… really. I mean it this time!

Tomorrow I fly from Seville (through Lisbon) to London, where I will spend the next week at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. As that is another official CAA trip, I’ll be blogging from there daily again, starting on Tuesday. So check back often for more reports and photos, this time from England!

To finish off my reports from Spain, let’s go back to yesterday’s visit to the private carriage collection.

My parents have a good friend here in Spain who, in turn, has a good friend we met on this visit. She has a cousin (well, 73 cousins, actually!) whose family owns the farm and the carriages we visited.  The farm and carriages belong to the Terry family, which used to own and run the Terry bodega (sherry winery) here in El Puerto, until they sold the bodega (and the brand name) about ten years ago. Our new friend’s cousin is a Terry on his father’s side, and the cousins are related through their mothers. The mothers were two of eleven children (hence the 74 cousins), and they were part of the Osborne family, who are also major sherry producers here in El Puerto. I think the Domecq family (also big sherry producers and horse people) are related to this large extended family as well.

After our visit to the farm, we stopped at a beautiful hotel here in town for a drink and a snack. It’s next to the Terry bodega and was probably once part of the same facility. It boasts exquisite architecture, including an ornate private chapel that was part of the original building (the priest would come from the local church each morning to say mass). The courtyard in the center is now covered but would have, I’m sure, once been open. And there’s a lovely fountain in its center. On one side is a huge garden with pathways between the trees and plantings, and several semicircular stone benches with small fountains at the center of the circles and rosemary bushes growing behind the benches. We understand that the furniture is not the same as it once was, years ago, but the feel of the place (overstuffed sofas, portraits on the walls) is of someone’s home. And, in fact, as you may have guessed, this was someone’s home (the grandparents of our new friend, if you hadn’t already figured that out as well!) before it was turned into a hotel.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our visit to the farm was all the more delightful because the family was so kind in allowing us to even see it, as it’s simply their private getaway. The family’s small collection of carriages (most acquired by our host’s grandfather) are stored in two rooms. Some have been restored and some appear to be in original condition. All but one are driveable, although they are not driven as often anymore because the family’s horses are now mostly ridden.

one of the old carriages in the Terry family's collection -- this one has flower decorations painted on the woodwork

one of the old carriages in the Terry family’s collection — this one has flower decorations painted on the woodwork

one of the family's carriages in the second storage area

one of the family’s carriages in the second storage area

The harness and tack room is a cosy place, full of old harness, traditional saddles, hunting trophies, and horse-show trophies. There’s even a Breyer horse that was modeled after one of the family’s Andalusian stallions.

part of the harness / tack room

part of the harness / tack room

As I’m learning is the case at most of these Andalusian farms, there was a succession of delightful courtyards, patios, and outdoor “rooms,” both sunny and shady. The ones here were filled with pots of geraniums, rose bushes, palm trees and, in one case, an arbor of grape vines. Off of the grape-vine courtyard were four stalls with horses in them; Andalusians, of course. This one here was quite friendly and didn’t want us to stop scratching his nose.

this horse really wanted his nose scratched and his photo taken

this horse really wanted his nose scratched and his photo taken

Later that day, we went to El Puerto’s feria, which is just as colorful as Seville’s but has far fewer horses. One thing this feria has much more of, though, is singing and dancing. It’s a treat to see so many girls and women (and a few men) in their bright, colorful feria dresses (not the men, obviously!), dancing the traditional Sevillana. And everyone so happy! Just as we’ve been for our springtime visit to southern Spain.