressed on and captured Jimena – only to briefly lose it again 50 years later. Always linked to the Campo de Gibraltar and its smuggling route, Jimena and the surrounding countryside later became a haunt of the famous bandoleros. These bands of highwaymen and smugglers found perfect refuge in the untamed forests of the Alcornocales, where even the king’s soldiers would tread carefully. So strong were they at one point in the late 18th century that they even declared a short-lived and mostly symbolic Bandolero Republic. A more recent part of local history is enshrined in the ruins of the Refugio de la Sauceda. Ensconced within the inner fold of a hill in the Alcornocales Park, a wayward community lived here in virtual isolation for many decades, eschewing the village and the vestiges of Papal and royal power that controlled it. Although normal country people by origin, those of La Sauceda were regarded as gypsies because of their free-

What to see and do Organised by Jimena’s environment department, groups of up to 15 can take the Ruta de la Berrea – night trips into the Alcornocales to hear the deer’s bellowing mating call (berrea). These are held during September and October but are very popular, so you need to get your name on the waiting list held at the town hall.

Jimena is one of the main centres for collecting wild mushrooms and other fungi, which are mainly exported across Europe for use in gourmet cooking. The town hall organises jornadas micológicas, courses to promote environmental conservation while at the same time widening knowledge of mushroom picking. Experts accompany groups into the surrounding parkland to help them identify the good from the bad. Contact the town hall on 956 640 254/255



spirited lifestyle, and the Church despatched many a priest to try and convert them to baptism and education. By the 20th century this community had taken on a more political aspect, harbouring communists and anarchists fleeing from Franco’s forces. The falangists eventually stormed and took the settlement, but not without having to call in the air force and artillery – who missed their target woefully and hit housing in Estación de Jimena instead. Although the ruins of la Sauceda can still be seen, a different atmosphere reigns in the area now. In many ways more traditional than other white towns, Jimena de la Frontera is popular for all the right reasons – not least of which is the beautiful open scenery of the Alcornocales, with its rare pinsapo trees, endless cork and pine groves and beautiful valleys, gorges and mountain peaks. Visitors come from afar to pick sought-after varieties of wild mushrooms in guided tours every November. Another popular activity is deer spotting during the rutting season in autumn, when groups of villagers and visitors picnic in the country in the hope of catching a sight of the mighty stags or hearing their distinctive call. Just the kind of pastime you’d expect from a village in the middle of a natural paradise.

A must, whilst in Jimena, is a climb up to the castle. Views are magnificent, and this is a meeting place for the older generation and a popular family picnic spot Restaurant el Anon Home cooked food served by friendly staff. Its cosy bar is decorated with interesting railway regalia La Tasca Set beside the Plaza de la Constitución. The menu includes a wide selection of fish, salads and meats, and all puddings are homemade.

La Sauceda Stone cabins can be rented all year round as a base for walking in the Alcornocales. No electricity but chimeneas. Adults €12 per night, children €6. Ring at least one week in advance to book. Ctra Ubrique-Jimena Km 64 Tel: 952 117 236 or 649 411 482 Jimena tourist office Calle Misericordia. Tel: 956-640569 For more information, visit and


Rice fields like these near Vejer (top) now occupy parts of the old lagoon of La Janda, where the common crane (far right) can still be found; (above left) Map showing the original lagoon before it was drained’


Cliffs of Barbate’

La Janda was once one of the biggest freshwater lagoons in southern Europe, and even though it was drained half a century ago, it still provides a rich natural environment that is worth exploring. The annual rice harvest starts at the end of October and is a time of feasting for thousands of white storks, grey herons, cattle egrets and many other birds. It is quite a spectacle to watch the birds follow the huge metal-wheeled combine harvesters churning up the paddy fields. But the area is more famous for its common cranes, which traditionally bred in the ancient marshlands and lagoon of La Janda before it was finally drained for agriculture. In winter they still arrive here from northern Europe, leaving their breeding grounds in Scandinavia, western and central Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia to winter in southern Europe and North Africa. The two thousand or so La Janda cranes are the southernmost common crane migrants on the European continent. So why do they still come here and what is their story? The cranes continue to regard the site as their territory, and rightly so. They bred here in huge numbers for thousands of years along with many other species of birds and other wildlife. In the 1950s and early 1960s southern Spain and large areas along the

Mediterranean were ridden with malaria and the people suffered from years of famine, particularly within Cádiz and Huelva provinces. Around this time US President Dwight D Eisenhower welcomed the fascist regime of Franco back into the ‘western’ fold, primarily to gain strategic air and naval bases in Spain during the early stages of the Cold War. The people of poverty stricken Andalucía set about modernising their agricultural practices with the vast amounts of money received from the US government. Dutch engineers were contracted to drain La Janda. Common cranes were struggling to breed in the area and slowly the southern Spanish populations were dying out. Rice was planted in abundance here and on Isla Mayor, on the western bank of the Guadalquivir river – now the largest rice growing area in Europe. The eradication of malaria took some time and the indiscriminate use of pesticides including spraying of DDT to combat mosquitoes had a catastrophic effect on wildlife, as did the decision to allow local people to re-start hunting with firearms. From 1937 to the early 1950s hunting was banned for most under Franco. Iberian lynx, wolves and bears existed in sizeable numbers in Spain and Portugal. Great bustards, marsh owls, rails and crakes and red deer fed and flourished in and along the marshlands. But hunting rapidly reduced the wildlife. Local hunters were paid cash on the spot for every dead eagle brought to certain fincas across Spain where the lucrative business of pheasant and partridge rearing took place.


of the ancient ry to is h e th s rt cha s cranes’ u o Stephen Daly m fa s it d n a La Janda marshlands of


y r r a c s e Cran y r o t s i h f o weight

In spite of all of this massive environmental upheaval, the common cranes in 2007 still find quiet corners with food, enjoying the escape of cold northern winters. Watching long lines of these wonderful creatures fly through the arc of a rainbow stretched across the ancient plain, makes one’s heart truly sing like a bird’s. How to get there The best way to explore La Janda on public tracks is from the N340 Zahara de Los Atunes junction. Right opposite this junction is a rough track which leads down to the main collector canal and the rice fields. The track turns left and continues for approximately 4kms before you reach the junction at a bridge over the main canal. Turn right over the bridge and follow the track towards Benalup. If you remain on the main track running parallel with the canal, this leads you back after another 4kms onto the junction of the N340 approximately 3km east of the junction with Manzanete. Unfortunately there are no circular walking routes here. Mountain biking is another way to explore the area. The track is passable with care most months in a standard family car, but during the wetter months a 4x4 may be the best option. _________________________________ Stephen Daly of Andalucian Guides runs birding and wildlife tours. See or Tel: 956 432 316/647 713 641


Stewart Pitcher trained in agriculture and was a farm manager by profession before starting up his gardening business here several years ago. He lives near Vejer

gardening Green and pleasant land Many of us grew up with a vegetable patch in the back garden. Whether through necessity or passion, growing vegetables is fun, healthy and educational for kids, with the added bonus that nothing tastes better than home-grown veg. Spain has a fantastic climate for growing a vast variety of fruit and vegetables throughout the year so given some careful planning the huerta can always provide a meal. When considering where to situate the vegetable patch, try to find a nice sunny spot sheltered from the wind. If there is no protection, plant shelter belts if possible or put up wind breaks of netting, otherwise delicate plants will be destroyed by the wind.

Key Green beans, courgette, sweetcorn, cucumber

Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower

Pepper, aubergine, tomato

Carrot, onion, leek, beetroot

Potato, melon, corn, watermelon

Artichoke, strawberry, thistle

Winter salad: lettuce, endive

Peas, broad beans, spinach

Green fertilisers e.g. clover

The next thing to consider is the soil. Deep, fine, stone-free dark soil is ideal for regular cultivation, with annual additions of rotted manure to maintain fertility and improve soil structure. If your soil is really bad, consider buying some good earth and mixing it in. Heavy clay can be improved by ploughing in builder’s sand and lots of manure; very sandy land needs an addition of heavy soil and manure to help it retain moisture throughout summer. Try to make it level too or you will lose water as run-off and your crop's growth will be uneven. For many, the huerta’s cycle begins with the autumn flush, when the daylight hours mirror spring for a short time and trigger seed germination and growth spurts and flowering in established plants. The first rains make the soil

Year one Spring-Summer beds

Autumn-Winter beds

workable, and make this an ideal time to dig in potatoes. The continual ‘ridging up’ keeps the land free from major weeds without the need for chemicals. Crop rotation is crucial to constant production. Different crops have different requirements, and give and take specific nutrients and micro-elements from the soil. Monoculture provokes disease and pest infestations, and can even make the soil toxic to plant growth. Plan your crops according to the table below. The huerta is divided up into six workable areas so that five crops can be planted at a time, and clover is planted in the remaining plot to rest and improve the land. Of course, it will not always be possible to follow the chart, so as a rough guideline remember:

Year two Spring-Summer beds

Autumn-Winter beds

1 Nitrogen fixing crops (legumes, clovers) should alternate with nitrogen demanding crops (brassicas and potatoes) 2 Deep rooting crops should follow shallow-rooting crops 3 Bare soil is more susceptible to erosion and dries out quicker – keep it covered 4 Alternating autumn and winter sowings controls weed germination better 5 Use companion planting, eg beans and brassicas to confuse brassica pests, onion and carrot to keep carrot fly at bay, basil with peppers again for the flies, and marigolds amongst the crop for their effects on soil-bourne pests

Year three Spring-Summer beds

Autumn-Winter beds


Readers are invited to share their gardening and design problems or ideas by sending them to or Apdo de Correos 39, 11150 Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz

Pick of the bunch


Pittosporum tobira

Euryops pectinatus

Euphorbia pulcherrima

Pittosporum tobira

Euryops pectinatus

This is a member of the milky-sapped euphorbia family from Mexico which comes into its own as the nights draw in over Christmas. Seen everywhere as cuttings in pots, it can grow to four metres in a sheltered, sunny position in good soil. Its flowers are yellow and insignificant, but are surrounded by tropical-looking scarlet or white bracts which last until February and then die back. Allow the plant to re-absorb the sap in the branches before cutting the whole thing back to 30cm in April, to ensure a healthy flowering the following year. To propagate, try cuttings from old wood as green cuttings tend to rot.

From a genus of useful shrubs or small trees from Australasia and the Far East, this attractive plant is often seen in roadside and urban roundabout displays around here and on the Mediterranean coast. It has small, white clusters of flowers nestled in glossy green leaves, and on a hot day is richly scented. In gardens it can be planted as hedges, windbreaks or as individual specimens as it is rejuvenated through heavy pruning. Easy to grow in any deep soil in full sun or dappled shade, once established it is drought tolerant and will grow in coastal conditions. Take cuttings in late winter, or try growing the seeds.

This season’s top tips November


This is a quiet month in the garden as the winter approaches and the days grow shorter. Lawns do not need cutting so frequently and sprinklers may be turned off unless the winter is exceptionally dry. Use the time for weeding in the soft earth and gradually putting manure around all the plants in your garden, removing dead wood and debris from the summer. Keep orange trees well watered now and the fruit will get fatter. In the well-manured huerta you can sow beans, lettuce and brassicae, even try parsnips, and bury bulbs in your flower beds for next spring. Try hyacinths, tulips, daffs and gladioli for scent and colour.

This is a month for trees – pruning, planting and transplanting. Cut hedges, prune figs, olives and deciduous trees, and thin out excess wood in citrus trees before new growth starts. Fell eucalyptus for building timber now, as the wood is less likely to warp. Your well-mulched roses can be pruned heavily in this month, cut away all dead or diseased wood and leaves for a fine spring display. A good month in the huerta with the winter equinox approaching; sow broad beans, garlic, leeks, brassicas and potatoes if you’ve got the space, and pick your first oranges for the Christmas stockings.

Among the best shrubs you can choose for a larger garden in terms of vigour, colour and ground cover. Native to South Africa, it grows best in full sun and forms evergreen mounds up to a metre round with daisy-like yellow flowers from autumn till early summer. Although it will grow in any soil, it will not tolerate boggy land, and appreciates a good mulching in winter and weekly deep watering in the hottest months of summer. Between flowering, clip to maintain its compactness. Propagation is easy – after pruning collect suitable woody cuttings and stick them in pots, or pick off and plant the seeds in spring.

Readers’ Queries

We have been having problems with mildew on a bougainvillea, a cycad and a jasmine. Although we spray them regularly it keeps returning. Any suggestions? Vicky Wilkinson, Vejer de la Frontera > Powdery mildew is a fungus which affects a wide range of plants, and it is one of the diseases most easily recognised as the white mould spreads from the bottom up along the leaves and stems. It reduces the plant’s ability to photosynthesise and weakens its structure. This mould thrives in cool, humid conditions. Possibly, your plants are in too shady a position with poor air circulation. Powdery mildew enjoys nitrogen fertilizer too – perhaps your plants are too well fed. Thin out the jasmine and bougainvillea this winter to allow more air and light in and thus reduce humidity, and move the cycad to a sunnier spot if possible. Organic farmers spray milk instead of fungicide on mildew.


A life of net gains

Antonio with son Daniel (centre) and a nephew who helps run the family business

Once a fisherman himself, Antonio Garrido Sanchez now owns a fishing and general supplies shop in the port of Barbate, and distributes fish to more than 70 restaurants and hotels in the local area. Antonio and his son Angel also carry on the art of making fishing nets, one of the artisan crafts now dying out in the area. One of his nets has even made it into a London art gallery Is your family from Barbate? Yes, I was born in Barbate 61 years ago and my family have been fishermen for four generations. I began going to sea to fish – illegally – when I was 11 years old and didn´t get my legal papers until I was 14. When I was 18 I enrolled in La Escuela Nautica in Sanlúcar de Barrameda to study ship mechanics and in Cádiz to get my captain´s ticket. In 1972 I captained my first fishing boat which belonged to my family. I now have a small boat which is called La Virgen de Carmelo but I only use it for pleasure. Every single day I miss going out on the fishing boat. Now only 40 per cent of the employment in Barbate is from fishing and the skills are being lost. What sort of fish did you catch? When I first started we used to catch swordfish and shark but then changed our nets so that we could catch anchovies, sardines and the smaller fish. In the mornings I often still go and

use the hand net on the beach; this is a method of fishing on the shore with a round net, held in both hands and spread by holding a lead weight in the mouth before throwing the net. Grey mullet and bream are caught this way

At night we might go out to eat – Antonio of the Hotel Antonio in Zahara de los Atunes is an old friend and the food is very good in the hotel restaurant. Otherwise I watch television and make the fishing nets.

Tell us about your working day I normally get up at 6am and the shop opens at 7am. I used to come every day to keep an eye on things but now my sons Daniel, J Angel and David run the business, with the help of numerous extended family members. Sometimes I go fishing with the hand net or go out on the boat, depending how I feel. I go home at 2pm to have lunch at home with my wife Carmen and Daniel, who still lives at home. I only have a siesta at the weekends or on fiesta days

Do you only make nets for fishing? Oh no. We also make net covers for swimming pools and nets for buildings and can undertake any commissions. Recently, I was asked by an artist from London, Anya Gallacio, to make four nets out of gold lamé thread. This has been my most unusual request and the nets looked fantastic so she was delighted. They were then used as part of an exhibition in a London gallery.

And what do you do outside work? I own more than 200 canaries which have their own room on the roof, heated in the winter so that they can breed in the spring. I spend on average two hours a day looking after them. I love hearing them sing. In the afternoons I am involved in other activities. For example, I am vice president of the peña flamenca in Barbate and a judge of the flamenco competitions in Vejer. Although I don’t dance or sing myself I have a good ear and eye. Carmen, my wife, is a hairdresser and a talented amateur flamenco singer. She often sings when we get together with friends.

After the recent tragedy when the Barbate fishing boat Nuevo Pepito Aurora capsized, has it been harder for the boats to go out? What else would they do? In some ways Barbate is an unusual place. It doesn’t have ‘roots’ like Vejer as it has always had a passing population who have been employed on the fishing boats. Barbate doesn’t advance, it seems to go backwards and is physically constrained by the national park on one side and the military land on the other. So we are used to living from day to day and not thinking of the past or future. Of course we are all affected but my life has been spent in Barbate and on boats – and what a fantastic life. Interview by Katy Sender

The combination of art, emotions and sensations that fills The Hacienda El Torilejo is reminiscent of the original Arabic-AndalucĂ­a




FROM OUR LAND, AN IMAGE is born that reminds us of another era. It stands as a statement of our identity; located between wheat fields and sunflowers, it emphasises the colours we identify with Andalucía – green and gold. The hotel’s unique situation between the towns of Conil and Chiclana, close to beaches of recognized beauty and lush pine forests, make it an ideal refuge to enjoy peace and serenity within rural surroundings. As soon as you enter the hotel you find yourself immersed in an atmosphere perfumed with subtle aromas released by exotic woods from the furniture and solid wooden doors. Silks from Central Asia, and India, Burma, Syria and Egypt carry you away on a sea of sensations. Contemplate how the sunlight filters through the ceiling and reflects on the walls, creating a world of colour and harmony. You will be overcome with indescribable feelings on experiencing every detail and corner of the country house, and the only explanation for this is that Hacienda El Torilejo was born with something we call alma. Talking to the owners and creators of Hacienda El Torilejo, Antonio and Sonia, we realize that they are great lovers of nature; tireless travellers who had searched far and wide for a spot

where they could develop a way of understanding life and enjoying their hobbies, which include horseback riding and horticulture. This they have incorporated as part of the project by separating one area of the estate and creating an organic farm where native fruit and vegetables will be cultivated using traditional methods. While sipping rich wine from the area, under beautiful Morrocan tents that shelter us from the sun’s strength, we continue to learn more about our hosts, so that we seem to feel part of their hopes and dreams. Now and again the wind carries the sweet scent of sandalwood, a characteristic fragrance in this particular hacienda. Enamoured with all forms of art, Antonio and Sonia strongly believe that Hacienda El Torilejo will be a refreshing place for exhibiting and organising all sorts of cultural events, literary appreciation days, art and sculpture exhibitions and other cultural activities. They also hope to promote and provide a platform where young artists with limited resources can exhibit their art in an extraordinary rural setting. Antonio and Sonia’s interest in ethnic music also comes through strongly, and they plan to put on

shows at the hotel. “We want the guitar, the lute, the piano and the cello to be the real stars of the afternoons at our home,” they say. At night, pure flamenco and alluring oriental dances provide the prelude for a well earned rest among the sounds of the Andalucían countryside. The hacienda obviously couldn’t function properly without an ample assortment of all the best wines. Magnificent wines from Chiclana emphasise the location of the hotel and demonstrate the standards of excellency. There is a carefully thought-through list of national brandies and French cognacs, together with delicious cavas and champagnes. Renowned Iberian cured ham from Jabugo and the most exquisite cheeses occupy a place of equal importance in the quaint cellar of the country house. As night falls, so do the petals of the bougainvilleas and, swept by the wind, they fall on the sandy earth that is suddenly brought to life with colour. The murmur of water from a nearby stream seems to awaken us and we realize all the time that has gone by as if it were a dream. We have to leave and say hasta pronto to the company of such lovely hosts, thanking them for their hospitality and wishing them the best on their marvellous adventure.

H A C I E N D A E L T O R I L E J O offers luxury rooms and suites and a range of eating areas. Dine in style at the á la carte restaurant with menus starting at €50 or on the open air terrace restaurant from €25. The more informal Tetería, with its oriental ambience, is open for drinks, cakes and snacks all day and during the evening. H A C I E N D A E L T O R I L E J O Can be found at Ctra. N-340 km14, between Club de Golf Melía and Campano Club de Golf. Tel: 635 424 564 or 609 210 212




Mercers have found a ready market for their city centre conversions in Jerez. Apartments in this property with rooftop pool are selling from €165,000

Casa Trafalgar, a 3 bedroom villa within walking distance of the beach, is available through Andaluz Homes for €359,000

Sell up or sit tight? With the market proving jittery, Tony Jefferies talks to local experts about the way things are and the way they may be in the coming year No one would argue that this year has been a challenging one for the property market – globally, across Spain and, of course, on the Costa de la Luz and elsewhere in Cádiz province. This time last year vendors and estate agents alike – at least those who weren’t bothering with crystal balls – were happily watching properties increase in value by the week. The double-digit growth which had become such a feature of the southern Spanish market for the past few years showed little sign of slowing down and everyone except the buyer was smiling all the way to the bank. Everything changed in the spring, when construction group Astroc saw 65 per cent wiped off its share value, triggering a temporary collapse in the Madrid Stock Market.

Even when the market stabilised, it was evident that the building industry – and property market – was proving unstable. Other factors – noticeably an over-supply of property, particularly at the lower end of the scale, and rising interest rates – were also playing a part in shaking confidence. Since then, the burning question has been this: meltdown in the market or soft landing? For a time, it seemed like the former would win out but there are signs now pointing to a slowing down rather than a collapse – especially in Cádiz. Across Spain, it has been estimated that, while 800,000 new homes were brought to completion in 2006, roughly half a million of them were surplus to requirements – at least at that point in time.

One and two-bedroomed apartments, in particular, have been left empty all over the country, and many of those which have been sold have only changed hands because the vendors are having to accept offers – a state of affairs almost unheard of even a couple of years ago. This element of the slowdown has been less pronounced locally. The Costa de la Luz doesn’t churn out apartment blocks like its neighbour, the Costa del Sol, so the supply-demand ratio has never been as great. In fact, Cádiz fared well – on paper at least – in the most recent set of figures produced by the government’s Ministry of Housing. The province showed an 8.4 per cent annual increase in the cost of property per square metre (at €1,856) for the second quarter of 2007 – enough to put it in fifth

place in the Spanish ‘league table’. Having said that, the mood of estate agents across the province is hardly euphoric. Realistic is a better term – and those who are well-established and more forward thinking are not expecting things to improve in a hurry. Carolina Arlt, of Grupo Cepheus, says properties are still selling, but more slowly than before: “Many real estate agents are closing because they don’t have the right structure. They are not geared to the rhythm of placing a property on the market and the sale taking more time, so they can’t hold out. “Developers, too, are having to cut their profits and in some cases this is causing problems,” she adds. Ana Davidson of property finders Marbella to Marrakech says the current economic climate


Renovations of old buildings like this one in Jerez’ Plaza Mirabal have opened up a new market for Mercers

spreads right across the Continent. “Because of the international financial situation, most of the Europe is going to have to tighten its belt. The banks are ‘property’ nervous and not so keen to lend money as easily and cheaply as during these last years. “They will renegotiate your mortgage or loan if you all ready have one and are having difficulty meeting the payments each month. They can think of all sorts of creative ways to help you stick it out, as they don’t want to end up with a huge, probably dud property portfolio. But if you don’t have one it will be much more difficult and expensive to negotiate now, especially if you are a foreigner. The days of hundred per cent mortgages are over.” Chris Mercer of Jerez and Vejerbased Mercers, thinks that although the number of buyers has decreased, prices in most areas are holding firm. “I think some people will always have unrealistic ideas of the value of their property and this is where there will be an adjustment. “But there are still ‘hotspots’ in the province. These are dictated by price and in general the UK buyer is very price driven. So inland areas are more popular as the euro goes further. We are having success in Jerez with city centre projects, for example.” Glyn Lewis, of Andaluz Homes, agrees that there is considerable variation in the market depending on factors such as price and location: “Over-developed,

unrealistically priced property in the wrong locations does not sell – a lot of the problems have, I believe, stemmed from investor clients looking to make a quick profit from new construction of this description. “For our part there is no shortage of buyers looking to own a property here in the Costa de la Luz – the area has so much to offer and differs in many aspects from the rest of Spain and furthermore sunshine Europe.” Among the tales of agents maintaining sales volumes there are others of inmobiliaria offices closing by the dozen. Four have closed in Conil alone this autumn, and one Andalusian business association recently estimated that 40 per cent of estate agents had ceased trading in the last six months. One benefit which accrues from a statistic like that is that the more capable, more successful agents are the ones who survive, which is clearly a good thing for the buying and selling public. Agents and developers alike are also having to work harder for their successes. In what has become a buyer’s market, they are having to woo the customers, offer incentives and negotiate asking price reductions. Ana Davidson says there is a levelling off of prices, even where location and quality is good. “But the little rows of holiday homes, built and sold off-plan are being hit hard and will probably be hit harder. The days of buying property in volume, especially

off-plan, as a quick return on your investment, are probably now over.” She thinks the area around Arcos is holding up well, a claim echoed by Glyn Lewis. “Conil, Vejer old town, Vejer Costa, Medina Sidonia, Arcos and Jerez continue to be popular locations for second homes, investment and permanent residences,” he says. “Property with close proximity to beaches and towns continues to sell well. There is noticeably more activity in the ‘middle’ price band of €300-€400,000, with slightly less activity in the movement of new apartments and townhouses.” The tale from Mercers is of different price bands selling well. “It seems to be the lower end of the market, from €150,000-€250,000 and then from €500–€1 million,” says Chris Mercer. Margarita Behrendt, of Sol y Mar in Vejer, says there is still a considerable amount of demand but the buyer is now dealing from

basically that is what is happening, though it seems it will not be a 10 year cycle, but more a situation where the brakes are being put on. Perhaps in the end, the market will re establish itself by becoming more realistic and solid.” Chris Mercer thinks a turnaround will take 12-18 months: “It will take that much time to significantly improve. However certain markets will and are bucking the trend. Our city centre projects in Jerez are proving to be very popular, so much so that we are about to launch also in Seville.” Carolina Arlt is hopeful. “The market will stabilise but prices will not necessarily fall,” she says. “Increases won’t be big but they will continue, even through the next year or two.” What it all boils down to is that different businesses, in different areas of the province and marketing different products are finding contrasting trends. That said, the overall picture is of contraction and stabilisation.

Countryside properties still prove popular, like Finca Los Pinares in a secluded area near Conil that’s on the market with Andaluz Homes at €345,000

a position of power. “They know that they can negotiate, and that developers are having to drop their prices. Developers are also having to deal with real estate agents whereas before some of them didn’t want to,” she says. So what of the future? A crash seems unlikely – a consolidated easing of prices more likely, especially on new builds. Ana Davidson thinks the next few years are going to be tough: “The forecast I understand is that the property market will go on dropping slowly for the next three years. We do not quite want to use the word ‘recession’, but

The message is clear: be prepared to take an offer unless you have plenty of time on your hands, a property in the upper price brackets or one which is marked out as ‘special’. Otherwise, watch which way the wind blows and wait for the belt to be loosened again. If, on the other hand, you’re ready to buy – particularly without needing a mortgage – you might just snap up a real bargain.



Advice is limited to general statements on finance, property and legal matters. Always check with your financial adviser or abogado if you need specific advice on these matters


recruitment JON BRANSTON

A founding partner in the firm Konsilia, León has worked as a tax adviser in the UK for Deloitte and previously KPMG. He is qualified both as a Spanish abogado and an English barrister. Tel: 902 555 045, email or see

Managing director of, Jon has more than 15 years experience in commercial sales, marketing and recruitment, both in the UK and Spain. is an employment website dedicated to helping candidates find work opportunities throughout Europe. or e-mail

My wife and I are retiring next year, selling up in the UK and moving to our home near Arcos de la Frontera. The property is currently valued at around €650,000 and I am concerned about inheritance tax - will my children be liable for this in Spain or in the UK and how can I plan for the best? R White, Herts > This is a complex matter but I will summarise as much as is possible. A property located in Spain and owned by an individual, family or civil partnership, independently of the residence, domicile or citizenship of the owner, will be subject to inheritance tax in Spain. If the owner is UK domiciled the property in Spain will be liable to UK inheritance tax in addition to Spanish tax, as IHT is charged on all the worldwide assets for UK domiciled individuals. There is no double tax treaty provision for inheritance tax between Spain and the UK, therefore the property will be taxed twice, although it will be possible to apply for unilateral tax relief at probate stage in the UK regarding tax paid in Spain. In this case, if no estate planning has been done in the UK, my recommendation would be to discuss it with a double qualified Spanish and UK tax adviser to start with, and develop a strong UK based strategy according to the estate beneficiaries.

You will need to take into account that inter-spouse transfer and gifts to children are taxable in Spain. It is important to note that there are no PET (potential exempt transfer) exceptions and tax allowances are very limited in Spain. Another important issue to consider is that Spain does not recognize the trust as a valid transfer of property, therefore any trust planning exercise must be reviewed in this light. Please note that inheritance tax is payable on the net value of the property, therefore equity release strategies, combined with tax efficient wrappers may be considered by non-resident individuals in Spain. If you are tax resident in Spain for IHT purposes, some of these measures will not help to reduce your taxable base, as the base will be calculated on worldwide bases, including investment funds or any other investments which are not recognized as tax exempted in Spain.

Do you have any questions for our panel of experts? send them to: laluz magazine Apdo de Correos 39 , Vejer de la Frontera, 11150 Cádiz Or e-mail

I have recently moved to the Tarifa area and am starting to look for work. What sort of skills are in demand here and can you advise me about the best way to approach local firms (both Spanish and English)? Jane Summerville, Tarifa > An increasing number of people are relocating themselves and their family to the many coastal areas within southern Spain. Indeed, a recent study by the BBC shows there now over 750,000 Britons permanently domiciled in Spain. The 25-44 year age group accounts for more than 25 per cent of that number, and of course the vast majority are not in a financial position to retire just yet. If you have previous experience in either hospitality or tourism then you should have no problems finding work inTarifa or the surrounding areas. If you also speak Spanish then your skills will be in high demand. Other work opportunities include property sales if you have previous sales experience. If you are able and willing to commute then you should really consider Gibraltar, only a short drive from Tarifa. Leading financial institutions and online gaming companies are based on The Rock and are always looking for experienced candidates, from admin and customer service roles through to senior management positions. The predominant business language is English, but again, other languages will be a major advantage. A little further along the coast is Sotogrande, which is very much an emerging and quality location for business. Admin, telesales, marketing and IT experience will give you a real head-start for job hunting in Sotogrande, and again Spanish language skills will help you dramatically. The first step in your job search should be to review your CV. It’s the most important vehicle in grabbing the attention of the employer so take the time to get it right and sell yourself. We offer tips and a full CV review service if you think yours requires an overhaul. You then need to find out who is hiring. Pick up the local newspapers and scan the situations vacant section. Most advertisers will ask you to forward a copy of your CV by e-mail or to call a number for more information. The best route, though, is to go online and search the internet for jobs in the area. Our job website offers a wealth of job opportunities with Andalucía, Spain, Gibraltar and across Europe so you will have plenty to choose from. Good luck with your search.




Chairman of Langton’s Financial Planners, Sotogrande, Colin has worked in the financial sector for 40 years. He has also been a recognized expert witness for the UK Law Society. Langtons (IFA) Spain branch is regulated along with its UK offices. Tel: Freephone 900 800 667; e-mail

Director of Mercers Ltd, Chris has 24 years of experience in selling freehold Spanish properties. As a member of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the European Confederation of Estate Agents (CEI) he is often asked to contribute to newspaper and magazine articles. With offices in the UK, Murcia, Vejer and Jerez, Mercers is one of the longest established Spanish property businesses

I am in my mid-thirties and have started working in Spain. I am thinking about the possibility of paying into some kind of pension fund. Can you advise me on the kind of options available here or am I better saving in some other form? Andy Peterson, e-mail > Pensions in the UK are at rock-bottom popularity and few people take out new schemes, unless these are sponsored by and paid into by their employer. On the other hand, most people working in Britain or Spain would agree that to rely on the state pension for a comfortable retirement is also a non starter – even though, if you do enough years, Spain’s state pension is better than the UK’s. Although annuities are as old as the ark and offer terrible value, these are the main option made available to you at retirement, both in UK and in Spain. Annuity rates used to be good, at one point each £10,000 paid into a pension fund gave an income for life of £1,400 per annum. Now, the rate is roughly half this, and the reason given by the insurance companies is that we are all living longer. True – but not twice as long! I have sold pensions for many years, and saved in several myself, but have seldom been recommend-

ing them for the last decade, for the above reasons. I would rather save/invest in other directions and then please myself how I use the capital at retirement. I don’t want to be forced to buy a poor value annuity and kiss goodbye to my capital when I die. I want to leave it to my family. There are many other ways you can save regular sums for your retirement, and it would need a book to cover all of them. One answer, if you are a property owner in the UK or Spain and have some equity in your property, is to buy a holiday let ‘off-plan’. I have bought in the Caribbean, where demand exceeds supply, thus ensuring exceptional capital growth and rental income. I can expect to see the property in St Vincent double in value within a couple of years of completion. Not that I intend selling it, as my share of rental income will pay me far more per annum than any conventional pension plan.

legal JOSÉ Mª DE LORENZO Qualified both as a Spanish abogado and as an English solicitor, José Maria is the senior partner of Irwin Mitchell Abogados. To talk to the Irwin Mitchell bilingual team call (00 34) 902 150 105 or e-mail

Name and address supplied I am an English woman, living in Spain and married with two young children. I am looking to obtain a divorce. What are my options if I apply for it in Spain? > Either spouse can apply for a divorce in Spain if this is the current or the last official place of residence for the family (if one of the spouses still lives in Spain). In order to lodge a divorce petition in Spain you will need to use a lawyer and a procurador (court agent). They will represent you before the Spanish court.

I am thinking of buying a city centre property in either Cádiz or Jerez, where would you recommend? PJ Watts, Northampton > Both locations offer pros and cons. Cádiz, by its very nature is restricted so cannot really expand. This creates a limited market with regards to the properties on offer. It does also mean that the price per square metre is going to be higher than it would for the equivalent property elsewhere, not necessarily because it is a better property but because there is limited land to build on. Jerez has room to expand and as it is not restricted to an ‘isIand’ therefore you have a wider choice of properties. This also means that prices are more reasonable and you can buy more for your euro per square metre. Recent figures show that Jerez currently offers the best price per square metre in Andalucía, with an average price of €2,039, whereas Cádiz city averages €3,500 per square metre, so on an apartment of 100 square metres the prices would be €203,900 in Jerez and €350,000 in the capital – a difference of €146,100 or almost 75 per cent. Is it worth the difference? That depends on a number of factors but I think Jerez offers more from a visitor’s point of view, which is important if you want to let the property out. There are the bodegas, the royal school of equestrian arts, the zoo, the various museums, the parks. There is also, of course ,the airport as well as good road and rail links. Property prices in Jerez have historically been lower than Cádiz and Seville, however Jerez has received an enormous amount of publicity in the British press over the past 12 months. Coupled with the airport expansion, railway upgrades, the new IKEA and other developments, all this helps to raise Jerez’s profile, which in turn will help fuel property price rises in the future. You could also speculate as to whether, if Cádiz is already 75 per cent more expensive than Jerez, there is room for short to medium term growth, and whether it has peaked. The other aspect worth thinking about is that in Cádiz you are more or less restricted to apartments, whereas in Jerez there is a wider choice of property styles available. This means that the market is more diverse and therefore appeals to a larger group of buyers. This, in turn, will benefit Jerez.

If the divorce is amicable and by mutual agreement, then a couple can present their petition in joint names together with the arrangements they have already agreed. If a couple cannot reach any agreement, then each spouse can lodge a separate petition. However as there is no advance agreement the petition will be argued and fought in court. This can be a long and costly process. If there are children who are minors (under 18 years old) then usually their mother will be given custody until the judge makes a decision on parental visiting rights including holidays.

If the mother wishes to remain in Spain with the children after the divorce, she will be allowed to remain in the house, even if the property is registered solely in her husband’s name. This situation will apply until the children reach 18 years old. If, as an outcome of the divorce, the mother’s financial situation is negatively impacted, she will be entitled to compensation. The amount will depend on her age, health, professional qualifications, personal financial situation and number of years that she has been married. The husband will also have to pay towards the children’s upkeep.


cooking culture


The sweetest

Colette Bardell gets a taste for the cakes and puddings being showcased by a new wave of artisan bakers in Vejer

Tartesania’s moist chocolate cake and (top) nutty biscuits from the Horno de la Corredera; (opposite page) Postres La Cobijada have found a niche market for quality frozen desserts whilst Café Saada (centre) offers delicious home-made Moroccan pastries in keeping with Vejer’s Moorish past

With a stunning skyline of crenellated battlements, the pretty white town of Vejer de la Frontera has always had a fairytale quality. But now due to social and strategic changes it is more than just a pretty face. New fast roads link the town to major cities and the area’s tourist and property explosion has increased affluence – all mouth-watering ingredients for the band of artisan bakers that have set up business here. Young, keen and spirited, the Utrera Perez sisters are typical of the new Vejer success stories. Encarni, 35, and Eva, 29, started Tartesania in January 2006, producing home made cakes for restaurants and anyone else who wants to buy. Encarni learnt her chef’s skills in Valencia but pastry making was always her passion. Returning to Vejer she saw the changes taking place and spotted a gap in the market for supplying the hostelry trade with hand made cakes. “We were able to take advantage of local business grants, the town was well placed for deliveries and the new hotels and restaurants gave us a market. The great thing is, we are part of a new generation that no longer has to leave the town for work – we’re creating work by setting up on our own, something previous generations never had the opportunity to do,” Encarni says. Tartesania produces tartas caseras using home baking techniques and fresh ingredients. Working from a menu that includes a chocolate and basil tart and a carrot and chocolate cake, they also make cakes to order. Open minded and creative, the girls get inspiration from different sources, and will happily make cakes for diabetics by substituting sugar with apples and almonds. They are also fulfilling a growing trend for tartas eroticas. “I brought the idea from Valencia,” explained Encarni. “We prepare ‘his and hers’ cakes for hen and stag dinners

with appropriate decoration – they’re proving particularly popular in Conil, though we have yet to sell any in Vejer,” Encarni says. Postres La Cobijada is another home grown business. Started in July last year by Gregorio Heredia Rodriguez, Gloria Moreno Herera and Rufino Correo Manazares, their company specialises in artisan frozen puddings for hotels and restaurants. Although the produce is frozen, all finishing is done by hand and fresh ingredients are used such as berries, dried fruits, nuts and home-style sauces. “These are high quality bespoke products, nothing like the frozen desserts you get in the supermarket,” says Gregorio, who spent many years as a chef in local hotels. “We set up this business to fulfill the need for a hostelry industry that wanted to offer their clients a quality dessert product that keeps. Producing frozen desserts is particularly difficult but we have developed our own process and special packaging to make sure the desserts get to the dinning table in top form,” says Gregorio. The company supplies hotels and restaurants locally and as far afield as Seville, Córdoba, Catalunya and Huelva. The new sweet making entrepreneurs are not only locals however. Susanne Langenbeck – originally from Germany – fell in love in and with Vejer and decided to stay. Susanne was taught her baking skills by her mother and grandmother and was making bread from the age of 10. She is inspired by local and international baking traditions, from the poppy seeds of East German baking to the chocolate brownie. Susanne has a growing, loyal and local customer base but is also popular with the town’s visitors who flock to the tiny bakery and shop that she opened on Calle Corredera two years ago. She also defines herself as an artisan baker. “I use butter not margarine, fresh eggs and fresh cream.

Everything is made by hand and no two batches ever turn out exactly the same, making the product unique.” Vejer’s Moorish heritage lives on through three other local success stories, all of them steeped in the traditional pastry making skills of Morocco. The best known of these is the firm Xauen, based in the polígono. Xauen’s delicate bite-sized biscuits - made from almonds, honey and essence of lemon and orange blossom – are proving popular in shops across the province, but have also made their mark in Madrid. The original packaging– designed to resemble the Moroccan five-pointed star – has helped put this Vejer product firmly on the delicatessen map. On a smaller scale, 36-year-old Khadija Essaadi is also capitalizing on the pastry skills of her native country. The first cook in the Califa restaurant that brought Moroccan food to Vejer, she has now teamed up with her 26year-old sister to begin a new venture based on traditional Moroccan pastries. “Of course I love general cooking but I particularly enjoy the demands pastry making gives me. You have to be much more precise.” Her products are made by hand at home and use the key sweet trinity of nuts, dried fruits and honey. She is set to move to a new kitchen-retail outlet provided by the Califa and will soon be able to offer her products to a wider audience. Another pairing who hail from Morocco are Sofia and Fatima of Vejer’s Moroccan café Saada. Like Susanne they learnt their skills in their mother’s kitchen and make everything by hand. Their pastries are proving a hit not just with the café’s customers but also locals who buy them to have for the traditional Sunday merienda. What all these new Vejer-based business have in common is that they have been

started by people young enough to have the drive to succeed but old enough to want to get out of the wage slave culture. They are all outsiders or have benefited from outside influences, and by branching out on their own they have brought the sweet smell of success to this fairytale town on the hill.

Adresses Tartesania Plaza de Paz s/n, Vejer de la Frontera Tel: 657 545 750 or 651 825 236 Not open Sundays and Mondays Postres la Cobijada Polígono Industrial Cañada Ancha Edificio Escuela de Empresas Nave 3 11150 Vejer de la Frontera Tel: 695 190 029 El Horno de la Corredera Calle Corredera 17 Vejer Tel: 956 450 917 8am-2pm & 5pm-7.30pm, closed Mondays Khadija Essaadi Tel: 627 473 175 or El Jardín del Califa 956 447 730 Sofia & Fatima at Café Saada Avda Los Remedios 37A Vejer de la Frontera Tel: 956 451 731 or 678 958 581 Xauen, Pastería Andalusí Polígono Industrial Cañada Ancha Escuela de Empresas Nave 1, 11150 Vejer de la Frontera Tel: 956 455 316


eating out

Spoilt for choice from east to west

Wok Jerez de la Frontera Remember the not so good old days when a visit to the local Chinese restaurant was memorable mainly for the lingering taste of monosodium glutamate which ‘flavoured’ everything from chow mein to Chinese prawn curry? Happily, those days seem long gone – in Britain at least, where it’s not hard nowadays to find an oriental restaurant serving the freshest ingredients in a manner that wouldn’t offend the diners of downtown Hong Kong. Here, sadly, authentic Chinese cuisine is a novelty in the province and in the public psyche. Even in Jerez or Cádiz, your number 43 is likely to resemble nothing more than a gloopy mess – and of course it’s served with chips. Chopsticks? Forget them. The waiters may keep a supply in the kitchen for their own supper, but locals won’t countenance anything other than a knife and fork. Change is afoot, though, in the unlikely setting of an apartment block on the outskirts of Jerez. This is home to Wok, modestly proclaiming itself as ‘Jerez’ first wok buffet restaurant’. Well, so it is. But the owners – and staff – deserve a little more trumpeting for delivering to what appears to be a clamouring public excellent cuisine at hard to beat prices.

The restaurant itself is big and airy, with seating for close to 300 so that even at busy periods – weekend lunchtime is a bit hectic – there’s no sense of being hemmed in. Service is good, too. Staff move quietly and efficiently, bringing drinks and clearing empty plates. Filling them is up to the customer. The food is laid out on ‘islands’ close to the cooking area: salads in one place, raw ingredients for wok dishes in another, meat and fish for grilling somewhere else. There are separate sites for puddings and starters, and everything is immaculately clean. Asian buffets, if not exactly new, are a fairly recent innovation. It’s all you can eat for one price, and one assumes that the temptation to ‘go out strongly’ and run out of steam before the main course is simultaneously a triumph for the restaurant’s accountants and the downfall of many a big-eyed punter. There’s plenty of reason to linger over the starters, it has to be said. Three types of noodle, two of rice, steamed buns, fried delicacies, Japanese tempura, spring rolls, satay chicken kebabs and even sushi. This being Spain, there are also chips as well as patatas bravas. Things get more interesting with the wok dishes. Choose your ingredients, present them to the chef and select one of the five sauces on offer – or if, like me, you can’t decide, ask the expert to do it for you.

Save some space for the grills: the meat is good and lean, the prawns hefty and the courgette kebabs really tasty. This is where the chefs get to have a bit of fun, flipping your food deftly and rattling a tin of seasoning across the grill with a sound something between a fire engine and a rolling beer keg. If there’s still room, the pick of the puddings – for me – are the lychees and Chinese gooseberries. When in the Orient… TONY JEFFERIES _______________________________________ Wok, Edificio Entre Parque, Avenida Europa s/n, Jerez (opposite Carrefour Norte). Open daily 1-4pm & 8pmmidnight. Weekday lunch buffet €10,95; evenings, weekends and fiestas €12,95; children €6.


Beach bar, Hurricane Hotel Tarifa Enjoying one of the finest locations on the Spanish Atlantic coast, the Hurricane Hotel rightly has a formidable reputation and regularly appears in British newspaper lists of the top ten getaway hotels of the world. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to experience its food and attractions, though. It has its own chiringuito which boasts one of the simplest (and finest) menus in the area. If you’re staying on the coast or, as we do, stop off en route from Málaga airport, lunch here is not just lunch – it’s a special event. The beach-bar is not on a beach. It commands spectacular view over the Straits of Gibraltar with its steady winds and grateful kitesurfers. Even in mid-summer this romantic setting is an oasis of greenery but it’s still a great place to sit out on warmer winter days; the atmosphere is of total relaxation, of people enjoying a shared experience. The food is excellent and costs are reduced by the self-service nature of the buffet. The

three-legged perro and Spanish sparrows also take a keen interest in your choice of food amid the multi-lingual chatter on the outside patio tables and the long benches in the large covered dining area. We chose the generous helping of pollo horno (you can have a half or quarter chicken, €7.50 or €6.00) with different varieties of salads, all of which are freshly made; staff will serve you exactly what you want from the beautifully presented salad counter. Our main courses, with an ice cream and a bottle of wine, came to €25 in total. Raciones of jamon, atún, pez espada (swordfish) and entrecote are also available, along with excellent home-made tarta de zanahorria (carrot cake) and tarta de chocolate. Freshly squeezed apple, orange and carrot juices are also popular. In a country so abundant with fruit and vegetables, at times it can be surprisingly difficult to satisfy the requirements of vegetarians, or even those of us who appreciate well cooked vegetables. This is not the case at the Hurricane Hotel, where the range and variety of ingredients and dishes within the salad bar are a delight. If you are a birdwatcher, you may be interested in visiting the local office of the Colectivo Ornithologico Ciguena Negra, which is virtually opposite the hotel entrance. They have lots of information about local birdwatching sites and the spectacular raptor migrations to Africa. (; Tel: 639 859 350). It’s worth phoning ahead, however, because the office hours are variable. DAVID MACGOWAN _____________________________________ The Hurricane Hotel is on the Vejer – Tarifa road (km 78, N340) close to La Torre campsite. The beach bar is open every day until 8pm, food available until 4pm. Tel: 956 684 919;

Mesón Cumbres Mayores Cádiz Just off Plaza de Mina in Cádiz, this old style venta, is always very busy. We had a couple of beers and a soft drink and five tapas between us. From a large variety my dad chose the berzas con garbanzos (stew with chick peas, beans and black pudding); it’s a favourite tapa of his as it reminds him of la cocina de la abuela, he says. My starter was a cool salmorejo (a thick gazpacho) made with tomatoes from Conil, and this made it the most expensive dish at €3. My second tapa was presa a la brasa, a small game fillet with roast potatoes and tomato, nicely grilled and very tender for only €1.80. My dad’s second round was chorizo criollo a la brasa, a long grilled sausage in a clay plate with roasted potatoes. It was a colourful explosion of flavours with a scent of cider and cost just €2.50. Finally, we sampled the secreto a la brasa, another grilled piece of pork, which was very tasty. The quick lunch took us less than half an hour and we left just as it was getting busier. Our bill was less than €15. Dad paid, so perfecto! RICARDO LUZ _____________________________________ Mesón Cumbres Mayores is at Calle Zorrilla, 4. Tel: 956 213 270. Open everyday for lunch and dinner. Specialises in Iberian meats

Spanish home cooking Pestiños INGREDIENTS 250g strong bread-making flour (harina de fuerza, not pastry or repostería flour) 250g normal flour 200g olive oil 50g aniseeds (matalauva) 50g licor de anís 30g sesame (ajonjolí) 100g white wine zest of lemon pinch of salt Almíbar: 300g honey and 50g water

The cook

METHOD • Mix the two types of flour in a bowl. Warm the olive oil in a pan and when hot, add the lemon zest and the aniseed. Fry for a moment, and then leave to cool. Strain the oil into the flour, and then keep mixing while adding the white wine, the licor de anís and a pinch of salt. You can also mix in some fried sesame seeds. • Mix the dough until it becomes thick and smooth and then leave it to rest for two minutes. Roll out the dough on a smooth surface until quite thin, then cut into

squares of around 5cm. You can also use a glass to cut out the shapes. Separate the squares, join up two of the opposite corners and fry in olive oil that isn’t too hot. The pestiños can then be placed in a bowl and covered in the almíbar. • To make the almíbar, mix the water and the honey in a pan heating over a flame until it’s well mixed together. Serve the pestiños on a plate. Decorate with hundreds and thousands if you like.

Encarnita (Nita) Summers was born in Cádiz where sweet pastries such as these pestiños are a typical part of Christmas fare. At the age of 19, she met an Englishman and within six months had married him and moved to England. A mother of three and grandmother to four, she returned to the Costa de la Luz to live when her son moved to Chiclana in 2001. She now lives in Chipiona where she works in property management


Lagarto Amarillo

Jean-Jacques Kantorow/ Orquesta Ciudad de Granada

Ainhoa Arteta

laluz guide towhat’son Compiled by Sofía López Chalmers

Holidays (Check locally for ferias and fiestas when services could be curtailed) NOVEMBER 1st Todos los Santos, or All Saints Day, is a national holiday DECEMBER 6th Constitution Day marks the day that the post-Franco constitution was approved by the people of Spain in a referendum in 1978 8th Inmaculada Concepción celebrates the Roman catholic dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary. Schools and some shops will take Fri 7th as a holiday as well, making a puente between the two holidays. 25th Christmas Day is a national holiday but bars and restaurants tend to open more on 25th than on Christmas Eve when families have their traditional meal at home in the evening

Classical Music NOVEMBER 2nd From our neighbouring country Portugal, composer Rodrigo Leâo comes to the Gran Teatro Falla in Cádiz, with music from his latest work ‘O mundo’. Starts at 9pm, ticket prices range from €9 to €18

Royal Conservatory of Manuel Falla de Cádiz in the theatre of the same name. 17th -28th The 5th festival of Spanish music in Cádiz is the meeting point for artists and composers celebrating Spanish music. 17th • Jean-Louis Cortès, piano, and Jeanne Cortès, violin take to the streets of Cádiz, 8pm. • Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Gran Teatro Falla, Cádiz 9pm. 18th • Julian Cerdan’s music band is playing at the Plaza Mina, Cádiz 1pm. • Virelay choir sing at Real Capilla de Nuestra Señora del Pópulo 12.30 pm. Free entry. • String group ‘A Tempo’ play at Cádiz Casino 6pm. Free entry. • Manuel de Falla orchestra play at the Oratorio de S. Felipe Neri 7pm. Free entry. • Jerez Álvarez Beigbeder Orchestra perform at the Salon Regio de la Diputación 8pm. Free entry. • The Camerata Instrumental del Gran Teatro Falla, will be playing there at 9 pm, tickets cost €12 19th The Orquesta Joven de Andalucía are performing at the Gran Teatro Falla. Invitations can be picked up at the delegacion de cultura in Cádiz. Starts at 9pm.

10th The Swedish chamber orchestra will be playing pieces by Larsson, Schumann and Beethoven at Teatro Villamarta, Jerez. Starts at 9pm.

20th • Organ player Adalberto Martínez Solaesa performs early baroq music at Iglesia de S. Lorenzo starts 7pm . Free entry. • Singer Esperanza Fernández and classical guitar player María Esther Guzmán join each other at El Palacio de los Congresos. 9pm. Tickets €12

16th Students from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow join the

21st • The Orquesta Joven presents ‘music and magic’ at the Salón de

Actos del Hospital Puerta del Mar, 6pm. • International piano player Uki Ovaskainen performs at Salón Regio de la Diputación Provincial de Cádiz, 7pm. Free entry. • The Malaga philharmonic orchestra plays at the Gran Teatro Falla, 9pm. Tickets €12 22nd • The Orquestra de Cordoba plays at at the Gran Teatro Falla, 9pm. Tickets €12 • Piano player and singer Laura Granados performs at El Centro Cultural la Canel 23rd • Hispanic medieval music is brought to you by the Schola Gregoriana Hispana. Free entrance at the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri 7pm. • The Baroq orchestra from Seville make their way down to Cádiz’s Gran Teatro Falla. 9pm, free entry. 24th • The Banda del Real Conservatorio Profesional Manuel de Falla de Cádiz presents street music (músicas de calle) at the Claustro de Santo Domingo. 12pm, free entry • The Andalusian Baroq Choir sing at the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen y Santa Teresa at 12 pm. Free entry The music workshop called TEM present Music and Images, Sala Central la Lechera 7pm. Free entry • The orchestra Cuidad de Granada play at the Gran Teatro Falla. 9pm, tickets €12 25th • Bands from Jerez, La Linea and Cádiz get together at La Plaza Mina. 12pm • The Orquestra de Cámara Andaluza play at the Palacio de los Congresos 7pm. Free entry • Contemporary music from the Manuel de Falla Orchestra at the Gran Teatro Falla. 9pm, tickets €12

26th Ara Malikian Ensemble are playing at the Palacio de los Congresos in Cádiz at 9pm. Tickets €12 27th • Women composers Inmaculada Ferro (Organ) and Pilar Jurado (soprano) perform at the San Francisco Church 7 pm and at the San Lorenzo Church 8 pm. Free entry. • Ainhoa Arteta (soprano) accompanied by piano player Rubén Fernández Aguirren. Palacio de los Congresos 9pm. Tickets €12 28th Isabel Villanueva playing the viola and Pedro José Rodríguez playing the piano perform at Salón Regio de la Diputación Provincial de Cádiz. Starts at 7pm. Free entry 30th • Sergio Faustino talks about the life of Franz Schubert and interprets some of his work at the Central Lechera (Cádiz). Tickets €7 • St Petersburg cello ensemble in concert at the Teatro Moderno, Chiclana. 10pm, tickets €10 DECEMBER 22nd The Gran Teatro Falla choir and band close the season with Handel’s most acclaimed work ‘The Messiah’. The entrance fee varies between €6 and €15. Starts at 9pm, Teatro Falla, Cádiz. 28th Falla’s very own choir and band sing typical Spanish and European Christmas songs. Teatro Moderno in Chiclana, tickets €6 30th • The Strauss Festival Orchestra celebrate the end of 2007 at the Pedro Muñoz Seca Theatre, Puerto Santa Maria. The concert starts at 8pm and ticket prices vary from €18 to €30


Dr Feelgood

Robert Glasper


Please confirm all events with venues or local tourist offices before setting out

• Another option to finish the year with is the New Year’s Eve concert held at the Real Teatro de las Cortes, San Fernando. Starts at 8pm and tickets range from €15 to €21

Pop & Rock NOVEMBER 2th - 4th Siblings Patricia, José and Pablo Mora from Madrid make up Lagarto Amarillo. They weave together pachanga, rumba and rock with bold and cheeky lyrics to create an original sound. You can catch them at Café Dadá Rota on the 2nd, the Fox Tavern in San Fernando on the 3rd at 11.30pm or at Barabass Cádiz on the 4th at 10pm. 10th A night dedicated to John Lennon with the tribute band Lennon. Hotel Utopía, Benalup 16th – 18th The innovative Folk Rock group Rhune from the Basque country are making their way down to the Fox Tavern in San Fernando (16th), to Café Dadá in Rota (17th ), both at 11pm. They’ll be at Barabass in Cádiz on the 18th at 10pm 17th • Dr Feelgood bring their distinctive brand of British R&B to the Teatro Moderno in Chiclana. The boys from Canvey Island, Essex are known for putting on a great live show. 10pm, tickets €12 • Latin music in 1930s surroundings with Chamito Candela at Hotel Utopia, Benalup 30th- 1st December Pirat’s sound system brings a cutting edge to Spanish music by merging rock, dancehall and reggae. Singing partly in Catalan the group manages to accentuate important political issues in a humourous way. You can find

them at Café Dadá, Rota or on the 1st at Café Odeon, San Fernando. DECEMBER 6th Rock from Will Johnson and John Vanderslice at the Pedro Muñoz Seca Theatre, Puerto de Santa María. 9.30pm, tickets €6 8th 80’s group Los Secretos have secured many thousands of fans with their unique brand of Spanish pop songs. They’re in concert at Gran Teatro Falla, Cádiz at 9pm. Entry between €9 and €18

Jazz & Swing NOVEMBER 9th A night of contemporary classical guitar and jazz fusion with Mori Alvarado, who has received much acclaim with his versions of Ralph Towner. Hotel Utopía, Benalup.

singers of this genre in Europe. Catch her at the Teatro Moderno in Chiclana at 10pm. Tickets €12 7th La Sonora Big Band let loose on their 10th anniversary. You can join them at the Gran Teatro Falla, Cádiz. Tickets between €6 and €15 8th El Puerto’s very own multitalented composer, singer and guitarrist Javier Rubial cleverly intertwines flamenco and jazz to create a fresh sound. Catch him at El Puerto’s Pedro Muñoz Seca Theatre at 9pm. Tickets between €10 and €15 14th- 16th Swing/polka group Pinha Orchestra bring back old tunes at Café Dadá Rota on the 14th at 1130pm, at Café Odeon in San Fernando on the 15th at midnight and at Cortijo El Cartero in El Palmar on the 16th at 6pm.

5th Ron Lalá fills the stage of the Gran Teatro Falla (Cádiz). It’s a humourous play that has been described as a mix between Monty Python and Les Luthiers, the comedymusical group from Argentina. Tickets between €6 and €15 28th Enjoy Flamenco Ballet at the Gran Teatro Falla (Cádiz) 9pm. Tickets €12 DECEMBER 7th The musical ‘Peter and the Wolf’ is being shown at Pedro Muñoz Seca Theatre in El Puerto Santa María. For kids and adults. Starts 9pm 7th -9th Benjamin Britten’s rousing and triumphant work, Noah’s Ark, is performed at Teatro Villamarta, Jerez. Suitable for children and adults, it’s a night at the opera for all the family. Performances at 6pm on 7th, and at 12pm and 6pm on 8th and 9th.

10th and 12th Kroke from Poland blend jazz, new age and gypsy sounds to make an unusual and definitely eastern type of music. See for yourself at the Gran Teatro Falla , Cádiz, 9 pm. Tickets between €9 and €18

27th A flamenco fusion with jazz, reggae and funk is brought to you by the Catalan group D’Callaos. Alcalde Felipe Benitez Theatre, Rota .Starts at 9pm

21th Performing at the Central Lechera (Cádiz) Robert Glasper is a 20something pianist originally from Houston who has gained experience and exposure in New York, he folds R&B and Jazz into one. Starts at 9pm.

Shows & Dance

13th-16th Fame, the well known musical, has landed at the Gran Teatro Falla in Cádiz. You can catch it on the 13th at 9pm, on the 14th and 15th at 6.30pm and 10.30pm or on the 16th at 5.30pm or 9.30pm. Tickets between €18 and €14

NOVEMBER 1st -3rd El Trovador, an adaptation from the Italian opera ‘Il Trovatore’ is a romantic drama showing at Teatro Villamarta, Jerez at 8.30pm on the 1st and at 8pm on the 3rd

18th Sure to be a hit with all those budding ballerinas, that most popular of ballets, The Nutcracker, comes to Teatro Villamarta in Jerez. Performed by the National Ballet of Belorussia. 9pm

23rd A night of contemporary classical guitar and jazz fusion with Mori Alvarado. Hotel Utopía, Benalup. DECEMBER 1st Anna María Jopek from Poland has revolutionised the roots of jazz and is one of the most celebrated

3rd The Aracaladanza company presents its award winning ‘Pequeños Paraisos’ (Little Heavens), that lights up the stage with dance and fantasy, creating a magical world for children and adults. Starts at 7pm in the Gran Teatro Falla, Cadiz.

Art & Exhibition NOVEMBER 7th La Guarida del Alma by Gema Cornijo demonstrates a profound study of human anatomy, on show at la Casa de la Juventud Jerez.


directory CLOSING DATE FOR ADVERTS ISSUE 22 (jan/feb): Mon 10th December 2007

Advertise in laluz call 655 047 054

CLOSING DATE FOR ADVERTS ISSUE 22 (jan/feb): Mon 10th December 2007

Advertise in laluz call 655 047 054

classifieds CLOSING DATE FOR ADVERTS ISSUE 22 (jan/feb): Mon 10th December 2007 Animal Welfare


Animal Welfare - Neuter, Adopt, Denounce Cruelty Animal Welfare – Neuter and Castrate Cats and Dogs 16,000 births of unwanted animals from one pair. Cats and Dogs can breed every 6 months. An average of 5 kittens and puppies each time. Stop the immense suffering of neglected, diseased, cruelly treated, abandoned and unloved animals. Cats and dogs can live for 20 or 15 years respectively. offers information and facts on how to care for cats and dogs, with a list of local vets and animal hospitals. Need transport! Contact Working together for the good of animals. Donations desperately needed for Trap and Neuter Campaigns of street cats and dogs. Volunteers and Drivers needed. Contact Thank you.

Chiropractic Health Care This natural approach to health is available in two centres locally offered by two American Chiropractors: • Juan Mora, D.C. Jerez Chiropractic Centre (Jerez) Tel. 856 05 68 09 • Donald Palmer, D.C. Centro Quiropráctico Palmer (El Pto de Santa Maria) 956 87 69 83

For sale Car Sale Silver Peugeot 206, diesel with 4 doors. Bought from new in the summer of 2001 and has had one lady owner. 118755 km on the clock. 3,850 euros ono. For more details call Kelly on: 650 16 26 96

Colorpuncture Would you like to try acupuncture but are afraid of needles? – In the Conil / Chiclana area, German naturopath (certified “Heilpraktiker”) offers a holistic therapy system that involves focusing of different light frequencies on the acupuncture points on the skin. A gentle, non-invasive and incredibly relaxing treatment that works at the very basis of many body functions. For more information call Gero 676 744 401 or visit Thai Massage A combination of soothing massage techniques, acupressure and applied stretching similar to yoga. This powerful bodywork works through the clothing. Many benefits include improved joint mobility, stretching muscles, increased energy levels, flexibility and tranquillity. Christine has 15 years experience and teaches to Diploma level. Tel 616 098 418

Yoga and Pilates Classes in small groups or one-to-one. Osteopathy and Therapeutic Massage with UK Registered Osteopath. Please call 636 381 071 for more information.

Sports Costaluz Tennis Club Come and join us! Sunday mornings in Nova Sancti Petri (11am - 1pm). Ladies, men’s and mixed doubles - all levels welcome. For further information contact: Suzanne 956 437414 or Kevin 956 451066 email:

Trade & Professional Services BBC, ITV, SKY Satellite Locally based, professional service with guarantee and after-installation support. Receive over 100 free English channels without any subscription. Best price + free advice. Relocation, realignments, antennas, cards, multirooms. Anytime callouts. Call Vivid Image: 956 448 001 or 636 761 506. Colourvision Colourvision Your local installer for all your satellite requirements. Full sky systems including sky plus fully installed. Freeview systems fully installed from only 369 euros. Viewing cards supplied and

activated. New Pace digibox only 289 euros. Sky plus box 345 euros.Dish kits supplied and fitted. Tel. 956494415 670892890. Get to grips with basic Spanish speaking and listening skills in 2-3 weeks. We offer 5-hour courses that cover all the Spanish required to get by on a daily basis. No nasty grammar; no abstract theory. Material to meet individual needs. For a free trial lesson call Nicholas Sharman at Trafalgar Language Centre, Vejer. Tel: 655 671 380 Personal interpreter English/Spanish. Need help going to the hospital, doctor, town hall, police station, trafico etc? Hourly rates, emergency call out service available. Call Lynda on 670892472 problem solved. Relaunch!! New look - new functions - new features. The rental and sales web site for the Costa de la Luz. Now in four languages to reach out to a wider audience. Do not miss out on our Free Ad offer, also on our sister page The ultimate site for the up and coming holiday-maker’s and investor’s paradise.

Pick up points Alcalá de los Gazules Antigua Fonda B/B Calle Sánchez Flores 4 Arcos de la Frontera Tourist Office Plaza del Cabildo, s/n Tel: 956 702 264 Café Ole Cerro de la Reina s/n Mesón de la Molinera Urbanización El Santiscal Barbate Tourist Office Avda José Antonio 23 Tel: 956 433 962 Bar La Galería Paseo Marítimo Hotel El Palomar de la Breña San Ambrosio km 4.5 Barbate-Los Caños de Meca Benalup-Casas Viejas Tourist Office C/ Paterna 4 Tel: 956 424 009

You will continue to find us in hotels, restaurants, bars and shops across the province, but the following places have agreed to be designated pick up points for the magazine, so there should always be plenty of copies here. Cádiz Junta de Andalucía Tourist Office Avda Ramón de Carranza Tel: 956 258 646 Tourist Office Paseo de Canalejas s/n Tel: 956 241 001 Active Language Plaza Libertad 4, 1st floor Chiclana de la Frontera Tourist Office Constitución s/n Tel: 956 400 101 Mail Boxes Etc Ctra. de La Barrosa C.C. Miramar, local 22 Cita Bar CC Aldea del Coto Local 28 Ctra. Nueva de la Barrosa Matrix Bar Avda de la Diputación 44 Nuevo Look Fashion La Vid, Edif. El Espinel, local 2 Costa Luz Homes Eroski Centre Lemon Tree restaurant Ctra de la Barrosa, Urb Soto del Aguila

Monopoly Apartaclub la Barrosa Ctra. de la Barrosa, Los Gallos Conil Tourist Office C/ Carretera 1. Tel: 956 440 501 Andaluz Homes C/ Toneleros 8 Grazalema Tourist Office Plaza de España 11 Tel: 956 132 225 Jerez de la Frontera Tourist Office Alameda Cristina Tel: 956 341 711/956 338 874 Mercers estate agents Calle Porvera 31 Tel: +34 956 329572 Medina Sidonia Tourist Office Plaza de la Iglesia Mayor, s/n Tel: 956 412 404 Andaluz Homes C/Hercules 2 Chelsea Academia Pza carretita s/n

Olvera Tourist Office Plaza de la Iglesia s/n Tel: 956 120 816 Olvera Properties Calle Maestro Amado 2 Bar Pepe Reyes/Tartan Bar Pza del Ayuntamiento 9 El Puerto de Santa María Chiropractor Centre Crta de Sanlúcar 6. Edificio Jardines de Sanlúcar 1 Rota Tourist Office C/ Cuna, 2. Palacio Municipal Castillo de Luna. Tel: 956 846 345 Sanlúcar de Barrameda Tourist Office C/ Calzada del Ejército s/n Tel: 956 366 110 Sotogrande C-International Abogados CN 340 s/n, Salida 130 CC Sotomarket

Tarifa Tourist Office Paseo de la Alameda s/n Tel: 956 680 993 DN-Law C/ San Trinidad 1 Bossa Cafe Puerta de Jerez Circus Bar C/ San Sebastian 8 Vejer de la Frontera Tourist Office Avda de los Remedios 2 Tel: 956 451 736 De La Luz Properties SL Los Remedios S/N Mercers estate agents C/ Pintor Morillo Ferrada, Urb La Noria Hotel El Califa Pza de España La Patría restaurant Patria 48, La Muela The English Bookshop C/ Juan Rellinque 45 Zahara de la Sierra Tourist Office Plaza Zahara 3


An exclusive offer for subscribers

We are pleased to announce that at our Christmas Ball we will be launching the new Laluz Club card. The card will be available to subscribers of the magazine and is designed to provide the member with exclusive discounts, special offers and even free gifts from businesses in the local area. At the launch we will be offering special incentives for people to join on the night. As well as receiving your favourite magazine to your door (or buzón!), the cash value of the savings available will run into hundreds of euros each issue. It’s too good an offer to miss. Anyone interested in knowing more about Laluz Club should e-mail or call 655 047 054. We welcome enquiries from both individuals and companies that are interested in contributing to the scheme.

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