Cádiz: A Gateway to the superb Andalusian city & region in the south of Spain
April 21, 2024
dunaway13 (950 articles)
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Cádiz: A Gateway to the superb Andalusian city & region in the south of Spain

Pure Andalucía

Cádiz – this sun-splashed city in the south of Spain is one of Andalucia’s most underrated getaways. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, Cádiz has maintained a character of its own.

Fused with culinary excellence, Sherry Wine Bodegas in the important ‘Sherry Triangle’, abundant hiking in the Doñana Natural Park, museums, exciting sporting events, an equestrian center, beaches, Flamenco from small peñas to grand theaters, this historic old town and many unique villages make Cádiz a perfect destination.

Vida Flamenca was honored to attend this year’s exceptional Tourism conference ‘Andalucía: Flamenco & Culture Forum’ in the important region of Cádiz. Our representative Ana María Suarez shares her thoughts and experiences from this magnificent conference and 4-day tour, and co-authored by Beth Nesbitt, Director, Vida Flamenca.

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DAY 1: April 10
Andalucía: – Sherry Wines, Culture, Gastronomy and Flamenco

Encountering Jerez de la Frontera and Cádiz for the first time was a captivating experience. One feels the beauty of this province in Spain’s southwestern edge of Andalusia — known as the ‘sherry triangle’ with the emotion and excitement of what is also known as the ‘cradle of flamenco’.

Jerez de la Frontera

After landing in Sevilla, my first stop, Jerez de la Frontera offered a relaxing ride enjoying lush green scenery and rolling landscapes. Jerez was an easy and short hour+ excursion from Sevilla. Cádiz and surrounding towns like Jerez de la Frontera located in the beautiful plains of the Campiña de Jerez are easily accessible by train or car which opens possibilities for further exploration of the Cádiz province. It is also conveniently close to some of Andalucía’s most famous destinations as Jerez is just 90 km south of Seville and 30 km north of Cádiz.

I arrived at the delightful Hipotel Sherry Park and experienced flawless service, comfort, and hospitality from hotel management and staff. Sherry Park is a fantastic 4 star hotel in Jerez ideal for vacationing or a business trip. The hotel offers you the chance to enjoy a delicious meal at an à la carte restaurant or spend a relaxing afternoon in the garden next to the pool. They also offer special prices on golf packages at nearby courses. https://www.hipotels.com/en/hotels/sherrypark/

After a brief rest, our group was taken to the magnificent Luis Pérez Winery just northwest of Jerez de la Frontera. With its gorgeous hilltop view, situated a short ride outside of Jerez, this estate is a unique and important destination establishing new benchmarks for what the wines of Jerez can be. The Bodegas Luis Pérez produces some of the most aromatic, delicate, and refined wines in the region. This luscious state-of-the-art wine-making facility was also the location of our first group assembly for the important FLAMENCO & CULTURE FORUM offering sumptuous appetizers and dinner centered around sherry wines.  https://bodegasluisperez.com/

A big surprise was prepared for us on this opening evening. With the sound of palmas and guitar nearby, a breathtaking silhouette of a bailaora appeared. It was the unmistakable Leonor Leal. Short hair, modern attire and just terrific! Leal is considered one of the best flamenco dancers in Spain today. She performed a fresh, nontraditional private concert. It certainly was a delightful surprise and a perfect punctuation to the evening.

Leonor Leal was accompanied by: Juan Antonio Suarez ‘Canito’ (Guitarra); Antonio Moreno (Músico innovador y percusión); Javier Rivera (Cante) https://lpr.com/lpr_artists/leonor-leal/

What a glorious opening day with many exciting presentations offering highlights of the region. Participants arrived from many countries along with various representatives from the Tourism, Hotel, Travel and Flamenco industries. Our local Los Angeles Tourism Office of Spain coordinated U.S. participation thru Rocio Monforte Llorente, Consejería de Turismo en Los Ángeles. https://www.spain.info/en

 

An additional highlight was the exceptional presentation on the art of Flamenco and its importance as a valuable cultural element of tourism by Manuel Macías, Director of the influential Sevilla Conference and Convention Bureau (SCCB). https://sevillacb.com/

This year’s ‘Flamenco & Culture Forum’ fittingly paid tribute to Lola Flores. Flores was a unique TV, film, and music pop-culture icon, artistic talent – a revolutionary who offered inspiration and a magnetic stage presence. Flores left a legacy that has now been celebrated in a permanent Cultural Centre in Jerez de la Frontera, a museum dedicated to the life of this 20th century artist who left an indelible mark on the history of flamenco, and her impact on the history of Spanish music and entertainment. This Forum was a fitting tribute to her talents and passion for Flamenco, and as an ambassador of Spanish culture. https://www.jerez.es/ciudad/centenario-lola

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DAY 2: April 11
The World of Sherry, Wine, Forum Presentations + Flamenco

Feeling refreshed after a delightful breakfast at our Hipotel Sherry Park, we headed to the esteemed Bodegas Fundador. The world famous Fundador was founded in 1730 in Jerez de la Frontera and is dedicated to the production and distribution of brandy, and Sherry wines. It is also known as the oldest winery in Jerez and the fifth oldest winery in Spain. https://bodegasfundador.site/

Fundador (Founder) brandy and sherry are synonymous with Spain and the brand has been acknowledged by Hemingway in his writings.  The tour of the winery itself was wonderful, especially when you are bathed in the aromas of the spirits of this legendary winery. The soil in this region is chalk/limestone based. It provides the perfect conditions for growing the Palomino grape, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel, the three traditional grapes used for making sherry wine.

As a further introduction we were met by a beautiful Flamenco dancer who performed, luring our group through the bodega halls while whispering jaleos under her breath. What a unique, and creative way of introducing this exciting environment.

The main forum presentation followed. It was divided in three panels with  the renowned Flamenco journalist Juan Garrido presiding as panel moderator.

PANEL 1: WOMEN IN FLAMENCO with panelists, Encarna Anillo, Flamenco singer; Ana Crismán, Flamenco harpist; and Lola Vallespi, Cultural Advisor of Flamenco.

PANEL 2: BUSINESS NETWORKING IN FLAMENCO TABLAOS AND SPECIALIZED AGENCIES with panelists, Alberto Oneto, Teatro Flamenco Madrid; Gerardo Nuñez, Spanish guitarist, and composer; and Luis Ibarra, Director of ‘La Bienal de Flamenco’, Sevilla.

PANEL 3: FLAMENCO AS A PROMOTIONAL TOOL, with panelists Manuel Macías, Director of the Sevilla Conference and Convention Bureau (SCCB);  Cristóbal Ortega, Director at Instituto Andaluz del Flamenco; and Kurt Grotsch, Director of the Flamenco Museum, ‘Museo del Baile Flamenco: Cristina Hoyos’ in Sevilla.

All three discussions were fascinating and of major importance. Flamenco art blends the past and the future, being one of the richest cultural manifestations in the world. Thanks to all these characteristics, UNESCO granted it its highest recognition for intangible culture.

In true Spanish style we broke for lunch for two hours. It was a delicious, refreshing, and entertaining almuerzo in a beautiful courtyard of the Fundador winery. Complete with an excellent flamenco show and an expert “Veneciador”, showcasing the authentic tradition of Sherry Wine pouring, one of the oldest crafts connected to Sherry Wines to be found in the Jerez Region. https://www.sherry.wine/sherry-region/the-venenciador

We resumed the forum and the “work” began in earnest.  The very successful and enthusiastic networking round table involved participants from not only Spain but also Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, and the United States.

What a thrilling day of networking, round tables and participation with members of the press and international influencers given the opportunity to participate in a dance workshop at the revered Peña Flamenca “La Buena Gente”.

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Day 3: April 12
Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda & Cádiz: Andalusian Horses Dance + Gastronomy + Flamenco!

One of the most memorable days of the Forum was the early morning walking tour of the historic center of Jerez de la Frontera, considered the home of Flamenco and included a visit to the tribute statue ‘homenaje a Lola Flores’ in the barrio (San Miguel). If you have not yet included Jerez on your radar of Spain, this city is a “must see” addition for any Spain travel plans. https://www.andalucia.org/en/jerez-de-la-frontera

Next, a spectacular private show of Andalusian horsemanship at the Royal School of Equestrian Art of Andalucia in Jerez. The equestrian center is noted for its’ unique exhibition “How the Andalusian Horses Dance”, an equestrian ballet accompanied by quintessential Spanish music and 18th century styled costumes and choreographed using movements based upon Classical Dressage. A truly unique and iconic experience. https://www.realescuela.org/en/about-us/

Next, a relaxing motorcoach ride to the southern city of Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz for an exquisite seafood lunch at the famed Poma Restaurant located in a unique beachfront enclave with views of the Coto de Donaña. Needless to say this delicious lunch included the freshest seafood, tapas, and entrees made of shrimp, tiny clams, squid and other seafood. https://www.restaurantepoma.com/

Due to its geographic location, seafood is one of the Spain’s gastronomic pillars, and best experiences. When you envision the full spectrum of Spanish gastronomy the exploration must continue with well-known mainstays and infinite varieties of Tapas, Paella and the go-to refresher Sangria. Let’s not forget the savory olives, divine olive oils, potatoes, tomatoes, wonderful variety of cheeses, garlic, chicken, fish, Iberian cured meats, excellent wine and Sherry as a delightful nonstop experience due to the country’s rich culinary heritage and blend of many cultures. https://www.andalucia.org/en/sanlucar-de-barrameda

The afternoon also included a class in “Palmas” (flamenco hand clapping), and essential aspect of learning the rhythms of Flamenco. Participants had a fun and educational experience learning and, in some cases, dancing with the performers and instructors. By now the ambiance of Cádiz had overtaken us and we felt free and very much at home.

Our next hotel was the exquisite 4-star Hotel Cádiz Bahía. A large, modern, and very elegant hotel delightfully situated on the sparkling Victoria waterfront. The entire complex is designed to offer maximum comfort and convenience in a unique environment. https://www.hotelcadizbahia.com/en/

Casino Gaditano Dinner & Surprise Flamenco Show

This gorgeous venue is not an actual casino but served originally as a social and card club. It is an emblematic cultural institution with a Moorish interior that is now used as a venue for many musical, educational and cultural events and presentations. Dinner was as always, an abundance of flavorful local specialties of tapas and an assortment of heavenly small dishes. http://www.casinogaditano.org/

This magical day ended with an intimate private flamenco show featuring several well-known artists from the area of Jerez and Cádiz, including Macarena Ramírez (flamenco dancer from Chiclana de la Frontera); Javier Ibáñez (Guitarist from Jerez) Singers Anabel Rivera and Miguel Rosendo (both Gaditanos/Cádiz), Carlos Merino (Cajon player from Jerez) and Samuel Cortés (violinist from Jerez). Up close and personal, emotional, powerful and very flamenco, this masterful ensemble was definitely the wow factor of the night!

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DAY 4: April 14
An Exceptional Educational Forum Closes with Power!

After a fantastic night at the Hotel Q Cádiz Bahía, we enjoyed an authentic breakfast of picatostes at the exquisite Café Royalty included as one of the five best breakfasts in Spain by the prestigious Condé Nast magazine. This delightful café/restaurant is located in the historic center of Cádiz and is open from morning until midnight. The restaurant offers a wide variety of heavenly coffees and pastries and some of the best products of the region including blue fin tuna, supreme jumbo prawns, Iberbian Bellota ham, exquisite salads and succulent Sanlúcar lobster. https://www.caferoyalty.com/

Led by a local tour guide, we then walked through downtown Cádiz. The weather was exquisite with very mild and pleasant breezes in an otherwise warm and sunny climate.  It’s no wonder Cádiz is so popular this time of year with its many exceptional locations. Being the oldest city in Spain, there is no shortage of historic sites to enjoy, see and learn in this marvelous city.

Our tour also included a visit to the Museo Leyenda Camarón, a marvelous interactive exhibition in San Fernando, Cadiz that pays tribute to the legendary cantaor Camarón de la Isla, an essential artist of the ‘cante jondo’ and universally acclaimed as one of the most important flamenco singers of all time. (highly recommended for flamenco enthusiasts). https://www.andalucia.org/en/san-fernando-visitas-leyenda-camaron-de-la-isla-museum

We then had a wonderful afternoon lunch at the historic Restaurant Venta de Vargas in the Bay of Cádiz, which also has considerable flamenco history. After lunch, we were invited to see the private dining room where Camarón would sit as a youngster before he was old enough to be allowed inside. The proprietor shared many of his remembrances and heartfelt stories of Camarón and many other flamenco greats. https://ventadevargas.es/

Our final evening schedule included an unbeatable special performance hosted by Miguel Poveda honoring Paco de Lucía at one of Cádiz’s cultural jewels, the Gran Teatro Falla. Don’t miss this opulent theater with exquisite frescoes adorning the ceiling depicting an allegory of Paradise, the creation of Felipe Abarzuza y Rodríguez de Arias. Renowned Flamenco artists collaborated to honor the celebrated maestro on the 10th anniversary of his passing. It was a moving and inspirational concert. Please enjoy Red Carpet highlights from this final gala.

https://www.andalucia.org/en/cadiz-places-of-leisure-gran-teatro-falla

The post-concert cocktail party offered yet another transcendent experience, this time at the 4-star Parador de Cádiz with breathtaking views of the Bay. Paradors are a wonderful alternative to a conventional hotel. There are 96 in Spain and vary from modern properties to historic restored castles, monasteries and even palaces. The Cádiz Parador occupies a magnificent space at the edge of the ocean at the tip of a small peninsula in what is known as “oldest inhabited city in the western world” – Cadiz, Spain. A magnificent end and punctuation to this enlightening Forum and experience. https://paradores.es/en/parador-de-cadiz

I am remembering the phrase, ‘Cadiz quiere verte’ (Cádiz longs to see you), and hope you feel the same.

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From Ana Maria: It was an honor to represent the nonprofit Vida Flamenca and Beth Nesbitt at the prestigious Forum: Andalusian Crush. Beth you are a treasure, and it was clear to me the respect and affection you have earned from so many individuals in Spain. They all love you. A heartfelt thank you as well to the Tourism Office of Spain in Los Angeles for their gracious generosity.

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Quiero expresar mi más sincero agradecimiento a la oficina de Turismo de Los Ángeles por elegir a Vida Flamenca para asistir al excepcional foro de turismo de este año, “Andalucía: Flamenco & Culture Forum” en Cádiz. Fue un honor para nuestra organización ser reconocida y asistir a este prestigioso evento.

 

 

 

 

También nos gustaría agradecer a la Diputación de Cádiz, Patronato Provincial de Turismo y a la Junta de Andalucía por su abrumador apoyo a Vida Flamenca. Esperamos futuros eventos y ampliar nuestra colaboración con usted y la Oficina de Turismo de España en Los Ángeles.

¡Gracias a la Diputación de Cádiz, Patronato Provincial de Turismo, Junta de Andalucía, Oficina de Turismo de España en Los Ángeles y Cádiz, España!

dunaway13

dunaway13

Comments

  1. Liz
    Liz April 23, 14:07
    What a great article.....this is so informative to those of us who are just learning more about the dance and the culture. Keep the articles coming. Thank you.
  2. Jenny
    Jenny April 28, 04:12
    What an absolute fabulous trip and in depth article. I know a lot of work in the LA flamenco scene has been done by both of you lovely aficionadas. Beth has created a family in LA and has allowed us to see so much arte. Ana María has always been behind the scenes educating, supporting, dancing, laughing and engaging a closer look for anyone and everyone who wants to learn more. This article is a treasure thank you for sharing. Besos xx
  3. Isabel
    Isabel April 28, 04:31
    Wow!!! Thank you so much for such a beautiful Article full of culture and history. The way you put into words your experience motivates & inspires me to start planning my next Cultural Trip.❤️ Muchísimas Gracias!!! 💃Olé!!
  4. Josiah
    Josiah April 28, 16:02
    Thank you so much for this informative article bringing the settings, landscape, and aromas of this unique land. Bravo to Anna Maria and Beth for helping to promote the knowledge and care of Andalusian life and culture. Olé
    • dunaway13
      dunaway13 Author April 28, 17:59
      Thank you Josh!!!
  5. Denise
    Denise April 29, 03:40
    Fantastic review! Your vivid descriptions and insights really bring the beauty and charm to life. I’m so inspired to plan my own visit!
  6. Lori
    Lori April 29, 18:33
    What a wonderful article! Whether you are in the flamenco world or not, this article gives a fascinating and in-depth look into the history and culture of the arm form, the food, the historical locations and overall beauty of Cadiz. Muchas gracias for sharing the magic with us!
  7. Nancy
    Nancy April 30, 03:56
    Thanks for sharing the culture , food , places , and arte of flamenco with us through this article . Spain is truly a gem . Beth Nesbitt has always supported the art by bringing us amazing performers in the Southern California area and Ana always promotes anything flamenco related . Can’t wait to see more .
  8. Lucia V.
    Lucia V. April 30, 05:05
    I love it 🥰 sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Very well thought out for a memorable amazing experience ! Ole You !!
  9. […] ‘Flamenco & Culture Forum’: A Gateway to the superb Andalusian region of Cádiz SIMOF 2024 * More Than Fashion… An Experience! ‘TABLAO’ with Grammy© Award-winning Cantaor ARCANGEL Xª Festival ‘Cumbre Flamenca’ * June 7, 2019 * Broad Stage, Santa Monica / Thank You So. California! […]
  10. S Walker
    S Walker May 06, 19:33
    Wow! What an experience and we are so lucky to be able to get to come along for the ride through Ana Maria’s wonderful writing! I am even more inspired to make the trip after reading this and getting some great tips about where to stay, eat and go. How lucky to have had a private surprise performance's by Leonor Lealch on the first night!!! And what a way to start!!!
  11. S Walker
    S Walker May 06, 19:35
    Wow! What an experience and we are so lucky to be able to get to come along for the ride through Ana Maria’s wonderful writing! I am even more inspired to make the trip after reading this and getting some great tips about where to stay, eat and go. How lucky to have had a private surprise performance's by Leonor Lealch on the first night!!!
  12. Meg C.
    Meg C. May 07, 03:33
    Thank you for this beautifully written article and all of your travel tips for Cadiz. I will be referencing this when I make my travel plans! Your trip sounded quite marvelous.

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