Jerez de la Frontera is one of the most charming cities in Spain. Ancient churches, small cobbled streets, a buzzing nightlife and all enveloped in the smells of sherry and the sounds of flamenco. A quick look upwards and around the corner here and there however, reveals a world of old signage or ‘rotulos’. Disappearing bit by bit, bit still absolutely gorgeous. Here are just a few (though, advanced warning, some are gone already) from a recent type safari in town.
1 Bodegas Garvey One of many old bodegas on the outskirts of Jerez – these rusty letters are somehow still standing, completely unprotected against the elements from land and sea.
2 Cine Luz Lealas This wonderful old cinema sign on Calle Lealas which sadly burnt down a few years back.
3 Confiteria in Calle Lealas At the junction of Calle Lealas and Calle Ancha, an old sweetshop has long since closed. Also long since vanished is this wonderful garish matchstick dispenser. The typographic fresco behind it is still there (just).
4 Bodegas Real Tesoro / Valdespino On the subject of frescoes – letters on walls, disappearing bit by bit on this old bodega near the centre of town. The bright red letters (or what’s left of them) provide a nice contrast to the old green lamp and window.
5 Recambios Gutiérrez Varying degrees of illumination on this old sign in Calle Bizcocheros (sponge biscuit street!). Vanished a few years in strong winds. Thankfully nobody was walking under it when that happened.
6 Old billboard in Icovesa An accidental collage of letters from old adverts in the Icovesa barrio of Jerez. Is it still there? Of course it isn’t. Shame!
7 Mercado 80 San Benito A bit further out from the centre in San Benito, Mercado Ochenta, an old shopping precinct from 1980. Still frequented by copla legend Isabel Pantoja, who frequently visits Trebol cafe to have a cake on her very regular visits to the tax office nearby.
8 El Gallo Azul So you’re in Jerez. Do you like sherry? Tick. Giant neon letters? Tick. Giant neon letters that are in need of repair? Tick Tick Tick. On top of the (currently closed) El Gallo Azul bar, this is part of a wonderful old neon sign for Fino La Ina from Fundador.
9 Ximinez Spinola Bodega Hidden around the back streets between Calle Francos and Calle Porvera, the old bodega for Ximinez Spinola. Not only are they responsible for some of the best pedro ximinez sherry you will ever taste, but also this ever changing bit of crumbly signage. I’m not actually sure how many of these letters are still there. Seems to lose one every week.
10 Bodegas Romate Finally, one of the best bits of old signage in the city. Again in Calle Lealas, Bodegas Romate, with its letters repainted every month before they crumble again and again, due to a mixture of baking sun and sherry fumes wafting through the walls.
So there you have it – visit Jerez, enjoy all the food, fino and flamenco it has to offer and maybe throw in a type safari while you’re at it.
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