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Sometimes the best plans are the ones that are barely planned at all. I had started thinking about last year’s Birthday Month, when I took a short getaway trip each week of January to celebrate my big 6-OH birthday on the 7th (one day is never enough 😉 ). Anyhow, it seemed a bit much to celebrate 61 in the same way – but wait until I turn 65! – and yet I still wanted to do something special. So I decided that taking a day trip each week this month would be a fun thing to do. Then I realized that I was already in the middle of the first week and still hadn’t planned the first day trip!

Then by chance I got a “follow” on Instagram from Bodegas Fernandez Gao, an up and coming winery in Jerez I’d been interested in learning more about and, although I knew they still weren’t offering tours, I asked if I could pop by for a visit – and they said yes! So that sealed it. I decided to go to Jerez for the day. And of course I immediately got in touch with my friend Tomoko to see if she wanted to meet up. It turned out that there was already a little party planned at one of my favourite bodegas and I ended up getting an invite. But after our visit to Fernandez Gao we decided to stop off at Las Bandarillas for a quick lunch before heading over to Urium.

I can’t remember the number of impromptu fiestas I’ve stumbled upon at Bodegas Urium. At this point that place really feels like my second home in Jerez. This time expat pals Paul & Anne had arranged a little “sherry and Christmas cake” thing at the bodega, that ended up growing… and eventually included me and Peter.

It was a fabulous bodega party, with everyone (I think maybe 25 of us?) all standing around a long food-laden wooden table with sherry glasses in hand, all talking, all catching up. Some people I met for the first time, but it was mostly meeting up with old friends. Afterwards Paul, Ann and Tomoko joined us in the center of town for a “penúlitima” before we had to catch our train home. A perfect day out.