Who would have thought we would find absolute heaven in Vejer de la Frontera?
It’s a little white-washed town, nestled on the hilltop overlooking the Cape of Trafalgar, with a view to Morocco. We were there fro 6 days, and I
enjoyed LOVED every minute of it!
First Look: You drive around a bend in the road as you wind your way up the hill, and then there it is, Vejer de la Frontera. The ancient fort town. You can see the old fort walls in these pictures. I was pretty sure I was going to like it here. It was certainly pretty enough!
Our Home Away From Home: We were lucky enough to stay at Vejer House. It’s a rustic, and very old home, owned by a friend of the Fashion Mister. The first picture is of the entrance into the courtyard of our home-away-from-home and the arches can be dated back to the Romans…as in back in the Roman Empire time it was built! The back wall of the house is right along the south end of the old fort walls. Downstairs was a family room, bathroom, area for laundry (thank goodness), the dining room and this fantastic old kitchen that opened up to the street. Don’t you just love that stone sink? Originally we thought the street was only a walkway, as it was cobblestone and VERY narrow, but we soon realised it was a street when we had to squish up against the walls of the houses as cars raced by! Needless to say, you got quite good at listening for motors and finding a doorway to step into!
The Plaza and Gateways: As we were staying just on the edge of the Old Fort we were still in the old part of Vejer de la Frontera. All of the pictures above were within a 3 minute walk of our front door. We didn’t head down to the Plaza de Espana often as it was the more tourist area of old town, but we did occasionally walk through it to get to other areas. Mostly we took a tiny lane way that led just behind the house into old town to wander, sit, have drink, dine and often to stop at “Smokey Joe’s”. It wasn’t really called Smokey Joe’s, that is just the name the Fashion Mister gave it. Right next to the Church was a bar/pub kind of place. It was right in the middle of Old Town at the junction of 5 little roads, so wherever we went we were walking past it. The owner was usually standing either in the doorway or just outside having a cigarette – thus Smokey Joe. Smokey Joe’s had wifi so we would be there at least once a day, checking in on the tablet, drinking coffee, wine or beer depending on the time of day. It was also the only place we saw any television during the 6 days in Vejer…all in Spanish of course!
Smokey Joe didn’t speak any English but we could order our drinks in Spanish. The Fashion Mister and Smokey Joe managed to sort out our tablet so we could use his wifi, without either speaking the same language. By the end of our stay we were feeling like regulars as a couple of the old gents would nod to us and Smokey Joe even started to smile at us!
The Juderia: Just at the end of the arches in the old Jewish Quarter is a restaurant called “Juderia”, imagine that! It is a two story place with the dining upstairs and a balcony area that looks across to the New Town. At night it is a beautiful view which means day or night it is a great place to at least stop for a drink. We went for dinner one night. Again, the owner spoke no English and my Spanish is only passable but I was starting to understand far more than I could actually speak. We gathered that the fish of the day was highly recommended. So we ordered it! The owner told us he would make it perfect without much extra on it because it was going to be very fresh.
While we sipped our wine, we heard him on the phone. About five minutes later we heard a scooter come up the narrow cobblestone road and stop outside. Then we heard the owner and the driver of the scooter talking briefly, followed by a “WHACK!” that sounded like a clever coming down hard on something! As both voices could still be heard we were pretty sure there hadn’t been a murder…at least not of a human…guess that fish was REALLY fresh!
Not long after the owner came upstairs carrying two lovely plates of food. I gathered that he was telling me the fish was so fresh that he only used a little olive oil and sea salt on it before pan frying it. Each of us had one side of the fish. On the side were some lightly grilled veggies. It was absolutely the most beautiful piece of fish I have ever eaten! The freshest, tender and light fish you could imagine and I don’t even know what kind of fish it was because I couldn’t figure out what he called it, but it was absolute heaven.
The amazing dinner for two, a couple glasses of wine, bowel of olives (spicy – love those the most) and bread cost us about 32 Euro. The equivalent of less than $50 AUD! Seriously, what more could a food lover want? It was divine!
La Cobijada: When Vejer became a Christian town old sartorial habits remained and until about 25 years ago the local women still wore a large black cape, la Cobijada, covering their bodies and faces, just like the Islamic Yashmak. Staues, paintings and pictures of this figure are all over town.
More to Come: Over the next couple of days I will share the story of our dining at what once was the home of the Spanish Inquisition, a bit of what I wore in Vejer and some photos and stories of our days spent drinking sherry in Santa Maria (as in the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria), and wandering around the ancient Phoenician city of Cadiz. All of this contributed to our feeling that we had found absolute heaven in Vejer de la Frontera!
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