I am not a wine writer, but I am a story teller. I am also the one that likes to document and organize processes. My hope is that this blog may benefit others who want to discover sherry or travel to the Sherry Triangle.
In all my years of global travel, I’ve never gone alone. I try to avoid looking like a tourist. I’d much rather travel where I can be with a local to gain an insider’s perspective. Most of my travels abroad have been this way, and usually in the company of one to six others. So, when my husband encouraged me to cash in my air miles and go back to Spain to explore the Sherry Triangle on my own, it scared me. I’m sure most people would think I am nuts for trying to talk my way out of it. Here I am, working part time, with my husband’s encouragement and air miles to pay my way – and I’m scared to say yes.
This has always been the plan – start a blog, go to Spain, come back more equipped to educate others in my community. It’s not coincidence the many people and conversations that have paved the way to get me mentally and emotionally ready for such an adventure!
Step One – Say yes: I decided to say yes. It may have taken weeks, but I don’t believe in living with regrets.
Step Two – Decide when: I decided to go this spring when I knew a friend from home would be there as well. I told her she would be my security net – not actually needing to be there, but nice to know I wasn’t totally alone should anything happen.
Step Three – Confirm airfare: Cashing in accrued air miles is not an easy task. In fact, I think airlines make it difficult on purpose. You can’t get things for free without a hitch. I don’t know what I’d do without my husband who has a lot of knowledge in this area. It took two weeks to confirm each leg with each partner airline that I will arrive to my destination and make it home. (FYI – there is not a direct route traveling from Portland, OR to Jerez de la Frontera and will take two days to arrive and one LONG day to return. Thankfully, I have Global Entry to get through TSA and Customs lines a bit faster. Customs in DFW can take hours in long lines, and transferring terminals in LAX is rumored to have the rudest people you’ll ever meet working in an airport.)
Step Four – Confirm lodging: My husband and I have had a lot of luck using Airbnb. I decided to rent an apartment near my friend. It’s a charming studio with all the amenities I need. The woman leasing it was very quick to reply to my questions and even gave me a discount incentive to book right away. $36 a night for two weeks? Yes please! (Not sure if using my Spanish and name-dropping for locals in Barrio San Miguel helped or not.)
Step Five – Plan an agenda: I’m stuck at step five for the moment. I have a vague idea of where I want to go, which bodegas to visit. I also want to keep things organic. I don’t want to feel over-booked. I want to leave room for getting out of Jerez de la Frontera to also see Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. Visiting a vineyard would really complete the journey as well. Two weeks is way too short – so I want to make the most of it without making myself sick and exhausted.
I welcome any tips and suggestions in the comments. There’s no sense in recreating the wheel – but I sure feel like I am in many ways.
I’m a Sherry Triangle Maverick!