Being connected to bodegas and other sherry bloggers via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram makes me forget the physical distance that keeps me from just hopping on a plane for a visit. Seeing current pictures of the Feria in Jerez makes me a bit envious that I didn’t extend my trip just a bit longer.
Sadly, flying from Portland, Oregon to Jerez de la Frontera, Spain is a calculated and very long journey. There’s no direct way to get there that won’t take less than four flights and suck 24 hours of my life away. So, visiting the Sherry Triangle takes some good planning. I was able to use reward miles, but it was still quite challenging to work with a representative to actually redeem them! My first day of travel left at 5:00am on a Tuesday, arriving at 5:00 pm on Wednesday with five different flights using three different airline partners. This meant no one would allow me to check-in online – I had to get a boarding pass printed on each leg at each airport!
Since I never traveled on my own with no pre-planned agenda, I decided to visit Spain when I knew friends from my flamenco circle in Portland would be in Jerez. I knew roughly where they would be staying and found this adorable Airbnb apartment close by. (PS – highly recommend staying with this adorable couple – Manolo and Carmen will take you in like family!) This apartment was perfectly located near the center of town as well as the train station.
The month prior to leaving, I contacted several bodegas and sherry connections made on Twitter or Facebook to arrange a time to meet once in Jerez. I purposefully left my days relatively flexible. Most bodegas have their visitation hours all at the same times, so I rarely visited more than two a day. This allowed me space for processing my visits, as well as accept last minute invitations or schedule changes.
The other blessing in disguise I had was adding global roaming to my mobile plan. I never realized how much I would rely on WhatsApp and Google Maps once I was walking around town! Texting via WhatsApp was essential to confirming if I was running late because GPS got me lost. I even used it with a friendly taxi driver who practically became my private driver for when I really needed one. (If you ever want Rubén’s number, let me know! He’s the best!)
I knew from the beginning I wanted to learn about sherry from grape to glass. I selected bodegas based on what I read or what labels I was familiar with. I also took any recommendations from fellow sherry bloggers. There’s only so much you can do to plan – the rest just falls into place in the day-to-day living.
THAT is what adventure is all about!