SO when you’re feeling pretty down about everything and as though life cannot possibly ever go the way you want it to, apparently it is a good idea to go abroad.
Completely ostracizing yourself from a support net and all those that love you is surely the right thing to do.
Official documentation warns on arrival in a new place that it is perfectly normal to feel down and upset. They were not lying.
“It is possible that you will find some things strange at first, and need a little time to settle in,” comments the British Council, glossing over the adjustment period in one stroke.
“Don’t worry if you don’t feel like a local within the first week.”
My journey to Jerez de la Frontera was a long and terrifying experience.
Despite all flights to Spain lasting little beyond three hours, the enormous emotional adventure that you embark on is certainly note-worthy. Even if the easyjet staff had got a whole degree in ‘How To Smile’, it would have made little difference. I was leaving behind absolutely everything, and starting again.
Gatwick to Sevilla is a well serviced connection, with flights almost daily between the two. They are also at a perfect time for holiday makers. Leaving London in the early morning, and returning from sun-soaked Spain late in the evening, allowing holidaymakers to make the most of their time abroad.
Upon arrival in Sevilla, it is necessary to jump on the local bus to the town centre (about 4 euros). If this city is not your final destination then disembark at Santa Justa train station and drop your bags in the well maintained baggage drop. Very important to look out for it as I completely missed it on the bus, and had a long walk there.
Having crammed my life, which is now represented by a single suitcase from IT luggage providers, into one of these lockers. I headed into Sevilla for my first ever day in Spain.
All this time I was wondering, what actually is Jerez de la Frontera?
This city is little known outside of Spain. The largest city in the province of Cadiz, its name means in literal translation ‘Jerez of the Border.’ It was once on the frontline between Christian Castille, and the muslim caliphate of Granada.
Jerezanos relationship with the UK goes no further than alcohol, the perfect way to start a strong and lasting bond.
As I was later informed by a colleague, “The British love Jerez for our Sherry wine. It’s special here because it matures above ground.”
It is also famous for flamenco – what is that?
Not being Spain’s largest tourist trap, is part of the beauty of Jerez. You have the chance to enjoy real Spain, without entering into competitions of who has the largest camera, or who is prepared to wait the longest.
Just visit the Cathedral in Sevilla, Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede, to get a flavour of the bullish character that pervades modern tourism.
Jerez cathedral never has queues, and to visit during services is absolutely free.
As my RENFE train pulled up into the station of Jerez de la Frontera, I knew that one of the most soul searching and challenging years of my life was beginning.
I was greeted in the station by a colleague, and ferried to the safety of her home.