Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hidden Gem of Costa de la Luz - Vejer de la Frontera, Spain

 Vejer de la Frontera was my destination for my second bike leg of #WorldTour2015 from the provincial capital of Cadiz.  I had discovered this place while reading about her sister city Chefchaouen, Morocco, and then quickly adjusted my route to make a stop here.  Now, after reading more about the hilltop town, I knew this would be a challenge for me on my bicycle and I was right.  After branching from the smooth and near-level comforts of N-340, I looked up at the final stretch of my ride for the day.  Up to a steep hillside that this road clung to as it zigzagged into the trees that is!  Before I began my ascent, I gave my legs a small pity break for I knew this was going to be a long haul in the afternoon sun with temperatures still holding on to the 90°F/33°C heat and my water was going to need some rationing to make the trek to the top.  After a few mental words of encouragement, I began pedaling my way up slow and steady... for the first half.  Starting strong in some of the higher gears, I found myself in the lowest of the lowest and was still struggling with my cart's weight pulling back and the sun's heating beating down.  Accepting a minor defeat, I stepped off my bicycle for the first time and push my way up for a few minutes.  Stretching out my leg muscles gave me a new found octane boost to power my way up the last few bends and another form of "boost" came from cars passing by and shouting words of encouragement too!  On the last switch-back, I was blessed with this phenomenal view of the old city of Vejer de la Frontera.  At that moment, I forgot all those curses I was thinking as I was struggling up the dreaded northwestern face of this "hill" to reach stark white houses, the ancient fortress, and more importantly - fresh spring water!  Then began the wonder of Vejer de la Frontera.  

Once I recharged my water bottles from one of the public drinking fountains, I eagerly began my explorations - up more hills!  If there is one thing that Vejer de la Frontera has in bountiful amounts, hills should be placed at the top of that list!  Second to the number of hills would be delicious restaurants although I could settle for a tie between those two for I ate my little heart's desires to the fullest potential during my short stay!  The local area is known for fruit production and raising the famous Spanish fighting bulls, in turn, the local dishes were delicious to indescribable proportions and wonderfully fresh.  Making my night's stay at a small, cozy hostel aptly named "Buenavista", the happy owner took me to what I would consider to be the 'best view in town' - the rooftop!  After having him explain the history of the area VERY SLOWLY in Spanish, I gathered the agriculture importance of this city and saw all the fields sprawling below endlessly as the sun set behind us.  At his recommendation, he sent me to a friend's restaurant nearby and called ahead to make sure I was well taken care of for my dinner after a long day's ride.  When I arrived, I was welcomed by this tiny woman with a smile one could see from space, throwing every greeting in the Spanish language at me at Mach 3!  After ushering me to my window seat with a bottle of local red wine waiting for me already, I knew I was in for a treat!  I did not have to do anything except sit there and eat every tasty plate that was placed in front of me.  This is an example of how speaking the local's language and wanting to understand and experience the culture when abroad can make all the difference in being a tourist and living as a traveler!

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