We spent over 2 hours winding through the mountains. Never ending views of white washed villages, houses posed on sides of mountains, terraced almond and olive trees…. and me trying unsuccessfully to snap photos from a moving vehicle, hoping to catch one tenth of the beauty we witnessed.
We drove southwest from Ronda and as we approached Algeciras, we could already see Gibralter and its infamous rock. Oh how we wanted to stop. But it was already inching towards 4pm and if we made another stop… monkeys or no monkeys, I think the teens might have rebelled. Traveling with two teens, albeit lovely and respectful, fun and adventurous to a point, you must have some limits of how much you fit in. As our necks craned behind us, the rock got smaller, and we decided in wasn’t in the cards this trip, and we put it on the list for next time. The girls were happy knowing after 2.5 hours driving, we’d be in our next destination for 2 days. (So no, we really weren’t going to squeeze in Gibralter. Period.)
Tarifa, located at the southern most tip of Spain is only a 45 min fast ferry to Tangier. (also being saved for next trip)
Arriving in Tarifa, the first thing I saw were the wind energy generators. You know, those big 3 armed white steel things sticking in the ground. My picture wasn’t so hot but check out this photo of a wind farm. Spain is the 4th largest producer after China, US and Germany. Then we came round to the ocean… yes still from the moving vehicle.
Despite Tarifa’s small size, it was similar to our arrivals in the other cities. You just don’t know where the hell you are. And dammit if I don’t love the old historic parts that have absolutely no parking. Always tucked away in some quaint quarter or plaza off a winding little side street that leads to another sweet street the size of a hallway. We pulled in as close to the guesthouse as our google maps could figure. O and I got out of the car leaving 3 curious faces staring at us. I made my way to a toll booth sized, free standing sweets shop where the lady rattled off the location in Spanish and when I responded with my well rehearsed “lo siento, yo no intiendo”, she motioned to her friend in the electric wheel chair to show us the way. We tried to keep up as he buzzed around several corners to our plaza. A quick “grathia”(yes that’s a ‘th’ here in Spain and they seem to drop the ‘s’- don’t know if that’s a southern thing)… and our guide about faced and buzzed back to the booth.
After a few walks, we of course pretty much had they layout of this beach town with its hidden charms. Tarifa is the wind and kite surfing capital of Europe. When looking up the windsurfing capital of the worldwould you believe Hood River, Oregon is about it? Despite being a bit run down in parts and under construction, we still thought about coming back here for some windsurfing and the wide sandy beaches. We felt the surfer vibe and noticed it was the first place there was soy milk as a coffee option, about 3 health food stores and a naturopathic clinic. I don’t mean to be patronizing… it’s all right up my alley.
We stumbled across Tarifa’s little indoor market, a highlight for me, and had 4 oj’s (always fresh squeezed) and coffee. There were butchers, vegetable stands, fresh bread, a bar, and a large display of fish mongers.
How about a little tuna… local and cheap. And a before and after leg of lamb. yummm. We’ve had a few good meals so far on the trip but we’re counting on Seville to take it up a notch (god I sound like Emeril Lagasse)