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I N S G I G H T: Cork harvesting in Los Alcornocales and the threat of the new C H I P I O N A : A coastal town with a view makes fertile ground for a visit C O O K I N G C U LT U R E : A look back at some of those comfort foods lodged in our memory

T H E F R E E M A G A Z I N E F O R T H E C O S TA D E L A LU Z • J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 0 8

Making a splash



I N S G I G H T: Cork harvesting in Los Alcornocales and the threat of the new C H I P I O N A : A coastal town with a view makes fertile ground for a visit C O O K I N G C U LT U R E : A look back at some of those comfort foods lodged in our memory



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LETTERS Editor’s introduction and all your comments THOSE WERE THE DAYS Our trawl through the internet for anniversaries in July and August GOLF Details from the laluz golf day and a pro’s tip to help improve your game HEALTH Our new column looks at high blood pressure and how to beat it TOWN LIKE… Chipiona, with all its history and its devotion to two very different females, comes under the spotlight MADE IN… Another new feature, looking at some of the products created in Cádiz province and the people who make them INSIGHT We examine the ancient practice of harvesting cork in Los Alcornocales natural park and the threat posed by modern technology TAKE 5… Some welcome advice on what to do with the children during all those long, hot summer days DAY TRIPPER Watch the sun go down on a boat trip around Sancti Petri’s mythical isle or get the low-down on top-class jamón in the hills of Huelva WEEKENDER Portugal’s beautiful capital city is our destination; castles and cafes, monuments and trams, seafood and aquariums and much more

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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. Cover image: istock

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PROPERTY Navigate your way through the maze of red tape that comes with renovating an old property ASK THE EXPERTS Advice from those in the know WILD SIDE WALK… Take a wander through the natural paradise around La Patria hamlet in the shadow of Vejer GARDENING We look at two very different gardens and glean some valuable lessons along the way FILMS & BOOKS A modern classic of Spanish cinema and a poignant tale from the days of the Civil War READER’S RECOMMENDATION A laluz reader explains his affection for the forest which covers much of central Cádiz COOKING CULTURE Delve deep into your memory to recall those favourite comfort foods – we have! EATING OUT Three very different coastal eating experiences WHAT’S ON Where to go, what to see and when ADVERTISING DIRECTORY Local services, business and classified adverts NOTICEBOARD Your chance to get details of your event or association to all the laluz readers out there L A LU Z 3


Raise a glass to summer The sound of a cork being pulled from a bottle is like no other. It has probably marked all the big occasions of our lives – like weddings or christenings – but also evokes many an evening spent with good friends simply enjoying a glass of wine. Somehow the ‘snap’ of a screw cap just doesn’t have the same effect. This part of Spain has long been a major supplier of cork to the wine trade – after all, we have Europe’s biggest natural cork forest on our doorstep. In our main feature this issue, Yvonne Pardo discovers that it’s still harvested in Los Alcornocales the way as it has been for hundreds of years, and finds out why this age-old industry is now under threat from the simple screw cap. The Alcornocales, however, is much more than just a place where cork is harvested, and reader Chris Nichols passes on his favourite spots in Why I Love on p47. It’s a cool and shady alternative to the beach in the summer, and if you’re looking for other ideas, I for one will definitely be trying the sunset boat trip to the mythical island of Sancti Petri (p24). One of the most traditional ways to beat the heat is of course the fan – that essential Andalusian accessory. In a new series looking at local arts and crafts, we meet one Jerez artisan who uses intricate skills to create not just a working fan but a work of art. We’ve also got a new column on health, and plenty of other practical help and advice, including hints on restoring that crumbling old palacio or finca that you’ve fallen in love with. And laluz wouldn’t be laluz without lots of food – from the Pata Negra hams of Aracena to where to eat in Cádiz and Huelva provinces. All accompanied by a delicious glass of wine – from a cork stoppered bottle, of course.

Jenny Kean, Editor

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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

to prolonged cruelty and torture, man demeans not only the animal being tortured to death but far more himself, and those participating as spectators. I find it incomprehensible that Spain as a component state of the EU should be allowed to continue this barbarism: Romania, as a condition of accession to the EU, was required to change its method of slaughtering animals, especially pigs, for meat. Yet Spain is permitted, with impunity, to torture to death thousands of bulls every year and call it a “sport”. Only when they cease across the whole of Spain, not just in forward thinking Catalonia, can the country truly call itself a civilised, modern nation. Philip Hurst, by email BULLISH BEHAVIOUR I was dismayed when I picked up the May/June issue of laluz to see a major article on bullfighting. As I read the article, I was further disappointed to see that it was not merely a touristic justification of the practice, but in fact a glorification of what is - stripped of all the hubristic Spanish nonsense that your interviewee spouts - a barbaric, cruel, degrading and disgusting indulgence of the worst of machismo. You even trot out the old chestnut that for all their lives the bulls live in “idyllic” conditions, while admitting that “not all toros bravos enjoy the same happy fate [as Ferdinand]“. Contained in that slightly twee description is a spectacle of bloody, barbaric public torture that has no place in the European Union of the 21st Century. Aficionados of the practice claim, as your article does, that this is part of the “cultural heritage” of Spain, as if this justifies it. No doubt there was a time when the same could be said of the burning of witches, or female circumcision. The greatest absurdity is your interviewee’s claim that “at the moment of struggle [i.e. the torture that is being stabbed by a picador, a bandillero and finally a man] we see in the bull something of the best of ourselves”. Yet more hubris designed to deflect attention from the fact that by subjecting the animal

> Like it or not, bullfighting is a big part of the Spain that we have chosen to live in and we therefore felt it important to cover this topic in the magazine. Laluz has always tried to cross cultural barriers and our main feature is meant to provide an insight into an aspect of life here. I suspect that most of our readers will choose never to go to a bullfight, so this was an attempt to convey why for most Spaniards, it remains at the heart of their culture. As you point out, the article did reflect the fact that many – like yourself – simply see the custom as “little short of brutal torture”. We don’t have to agree with it, but it would be an omission if we failed to cover bullfighting in a magazine which purports to reflect the culture of the area in which we live. NEW USE FOR OLD OIL I was interested to see your article in Mar/April laluz about recycling used cooking oil in Ayamonte and it inspired me to find out if the same could be done in Chiclana, where we live. I was delighted to find out that used cooking oil can be taken to either of the recycling depots in town. These can be found at Urbisur, opposite the local police station (Tues-Sat 9am-10pm) and at Pelegatos Industrial Estate, between the Nave Municipal de Obras and the Parque de Bomberos (Mon to Sat, 9am-10pm). Thank you for prompting me to look into this and I hope you publish this so that

other Chiclana residents can take their used oil there too. Ecowarrior of Chiclana > Many thanks, Ecowarrior, for your contribution to helping the green cause in Chiclana! FLYING HIGH I read with interest the article entitled ‘Shop and Fly’ in the May/June issue of the magazine and it prompted me to pen a few lines which may be of interest to your readers. They may not be aware that tucked away on the Costa de la Luz is one of Europe’s finest airline pilot training schools, Flight Training Europe (FTE) based at Jerez airport. The college is the largest aviation training establishment in Spain, as well as one of the largest employers in the Jerez area. Most of its 50 instruction staff are from the UK, and whilst the 150 students are drawn from around a dozen different countries, all instruction is carried out in English. With a longstanding reputation for excellence, FTE supplies pilots for many airlines including British Airways, Flybe, Thomsonfly, Easyjet and Ryanair. The college is in the unique position of being the only one licensed to issue Joint Aviation Association (JAA) licenses both under the UK aviation authority, the CAA, and the Spanish DGAC. Bernie Brennan, Chief Ground Instructor, Flight Training Europe TRACKING DOWN MAPS With reference to your Walk in the Mar/Apr issue (p42), I thought your readers might like to know of a good shop in Jerez where they can buy detailed maps of countryside areas – either in person or online. Probably of most interest will be the 1:25000 or 1:50000 series, which approximate in scale to the most common UK ordnance survey maps. They also have 1:10000, geological, forestry, land use, relief and satellite views. Much of it is on CD as well as on paper. The shop is the Librería Agrícola in Calle Paul and the link to order online is: /web/ engine/seccion.asp?id_secc=5. Vincent Jenkins, Jerez

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Too true July 1958 Planning your holiday? There’s some excellent advice in the Diario de Cádiz based on the findings of leading, er, ‘bio-climatologists’. First, the paper says, consult your doctor about where would suit you best – after all, an office-bound functionary hasn’t got the same needs as a labourer. And, should you decide to go to the seaside: Avoid stomach chills and renal complaints by changing into dry swimmies as soon as you’re out of the water; don’t read on the beach – those reflected rays will damage your retina; don’t get out of the water and go for a wander in the sun – dry off first; keep those mozzies away by taking a 10ml dose of Vitamin B1 every day before you set out.

Too fat

Too fast July 1992

July 1958 Too fat and too old? European champions Real Madrid decide to take a chance and sign 31-year-old Hungarian footballing legend Ferenc Puskas. Ex-military man Puskas, known as the ‘Galloping Major’, has just spent a year in the footballing wilderness in Italy where no club would sign him because he’s too fat and too old. In his first season he scores four hat-tricks for Real. How times have changed. Italian clubs now have no problem with signing up fat, old players from Real Madrid. Just ask Ronaldo.

Too sad July 1992 Police reinforcements are brought in to control the 100,000 mourners as San Fernando buries its most famous son – José Monge Cruz, the flamenco singer known as ‘El Camarón de la Isla’.

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There’s a five minute ovation at the Olympic velodrome in Barcelona after 23-year-old Chiclana cyclist José Manuel Moreno Periñán (nicknamed ‘El Ratón’) wins gold in the one kilometre race – breaking an Olympic record that has stood since Mexico in 1968. Born in Amsterdam to Spanish immigrant parents, Moreno moved to Chiclana at the age of nine, then dropped out of school at 15 to pursue his dream of a career in cycling. Among those watching spellbound on the telly in Chiclana is nine-year-old José Alberto Benítez. Inspired, he gets serious about the sport. Sixteen years later and Benitez has just finished the gruelling Giro di Italia race, helping to bring home his Saunier team-mate Riccardo Ricco second in the overall placement.

Camarón was – and still is – the stuff of legend. Born into a gypsy family on the Isla (San Fernando), he began living from his voice at the age of eight, singing for pesetas at local inns and tram stops. As a teenager he was already a resident at a famous flamenco tablao in Madrid. Then came the records, the solo shows, the drugs…and a premature death from lung cancer at the age of 42. “He consumed his life the only way he knew how – in great, greedy and sometimes terrified gulps,” one tribute said. “His voice was the most anguished, the most desolate, and the most wounding in contemporary flamenco and one of the most special in all its history…we’re left with what might have been.” Sixteen years later, the legend lives on: you can see the Camarón look on every street corner; you can buy the 20-CD box set in your local record shop; you can rent the biopic at your local video shop; and you can hear his influence everywhere – from the latest flamenco pop sensation in the charts to the die-hard purists in the peñas.



Brolleys to the fore

Brian Tierney of Montenmedio Golf and Country Club offers some advice on the speed of a putt


If you don’t hit every putt solidly, your feel will constantly have to adjust to the vagaries of your stroke. However, once you can hit your putts solidly – something which can be learned – your focus needs to be on the speed of your putts. Think of it this way: the distance you putt the ball determines your percentage of possible makes.

Unseasonal rain didn’t deter the 34 golfers who contested the inaugural laluz golf competition – a joint event organised by laluz magazine and the European Golf Society of Cádiz run by Thomas IJland. The rain had already begun to fall by the time most of the players reached the venue at Arcos Gardens and caught the competitors by surprise: indeed there were plenty of people wearing shorts. Even a 20-minute delay for the buffet breakfast didn’t help matters: by the time the rescheduled start had come around the heavens had really opened. So with a stiff upper lip and buggies as protection the hardy men and women competitors set off to do battle with the elements and each other in the stableford format competition. Weather aside, the competition had been expertly arranged by Thomas IJland and Arcos Gardens was in tip top condition and Ashley Northridge’s staff were on hand to lend a guiding hand. The greens, as always at Arcos Gardens, proved to be tricky and left a number of very experienced golfers baffled. Back at the prize giving, with players showered and changed, the chef put on a great buffet lunch in the restaurant. Soon the weather had been forgotten… but not the greens! The day was hailed by all as a success thanks in no small part to Arcos Gardens and to Thomas for his determination to make the day happen. The next event will take place at Montenmedio near Vejer. TONY SUMMERS

Dave Pelz, the renowned short game specialist, made numerous tests with robots over the course of many years. One of those tests involved a machine which rolled a ball over a distance of 10ft (three metres). Of the balls that barely reached the hole, the machine made only about 50 per cent (never up, never in!).

DETAILS First Category: 1, Michael Ryan (handicap 16,3) 39pts; 2, Stewart Jones (8,6) 36; 3, Kenneth Ene-Henssen (10,7) 32. Second Category: 1, Sam Lister (20) 39; 2, Laura McGrath (36) 37; 3, Sean Fitzgerald (26.9) 36. Nearest the pin: Ron Orton; Longest drive: Chris Jameson

That percentage went up to about 90 per cent when the speed of the ball was increased so that the putt would roll 17ins (42cms) past the cup.

Winner Michael Ryan; Kenneth EneHenssen receives his trophy from laluz’s Tony Summers (centre) and Thomas IJland of the EGSC; Sam Lister won the second Category; In second place was Laura McGrath. Far left: Ron Orton picked up the prize for nearest the pin


DIRECTORS ON COURSE AT NOVO Novo Sancti Petri – the first Spanish golf course designed by Seve Ballesteros – played host to the first national championships for golf directors and managers. Heading the roll of honour was Rod Bastard of Marbella Golf, followed by Carlos Roca of Costa Ballena and the president of the Asociación de Profesionales de Golf de España. In third place was Ildefonso Esquivel, the new director of Golf Melía Sancti Petri. The scratch winners and national champions were Jacobo Cestino of La Zagaleta and Rod Bastard of Marbella Golf, both with 76 strokes.

Enjoy special offers and discounts by joining the European Golf Society of Cádiz.

For more information call 618 917 260 or visit or turn to p.46 to qualify for your 15% joining discount as a laluz club card holder.

Now if you can’t consistently make these putts back, you really do need to take a lesson in putting. The conclusion is obvious: Putts need a little pace on them to hold the ball on line. If you ‘die’ a ball at the hole, it will be moving slowly and be more susceptible to any imperfections in the green. Granted there are times when you’ll need to play more defensively and lag a putt depending on the given situation, but any putt that is within 10-12ft (3-3.6m) on a relatively flat surface – that’s what’s called an opportunity.




The heart is a pump designed to force blood through the arteries by generating pressure. Put simply, high blood pressure puts a strain on the arteries and on the heart itself. This can cause an artery to rupture or the heart to fail under the strain – in the worst case stopping altogether. Blood pressure depends on a combination of two factors: how forcefully the heart pumps blood around the body, and how narrowed or relaxed your arteries are. Hypertension occurs when blood is forced through the arteries at an increased pressure. What is classed as high blood pressure? A typical normal blood pressure reading would be 120/80 mmHg. The first of these figures is called the systolic blood pressure, and the second figure is the diastolic pressure. There is a natural tendency for blood pressure to rise with age due to the reduced elasticity of the arterial system. Age is therefore one of the factors that needs to be taken into account in deciding whether a person’s blood pressure is too high. In general terms, people with a systolic blood pressure consistently above 160mmHg and/or a diastolic pressure over 100mmHg need treatment to lower their blood pressure. People with slightly lower blood pressures (140-159mmHg systolic or 90-99mmHg diastolic) may also need

Knowledge IS POWER Evaristo Fernández of the Centro Médico in Chiclana explains different levels of health cover in Spain and what (and what not) to expect Having got yourself into the system one way or another (see laluz 23), what’s likely to happen when you walk through the door of your care centre? You will find it a different

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treatment if they have a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as suffering a stroke or angina (chest pains). What are the symptoms? One of the big problems with high blood pressure is that it hardly ever causes symptoms. This means it may go unnoticed until it causes later complications such as a stroke or heart attack. Despite the popularity of such ideas, nosebleeds and ruddy complexions are hardly ever caused by high blood pressure. Severe hypertension can cause symptoms such as headache, sleepiness, confusion or coma. What complications are caused by high blood pressure? • Atherosclerosis - a narrowing of the arteries • Stroke – a haemorrhage or blood clot in the brain • Aneurysm – a dangerous expansion of the main artery either in the chest or the abdomen, which becomes weakened and may rupture: • Heart attack or heart failure • Kidney failure • Eye damage What causes hypertension? Anyone can suffer from high blood pressure, but certain factors can seriously aggravate hypertension and increase the risk of complications. These are:

experience from what you might be used to back home. Don’t assume your name will be called when it’s your turn to see the doctor or specialist. “¿Quien es el último?” is an essential phrase for finding out who’s before you in the queue. Be prepared with notes and questions in Spanish. You must explain your symptoms properly, it is your responsibility to communicate your concerns. Don’t expect questions to be asked of you or for

• A tendency in the family to suffer hypertension • Obesity • Smoking • Diabetes Type 1 or Type 2 • Kidney diseases • High alcohol intake • Excessive salt intake • Lack of exercise • Certain medicines, such as steroids What can I do? Every adult near or past middle age should ‘know their numbers’- ie your height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You should also have regular blood pressure tests if there is a family tendency for hypertension. Change your lifestyle – for example, stop smoking, lose weight, exercise regularly, cut down on alcohol and eat a varied diet. Try to reduce stress. If your blood pressure requires medical treatment, you will probably have to take medicine on a regular basis. If so, never stop taking it without consulting your doctor, even if you feel fine. Hypertension can lead to serious complications if left untreated. GLOSSARY • Blood pressure • Hypertension • Headache • Sleepiness • Heart attack • Stroke

anything to happen automatically. Do not assume any clinic will take a proactive approach to your health care. You need to know exactly what you want and even be prepared to find the doctors and specialists you need. I can help with this. If something hurts, tell the doctor. Don’t try to keep a stiff upper lip. Pain helps tell you what’s wrong. Semi-private clinics like the Centro Médico can be a good top-

Presión arterial Hipertensión Dolor de cabeza Adormecimiento Infarto Derrame cerebral

up or middle way. They shouldn’t be used as the principle provider unless there is no other alternative. But for as little as €30 every two months for those living in Chiclana (€18 for those outside), your entire household can get free access to a doctor 24 hours a day plus reduced costs for tests, X-rays and seeing a specialist. Centro Médico, Chiclana. Tel: 956 533 333.



Bar Paquito is something of an institution in Chipiona. It’s been serving pulpo, calamares and any other seafood you care to think of for 60 years, and it’s where the chipioneros meet for a glass of the local moscatel and a tapa. They’re a proud lot, keen to extol the virtues of their home town and its abundance of products. “We’ve got the best fish, the best tomatoes, the best moscatel – todo lo mejor del mundo,” they tell me with feeling. Indeed, while Chipiona remains a well kept secret among sevillanos who take over in the summer, few people are probably aware that this town has plenty to boast about. It’s got the tallest lighthouse in Spain, its carnations are exported all over the world and its spa waters and seaweed treatments are renowned for their health giving properties. But looking around the walls of Bar Paquito, it’s clear that it was a woman who really put Chipiona on the map. And it wasn’t the town’s Virgen de la Regla, even though she is one of only a few black Madonnas in Spain and is affectionately known as la morenita. Here, she takes second place to Chipiona’s most loved daughter, Rocío Jurado – one of Spain’s greatest modern-day singers. When she died two years ago at the age of 61, tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Chipiona for her funeral cortege. Known to her many fans simply as la más grande, she was glamorous and adored throughout Spain for her blend of flamenco, folk and romantic ballads. She was fiercely proud of her home town and the feeling is still returned in full. The huge bronze statue near the port, and of course the many photos on Bar Paquito’s walls, bear witness to the fact that here she will never be forgotten. Today, Chipiona is a thoroughly Spanish seaside town – quiet in the winter months and full to bursting in the summer, when it becomes second home to holidaymakers from Seville who come to enjoy the miles of sandy beaches and facilities ranging from golf to windsurfing and sailing. But its roots also lie in the land, going back to the people of the Tartessus civilisation who farmed the rich land at the mouth of the Guadalquivir several hundred years before Christ. As well as farming, these peoples also mined for copper and other minerals, attracting traders who arrived from the Mediterranean by sea to buy their goods. It was through ports like Chipiona that the Phoenicians and later the Romans came, the latter even building a tower in 140ad that was the precursor to the modern-day lighthouse. It was the start of Chipiona’s rich association between land and sea. The action of the Gualdalquivir and Guadelete rivers created a fertile plain where today cut flowers and market garden produce are grown for export to Europe and beyond. The special blend of clay and sand has also produced the grape from which moscatel is made.

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The sea, too, provides an abundant harvest. Chipiona is renowned for its shrimps, its huge claw crabs and its lobsters, many of them caught in an ancient and virtually unique system of traps only found here and in Rota and Sanlúcar. These are the corrales, thought to date back to Roman times; stone walls stretch out to sea from the coast in a semicircular shape, so that when the tide goes out, the animals are trapped within the walls and can be caught by men wading on foot through the shallow waters. It’s a traditional method of harvesting the fruits of the sea that has been handed down through the generations. With agriculture and fishing both thriving in this area, it’s no surprise that Chipiona is known for its gastronomy. But for the visitor interested in more than just food and drink and even great beaches, Chipiona has much to offer. For those brave enough to climb the 344 steps, the view from the top of the lighthouse will make the effort well worthwhile. At 69 metres above the ground, this is the fifth tallest lighthouse in the world and casts its light the same distance vertically as it does horizontally, acting as a guide to planes as well as boats. Nearby, the old castle stands right on the sea walls and in its time has been used both as a prison and a hotel. Currently undergoing restoration, its newest incarnation will be as a visitor centre exploring the historical links between Cádiz and the New World. Further along the promenade stands the huge gothic-style Santuario de Regla, rebuilt by public donations in 1904 and the home of that famous statue of the Black Virgin. She is believed to have been brought to Chipiona by sea from Africa around 300 years after the birth of Christ, and during the Moors’ occupation of Spain was hidden in a well beneath a fig tree. There she stayed for some 600 years, until a priest who was travelling through the peninsula in 1330 sat down to rest under the tree and had a vision telling him that the statue was hidden nearby. Today the Virgin is honoured in one of the province’s most important romerías, which takes place in June. The first procession took place in 1588 and was organised by the Duchess of Medina Sidonia to ensure the success of the Armada led by her husband. Fortunately for the British, on that occasion the Virgin’s powers failed. Summer is the time when Chipiona parties – in July, the town celebrates the fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, the patron saint of sailors, and in August, it dedicates several days to enjoying the fruits of the earth in the fiesta del moscatel. One final party to mention falls on All Saints Day on November 1st. Like many places in southwest Andalucía, Chipiona was affected by the catastrophic earthquake which struck Lisbon in 1755. As huge waves of sea water flooded into the town, the people gathered in a procession behind one of their religious statues. Legend has it that as they approached, the waters retreated, and so the Cristo de las Misericordias is now brought out every year in thanks. The chipioneros would say that in their town, miracles really do happen.

Clockwise from left: The corrales are an ancient system of harvesting the fruits of the sea, including erizos, or sea urchins (above); A pretty street leading to the Plaza Juan Carlos I; Chipiona is famed for its miles of sandy beaches; The gothic-style Santuario de Regla dominates the seafront; Singer Rocío Jurado, was Chipiona’s most famous and best loved daughter

What to do & see Bar Paquito Famed for its seafood and fish, this is a great place for people-watching on Calle Isaac Peral, the main pedestrian thoroughfare Bodega El Castellito Drop into this high-ceilinged, bustling bar to sample the full range of moscatel with thick slices of chorizo and cheese. Right by the castle at the beach end of Calle Castillo Restaurante Peña Top quality fish and meat in one of Chipiona’s best. On the Paseo Costa de la Luz


Peña El Chusco Tucked away on Calle Padre Lechundi 13, this peña is attached to an exhibition space with paintings on view. Delicious tapas such as rollitos de calabacín and raya en pimentón The lighthouse can be visited Tues-Fri 6pm-8pm (July/Aug), Tues & Thurs 6pm-8pm (May, Jun and Sept), Thurs 4pm-6pm (April & Oct). Tickets €5 from the tourism office on Plaza Juan Carlos I. Tel: 956 377 263 or email Contact the tourist office for visits to the corrales

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In the heart of Jerez’s gypsy quarter, behind the high bodega-yellow walls of a converted barrel-maker’s workshop, lies Manualideas – studio, handicraft school and creative brainchild of artist Meme Narbona. It is here that one of the most traditional of Spanish crafts is being given new life, invigorated by the energy and sensuality of flamenco: abaniquería, the art of making and restoring fans. Meme was been raised in Jerez, where the fan is still an essential accessory, and wanted to learn more about this emblematic Andalusian article. “I feel the spirit of flamenco is very much alive in me; I can’t sing, dance or even clap to the beat but I can express myself through art,” she says. Her career began when she left the Jerez School of Art in 1987, having specialised in ceramic art. After some teaching experience,

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she took a course in abaniqueria at the Cadiz School of Art then began making fans which were shown in exhibitions in Cádiz and Madrid. A key moment in her career came in 1998 when she attended a business development fair for women in Madrid; interviews on national and local television came out of the event and Meme became known as an expert in the art, and began to be consulted about restoring antique fans in a number of important private collections in Spain. “But much as I enjoy the challenge of restoration, for me the creation of original art is more fulfilling,” she says. Meme’s work is painstaking and she suspects that her clients do not realise the amount of time she spends on each of these delicate accessories – some 70 or 80 hours on the most intricate. Historically the sticks and ribs (that part of the stick which supports the fabric) of a fan can be made from a variety of material, including nacre, ivory, bamboo or bone. But those made by Meme begin life as unprepossessing, plain wood – generally pear wood which she cuts to size and form. “The basic structure of a fan is like a skeleton to which I then attach the muscles,” she explains. She adds the fabric (usually silk or batiste cotton) upon which

she paints as inspiration takes her; she is currently working on a range inspired by the seas of the Costa de la Luz. If you have something special in mind – perhaps a fan in the same fabric as your feria costume or a nacre and lace confection for a wedding, Meme can design to your specifications. One thing is certain – not one of the elaborate fans that leaves Meme’s workshop has the semi-circular shape we are used to seeing; hers are frilled and coloured like the skirt of a sevillana dress or winged and tailed like a bird of paradise, spangled with sequins, or painted with pastels. No two are the same. These fans are colourful, witty and are playing a part in restoring the feminine and sexy tradition so beloved of the Andaluz women. Besides making fans, Meme is dedicated to spreading the skills she herself excels at, and runs a craft school in the light, airy classroom at Manualideas. From behind a counter, Meme sells all the practical equipment needed to create a lifestyle as vibrant as her own. And the beauty of the school is that anyone, however doubtful of their own ability, can turn up and receive personal tuition. In the high-ceilinged workshop, for instance, there are some 6,000 different moulds – plates, cups, vases, jugs and


ornaments made of unfired clay. The student learns how to smooth and refine the object in preparation for painting with an assortment of glazes and paints. Each one has its own finish and Meme instructs in its application and the preferred paint effect. Your very own work of art is then placed in the kiln, fired and ready for collection a few days later. Meme also has students painting glass, making bead costume-jewellery, decorating tiles using adapted Moorish techniques and creating traditional Andaluz tortoiseshell accessories (which are made with a realistic but fake material, not the real thing). Artisans like Meme have recently been given a boost by the opening of Zoco de Artesanos, the first such handicrafts emporium of its kind in Jerez. More than 20 units are housed in a restored palacio and Meme’s mother, Toty (herself a trained ceramicist), helps run their shop on the first floor. That leaves Meme time to do what she likes best – making original handicrafts ranging from jewellery to ceramics and of course her fans. “First and foremost, I consider myself an artist,” she says, “and I want to go on creating.”

Manualideas is at C/ Cantateria 12, Jerez. Tues, Wed, Fri 10am-1pm; Mon, Wed, Fri 5pm–8pm. Tel: 956 184 415. Zoco de Artesanos is in Plaza Peones, just behind the Policía Nacional in Jerez. Mon-Fri 10am –2pm & 5pm–8pm; also Sat mornings.

Meme Narbona (far left) with a selection of her fans, inspired by flamenco traditions and the Costa de la Luz


I N S I G H T: C O R K


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I N S I G H T: C O R K


pain is one of the biggest cork growing nations in the world, and Los Alcornocales natural park – bang in the middle of Cádiz province – is home to the largest cork oak forest on the Iberian peninsula. More than 170,000 hectares of trees lie within the bounds of the park, which stretches from Los Barrios almost to Ubrique. The cork tree can flourish in few climates as appropriate as the conditions existing along the eastern and western coast of Spain and the extensive woods of the Alcornocales (the name itself means cork oak groves) have grown naturally for hundreds of years without the intervention of herbicides, fertilisers and irrigation. With its own micro-climate, ecosystem and immeasurable ecological value, the park is often referred to as the Mediterranean rain forest.. Every morning during the summer months, Juan Rojas and his specialised team of cork farmers drive into the heart of the forest to begin work on the thousands of trees due for harvesting. Although much has changed in the 50 years since his father first took him up the mountain to help with the harvest, the age-old hand stripping and collection methods are exactly the same. Juan Rojas still uses a special curved axe to cut into the thickness of the bark and breaks off the spongy layer of cork by hand so as to be sure not to cause the tree any damage. The timing of cork extraction is a precise procedure and it is during the late spring and summer months that cork can be broken away most easily from its trunk. Each tree is only harvested every nine years, a cycle that doesn’t interfere with the healthy growth of the tree and ensures that it reaches its expected lifespan of over 200 years. For hundreds of years cork has provided a highly profitable and advantageous industry for local farmers and land-owners in

Andalucía. Used in flooring, bulletin boards, fishing rod handles and insulating products, cork has many commercial uses which have ensured the forests are maintained to the highest standards. Cork farmers like Juan Rojas have devised methods of sectioning the forest into different areas in order to be able to manage the sheer volume of cork produced every year. Yet the main reason for the forest’s exploitation is due to the crucial role cork plays within the wine industry. Cork’s naturally compressible and elastic structure has proved highly effective for sealing bottles of character infused wine for 30 years – at times much longer. In his much lauded book on the metaphysics of winemaking, the wine critic John Goode writes that as far as wine storing is concerned, “cork is a gift from nature”. Winemaking is about capturing and preserving all the various elements of the wine, from the intensity of the grape to the subtlety of the season it was harvested in. The aim of bottling is to preserve all these different characteristics at the same time as allowing them to develop and mature appropriately. And so the seal of the bottle has a huge responsibility to ensure that the wine poured into your glass is not only as good as when it first went in, but even better. For the last 150 years the alcornocal has provided wineries all over the world with a highly reliable, ecologically sustainable, organic seal to preserve even the most vintage grape. At the turn of the 20th century, 85 per cent of the area’s produce was being used solely for the purpose of wine preservation. Yet this fruitful and reciprocal relationship appears to be waning. Over the last 10 years a series of alternative bottle stoppers have appeared on the market, namely the plastic stopper (a silicone imitation of cork) and the screw-cap. These synthetic

Cork is still cut by hand in Los Alcornocales, with each tree only harvested every nine to 12 years

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alternatives have both proved highly popular with wineries looking to find a more convenient and cheaper substitute for their bottles of wine. The problem is that as a natural product, cork is variable and often proves unpredictable: Not only can it crumble, break and at times leak, it has one very serious flaw – bad cork can very quickly turn that fine 1990 Burgundy you have been saving into a musty-smelling, cardboard tasting liquid. This corked, or ‘tainted’ effect as experts like to call it, is predominantly due to a contaminant harboured by cork known as 2,4,6 trichloroanisole, TCA for short. Humans are so sensitive to TCA that even at an incredibly low dose it can, and does, spoil a

percentage of screw cap and synthetically corked bottles available is still low at about 8 per cent.” he says, “I expect this will rise quite significantly over the next couple of years, possibly even as high as 30 per cent.” He names the entrepreneurial vintner Vicente Taberner’s recent Barbarossa wine as an example of the screw-cap’s increasing popularity. “This is an imaginative rosé wine grown locally in Arcos de La Frontera which has been widely received and praised despite being bottled with a screw cap.” So has the introduction of the plastic cork already affected the global demand for cork? Cork farmers have long complained about the volatility of the price of their product, which tends to

‘The global use of cork as a stopper has a huge environmental advantage, and also plays a crucial role in the local rural economy’ vary from year to year. However, last year local farmers in the Los Barrios area reported a much more significant decrease in the demand for high quality cork. This year they are expecting a similar predicament. During a two week harvest, a five-man team can expect to yield up to12 quintales (an old Spanish unit of measurement that is still applied to cork; one quintal is approximately 46 kgs). Ten years ago cork farmers could charge buyers up to €80 per quintal but last year the price offered was not even half this. José Ordonez, a cork harvester on a private farm near Alcalá de los Gazules, says more than 70 per cent of last summer’s cork harvest is still lying on the floor of the forest waiting to be sold for the right price. Some farmers have refused even to farm their cork, preferring to leave it on the trees and avoid any risk of damage.


perfectly good wine. Some vineyards report an incidence of one in 10 corked bottles of wine which, when you consider that the cost of a cork can be as high as €1, can result in a significant profit loss. For New World wineries in Australia, New Zealand and South American, the screw-cap alternative in particular is an extremely popular choice, especially for their younger wines. For years these wine producing countries have suffered high export prices of cork from Spain and Portugal. Convenient, easy to reseal and (at €0.20 per stopper), the screw cap has become a lot more economically attractive than cork. Even Spanish wine merchants known for their traditional taste are beginning to look upon the screw cap as a viable alternative. Louis Ruiz, of Aponiente restaurant in El Puerto de Santa María, says there is an increased presence of synthetically bottled wine on the market, including wine from local vineyards. “Although the

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I N S I G H T: C O R K

According to the harvesting experts, the problem is not only the decline in price, but the rise in the cost of harvesting. Cork production is a long and arduous process and it is becoming harder to find the experienced and specialised farmers able to carry out the traditional extraction method. Not only does the forest have to be cleared in order to reach the less accessible trees, but once stripped it must be collected, transported to a holding area where it is put through a rigorous selection process, weighed, boiled until flattened, made into square bales and finally transported to the major cork manufacturers either in the north of Spain or Portugal. Few farmers are willing to carry out such challenging work and some even speak of it becoming a dying profession. So what is being done to ensure the livelihood of cork farmers in Andalucía that appears to be under such a threat? According to a spokesperson from the region’s environment agency there has been no government intervention since the price of cork dropped. The European Union has provided subsidies for the maintenance of the forests, as well as the roads to and from the park, but there are no immediate plans to compensate the losses endured by land owners in the province who are seeing the value of their cork fall significantly. Yet there have been several projects launched recently by environmental bodies looking to increase public awareness of the plight of the cork industry. One of these is the project entitled Valorización de la Producción Corchera de Andalucía (VPCA). Set up under the EU-funded ‘Leader Plus’ programme, it is dedicated to raising public awareness on the direct relationship between ecology and cork production in Andalucía.

Falling demand from the wine industry has left piles of cork uncollected in the Alcornocales

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A LENGTHY PROCESS Typically virgin cork is not removed from the saplings until the 25th year of growth, and then requires a further nine to 12-year cycle before it can be extracted from the bark. This means that it can take up to 40 years for a cork tree to reach its optimum health; a factor taken extremely seriously by the hundreds of forests guards employed by the Junta de Andalucía to oversee the careful harvesting of the cork trees every summer in Los Alcornocales natural park. Moreover, the climate, the amount of rainfall and the levels of humidity play a critical factor in the reproductive health of the tree and the guards have been known to delay or halt the stripping season if the conditions are not favourable for optimum quality cork.

For the more environmentally conscious of us, cork appears the intelligent choice. Yet for those who have not been informed about the serious repercussions the agrarian population face if the demand for cork continues to wane, the decision may not be so clear. María del Carmen Jiménez, of VPCA, explains: “Our purpose is to promote the use of cork stoppers not only in Spain, but throughout all wine-producing countries. It is imperative that people are made aware how the global use of cork as a stopper in bottles of wine and champagne not only has a huge environmental advantage, but also plays a crucial role in the local rural economy. “We have looked and analysed the factors that are threatening the cork sector here in Andalucía and we are trying to disseminate the correct information to the public through a series of campaigns, documentaries and newspaper articles.” They are also determined to dispel any myths that point to faulty cork being solely responsible for tainted wine. Wine producers in the past have claimed that the demand for cork over the last 30 years has been too high, and one that Spanish cork farmers could not meet. In order to compensate for its inferiority, they have accused farmers of harvesting their trees prematurely and treating the cork with chlorine and silicone to compensate for its inferiority. But this is not necessarily so simple. Although even the most minute levels of TCA can de detected by highly sophisticated palates, there is still no bench-marking baseline to establish what levels of TCA constitute a tainted wine. Not only is there a discrepancy between the levels detected by cork manufacturers and those traced by wine producers, but studies have pointed to evidence of TCA in wine barrels even before the bottling procedure has taken place.

The introduction of a cork ‘competitor’ has forced manufactures to take quality control much more seriously. Farmers have been advised to shape up their production line and work harder to introduce techniques that minimise the incidence of TCA taints in their product. One of the largest Portuguese manufacturers, Cabral, has recently devised a way of using steam to reduce TCA levels in their Amorim corks. Just how far plastic stoppers can overtake the cork depends ultimately on consumer acceptance. For wine aesthetes and connoisseurs, there still exists a huge element of mistrust of anything other than the traditional and familiar cork. Georgina Jelf is senior wine seller for British wine merchants Justerini and Brooks, who supply wine for royal cellars. “Consumers perceive natural corks as a means of allowing enough oxygen exchange to facilitate the ageing process,” she says. In fact many of her clients have ceased buying several of their favourite wines because they are now bottled with a screwcap. “As far as I see, corked wine is both a natural product and part of the life of wine. Wine is a living, breathing thing, and when you begin tampering with it and trying to make it perfect 10 times out of 10, then you start to alter the wine itself.” So next time you’re pondering which bottle of wine to buy, it’s worth remembering that your choice could have much wider implications than just which method of opening you go for. As farmer Juan Rojas explains, the demise of cork stoppers would not only affect a centuries-old economy, but also the forests we so appreciate and love. “The reason the park is so well looked after is because cork trees have a commercial value. If this changes, then so will the forests.” For more information on the cork campaign see

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TA K E 5 … K I D S AC T I V I T I E S






La Barrosa, Chiclana

El Puerto de Santa María

Jerez de la Frontera

El Puerto de Santa María

We are blessed with some beautiful beaches along the Costa de la Luz but vast expanses of sand are not always child-friendly. My personal pick is the Primera Pista at La Barrosa in Chiclana de la Frontera which suits my needs as a parent of two children under five. You can park close by (without arriving at 6am), easily get a pushchair onto the sand, soak up some rays while the little ones climb all over the playground equipment or observe their beach activities from (not too) afar at the many beachside cafes. And if that isn’t enough distraction, they may even build a sand castle or two.

One of the town’s main summer attractions draws big crowds from June to September. It offers all that is wet, wild and wacky in waterslides from the Black Hole, with its 100 metres of descent in darkness at breakneck speed, to riding the waves on Surf Beach. Remember, when descending always cross your arms on top of your chest (like a pharaoh), never behind your head; you can hurt your arms badly against the side of the slides.

Now in its 55th year Jerez’s zoo is still a good place to take children. It’s a good size with enough animals to keep kids interested including an elephant, tigers, lions, hippos, giraffes monkeys and crocodiles. In the summer it can get hot, so the animals seek shade, sleeping part of the day. Go early to see them at their best and catch them being fed breakfast.

If you prefer to escape the sun altogether then Kanguri Park, an indoor soft-play centre, is a good option. It caters for children from 2-12 (or up to 1.5m tall) and has two sections – one for smaller kids with a ball pond, slide and various other toys and a slightly more adventurous area with several levels for older ones. The good thing about Kanguri Park is you can stay in the complex at a nearby café, keeping an eye on the little ones. You can also leave them in the capable hands of the assistants for some retail therapy - Kanguri Park is in the basement of El Paseo shopping centre.

Zahara de los Atúnes Other good beaches include Zahara de los Atúnes where you can hire structured tents and sunbeds for a morning or afternoon – perfect for a bit of shade and protection from any wind. Watch out for the waves here. Tents and beds in Zahara cost around €6 an hour

For younger children there is Mini Park, an area set aside with more sedate slides and other water activities. Remember that hiring your floats and boats is extra and pretty much essential to enjoying the rides. Look out for special discount coupons in cafes and bars around the province at this time of year. There are also good pre-booking deals online. July & Aug 11-7pm, Sept 11-6pm; Adults €18,50 Children 4-12 €13,50. Tel: 902 114 995 bahiadecadiz

There’s plenty to do besides animal-watching with a café, two bouncy castles and play area and a toy train that tours the zoo. In high summer water sprays keep you cool as you stroll around and there is plenty of shade from flora and fauna. Parking can be tricky, another reason to go earlier in the day. Calle Taxdirt s/n, Jerez de la Frontera. July & Aug 10am-8pm. Adults €9, Children 3-13 €6 Tel: 956 149 785

Another good soft play is in Jerez. Park y Play is near the Carrefour Norte shopping centre and also has a good café and area where parents can sit near to the activity. CC El Paseo, Ctra. N-IV km653, El Puerto de Santa María. Mon-Thur 5-9pm 9.30pm Fridays); Sat: 11am-3pm & 5pm10pm. Tel: 956 543 074 Park y play Tel: 680 401 800

GIBRALTAR WILDLIFE As symbolic as the rock itself, Gibraltar’s apes (actually correctly Barbary Macaques) merit a day out on their own. The viewing and interacting point is on the Rock itself – travel up by cable car, organised tour or walk. Feeding the apes is illegal but they will often take matters into their own hands so hang on to those valuables and especially any snacks. Elsewhere on the Rock walking trails will bring you into contact with the varied birdlife. Back down in the Botanical Gardens at the foot of the cable car there is plenty of lush flora and the odd small scurrying mammal. For something bigger and altogether more exciting head down to the marina for a boat trip round Algeciras Bay which will bring you into contact with some of the friendly schools of dolphins. Dolphin Safari, Marina Bay, Gibraltar, Daily excursions, Adults £20/€35, Under-12 £15/€25 Tel: 00 350 71914

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CHICLANA DE LA FRONTERA The island of Sancti Petri is the stuff of myths and legend – quite literally. Standing guard over the entrance to the Straits of Gibraltar for centuries, it’s said to be the final resting place of Hercules. But that’s not all; it is also famous for its sunsets, and to be on the deck of a boat watching the sun sink into the sea behind this special island is sheer magic. The old fishing port at Sancti Petri – set on a peaceful inlet at the edge of the Bay of Cádiz Natural Park – is the departure point for the boat tour. Now a thriving recreational marina, it is home to a sailing school, a boat club with delicious home cooking and several water sport businesses offering kite and wind surfing, kayaking, jet skiing, scuba diving and leisure cruising. Cruceros offer lunchtime and sunset cruises around the area and it is a most enjoyable way to while away an hour on the water. Yachts and motor boats bob at anchor while sea birds compete with enthusiastic line fishermen for their dinner. The banks are lined with natural marsh and disused salt pans currently used for the organic farming of clams, dorado, sea bass and sole. The remnants of a 17th century fort add to its charm, as do the wide sandy beaches at the mouth of the inlet. But standing just off shore is the mythical Isla de Sancti Petri itself. The Phoenicians built a Temple to Hercules here and legend has it that he is buried on the island. Scuba divers regularly visit the original wall of the temple and traces of the causeway that linked the temple to Cádiz still exist. A place of pilgrimage, it was one of the most important sanctuaries of the ancient world. Ships’ navigators regularly sacrificed at its gates before sea voyages; Hannibal worshipped here before going on to conquer Italy; and it was here that Julius Caesar, who wept tears of envy for the triumphs of Alexander, dreamt reassuringly of his ensuing victories.

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A 17th century castle was later built on the ruins of the temple. Attacks from pirates and the invading French have taken their toll but the castle tower remains a famous local landmark. The island is particularly romantic at sunset, silhouetted against an amazing blood red sun. Termed the ‘Rayleigh’ effect, the James Bond cameramen made sure to capture this phenomenon in Die Another Day. Scientists believe the deep red colour has something to do with the humidity on this coastline, but others suggest it owes more to the mystical power of the place. Whatever the cause, it is well worth adding your name to those who have passed this way, if only to enjoy the colourful twilight at this legendary spot. ANGELA CLARENCE


Sancti Petri Island

Cruceros run sunset trips daily in the summer, departing in July at 9pm, in August at 8.30pm and in September at 8pm. Lunchtime tours of Barrosa beach and the island depart daily at 1pm. Other trips include children’s pirate parties, birdwatching and snorkelling trips. See Tel: 956 100 324/617 378 894. To reserve a table at Club Naútico, call 956 495 428


Summer Specials

Pata Negra JABUGO The Phoenicians introduced the Iberian pig, a cousin of the wild boar, from the Near East around 1,000 BC. The Romans loved it; as Horace put it, “…all writing is a sham, when there is wanting Spanish ham.” And the 19th century British travel writer, Richard Ford, described it quite simply as “liquid topaz”. In his day the finest pigs came from Extremadura and were bred anywhere in Andalucía where dehesas of holm and cork oaks abound. Today the most famous label is that of Jabugo, a mountain town near Aracena in the province of Huelva. Here the largest producer – now part of the Osborne Group – is Sanchez Romero Carvajal, trading under the name of 5J (Cinco Jotas). Their factory and bodegas cover 40,000 square metres and are well worth a visit. The huge installation is reminiscent of a sherry bodega though of course there’s a different end-product. Jabugo lies at an altitude of 660 metres and the cool mountain air, which cures the ham, is directed into the vast caverns by opening and closing windows high up in the walls. It is fascinating to follow the production line down to a group of experts actually cutting the hams by hand and vacuum packaging them for sale. There is a short film, followed by a tour finishing up with a tasting in the restaurant and a shop selling all the by-products, such as chorizo, morcon, salchichón, and paté. There are four main breeds that have black feet and the necessary 75 per cent pure Iberian ancestry to qualify as Pata Negra. The difference between pure and cross breeds lies in their grazing habits and this is the key to the final product. The cross breeds, when left alone, don’t forage enough for acorns and need supplementary feed. The three quality grades are defined by law: The Bellota, grazes entirely in the wild on acorns and grasses, while the Recebo and the Cebo have to be supplemented with differing proportions of commercial feed. After the pigs have reached their optimum size and weight they are humanely slaughtered and the hams (jamones) and shoulders (paletas) are trimmed, covered in sea salt and left for two weeks, after which they are rinsed and hung up for another four to six weeks to dry. They are then air cured, a natural drying process which can take anything from 10 to 30 months depending on weight. The total time before a ham is ready for testing and offered for sale is almost three years, which, coupled with the fact that an animal only has two hams, accounts for the high price. Mrs Beeton loved the pig because there was so little wastage. This is easily visible in the rooms where stalactites of sausages, fillets (lomos) and other by-products hang being smoked with smoldering oak chips. MALCOLM DAVIDSON 5 Jotas is on the Ctra San Juan del Puerto, Jabugo. Tel: 959 121 194, or visit Tours are available by appointment Mon-Fri morning or afternoon

Horse races, Sanlúcar de Barrameda Royal Ascot this most definitely isn’t, but you will probably never experience anything like the carreras de caballos which take place in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in August. The setting couldn’t be more dramatic; against a setting sun at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, gentlemen riders and professionals alike battle it out in a series of races along the shoreline. Although the riders and horses (all thoroughbreds) come from across Europe and North America, the crowds are almost exclusively Spanish and the dress code mostly swimwear. Sanlúcar carreras de caballos: Aug 12th-14th and 27th-29th. Fiesta del Carmen, Barbate A colourful and noisy affair in the best Spanish tradition, this is when Barbate celebrates its links with the sea and honours the patron saint of sailors. What seems like the whole town gathers in the port to watch the town’s muscled youth vie for supremacy in rowing races, followed by a competition to scale a greasy pole at the prow of a fishing boat. There’s much laughter and splashing – and the local beauty queens or guapas line up to award the prizes. Sun July 20th in Barbate port.

Bob Dylan in Jerez The legendary singer-songwriter plays Jerez de la Frontera as part of his hectic European summer schedule. But whatever your taste in music, you can find somewhere to enjoy it in the province this summer – from classical in Alcalá de los Gazules, to international music in Jimena de la Frontera and a night of rock in Espera. See What’s On for details. Bob Dylan plays at the Chapin stadium in Jerez on Tues July 8th. Tickets from €50 from Carrefour or Cádiz football tournament If you’re still hungry for football after Euro 2008, the Cádiz Carranza stadium hosts its annual tournament featuring the likes of Real Madrid, Betis and of course the home side. And if you’re brave enough, join in the massive party on the beach after the final, when tens of thousands of people barbecue, drink and party into the early hours. Teams and dates for the Trofeo de Carranza were not confirmed at time of going to press, see or ask at the Cádiz tourist office. Tel: 956 241 001

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Fernando Pessoa is looking a bit glum. Sitting outside his favourite café, watching the world go by, you might expect him to wear a look of contentment. But no, that look is at best reflective, at worst downright grumpy. I say as much to the waiter at A Brasileira when he brings my bica – that nerve-jangling shot of strong black coffee lisboetas use to ease themselves into the day. “Of course he’s miserable,” the waiter replies, gesturing at the bronze statue a couple of yards away. “He was a poet. What’s more he was a Portuguese poet, so he probably never smiled in his life.” So there it is. The embodiment of saudade – that mixture of melancholy and nostalgia the Portuguese famously wallow in. Well it might suit Pessoa, but I didn’t encountered much evidence of gloom elsewhere in Lisbon. In fact, this is a city of friendliness and optimism, especially so in summer, when the Atlantic breezes have warmed up and the city is suffused with that particular, gleaming light. Portugal has lived in the shadow of Spain for hundreds of years. Its bigger, brasher neighbour has always seemed to have the best of everything; even the capital was claimed to be a poorer version of Barcelona. If such a claim could ever be made, it has long since been dispelled. Lisbon has been in good shape for some time now, thanks in part to the Expo 98 exhibition and the Euro 2004 European football championship. Those two events brought huge investment, transforming the city into one of Europe’s boldest, brightest, most forwardlooking capitals. But history and tradition have not been cast aside, and new and old have been blended with great skill. The city‘s switchback streets can prove confusing, so the best place to get an overview – literally – is the Castelo de São Jorge. Haul yourself up (or take a tram) through the tiny whitewashed streets of the Alfama district and you won’t be disappointed. Up on the battlements you can see how the city spreads out along the Tagus riverfront and up and down its seven hills. From the commercial zone of the Baixa to the distant memorials of Belém and the majestic sweep of the 25th of April bridge, it all starts to make sense. On the hillside opposite, you can see the ruins of the ancient Carmo church, a reminder of the earthquake which devastated the city just over 250 years ago. The area round the castle was all that survived, but under the direction of the Marquis of Pombal rebuilding was swift. So swift, in fact, that he ordered all tiling to be finished in blue and white, which is why you don’t see many other colours on the hundreds of heavily decorated buildings throughout the capital. The metro system may be smart and newly extended, but you can’t beat the trams for getting around Lisbon. Many have been in service for more than a hundred years, and there’s nothing very modern about sitting on an upright bench as you rattle down a narrow street. Tram 28 is the one to go for. It runs from Martim Moniz square in a wide circle to the castle then west to the smart



TAP ( has daily flights from Seville to Lisbon. Three, five and seven day travel cards are available at excellent rates from the Lisbon tourist board desk at the airport

The smart and cool Bairro Alto Hotel (Praça Luís de Camões, 2; Tel: 00351 213 408 288; has doubles from £232.

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districts on the opposite hills. The 28 offer the best tourist introduction of the city, but it also brings you into inevitable contact with lisboetas. My afternoon trip was punctuated by knots of schoolchildren clambering on board, hanging out of the windows and shouting from one stop to the next. Black-clad grannies tut-tutted into their shopping bags, businessmen looked on disdainful as they jabbered into mobile phones and the British couple sitting opposite me said it was the highlight of their weekend break. The old riverfront dock areas show off another face of Lisbon. Warehouses and factories have been gutted and transformed into post-modern restaurants and bars. Upriver, in the shadow of the new, 12-mile long Vasco da Gama bridge, is the Parque das Nações (the Park of Nations) – Lisbon’s outsized nod to the future. The Expo site boasts a vast new shopping centre, riverside cable cars, a hands-on science museum and topping it all, one of the world’s most modern and best aquariums. To the west, the Belém district accommodates new and old. Alongside state-of-the-art bars and clubs, outstanding new art galleries and other exhibition spacessit Portugal’s most sacred symbols: the 16th century Tower of Belém fortress and the 1960s Monument to the Discoverers celebrating the nation’s great seafaring heroes. Nearby lies the awesome, 500-year old Jeronimos monastery, one of Portugal’s greatest places of pilgrimage. A hundred yards away is another – Pastéis de Belém. This beautiful, traditionally tiled cafe is where they make and sell the custard tarts for which the district is renowned. Fight your way through the shop at the front then fight for a table in one of the half dozen rooms. The place bustles all day, which might explain how they sell 10,000 of these creamy custard delights every day. I shared a table with two young professional women but when the coffee and pastéis hit the table they acted more like a couple of greedy kids. “Sorry, but I can’t resist these,” said one. “We work nearby and come here every day,” said the other. “These are the best pastéis in the world.” I had to agree. Back in the centre, the Chiado district – Lisbon’s Bond Street – has had a massive facelift after a devastating fire in the 1980s. The reconstruction has been so painstaking that the elegant rows of shops and shady squares retain their air of 19th century grandeur. Five minutes’ walk to the north brings you to the Bairro Alto district with its narrow streets of cafes and bars and its spectacular views across the city. From here it’s a short, steep ride down the funicular railway to Baixa – the heartbeat of Lisbon. The squares here are great for people-watching over a bica or a glass of vinho verde and the one thing you notice is how upbeat everyone is. Not a hint of saudade anywhere. Pessoa might have been disappointed.

The Hotel Britania (Rua Rodrigues Sampaio, 17; Tel: 00351 213 155 016; is part of a small, impressive group of hotels in the city. Doubles from £115.

The Hotel Olissippo (Castelo Rua Costa do Castelo, 112-126; 00351 218 820 190; near the castle has doubles from £75 Lisbon tourist office:


Clockwise from top: The vast Praça do Comércio which opens onto the River Tagus; Street scene in Baixa; View of the river from Alfama; The 25th of April bridge which links western Lisbon to the south of Portugal; The modernistic playground which is the Parque das Naçoes; portico carving from a church in central Lisbon

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€1 From 60 on ,0 ly 00

Casa Flores – Jerez City Centre


2 one bedroom, 13 two bedroom and 2 amazing penthouse apartments. All of the properties are situated around a central patio. All properties come with fully fitted kitchens, top quality ceramic tiles, wooden floors in bedrooms!



• Rooftop swimming po • Pre-installation for AC • Fully fitted kitchen • White goods included or • Porcelanosa ceramic flo


Casa Flores is an old bodega that on completion will be transformed into 17 top quality apartments.

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

IN reat VE de ST al f OR or S

Tucked away in the heart of “old Jerez” or the Casco Historico, Casa Flores is set amongst the world famous Sherry bodegas, belonging to the Domecq and Gonzalez Byass dynasties, on rising ground close to the baroque Cathedral and Moorish Alcazar.

tiles s • Double glazed window rs tte • Built in shu • City centre location

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


Superb Country Home


Unique apartment


OP F PO ant RT astic UN IT Y


Faboulous! 2 floors, 5 bedrooms, dinning room, 2 bathrooms, with huge round bath and incredible roof top terrace. Very quiet area with amazing views onto the sherry vineyards | €280,000 |

Located in a former palace, owned by the family dynasty the Domecqs. 2 bedrooms, 2 bathroom,140 m2. Premium grade marble floors. Architectural details throughout | €250,000 |

Outstanding fine country home of 328 m2 near Jerez. 4 double bedrooms, 2 en-suite bathrooms, Large Luxury kitchen, Double garage, Gas central heating, Air-conditioning.

ly on 00 m ,0 Fro 50 €1

El Ejido – Lebrija

Additional ‘casita’ with rooftop terrace & pool. To be converted into guest or B&B accommodation. Impressive gardens of 5,202 m2 with 14x6 m swimming pool | €599,000 |

Detached Villa in Roche - Conil

JER-109 El Ejido is situated on the edge of the town yet only 5 mins walk from the nearest shops. El Ejido is a residential development, made up of townhouse style properties. All of which have 3 bedrooms and various patios. SPECIAL FEATURES • 3 generous bedrooms • Family bathroom • Shower room • Large lounge/diner • Kitchen • Front garden • Parking areas • Rear patios • Pre-installation of air conditioning

Fantastic villa in a plot of 585m2. 3 bedrooms, family bathroom, cloakroom, fitted kitchen, lounge/dinner with built in wood burner. Communal pool. SKY TV, etc. Only 400m from the beach.

| €465,000 |

Vejer Office

Jerez Office

C/Pintor Morrillo Ferrada

Calle Porvera, 31

Local 5, Urb La Noria

Jerez de la Frontera

Vejer - 11150 Cadiz

11403 Cadiz

Tel: +34 956 455075

Tel: +34 956 329572

To complement the townhouses there will be a private communal swimming pool and childrens pool, plus garden area and toilets

Call from the UK on 08450 177 805

Our passion is property


Restoring faith TONY JEFFERIES TAKES A LOOK AT THE PROCESS OF RENOVATING AN OLD PROPERTY AND MEETS ONE COUPLE FULL OF PRAISE FOR THE PLANNING AUTHORITIES This former bodega in Jerez has been restored under an ayuntamiento initiative. Modern, high-spec, two-bed, two-bath apartments are on sale at €329,000 which includes use of the patio and swimming pool and parking

Most of us relocate to southern Spain in search of a better quality of life, with more leisure time a universally cited requirement. That being the case, the number of expatriates who buy up an old place, thus surrendering themselves to the murky waters of local authority administration, is somewhere between surprising and baffling. Spanish red tape has a reputation for being never-ending, though many of the old horror stories are no longer applicable. As regards planning, the ley del suelo (Andalucian land law) has made it impossible to build and very tough to renovate in the countryside. But as far as urban properties are concerned, town halls appear to have got the message that renovation is better than deterioration. “The beautiful buildings of the old city need restoring and while the ayuntamiento has a big programme of renovation work, we can’t pay for everything,” a member of the Cádiz city planning department told me. “There is a very good programme which enables people restoring properties here to claim grants but of course they have to work within strict guidelines laid down by the city council. It’s not just a question of ‘you don’t get the aid if you don’t do it this way’. It’s actually ‘you must do it this way or we won’t give permission for your work’.”

It’s a stance which may seem draconian but it’s squarely aimed at retaining the character of all those elegant, townhouse-lined streets in the historic districts of the provincial capital. More often than not, the developers or individuals who are ripping out everything behind those grand facades are happy to work within the requirements of the ayuntamiento. After all, all the locals want an interior patio because it’s what they’re used to and all the foreigners buying here want an authentic period property. Every renovation project, anywhere in Spain, needs a Licencia de Obras (planning permission). This licence can only be granted if the project is in line with the existing (and generally) strict town planning regulations in force. It also establishes the deadline for the commencement of the project as well as the date of termination. In order to have the licence granted you need to present an official project that has been approved and stamped by the Colegio de Arquitectos (the official body for architects). You also have to pay the corresponding taxes to the town council. It’s not difficult to get your permissions granted if the project you submit complies with the urban planning regulations. If the local planning department rejects any part of the submitted plan it would recommend the necessary modifications so that the project would become viable.

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Another former bodega in central Jerez. This one has been converted into just one spectacular hi-tech house with a price tag of €2 million

Naturally, you have to tread carefully with historic buildings. If the property has been listed by the Plan General de Ordenación an archaeological study is probably necessary in order to establish what can or cannot be modified either on the plot itself or on the building. Normally you have to preserve the general structure of the building, keeping the main historic features. Another ‘must do’ is to employ the services of an architect – and one who’s properly qualified. It costs, but it brings peace of mind and a guarantee in case anything goes wrong. The property will also need to be ‘signed off’ by the ayuntamiento. Once the building work has been concluded you apply for the Licencia de Primera Ocupación (licence of first occupation) and La Cedula de Habitabilidad (habitation permit). These licences ensure that the building work carried out complies with the initial plan that was submitted to the town hall and that the building is fit for habitation (which means, among other things, that water and electricity can be connected). The number of renovation projects by foreigners in places like Arcos, Medina Sidonia and Olvera prove the willingness of local councils to ‘pretty up’ their towns wherever possible. And in Bornos, just east of Arcos, Sharon Moore and Melvin Morris found the local council and the local residents more than helpful. They bought a huge townhouse in the middle of the town in early 2006 with the idea of renovating it and setting up a studio and shop for Sharon to run workshops and sell ceramics.

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“We bought very quickly because we knew this was the right place for us, even though it’s 500 square metres in all,” says Sharon. “It’s listed so we had to get all our permissions from the cultura department in Cádiz but everything came back really quickly. Maybe it’s because we didn’t want to make structural changes. It was more about restoring original features like a stone lintel over the main door and reopening a blocked window.” The couple found a local builder who had previously worked on the Hammam baths in Jerez, so he was sympathetic to their requirements. “He did all the roofing, floors and structural changes and seemed really in tune with what we wanted,” says Sharon. “The local council were great, too. They supported us all the way. I think they were really pleased that foreigners not only chose to live in Bornos but also wanted to renovate a historic house and open a business. “Our experience of the ayuntamiento and the wider planning process has been nothing but positive. We feel very fortunate.” The days of expats feeling the whole of Spain was lined up against them are clearly over – maybe it’s time to take advantage of the new attitude – and the depressed market – and put in an offer for that lovely little townhouse you’ve always hankered after. Pictures, courtesy of Mercers Jerez



FERNANDO DEL CANTO A founding partner in the firm Konsilia, Fernando has worked as a tax adviser in Britain for Deloitte and previously KPMG. He is qualified both as a Spanish abogado and an English barrister and publishes a blog on international tax matters at Tel: 902 555 045; e-mail:;

I have read reports that the recently elected Spanish government is considering doing away with the Wealth Tax. I am shortly due to retire and have been considering moving permanently to the Costa de la Luz. How likely is it that the Wealth Tax will be abolished and what exactly would it mean for people like me? Thomas Greenwood, W Yorks > The Wealth Tax has in fact been abolished in Spain, with effect from January 1, 2008. This is a good incentive for individuals and families with substantial assets to relocate to Spain. What this really means in practice is that your assets located anywhere around the world will not be taxed in Spain, as was the case up to the last tax year, which ended on December 31,t 2007. Some examples of this will include individuals with investments in other countries and living in Spain on the

income generated by those investments. Any investment typically generates either capital gains, interest or dividends. The previous regime would tax the income generated according to the income tax rules in addition to the value of the net assets’ position under the Wealth Tax regulations. From January 2008 onwards, only the income generated by those investments and not the underlying net asset value, will be taxed under the income tax rules. No Wealth Tax will be applicable.

In addition to that, the reduction in the investment income tax rates down to a flat 18 per cent – compared with up to 43 per cent general tax rate – makes living and paying taxes in Spain a very attractive option. To illustrate this with an example, if you are receiving investment income in England your tax rate could go up to 40 per cent; in Spain the rate is limited to 18 per cent. Therefore, with no wealth tax applicable and with the lowest investment income tax rates worldwide, Spain is becoming one of the most attractive places to relocate for investors.

We are considering buying a second home in the Costa de la Luz area, but would need to earn some income from renting it out as a holiday home for other people as well. What advice can you give regarding which area and what kind of property is most popular for people to rent for short holidays? S Marsh, e-mail

property THORSTEN SIERING Thorsten runs his own estate agency, Immo Andaluz, and also Conilbased holiday rentals company Casa de la Luz, which manages British, Spanish and German owned properties. Tel: 956 106 240. e-mail:;

> The location is the most important issue. The most successful properties, if you want to rent them out all year, are no more than a 10-minute walk from the beach. If the property is not within walking distance of the beach, a pool is a must to ensure the property is let for the whole summer season. For autumn, winter and spring good heating is necessary. This can be a stove or open fireplace with additional electric heaters for the bedrooms or an air conditioning system that both cools and heats. Furnishings should be practical (Ikea is a great help), but guests love the personal touches which makes them feel more at home. As we are near Morocco it is always nice to have some bits and pieces from there to make the house cosy. If this is not to your taste, you should furnish the property in typical Spanish style – and not with gondolas from Venice! The holiday home should offer satellite television with English and German channels and remember that what the kettle is to the English, the electric coffee machine is to the Germans and the microwave to the Spanish guest. Properties of higher standard should offer internet access, a dishwasher and central heating. The most important thing of course is for the house to be very clean with a well kept garden and pool. Also, people appreciate somebody speaking their language who can be called in case of any problems.

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 L A LU Z 37

E X P E RT S 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

Having retired over here a few years ago, my wife and I are now looking to release some cash from the home we live in on the Costa de la Luz in order to be able to enjoy some of the money we’ve put into it over the years. However I am wary of some equity release schemes and would like to know what you advise? G Lucas, e-mail

finance COLIN LANGTON Chairman of Langton’s Financial Planners at 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. Readers can contact Colin on Freephone 900 700 667; e-mail

> Equity release is the generic name given to three distinctly different types of scheme in use in Spain which release capital from your property. They vary in risk enormously and would need a lot of space to explain in full. However, one type is known as a Lifetime Mortgage, which is in common usage in the UK and which generally carries a safety warning (SHIP or safe home income plan) proving that the scheme has met very stringent rules. Until now this SHIP lifetime mortgage has not existed in Spain. But it was introduced here recently by the Manchester Building Society, and is proving a boon for expats of all nationalities living in Spain. If you are over age 60, here is a 100% safe way to unlock cash from your Spanish property and make it work harder for you. You can borrow capital now to do with as you wish, with no payments at all until your death. The scheme carries a competitive fixed interest rate and a guarantee that you cannot go into negative equity – ie the loan and accumulated interest can never exceed the value of your property however long you live. You don’t have to be destitute to take out a Lifetime Mortgage, as it can be sensible for other reasons. Not only can it save your family Spanish death taxes, but the money can be invested to potentially earn you more than the cost of borrowing. Langtons are just one of the agents here offering this scheme and we have been inundated with enquiries. Most are from retirees who have seen their capital and income whittled away over the years by poor investment markets and falling exchange rates. Long may the money last.

legal JOSÉ MANUEL DÍAZ An expert in town planning law, José Manuel is a qualified abogado and head of the legal department for the tax, legal and advisory firm Konsilia. He is based in Jerez. Tel: 902 555 045.; e-mail:

I have a query relating to the tenancy of an apartment which I own and which I have rented out to a Spanish couple for six months. They want to prolong the contract for another five months. Is there a law in Spain stating that if you rent for more than a certain period, then the tenants have the right to stay? I am hoping to sell the piso, so I don't want to have tenants that I can't get out. S Bendien, e-mail

> The key issue is to determine whether the flat will be used as the couple’s primary private residence. It is the real and intended use of the rented property – and not the agreed length of the contract – that determines the legal status of the contract, either as a principal residence or for other uses, such as a holiday home . If the agreement is for this couple to establish their primary private residence, and this is the only available dwelling, the tenants have clear statutory rights to prolong the contract for up to five years, provided they are complying with their duties in the contract.

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Technically, there are not many ways for the landlord to force an eviction, even if the parties have agreed such a possibility in the contract, ie the statutory provision will prevail over any private agreement between the parties. The courts can determine some mitigating factors should the contract need to be extended for temporary reasons – for example if the tenant's work contract is extended for two years, then the tenancy contract extension will last for the same amount of time. The law also provides for a clear exception to extending tenancy contracts and this depends on how the contract is drafted. So if explicitly stated, the landlord may reserve the right to make use of the rented property as his or her permanent address if he/she has planned to occupy the premises at the agreed date for that purpose. When drafting a lease contract it is essential to get competent legal advice in order to avoid problems caused by a lack of deep knowledge of the law and court practices.


There and back again



Patria is a small meandering hamlet that snakes its way around the western edge of the La Muela plateau. From the N340 road below Vejer de la Frontera, take the road signposted to La Muela. Travel past the junction at Venta El Rufino and continue for two kilometers and turn right at the farm silos where the road is marked for La Patria. From here continue for another three kilometers, passing all the farms and houses until you come to a sharp right hand bend. You should be back into the countryside once again and just at the bend, straight ahead of you is a small unmade track. You can either leave your vehicle in the hamlet or continue and park at the top of the track. After approximately 150 metres, you’ll pass the metal gates to a farm that breeds fighting bulls called La Gallarin and this is the start of the walk.

As far as distances go, the track continues right down towards Conil and gets a bit fragmented on reaching the new Vejer-Cádiz autovia. Like most rural tracks and drovers’ roads in rural Spain, there was never an intention to create a ‘lovely walk’. This is a modern concept and it’s great that the majority of us have time to explore and enjoy the rural side of the Costa de La Luz and beyond. Not so very long ago life was hard and routes were regarded as a means of getting from point A to B. The necessities of trading goods, driving animals for sale or exchange was always paramount in order to exist and part of the tough southern life. Circular routes would be ideal for modern man in Spain and indeed walking routes are already well established throughout the country, but most are fairly long and for the more dedicated hikers. The literal marks of time on the dry earth shows us how harsh the past was. Picture yourself with your donkeys on the way to Conil with vegetables, wood or goats’ milk to sell. This particular walk is one of those – return the way you came. In any event, things always look quite different travelling back and have an altogether different perspective in the countryside. You’ll have the advantage to turn around whenever you like! The views as you descend past La Gallarin are beautiful, with lots of Sardinian warblers flitting through the

The Sardinian warbler is one of the many birds to spot during a walk in La Patria, which overlooks the coast at Vejer

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acebuche (wild olive) trees. In the summer months the grasses will be dried out and most of their seeds dispersed in the winds. red-legged partridge can be seen and heard all through the area and nightingales sing from the taller trees. Most of the flowers have also seeded with the predominant cistus or rock rose species now oozing their sticky sap to help protect the plant losing precious water in the summer heat. Views down the track extend to the Atlantic coast in the west. On a clear day you can see all the way from Conil to Cádiz and if you look up into the blue Andalucían sky, you’ll be able to spot woodchat shrikes on the fence posts, griffon vultures, booted and short-toed eagles, pallid and common swifts and by August, the black kite – the first of the raptors migrating slowly south. Black kites normally travel in groups and despite their descriptive name, appear quite brown rather than black. You should also be able to hear the ‘proop’ of newly fledged Bee-eaters calling to each other and dashing across the countryside in search of not only bees, but any other flying insects. Stephen Daly runs Andalucían Guides, the birding and wildlife tour company, and runs day tours in Cádiz province. He can be contacted through or by phone on 956 432 316 or 647 713 641


A mixed flower bed in full glory provides contrast to a cool pond with papyrus and water lilies

A tale of two gardens Working as a full-time gardener is a varied job and often full of lovely surprises. No two gardens are the same, and visiting a new garden is always a pleasure. The garden can change the aspect of the house and paint a portrait of the owners. It can unknowingly display a specimen plant, or have a corner full of hidden surprises – and it also gives me the chance to see what the neighbours are growing too. For this issue, we have taken a meander through two country gardens in the full splendour of late spring, stopping to look at the raised cactus bed, the arum lily enjoying the dappled shade of the olive tree, and the fine display of flowers that catch the morning sun. The first of our gardens is enclosed by a high white wall, giving privacy with none of the opressiveness of a cypress hedge, and plenty of climbing space for vines and creepers. As we walk through the narrow gate, we are greeted by a small raised pond made of stone, and blossoming with life – frogs plop into the water as I approach to admire the lillies in flower, a wild poppy grows from the water’s edge and a papyrus gives the lazy goldfish a little shade. Next, our eye is drawn to the towering cacti, cleverly planted on a raised bed to show off their height. Here, the planting is simple and thus has more dramatic effect. The upright cacti are mostly euphorbias

which are bordered by two commanding, impressive agaves (one covered with a net to protect it from the birds which eat the seeds), and a pair of lovely, spiky echinocactus in the middle of the display. The path to the side leading to the house is dotted with rosette succulents in low stone pots and everything has a clean, ordered feel. Grouping similar plants together has been used to great effect also. A bunch of hardy palms occupies a corner, and gives the only natural shade in the garden. Cycad ferns and dracaena complement them with similar foliage. Castillemon, bougainvillea and roses adorn the walls, whilst geraniums, chrysanthemums, margaritas and amaryllises planted facing east and dotted about the garden give bold splashes of colour. When the garden has a lot of shade, bright, showy flowers are out of the question. The gardener of our second garden has used leaf shapes and tones to provide interest from ground level up, giving a feel of lushness and healthy exuberance. Upon entering we are greeted by an enormous malla de sombrero (araucarea excelsor)planted on the white gravel driveway between an acacia and a big, old fig tree next to the house, which is decorated with pots of shade-tolerant arum lillies, amarylisses and aspidistras.

The clean lines of the path lead the eye to the house, whilst a raised cactus bed is simple but dramatic, the agave covered with a net to protect it from birds

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

Different trees – including the dramatic malla de sombrero – provide height, shade and leaf variety, with splashes of colour from potted plants like this sedum

Looking from the house to the pool, the view is screened by a line of wild olives and a shiny ficus Benjamina, which give a lovely dappled shade enjoyed by the plants which grow in the flowerbed underneath. The variety of tones and shades of green add interest to an area in which normal flowers will not grow. Plants chosen are zantedechia aethiopica, canna indica, chlorophytum, Boston fern, acanthus mollis, aspidistra, and a kalanchoe in flower. The very size of this garden allows for tall trees without being claustrophobic. The dark cypress hedge is tightly clipped and is well away from the pool, and all of the trees in the garden (mimosa, ficus Benjamina, almond, yucca gloriosa, fig and the malla de sombrero) are planted with ample space to grow. Various ivys cover the well and climb the trunks of the trees, creating soft edges and all-year round foliage, which is a backdrop for the myriad of shade-loving euphorbias planted in every nook and cranny. The secret of the enchantment of these two gardens is that they have both been well thought out, so that the plants complement one another and the location. With a little planning, there is less trial and error and you can get the most out of every bit of your garden. If you’ve got a garden to be proud of, we’d love to see a photo – send one in by email to or by post to Apdo de Correos 39, 11150 Vejer de la Frontera. For further information on the properties featured, see

A shady spot beneath a tree is used for planting, including spider plants, ferns and lilies

TOP TIPS FOR JULY AND AUGUST These are typically the months of the southeasterly levante wind and long, hot, cloudless days punishing the dusty earth. Plants which are not summer dormant (those which do all their growing in the mild winter) need special attention now – if possible move pot plants out of strong sun and winds, and stand them in saucers to hold any water. Plastic pots are better for sunny spots as they don’t get so hot. Remember plants like ficus Benjaminus and the grape vine don’t like hot roots – they may suffer in pots over the summer. Pay special attention to new additions in your garden. They may look well established, but the soil may be very dry around the roots, which may not have had much time to develop. Make a watering schedule. Plants prefer a continually damp soil rather than a weekly flooding. In la huerta, the tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and courgettes are all giving abundantly. Make sure they all get adequate water to keep up production. Don’t flood your melons, or they’ll split before they’re ready. If there’s space, plant cabbages, caulis and leeks for winter.

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

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Magic and loss At the movies – DAVID MACGOWAN Pan’s Labyrinth GUILLERMO DEL TORO (2006) Previously in laluz we have looked at the allegorical tale of a young girl during the Spanish Civil War. Pan’s Labyrinth has a surprisingly similar theme but was made 33 years after The Spirit of the Beehive and it looks and feels very different. Guillermo del Toro is a thoroughly modern director. Born in Mexico in 1964, he directed his first film at the age of 21, having spent some years as a make-up designer working with the legendary Exorcist effects designer Dick Smith. He started his own production company and has since directed a variety of films in America including Mimic, Blade II and Hellboy. Blessed with a photographic memory and a self-confessed love of “insects, clockwork, monsters and dark places”, this talented film-maker seems destined for huge commercial success in Hollywood. But it is as a maker of Spanish-language films that he has excelled, and Pan’s Labyrinth – described by film critic Mark Kermode as “the Citizen Kane of fantasy films” – is by far the finest of his works to date. The story has a dual setting: on one level it takes place in 1944 after the Spanish Civil War when a young girl (Ofelia) goes to live with her stepfather, the falangist Captain Vidal, who is viciously hunting down any maquis still fighting the Franco regime. Meanwhile, her pregnant mother grows ill. Drawn away from this backdrop by a mysterious praying mantis, Ofelia finds an ancient labyrinth. A faun (brilliantly played by Doug Jones) believes Ofelia to be a princess, and he gives her three tasks to complete before the full moon to ensure her “essence is intact”. The two stories (one in the ‘real’ world and the other a magical allegory) are driven forward relentlessly by plot and fantasy to an ultimately satisfying conclusion. Del Toro’s imagination runs riot in the Labyrinth sequences, which include writhing mandrake roots, the

terrifying child-eating ‘Pale Man’ (also played by Doug Jones) and a giant toad. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a child’s fairy tale. Great performances by Sergi López i Ayats as the brutal Vidal and Ivana Baquero as Ofelia make the post-Civil War sequences utterly believable. The idea for the film came from del Toro’s notebook, and there is a fascinating ‘extra’ on the DVD showing not only how the film was made but also glimpses of his extraordinary imagination, enshrined in the sketches he has drawn within the book. For those interested in pursuing del Toro’s themes about the Spanish Civil War and the magical experiences of children, his other Spanish-language films set at that time are well worth watching: The Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del Diablo) and Cronos are the other two films in a compelling trilogy. Pan’s Labyrinth is not just film entertainment. It is a magical and moving journey that the viewer can interpret in many different ways. It confirms del Toro’s stature as a major director in world cinema, and has won numerous international awards, including three Academy Awards. It remains to be seen what combination of innocence and brutality he will dream up next.

Off the bookshelf – TONY JEFFERIES The Carpenter’s Pencil MANUEL RIVAS (HARVILL, £6.99) The Civil War is, understandably, a rich source of material not only for Spanish film makers but novelists too. However few can be as poignant, as richly textured, as complete as this evocative offering. Rivas writes in his native Galician and the region provides the backdrop for this tale of love and pain, envy and forgiveness. The novel tells the story of a medic and Republican sympathiser, Doctor Da Barca. In the build-up to the war his activities are closely followed by a guard, Herbal, and eventually lead to his arrest and imprisonment in Santiago’s infamous Falcona prison. The atmosphere inside the prison is skilfully brought to life by Rivas, whose concentration on detail and the inmates’ attempts to retain humour and spirit is immaculate. The novel is narrated by Herbal, a brutal, envious and ignorant man who shot dead an artist inmate. From a distance of many years later the former guard – now a caretaker in a brothel – tells what became of the doctor during and after his exile to Cuba and of his love affair with the beautiful Marisa Mallo. Herbal’s thoughts are augmented by the voice of the artist, whose pencil he kept and whose voice haunts him. It’s a smart device and adds another layer to this superbly written, thoughtful piece of work which may be slim but is long on thought-provoking ideas and detail.

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La Alternativa vegetarian restaurant, Jerez Tel: 956 343 961, email 10% discount Academia Andaluza, Conil Tel: 956 44 05 52, email spanish@academia.andaluza.n et 10% discount on Spanish classes Andaluchic boutique, Arcos. Tel: 956 701 439 10% discount on purchases over €100

Califa Hotel & Restaurant, Vejer Tel: 956 451 706, website 10% discount on hotel rooms outside peak season (1st Jun to 30th Sept and Semana Santa) 1 bottle of house wine with each table reserved at the Califa Restaurant Happy hour for cardholders at the Los Balcones Bar from 6.30pm to 8pm every day except during August. Happy hour - buy one get one free. Applies only to alcoholic drinks. Café Central Tapa Bar, Vejer. Tel: 956 450 232 Buy three tapas get one free. The free tapa will be the lowest price of those selected

Arcos Gardens, Arcos Tel: 956 704 201, email 10% discount on green fee

Duendes de Jerez – Bodegas Valdivia, Jerez Tel: 956 328 997, website 10% discount on tickets for the guided tour and state of the art multimedia show at the Bodegas Valdivia

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European Golf Society of Cádiz (EGSC) Tel: 618 917 260, email 15% discount on first year of membership fee Hotel Chancilleria, Jerez. Tel: 956 301 038, email 10% discount on hotel rooms, free bottle of house wine per table reserved in restaurant Hotel Laime, Chipiona Tel: 956 377 332, email Happy Hour at the hotel bar from 6pm to 8pm every day. Buy one drink get second one free La Janda language school, Vejer Tel: 956 447 060, email: 10 % discount on Spanish classes Pizzeria Il Giardino, El Colorado. Tel: 699 300 920 15% discount on meal including drinks. Also available on takeaway subject to minimum order of two pizzas

Pub Lola, Conil. Happy Hour for cardholders every night from 10pm to 11pm. Buy one drink get same one free Simon Brown, Photographer, Barbate Tel: 956 430 429, email 10% discount on modern portraits, 10% on publicity, 15% on photography workshops, and a free poster for wedding photography

La Tapería, Chiclana Tel: 956 407 921 Buy three tapas get one free. The free tapa will be the lowest price of those selected. Happy Hour for cardholders from 8pm to 9pm

Silos Arte y Relax restaurant and art gallery, Tarifa. Tel: 956 684 685, email Hotel: 10% discount on rooms with a bottle of “extra brut” Pere Guilera cava. Restaurant: One glass of Mons Urium Pedro Jimenez sweet wine per person with dinner

Hacienda del Torilejo, Chiclana. Tel: 635 424 564, email 15% discount on hotel rooms outside peak season (1stJun to 30th Sept) 1 bottle of house wine with each table reserved at the restaurant

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La Canela Indian Restaurant, CC Novo Sancti Petri, Chiclana Tel: 607 953 874; Meals in restaurant 5% discount on total bill, Takeaway meals less than 50 Euros - 5% discount on total bill, Takeaway meals more than 50 Euros - 10% discount on total bill.

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The Alcornocales natural park is a secluded place which feels remote and mysterious despite its proximity to Vejer, Jerez and Tarifa. The endless, stunning views, the soaring eagles and buzzards, the wonderful cork and oak forests make it a real treasure of our region. How is it possible that one of the largest cork forests in the world feels hidden, remote and inaccessible - especially given its location, wedged between the Costa del Sol to the east, the white towns of Ronda and Gaucin to the north and the wider exposed beaches of the Costa de la Luz to the west? The park has no large towns, just a few villages and isolated farmsteads. The roads are few and far between with very little traffic. Cork farming is still the main livelihood; the area is not yet geared to tourism and is under-promoted and under-visited.

drawings and one of the more curious statues contains a plea for cigarettes for the old people. Drive on through Alcalá. Permits for some of the longer walks are available in the Park’s office on the Plaza San Jorge high in the old town (Tel: 956 413 307) As you leave Alcalá on the A375 for Ubrique, the road starts to climb, with endless switchback bends opening out onto spectacular views. If you’re fortunate you may spot a large furry something scuttling across the road which is likely to be an Iberian pig. The road up to Puerto Galis winds through cork trees, holm oaks, olives and the occasional eucalyptus. Prickly pear bushes line the bends, hunting sparrowhawks hover ready to dive and eagles glide majestically.

If you’re fortunate you may spot a large furry something scuttling across the road which is likely to be an Iberian pig There is clearly much potential for eco-tourism but at the moment a few information boards, paths and the odd picnic table are the only concessions to the visitor. It feels serene, intact and whole – an ancient place. I have felt the same in Asturias or in the Cevennes but seldom in the forests of Britain. This is a special place for many reasons, not least because a remarkable plant community has developed, principally as a result of the mountain streams flowing in deep valleys known as canutos. This has led to sub-tropical ecosystems with a unique bio-diversity. There are 226 species of birds, 23 different types of birds of prey and its position near the Straits of Gibraltar and on the migratory routes make it a twitcher’s paradise. A good place to start a visit is at the recently-opened El Aljibe visitors centre just off the main A381 outside Alcalá de los Gazules. There are excellent displays of the human and natural history of the region and all the relevant maps, walking routes and some cork souvenirs. Down a small by-road you should visit the Sanctuario de Nuestra Señora de los Santos. This quiet sanctuary is a refuge for people who have lost relatives. The walls of the church are covered with naïve but evocative paintings and

En route you will pass the peak of El Picacho; park at the small car park and walk up to the delightful green laguna, normally full of frogs but worryingly empty of water this last winter. Either take the short walk around the lake into the gorge or set off up to the peak – a most rewarding and not too difficult half-day walk with fantastic views in every direction at the top. Further on, a great place to stop is the Venta de Galis; the food here is hearty hunters’ fare – olives, partridge and deer – and there are yet more wonderful views in every direction. Continue meandering towards Ubrique; on a recent trip I drove through thick mist and emerged into a beautiful clear day at the mirador and mesón rural at Mojón de la Víbora. Fill up with a café con leche and tomato bread and gaze through the panoramic window. You have a choice if you want to carry on driving: north to the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema or east to the fine restored old houses in Cortes de la Frontera. Or simply leave your car and walk. So why do I love it? It feels secret and resonant of a different time and an older Spain. It’s the sort of area you want to show people but at the same time keep to yourself.

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COLETTE BARDELL TAPS INTO A RICH AND SUCCULENT VEIN WHEN SHE GOES IN SEARCH OF FOOD MEMORIES { food } any substance that can be eaten or drunk for nutrition or pleasure

{ memory } the mental process of retaining and recalling information or experiences. Two matter-of-fact dictionary definitions that don’t say much – or do they? Together they start a thought process that has the power to transport us to a different space and time dimension. Remembering ‘food’, Cadbury’s Smash, immediately takes me back to the 1970s, formica kitchen tops, swirly orange and brown wallpaper – and that same sinking feeling that I had whenever my mother was in her ‘time-saving foods’ mode. Food memories are created, stored and processed in the mind. Studies have identified three types of memory: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Sensory memories are momentary recordings of information in our sensory systems and are evoked through the five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste and touch, all of which are important elements when thinking of food. Researchers at Princeton University in the United States discovered that when we remember something we travel back in time to the moment and into the context when we formed the memory. Certain things attract our attention and generate emotions and thoughts. Recalling something, we revisit the situation via our imagination and the brain regenerates the same or very similar emotions and thoughts that we had at the time. Memories aren’t stored in a certain place but are found via a complex combination of reactions, suggesting that the remembering process is a sort of mental time travel. Food particularly seems to be a potent trigger for not just memories but feelings, emotions and intricate details. Observer food writer and chef Nigel Slater even used food memories as a

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Food for thought cathartic experience in writing his autobiography Toast. As he admitted in a recent article: “I wrote Toast partly to unravel the emotional mess that was my own childhood, unwrapping humbugs and licking ice-lollies in order to relive something that happened a lifetime ago. My legs are still stinging from the slapping my Dad gave them when I spilt raspberry juice on the new dove grey carpet.” Luckily some food memories make us laugh rather than cry. My own memory of my first avocado is just such a memory. My mother – this time, in a ‘let’s be exotic’ food mode – bought two of these green fruits with no idea what to do with them. Her kitchen mantra of ‘if in doubt – boil it’, let her down badly on this occasion when – skinned, devoid of its succulent green flesh the avocado stone was ceremonially boiled for half an hour without success. Luckily we still had the second one and I was dispatched to my friend’s house who, thankfully, had a mother that could cook, and duly explained that the edible bit was the green flesh now languishing in our bin! Food memories, particularly those from childhood, reveal our backgrounds, culture, age, shared experiences and even the food behaviours we have today. Researching this piece has been an interesting stroll down lots of different memory lanes. The people that helped are of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds but all live in the Costa de La Luz area. These are their recollections when food was on their mind. Marta Angula, Spanish, Director of Food Consulting, lives in La Muela near Vejer All of my favourite memories of food involve being with my family. Food was very important in our household. We are from Burgos in the north of Spain and every day it was tradition to bring fresh bread, free range eggs and fresh milk home for eating. This came

Childhood memories are made of this – catching your own supper; rosquillas; for mash get Smash; and the first ever taste of avocado

from my grandmother who had been brought up in a Burgos village and believed that the freshest food was the best food. For this reason she always made us food to take with us to the capital – maybe she didn’t trust the city’s food sources! I get taken back to my childhood whenever I smell that special aroma of homemade puddings like rosquillas fritas or leche frita. Mark Vedmore, Welsh, owner of bar café La Alternativa, lives and works in Jerez One of my most potent food memories is eating Kobi beef in Asia de Cuba in St Martin’s Lane in London because it was such a luxury and something I have never encountered since. It’s outrageously expensive but thankfully someone else was paying. This Japanese beef comes from the Tajima-Ushi cattle which are raised according to tradition including includes a diet of saké and beer, and daily massages – the result is beef that melts in the mouth. On a more mundane note the food that always reminds me of home is cheese and potato pie; when I was a child my sister made one but dropped the dish as it came out of the oven – it was ruined and she had to start again. From then on it was my favourite comfort food. Åse & Thomas Donso, Danish, owners of La Patria Restaurant, live and work in La Patria between Vejer and Conil Åse has fond memories of her childhood in rural Denmark. ”My grandfather would go fishing in the fjords for eels. He would return home with them still alive in buckets of water which we had to keep changing in preparation for what was a tradition in my family, a sort of eel fest. Lots of family and friends would come over. We’d have fun trying to get hold of the slippery, writhing creatures so they could be killed, chopped, battered and deep fried. We’d make trays and trays of them served with plain boiled

potatoes and parsley sauce. The adults drank akvait, a sort of schnapps which apparently helped breakdown the fattiness, meaning they could eat more.” James Barr, Scottish, owner of La Loba guesthouse in Medina Sidonia When I think of home and food it has to be that perennial British favourite – curry. At the very mention of the word I am back in Glasgow in Gibson Road at the Shish Majal; there’s a group of us, it’s lunch time and butter chicken with stuffed parathas are on the table. I can recall the smell and the ambience so well I can almost taste the chicken right now in southern Spain. Helena Chalverus, American, teaches yoga in San Ambrosio and Conil As soon as I’m ill I’m transported back to my home town of Albuquerque in New Mexico. When we were kids and ill my mom would us make ‘green chillies’. Using these special chillies indigenous to my area, she would cook up a broth of chilli, tomato and onion. Chillies have loads of medicinal properties. I would eat them with proper Mexican tortillas and immediately feel revived. Living here, it’s one of things I really miss. However my mom now has a drying machine, so she dries batches of chillies for me and sends them over so I can try and recreate that special taste. Does the sight or smell or a particular food make you nostalgic for another time or place? We’d love to hear your food memories. Send them to or Apdo de Correos 39, 11150 Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz

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Heavy on quality, LIGHT ON THE POCKET CHIRINGUITO BOMBADILL Isla Canela This is a place of simple delights. A wooden shack built on a sand dune, its south-facing terrace looks out over the beach at Isla Canela – an island separated from the mainland by marshland at the mouth of the Guadiana River. Portugal lies just across the estuary. It’s a well kept secret amongst Spanish families rather than tourists. You can’t go wrong with a little grilled fish and a bottle of dry white wine while looking out over miles of pure white sand and a sea bathed in the sunlight that gave the Costa de la Luz its name. There’s nothing of note to draw you into the chiringuito (beachside bar) except the smell coming from an even smaller wooden shack out front where the fish is grilled. But, once at your table, there never seems to be much to draw you away. It can take a while to grab the attention of the waiters – who I’m sure are the same ones who first welcomed us four years ago. But, though I doubt they remember us from the

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few times a year we manage to get over to Spain, we’re always treated like old friends. Bombadill has a simple menu of guisos marineros (stews), grilled fish, seafood paella and some fairly straightforward Spanish meat dishes. On our last visit, we started with sardinas al carbon (grilled sardines) at€10 a plate. They always taste better when you’re looking out over the ocean. Then came seafood noodles at€20 for two. Served in a paella dish, it was swimming in a very tasty tomato and fish stock sauce, with pasta, squid, octopus, clams, mussels and a few rather dramatic looking langoustines on top. The overall flavour was strong and unique – a bit like Bombadill itself. Plush but nondescript apartment blocks are still springing up all along the Canela coastline but this little wooden shack seems robust and distinctive enough to stand up to the tide of development. BERNARD COLE Chiringuito Bombadill, Paseo de los Gavilanes, Isla Canela, Huelva. Tel: 616 212 688. E-mail: Closed Dec & Jan


BALANDRO Cádiz Situated along the leafy Alameda de Apodaca, with views across the bay to El Puerto de Santa María, this restaurant has proved a hit with locals and visitors to Cádiz alike. Much attention has been paid to the details that give Balandro a truly modern feel. The huge windows on every side, subtle lighting and décor and bright tabletops lend an impression of spaciousness. The menu is daring and finds unlikely pairings and imaginative combinations using the best and freshest ingredients. At Balandro, you must first choose between eating in the restaurant or the tapas bar. The two sit side by side but the difference in eating experience is marked. Separated in part by wicker screens, the restaurant section affords more privacy and comfort while still making it possible to survey and feel connected to the activity at the bar. Main courses are large and priced between€12 and€24. Much of Balandro’s fame rests on its extensive tapas menu, though the word ‘tapas’ is a bit of a misnomer. The salads and appetisers are generous and the meat, fish and pasta plates are definitely large enough to pass for restaurant main courses even though most cost€5 or less. You can opt for one of the diner style enclaves that line the far wall or sit at the long, loop-shaped bar. We shared the foie, goats cheese and caramelised apple salad, the salmon rolls dressed with baby shrimp mayonnaise and a plate of filo pastries stuffed with a sumptuous leek, cream cheese and bacon sauce. Awesome flavours all round and these treats arrived almost as soon as they were ordered. To follow, one of Balandro’s signature dishes, the Solomillo al Pedro Ximenez (pork loin in a sweet sherry reduced sauce), didn’t disappoint. The meat was perfectly tender and presented on a bed of pureed potatoes, just right for mopping up the delicious sauce with pine nuts and raisins. The fillet of salmon tagiatelle was delicate and judged to perfection. The sauce was light and creamy, dotted with poppyseeds and small chunks of smoked white fish. For dessert we shared the chocolate brownie with fresh vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce. The bill for three people came to just under€60 with wine and one dessert. One word of warning: Balandro’s immense popularity means that it’s best to arrive early or opt for a weekday when numbers are less concentrated. But its reputation is more than justified. RONAN KELLY

During years of eating our way round southern Spain, we have evolved three unspoken rules. Firstly, eat at a venta if at all possible; secondly, stop at a venta with the greatest number of cars parked outside; and finally, once inside, always ask for the menú del dia. We have spent many happy hours travelling to Zahara de los Atunes and we must have passed Las Dunas on the road between Zahara and Barbate dozens of times without giving it a second glance. Recently we realised the place had changed management when our rule no2 (the one about lots of cars) became apparent, so we tried it out. Like many ventas on the coast, it has a spectacular location a few yards from the sea. This place, however, is more than a venta. Inside, the bar area is very smart, with lots of space and new modern furniture. The dining area is also very roomy and welcoming. There’s an extensive menu here; Las Dunas specialises in comida asturiana (Asturian food) and there’s a lot more choice than you would experience in the average seaside venta. This includes a very tempting pata cordero (leg of lamb, at€29.95), fabes con almejas (bean stew with clams) and chorizo a la cidra – cider being the regional drink of Asturias. After a generous taster of olives and tortilla, we opted for a plate of patatas aliñadas (potatoes with egg and onion cooked in a delicious vinegar based sauce) and paella de mariscos, which contained some of the biggest prawns I have seen. Our meal, with portions of excellent homemade flan and cheesecake, a bottle of local wine and a complimentary glass of digestivo, came to€58. You can eat here far more cheaply (the weekday menú del dia is€9) but nonetheless we felt that this was good value. The service was attentive and the food was beautifully cooked. And afterwards you can walk over the road to the unbroken stretch of sand opposite for your well earned siesta. DAVID MacGOWAN

Bar Restaurante Las Dunas, km 2 Carretera Barbate–Zahara de los Atunes. Tel: 956 434 656/661 271 488

Balandro, Alameda de Apodaca, 22. Tel: 956 220 992; Open Tues-Sat 1.30pm4pm & 8.30pm–midnight; Sun: 1.30pm-4pm

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W H AT ´ S O N


What’s on Holidays 15th August Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the only official holiday during the summer months but expect services to be curtailed locally during ferias and fiestas

Ferias/Fiestas JULY 11th-16th San Fernando gets lit up for its own maritime and street celebrations of the Virgen del Carmen and of its local product, salt

16th-20th Feria del Carmen, Barbate. A flotilla of boats brings the effigy of ‘Our Lady’ on to land, plus four days of fun, eating and drinking

11th-20th Processions, music and dance at La Línea de la Concepción’s big summer bash 14th-16th Fiestas in Chipiona 14th-18th Whitewashed houses bedecked with flowers as Our Lady is paraded through the streets of Prado del Rey (west of Arcos), plus open-air music and dancing in main square

16th Celebrations in honour of fishermen’s patron, the Virgen del Carmen, in (among others) Conil, Chiclana, El Puerto de Santa María, La Línea, Tarifa, Chipiona, San Roque, Puerto Real, Barbate

18th-20th Fiestas in one of the most stunning of the pueblos blancos – Setenil de las Bodegas 20th The people of Puerto Serrano (off the A376) head out on horseback, in decorated carriages and on foot to the Almendral chapel in honour of local patron Mary Magdalene

23rd-27th Processions, kids’ activities, sports competitions, music, fireworks… and late nights in Benalup/Casas Viejas


AUGUST July 31st-August 3rd Four days of eating and street entertainment in honour of Rota’s most famous fish dish, the red-banded sea bream (urta a la roteña)

the town of Alcalá de los Gazules holds its main summer celebrations

21st – 24th Fiestas in Zahara de

1st-2nd Top-flight flamenco at the annual festival in the Plaza del Cabildo in Arcos de la Frontera

28th-31st Music, clowns,

1st-4th Go back in time with the popular re-enactment of the struggle between ‘Moors and Christians’ in Benamahoma, near Grazalema

& Vicky Luna, La Negra, Conchita, Pastora and The Planet House. Starts 9.15pm

20th – 24th Spectacularly lit up,

1st-2nd Flamenco and traditional dance in Castellar de la Frontera (between San Roque and Jimena)

la Sierra. Worth the visit just to see the town itself

dancing, soccer tournaments, bullrunning and livestock at the Bornos (near Arcos de la Frontera) summer feria.

30th Kings of flamenco chill Chambao play in Huelva

28th -31st One of the oldest ferias in Andalucía (San Agustín) in Olvera

1st-3rd Loads of activities – including fireworks and bullrunning – at the summer feria in El Gastor (in north-west of province)

31st Jolly and melodic boy band Melocos back on home turf in El Puerto de Santa María bullring as part of their nationwide summer tour. Starts 8pm

AUGUST 1st Internationally acclaimed

6th-10th Something for everyone (young and old – day and night) at Setenil’s main summer celebrations

ethnic popsters Chambao bring their latest album Con otro Aire to the Castillo de San Sebastián in Cádiz. Cost €25. Starts 11pm

7th-10th Feria in Jimena de la Frontera

1st Free concert by pop superstar David de María at the Playa de la Concha in Algeciras

10th-12th Fiestas in Villaluenga del Rosario

10th-24th Street party time in Vejer de la Frontera – for two weeks! 10th-17th Sanlúcar holds its big

Pop, Rock & Blues JULY 19th The 12th edition of Cádiz’s

summer celebration: parades, kids’ fun, bull-running

annual Blues festival at the Baluarte de la Candelaria, starring the Lance López Band and Tito & Tarantula. Starts 10.30pm. Tickets €17 in advance, €20 on the door

13th-17th Puerto Serrano’s

24th Pop with attitude from El

summer celebrations

Canto del Loco at the Municipal Sports Stadium in La Línea de la Concepción

summer bash

12th-17th San Roque’s big

13th-17th Nearly a week of sport, art, food, wine and music in Trebujena, culminating in the ‘bunch of grapes’ competition on 19th 14th-17th Bull-running, music and dance competitions, food (and drink) in Benaocaz (north of Ubrique)

24th-27th The people of 14th-17th Moscatel festival in

Algodonales celebrate their local saint’s day


25th-27th Feria in Sanlúcar de

15th The beautiful hill-top town


of Olvera celebrates the feast day

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of its patron saint, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios

25th-26th Three day music fest in Ayamonte. No details yet, but last year’s line up was great. Check the FEPA page on MySpace for details 26th The Mugre Rock festival is back at the sports pavilion in Puerto Real, with a funky line-up of Jaleo Real and La Kinky Beat. Free 26th Free concert at La Barrosa beach in Chiclana with Alba Molina

2nd A night of rap and hip hop at the Sala Rouge in Jerez de la Frontera. Falsalarma, Pinnacle Rockers, Canes, Delahoja, Unity Sound, plus MC battles. Gwaaaan! 4th Metal pop folksters Mago de Oz (Fairport Convention meets Queen) in concert at Bahía Sur sports stadium, San Fernando. 10.30pm 6th Didgeridoos, synths, drones, drums and fab singing from Nómhadas. Great night out guaranteed. Castillo Santa Catalina, Cádiz. Starts 10.30pm 7th Ra-Ra-Rasputin! Boney M in concert at Bahía Sur stadium, San Fernando. Support from Sixties pop greats Los Brincos. Cost: €18 (bargain) Starts 10.30pm 8th International singer songwriter Noa in concert at the Foro Iberoamericano de la Rábida in Palos de la Frontera. Cost: €1520. Starts 10.30pm

9th It’s one of the concerts of the year. Miguel Bosé appears at Chiclana’s Football ground. Starts 10.30pm 9th Indie pop from Jaula de Grillos and hard rock from Vértigo at San Fernando’s soccer stadium. Cost €9. Starts 1030pm 9th Barbate sports complex hosts five fine bands (Huma, Handful of Rain, Atalaya, N-Fin and Metallherz) at the Seguimos en pie festival

10th Yet another coup for Bahía Sur. The dynamic rumba pop duo Estopa in concert at the sports stadium. Expect to dance! Cost €24. Starts 10.30pm

14th Another chance to see Chambao – at the Fairground in Barbate

18th If it sounds half as good as the records, it’ll be brilliant. Ancient ambient folk from Loreena McKennit at the Foro Iberoamericano de la Rábida in Palos de la Frontera. €15. Starts 10.30pm

tarantellas from Acquaragia Drom in Benalup’s Plaza Nuestra Señora del Socorro. Starts 10pm

23rd Eighties pop legends (they really are) Hombres G in concert at Barrosa beach in Chiclana. Boy band Melocos in support. Starts 10pm

Folk, World & Jazz JULY 14th The Royal Tara Irish Dance Academy performs at the Castillo Santa Catalina in Cádiz. Starts 10pm. Cost: €10

with Jamal Shakara at the Castillo Santa Catalina. Starts 10pm

17th-19th El Puerto Jazz festival, featuring Oregon (17th), Sonora Big Band (18th) and Bettye Lavette (19th). Cost: €25 for three-day pass or pay on door daily. Starts 10.30pm

Classical JULY 14th The Linz Chamber orchestra

The streets of Chiclana old town play host to a novel exhibition. At 15 houses, a large format photo of the interior is hung on the outside wall. “An interesting dialogue between interior and exterior, public and private...,” says the blurb. Sounds like fun

in concert at the Teatro del Mar in Punta Umbría. Starts 10.30pm

Morente teams up with Dulce Pontes (described by some as Portugal’s best female voice) for a concert at the Castillo San Sebastian in Cádiz. Starts 11pm


26th If you’re into folk, this is the perfect summer night out in Espera: Balkanfolk (from Bulgaria), kAYA (Andaluz reggae), Stolen Notes (Irish music from Seville) and Eskorzo (Andaluz punk folk). Artesan market, drum workshop and an exhibition devoted to Cádiz anarchist Fermin Salvoechea. Starts 10pm

AUGUST 12th Works by Britten, Bartók

klezmer from Czech band Rodinka at the Castillo Santa Catalina, Cádiz. Cost: €15. Starts 10pm

9th New-age mediterranean folk with lots of drumming from Piccola Banda Ikona in concert in Barbate. Starts 10pm

Flautist Cristina Granero and pianist Yuki Matsushima play works by Falla, Clarke, Borne and others at the Claustro de San Francisco in Cádiz. Starts 9pm

and Brahms performed by cellist Antonio Martín Acevedo and pianist Miguel Angel Ortega Chavaldas. Centro Cultural Reina Sofía, Cádiz. Starts 9pm

13th –17th Five days of great concerts at the Alcalá de Los Gazules International Music Festival hosted by the Soloists of London, with international guitarist Juan Francisco Padilla (13th & 14th at 10pm), soprano Pilar Jurado (15th at 10pm) and pianist Claudio Martinez Mehner (16th & 17th). A music course for children is being planned. Contact 0044 7973720439 for details.

Sports & Others JULY 17th A night of free-style motocross at the El Puerto Bullring

25th Clowning around and silly in concert in Aracena

repartee from Los Morancos at Puerto Real’s Teatro Principal. ¡Ellos si que valen!


26th If you’re into choirs, then

JULY 18th Chiclana flamenco festival:

head to the Plaza de España in Trebujena where they’ll be battling it out in the fourth annual choral competition. Starts 9pm

24th Folk-rockers Celtas Cortos

Antonio ‘El Pipa’, Montse Cortés, Rancapino, Manuel Molina and Silverio Heredia. Chiclana bullring

25th Singer and dancer Ana 16th A concert of Andalusí music

Until end of July

26th Flamenco star Estrella

AUGUST 8th A bit of slav and a bit of

(apart from Mr Zimmerman that is). Julio Iglesias at the El Puerto Bullring

Art Exhibitions

Maria Carrasco and Lolo Chavero in concert at the Municipal fairground in Huelva. Starts 11pm

19th Italian gypsy music and

28th One of the greats of contemporary Brazilian music, Caetano Veloso, in concert at the Castillo San Sebastián in Cádiz. Starts 11pm. Cost: €40

19th It’s THE concert of the year

AUGUST 12th Young singing sensation

Salazar showcases her latest disc Claros del Alma. Expect fab versions of Edith Piaf songs. Castillo Santa Catalina, Cádiz. Cost €15. Starts 10pm

All July and August Paintings, documents, weapons, replica boats bring to life the Guerra de la Independencia (the Peninsular War) on the 200th anniversary of its outbreak. Museo de las Cortes, Cádiz

Until August 3rd An imaginative recreation of Cádiz in Islamic times at the Museo de Cádiz in Plaza de la Mina. Closed all day Monday and Tuesday mornings, open 9am – 8.30pm otherwise.

AUGUST 5th If your kids are into the latest

July 7th-August 31st

wrestling craze, there’s a night of Pressing Catch at the El Puerto Bullring. Come back Kent Walton, all is forgiven!

Exhibition of drawings and oil paintings by Belgian artist Roger Baert at the Palomar de la Breña, San Ambrosio, near Barbate

12th -14th First weekend of

August 1st-24th A summer art

spectacular Sanlúcar beach horse races

market of paintings, prints and drawings by artists from Andalucía and beyond at the Galería La Rampa in Vejer de la Frontera. 11am-2pm & 7pm-10pm daily. Closed Tuesdays

25th Flamenco festival in Punta Umbría, starring Jose Mercé, El Pele, El Mistela and Regina. Starts 11pm

Until July 28th Paintings and prints by Cádiz artist Maria Bascuñana at Vejer’s Galería La Rampa – favourite haunts and lots of local colour. 11am-2pm & 7pm10pm daily. Closed Tuesdays. Further info from 956 45 13 94 or

27th – 29th Second and final weekend of Sanlúcar beach horse races

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Advertise in La luz & boost your sales now! For all advertising enquiries please contact Ram Nijjar on +34 655 047 054 or email Closing date for adverts issue 26 – Sept/Oct: Friday August 11th 2008




HOUSE GARDEN & POOL We even deal with those little emergencies


No job too sm

Tel: 628 931 285 / 956 412 156

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Harley Davidson Heritage Classic

Year 2000 only 7,000 miles. Spanish plates. Excellent condition, stage 1 tune, sounds and looks incredible. If you’ve ever fancied a Harley this is the one to go for. A real classic and head turner. Offer around ₏14,000. Tel: 630212803 L A LU Z 57


CHARITY Animal Welfare Awareness– Please Neuter and Castrate Cats and Dogs at Home or from the Street. 16,000 births of unwanted animals from one pair. offers information and facts, Vets and Animal Hospitals. Stop the disease, cruelty and neglect now. HEALTH Massage & Reflexology Aromatherapy massage, Sports massage/Injuries, Hot Stone massage, Lymphatic Drainage massage, Reflexology and Reiki. Treating the Mind, Body & Spirit. Also Bemer Bio-electro magnetic Energy Regulation. Treats many conditions. Arcos and Home/Hotel visits. All Areas covered. Over 10 years experience. For more information

or to book an appointment please call Carol Stone (ITEC) on 956 704 965 / 653 139 558 or visit FOR SALE JBC 1.5T Digger with 3 buckets 2100 hours good running order. €7,250 Tel Steve 680 958 785 Classic Moody design Bermudan cutter rigged yacht. 10.30 M, beam 3.4M, depth 1.7M, Full headroom, Volvo Penta CU 23, 2 VHF radios, wind speed/ direction, Depth gauge indicator/ alarm. Sleeps 6-8. Dinghy Davits. Price 32,000 Euros. Tel: 956 537 099 mobile 661423669 POSITION WANTED Bright talented & very experienced housekeeper is looking for full-time employment!

CV & references available upon request. Call Di on 661 619 244

For a free trial lesson call Nicholas Sharman at Trafalgar Language Centre, Vejer. Tel: 655 671 380

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 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

Independent Deliveries from Ikea Seville. You shop and we meet you at the store or we shop and deliver to your property. Assembly service also available. Phone or email for a quotation. Tel: 00 34 954 931 214. Mob: 00 34 656 631 001 Email:

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.

Translator Half Spanish with BA Honours in Spanish and Spanish Translation can translate Spanish to English and English to Spanish. Rates vary depending on complexity of text. Call Cristina on 671 890 473


Rugby stars shine in El Puerto Top-class rugby – plus two international players - came to the Costa de la Luz with the El Puerto Sevens tournament on June 14th. Hosted by local club CR Atlético Portuense, the Gold final was won by Viator Barbarians (mostly made up of the Spanish national squad) who beat Gibraltar team The Pillars of Hercules after a game filled with excitement. The Pillars had beaten Viator earlier in the group games. Visiting Welsh team Tumble RFC had a good start, but suffered from the heat, crashed out in the classification stages. Visiting with The Pillars were England player Ian Balshaw and All Black great Justin Marshall (pictured above). Ian said the pitch was better than many he has played on in England’s Premiership; Justin said he enjoyed cooling off between games at the Puntilla beach. The two players later handed out the trophies and prizes at a function held for players after the tournament, whose main sponsor was Gatorade. JUSTIN ROBERTS Gold final: Viator Barbarian 38, The Pillars of Hercules 5. Silver final: Atlético Portuense ‘A’ 17, Selección Andalucía 7. Bronze final: Wiss the Mamma 19, Atlético Portuense ‘B’ 7 More details:

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MUSICAL YOUTH The Alcalá classical music festival – set up by members of the Soloists of London – continues to go from strength to strength and is now in its fourth year. In addition to the main events (see What’s On), this year children of all ages are being offered the chance to take part in a music course over two days. Date to be confirmed, but expected to be between August 13th and 17th. For more details, contact or call 0044 797 372 0439.

SAVE THE TOAD Jerez zoo is setting up a new project to help save the Midwife Toad in Andalucía. The alytes dickhilleni is only found in southern Spain, and is in danger of extinction. The zoo needs five large glass terrariums in order to house and breed the toads which they hope to then release into the wild. Anyone interested in donating money or sponsoring a terrarium should contact curator Iñigo Sánchez by e-mailing


You will continue to find us in hotels, restaurants, bars and shops across Cádiz and Huelva, but the following places are designated pick-up points so there should always be plenty of copies

CÁDIZ 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

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

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 Chipiona Tourist Office Plaza Juan Carlos I, 3 Tel: 956 377 263 E-mail: Conil Tourist Office C/ Carretera 1; Tel: 956 440 501; Andaluz Homes C/ Flor, 25 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; 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; oficinadeturismovejer@hot Tel: 956 451 736 De La Luz Properties SL Los Remedios S/N Hotel El Califa Plaza 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

HUELVA You can find laluz in all golf clubs and tourist information offices throughout Huelva province and the eastern Algarve. Some of the other main drop-off points include: Isla Canela The Outback Inn Centro Comercial, Marina Isla Canela, Ayamonte Ayamonte Euro Supplies Calle Médico Rey García (opposite theatre) Villablanca Pizzería Madera Huelva City The English Bookshop Calle Cristóbal Colón 10

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La luz 25  

La luz magazine for the Costa de la luz, Cadiz. Issue 25