Cee’s Black & White Challenge – Drinks


Sherry Bodega, Jerez, Spain

Liquid Gold…in black barrels, covered in dust and kept cool in the shade of the Bodega. All this disguises the skill of the Master Winemaker a skill passed down over the centuries and as in this case by the same Byass family.

An idea for CEE’s B&W Challenge this week – Drink.  Here is the link to Cee’s Page:-



9th November

(C) David Oakes 2018


The end of a journey…..CADIS


Plaza de San Juan de Dios, Cadis

Early morning and we arrive at Cadis.  It is the last port of call on our Andalusian trip. Cadis has the honour of being the oldest  inhabited City in Europe, some say the western world.  The name Cadis is understood to come from the Phoenician word ‘Gadir‘  which means ‘enclosure’. Founded about 1100bc it rapidly became the gateway to the New World and a bridge between Africa and Europe. It was Phoenicians that established Cadis as a trading post. Cadis has a history influenced by all the many cultures, of which there are many,  that have either invaded, passed thru or indeed settled here making this a relatively small but captivating City, one of the friendliest on the tour.

One treat as we explored Cadis was a Flamenco Singer and Dancer, a display that was just so full of Spanish emotion, power and energy that gave even us a ‘bounce’ to our steps even though the temperature hovered around 30c… and the girls loved him!


The Local Police seemed rather laid back, in pairs with one always on the phone…which I discovered was a football match they were keeping a close eye on! Then you go round the corner and there is a Bride with her Groom on the way to their Reception…



Cadis was our last Port….but it was also a Port that Fred Olsen Cruise Lines chose to assemble there small fleet of 4 vessels all together at one time. We were at the end of our cruise, others ships were mid journey and one was just starting its voyage.  So it was celebrations in the Port and at the end of the day all 4 Ships sailed out of Cadis together.  Escorted by Fireboats.

With all 4 Ships pausing ‘bow first’ in a Thank You for a great days hospitality and as salute to Cadis….


A very fitting end to a memorable trip. Sun and blue sky for the most part, temperature a dry 28 on average and only 5 minutes of rain….not bad 🙂

13th October

(C) David Oakes 2018

Generalife Palace, Alhambra


The Gardens of Alhambra probably cover more of the city than the Palaces.  Not surprising as the gardens were developed over many centuries gradually taking over buildings and existing gardens. Not sure how the name Generalife Palace came about, maybe because these gardens became the peaceful retreats for Granada’s Monarchs.

Water and shade play a large part of the gardens architecture as does the mix of plants, plants that would find life difficult outside the walls. We soon got used to Oranges and Lemons on fruit trees, not something we see in the UK, but the biggest surprise were the Pomegranate Trees laden with fruit.  So come on take a stroll in the garden…


Commanding wide vistas in every direction the gardens will not disappoint.

It is from here on high above the plains that surround that you also get to see the modern Granada laid out below.  Sadly our trip to Alhambra was over and after an early start, a late finish was in store and the knowledge that we would have to plan to come back to Granada of the Moors.

5th October

(C) David Oakes 2018

THE ALHAMBRA….Granada of the Moors


The Palace of Comares, Alhambra

High on a Red Hill stands the ancient Royal City and Palace we  know as Alhambra.  It was created as a defensive Hill Fort and within its high walls was constructed a Palace, Mosques, Houses, Gardens, Garrisons and Stables and everything else for an independent and secure city.


Built over a number of centuries by Muslims Rulers who controlled Andalusia and was subsequently secured by Christian forces it has by nature had a chequered history. As each subsequent ruler, Muslim or Christian inherited Alhambra they added there own Palace….so now it is a collection of Palaces that you visit.

The name Alhambra is thought to be derived from al-hamra , a combination of red (from the soil of the hill) and Muhammed al-Ahmar ibn Nasr the founder of the Fortress.

Alhambra is considered one of the finest examples of the earliest Muslim Art.  It is also an eclectic mix of styles as influences changed from eastern to western.

The exteriors are dramatic but the interior is breath-taking.  Intricate carved stone, lace like and coloured, tiles and mosaic patterns that convey religious messages.   Water and gardens are incorporated into these spaces as places for cool contemplation and leisure. Dark for shade and windows for air circulation.  But above all are the dramatic carved ceilings and tiled domes.

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So lets take the tour….

That is just the short version…you need to visit for yourselves to get the true magnitude of what was created.  As with so many major locations you need to book in advance.  It will still be very busy but full marks for organisation as the tickets are timed to control the flow of visitors…not perfect but it works better than most. As for time well even a good day will not cover everything and a guide is valuable.

But we haven’t finished…. tomorrow we Tour the Gardens in what is known as the Generalife Palace

4th October

(C) David Oakes 2018

Dawn and a Dramatic Coastline


It was an early start to travel across the dramatic but arid desert east of Almeria… an attempt to keep cool.  Salt Pans and Sand Dunes, miles of low cacti then the occasional village of a few houses always dominated by a church was the vista.

The area is known as Cabo De Gata and is classed as a Natural Park. Ultimately you come to the Lighthouse perched high on the craggy headland and as the sun climbs the sea turns into its characteristic Mediterranean rich blue…


The lighthouse and rocky coastline all seem rather out of place, sitting as it does, right by an arid sandy desert.  Yet despite its remoteness people still cling to the edge of the cliffs to build their homes…one thing is for sure, its peaceful.


9am and temperatures above 39c…. but that sea did look so inviting


2nd October

(C) David Oakes 2018