1. The Weather
Here we are on the 23rd January, sitting in the sun in shirt sleeves.
2. The Views
From everywhere in Vejer you get a different perspective of the town, the countryside and the Straits of Gibraltar, glorious glorious views. Even from my bed I can see the church, an Almadraba trap (when they are there) and Morocco.
3. Pace of Life
The pace of life here is SO nice. The word ‘’rush’’ does not exist – which can take some time to get your head around. NO one is in a rush and if a chat is going on when you are next in line and a bit pressed for time, that’s just the way it is. My butcher has chairs – like a waiting room. Just got to wait until all subjects are covered.
4. The Light
Costa de la Luz light is spectacular. Artists and photographers flock here . To see a full moon coming up behind the church is a gulp moment. The carpets of stars too above the crystal clear air are magical.
5. The Church Bells
They are real. Every hour and half hour between 8am and midnight, boing, boing. You don’t need to wear a watch – just listen to the bells.
6. The Food
This is the hidden gem. When I came here first, no one wanted to cook with me. There was a thought that my food and cooking was way ahead of theirs. But this was just not the case. My daily staples weren’t Tuna, Retinto. Chocos. Boquerones Garbanzos. Cerdo Iberico. Sherry. Olive oil. Olives. Payoyo cheese – to name but a few. Everything compliments each other. Glorious handfuls of free mint and parsley when you buy your fruit and veg. You shop seasonally here. When the strawberry season is over – that’s it til next season. If it’s not grown here – you can’t buy it. Apart from ginger… And now we have a gourmet market in Vejer – it opened December 2013 – showcasing all that’s delicious from the zone.
7. The Restaurants and Bars
Vejer is full of surprisingly good eateries and cool bars. A great Sherry bar with 40 Sherries by the glass. It is impossible to eat badly anywhere. Even the most simple of dishes are done well. No fast food. Without exception, all restaurants are owner run/managed. In many cases the whole family will be there working together. Service charge is never added. And then there’s the chupito… Not forgetting – we have some of the best restaurants in Spain outside Vejer too.
8. The Architecture & Monuments
Vejer’s streets will take you back in time. It was built before cars so it’s walk walk walk. The Moors lived here for hundreds of years – bumping into one as you turn a corner feels possible.
9. The Beaches
Vejer is 10 minutes by car from some of the best beaches in the world. This is no exaggeration. Be at the beach all day and head back to town for the evening. Beach walks all winter and beach picnics all summer. Crystal-clear Atlantic waves for surfing and body boarding.
10. The People
Due to my slightly dodgy Spanish, I don’t really know what they say about me – but I just love them all. They will give you stuff – melons, cakes, books – but never a hard time. If you need help, nothing is too much trouble. They will help you do anything. Not materialistic – just want to have good food, good things for their family and respect for their traditions. Sunday here feels like a Sunday used to in UK decades ago – all quiet, no shops open – a time for families to get together. Eat cakes, drink coffee and chat.
11. Being a Gateway to Action
There is just so much you can do from Vejer- you can have breakfast in Spain, lunch in the UK (Gibraltar) and supper in Africa. Eating your way around Costa de la Luz would be high on my list. Jerez to visit bodegas and a horse show in 45 mins. Cadiz – one of the oldest cities in Europe – in 35. Roman ruins at Bolonia. Morocco for the day. Golf. Horsey stuff. The list goes on and on…
12. The Sherry & Vino
You might have expected this to be No1. This is a list. Not a classification. The world’s ultimate aged white wine, Sherry, is made just up the road in the Sherry Triangle and is drunk everywhere here. Una copa de Vino de Jerez. There is a Sherry to match every single dish, even breakfast. My ultimate Vejer tastebud moments are a copa of ultra chilled Fino with some Jamon Iberico or a perfectly chilled Manzanilla with boquerones en vinagre. Now some great red wines are appearing. Beefy, fruity and sun kissed, at 14.5% you will be glad you are staying in Vejer.