Vejer de la Frontera
There’s a different kind of joy when you explore an old-town with such a rich background. Walking down the lanes of history, the old-town of Vejer is an interwoven maze of narrow cobbled streets interspersed by spotless white-washed houses that never lets people forget its Moorish past.
Heavenly Mist. – a photograph of the entire city, taken by our guest-house owner, Nigel.
The xenophobes amongst us have little to get them all riled up, for the entire village is filled with some of the friendliest people I have met. In long narrow uneven streets, with bleached walls on every side, it isn’t uncommon to have your friendly next-door neighbor stand outside their front porch for a little conversation. In fact they also transport market vegetables in cars to each other’s houses!
The informalities in camaraderie, the folkways and mores of interaction reminded me of India and the balance of unsaid equations that we’ve shared with our neighbors while growing up in my hometown
This is Plaza de Espana.
If you have all your lucky stars shining on you, you might find a parking spot in the square.
Tip: Don’t test your luck. You’re better off walking up the stony pathways, which are thronged by pedestrians – local-ites and tourists alike, than drive through that crowd!
Boutique Guesthouse in Vejer
Escondrijo, sprawling well renovated house takes from the 18th century Vera Cruz Chapel, and is located at a few hundred meters away from the Plaza de Espana. It was an amazing experience interacting with the owners of this place (who were both friendly, and had some interesting experiences.)
The couple that owns the place are from the U.K. and are quite an interesting bunch of people. Nigel, an economist by profession, wanted to pursue his passion as a writer. So with a conscious effort to move away from the world of finances, he chanced upon this place, renovated it to maintain the authenticity along with his personal tastes, and now lives here with his family (while renting parts of it to curious travellers like us!)
With a strong reflection of the Moorish era, the house maintains the original galleried internal courtyard with big, lofty well-aired rooms and grandiose common spaces. To add to the play of open spaces, each room has its own private terrace, along with a space that opens up to a large shared terrace.
Common Lounge to read, relax, drink..
Situated in one of the quiet bylanes off the heart of the old town, this location seemed even more ideal as it literally was a stone’s throw away from some of the most interesting restaurants and bars in Vejer. I recommend Casa Varo, Califa (Morrocan Cuisine), and La Bodeguita.
Tuna Meatballs at Casa Varo
The front of the house, Sun trying to open the heavy doors.
Why stay at Vejer though?
Apart from the fact that Vejer is such a beautiful old city, there are many reasons why you’d want to make a stopover here. The city is surrounded by natural parks that overlook the Alcornocales hills making it an ideal center-point to explore other historical provinces like Cádiz. Besides, it makes it more convenient for people to have short day-trips to places like Cádiz city, Tarifa, and Jerez. What’s more, on clear days, you can see Morocco right across the Straits of Gibraltar, making it seem teasingly closer!
Beaches at Canos de Meca
I definitely encourage visiting a country’s more well-known cities. But it’s experiences like this one that remind me, time and again, that – in order to truly understand the essence of a country and its culture, one cannot ignore its small golden towns.