There’s a a feeling you get when visiting El Puerto de Santa Maria that its glory days are in the distance past. But what glory days they were; Columbus sailed from here on one of his journeys to the Americas and the first map of the Americas was made in the town. It’s a twenty minute ferry ride from the port of Cádiz and I wandered around with Paul from Vermont, the rest of our small band of language learners having now left Cádiz. Paul himself leaves on Wednesday. Some places need sprucing up a bit and perhaps, given a bit of cash, they one day will be. El Puerto de Santa Maria is, I think, beyond being spruced up. The buildings are crumbling where they stand, many of the bodegas that once lined the harbour have closed down and abandoned buildings are a feature of most streets. But that’s the charm of the place. I quite liked it. You can still visit the Osbourne sherry bodega (although its clearly not the size it once was) but we turned up too late to do so and the harbour area is lined with bars and restaurants. There’s even a curious mention to a certain Francisco Franco on the gable end of one of the appartment blocks in the town centre. The first public reference to the former dictator that I think I’ve ever seen on my visits to Spain over the years. We ate tapas at Romerijo’s, the town’s most celebrated (but by no means exclusive or expensive) fish restaurant before jumping back on the ferry to Cádiz.