Pieter Van de Lustgraaf’s Report on the 2018 Tour Sherry Triangle’

The Sherry Tour of the Classic Car Club of Andalucia, on the Costa del Sol, started their four day tour on the 1st February.The Sherry Tour of the Classic Car Club of Andalucia, on the Costa del Sol, started their four day tour on the 1st February.

We were a total of 20 Classics and Prestige cars, including a Mercedes SL Pagoda from 1967, Jaguar MK II from 1962, Jaguar XK8 from 1980, Aston Martin V8 Virage Volante from 1985, Bentley Turbo R and my Triumph TR250 from 1968 and had a first day of this trip more than 165 km.

For the first 50 kms we drove over the infamous A376 to Ronda. A mountain road with more than 100 curves, which brought us to a height of over 1,474 m at the Sierra Palmitera. On this mountain road, for many motorcyclists, it was their last trip. Numerous crosses with flowers on both sides of the road testify to their demise. We took more than an hour to cover this 50 km-long route, without problems. Stopping in Ronda at Venta La Parrilla for a coffee break, where the hams still hang neatly from the ceiling. Many tour drivers followed us and here I met Jo Ramirez, the Formula 1 McLaren Team Co-coordinator, born in Mexico in Aug. 1941, and told me a lot about his life in the racing world. He told me of his experiences with the like of Prost and Serna. He now retired and lives with his Austrian partner on the Costa del Sol.

I thought that the road from San Pedro to Ronda, the A376, was a dangerous winding road but the road from Ronda via Grazalema to El Bosque was even more challenging. We through the Sierra de Grazalema. Passed Arcas de la Frontera, the first place with the addition - La Frontera - (many would follow) and arrived at Jerez de la Frontera via the A382. The city is known for its sherry bodegas, also known as the Capital of Sherry, not to mention its internationally renowned race circuit.

Staying the 1st night in Hotel Jerez, where we all dressed in "Black Tie" and enjoyed an extensive dinner with the necessary local wines such as the Prado Del Rey. An excellent stay with excellent Belgian cuisine. The hotel has been operated by the Belgian Jan de Cleck and his family for over 40 years.

On the 2nd day there was a distance of 155 km ahead. We left Jerez at 11.00 and drove towards Medina - Sidonia and quickly passed through a rolling hills where large fields determine the landscape. At Barbate we had a coffee stop in an authentic Venta, where the hams also hung from the ceiling. We could not miss leaving in Northern direction of Cabo de Trafalgar. Here, as mentioned, with his English war fleet in October 1805, Nelson defeated the French / Spanish Armada. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the area that commemorates this epic of this sea battle. The British fleet under the leadership of Admiral Nelson defeated the combined French / Spanish fleet using a tactic never used before of sailing at 90 degrees in two columns into the enemies fleet and therefor splitting their fleet into three.

After a short break near the Lighthouse of Trafalgar we continued our tour via the N340 in a northerly direction, and drove through a beautiful forest of umbrella pine trees, with the coast of the Atlantic Ocean over our left shoulder. Finally we arrived via Chiciana de la Frontera, with the flat landscape full of lakes with flamingos and salt pans. We finally ended up at our hotel, Duques de Medinacelli at El Porto de Santa Maria. Here we stayed in the former palace of the Spanish Aristocracy which goes back to the XVII century. Also in this city there are many bodega's including Tio Pepe and Osborne.

A few days later we drove our classics on a tour to the south-west coast of Spain, through the region where many places end - La Frontera - such as: Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez de la Frontera, Chiclana de la Frontera, Concil de la Frontera and Vejer de la Frontera. These ‘Frontera’ towns are close to the area of Trafalgar where Admiral Nelson fought the Battle of Trafalgar which took place in October 1805.

The third day of the tour was a rest day spent in Cadiz from where Columbus, who was born in in 1451 in Genoa, sailed under the Spanish flag in 1492 to discover the Americas.The capital of the province of the same name, belonging to the autonomous region of Andalusia. We stayed 2 nights in this palatial hotel and took the ferry from the port of Puerto de Santa Maria, located at the mouth of the Rio Guadaleta, through the Bay of Cadiz to the port city of Cadiz, with spectacular views of Cadiz and its seaport. A natural harbour located directly on the Atlantic Ocean, to which Cadiz owes its centuries old trading activities. Incidentally, it was the Phoenicians who founded this city in 1100 BC as Gadir.

When Columbus discovered America in 1496 the region’s prosperity increased. Even now it is the trade with mainly South American countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela that produces the economic prosperity of Cadiz, in a major way. A very old city but certainly with modern contemporary features. Drive over the - Puente de la Constitucion - Bridge, from Puerto Real to Cadiz, one of the highest and most modern cable-stayed bridges in Europe. Opened in September 2015 by Premier Rajoy. Unfortunately a’ bridge too far’ for our trip today.
The last day of the tour we drove from El Puerto de Santa Maria on the A4 to Paterna de Rivera in the direction of Benalup Casas Viejes along Parque Natural Los Alcornocales past Vejer de la Frontera on the N340 towards Algeciras, with scattered visibility on the coastline. At Valdevaqueros, near the Atlantic, we could see, from a height of about 50 meters, the coastline below us. Unfortunately due to the drizzle and low clouds we could not see the coast of Africa or Gibraltar.

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