Travel

Holiday in June: Tarifa

Welcome to Tarifa!
Welcome to Tarifa!

The next stop on our journey was Tarifa. This would be our last stop in Spain and our entry point into Africa. But first two days of relaxation by the beach was due, especially a beach formed by nature, unlike what we are used to in Barcelona. Tarifa was a beautiful town, after hoping off the bus we headed to the old part of the city and didn’t venture too much our of there. It was fully of narrow winding street of cobblestone and lots of charm.

La Estrella de Tarifa - Room 3
La Estrella de Tarifa – Room 3 – AG planning while I’m lounging

I hate to admit think my favorite part of this leg of the journey was out sweet little blue and white hotel room. We opted for one of the bigger rooms and I’m happy for it. It was charming and made me feel at home in this foreign town, if even just for two nights. But, we didn’t spend too much time is here as there was much to see and more importantly…eat.

Delicious seafood at La Pescaderia
Delicious seafood at La Pescaderia

Since we were close to the sea we took this opportunity to indulge in some seafood at La Pescaderia, where I became a master at opening shrimp with a knife and fork. My Thai friend LTS does it all the time with such easy that I envy her. I decided to try it myself and by the end of the meals I was satisfied from all of the effort and it made the meal just that much better.

Playa de Los Lances
Playa de Los Lances

We didn’t waste any time in getting to the beach to enjoy the midday sun. It was a bit windier than expected, but we still spent a few hours soaking up the first bits of summer we were able to indulge in after a hard semester of team meeting, presentations and enough fluffy lectures to fill our brains with a constant cloudy fog. After I got sufficiently tan and AG sufficiently burnt we headed back to take advantage of one of the best customs Spain has to offer, the siesta. Tomorrow we could explore the castle when it was open.

View of Africa
View of Africa
Beautiful plaza with frog fountain
Beautiful plaza with frog fountain
So close!
So close!

Before dinner, we explored one of the recommended view points in the area. From up top we could see clearly all the way to Africa with a low cloud cover over the mountains. I noticed that the clouds happen to be very low here and I’m not sure why. I’ll have to do a little research later. The streets were beautiful to meander down and we found this beautiful plaza where the fountain was surrounded by ceramic frogs. If I lived in this town it would be a lovely place to sit undisturbed and read for a few hours.

After the pouring rain I was happy to see the sun out again
After the pouring rain I was happy to see the sun out again
Beautiful beach, too bad it was wet
Beautiful beach, too bad it was wet

The next morning, we were greet by a downpour, dashing any hopes of getting in a second day at the beach. But, that gave us the fortitude to explore the city. The two euro entry fee for Castillo de Guzman el Bueno, was about right as there was not much to see. The castle itself was closed off leaving one a small chapel for viewing. Instead we were relegated to climb the side of this stone edifice for views of the port below. It wasn’t as spectacular as I would like, given the grayness of the day,  so I didn’t include any pictures here. After the rain cleared in mid-afternoon the beach became clear again. So we ventures out on the boardwalk and snapped a few shots of the shoreline.

Castillo de Santa Catalina
Castillo de Santa Catalina
Breaking and Entering?
Breaking and Entering?

As very ventured back into town, our mischievous nature got the best of us as we drew close to Castillo de Santa Catalina that seemed to be closed off to the viewing public. Having glimpsed other tourists climbing inside earlier in the day, we wanted a chance to explore it, too. We found the entrance where the gate has been pried open and entered the path to the castle. From the bits of broken glass, cigarette buts and trash we could tell this is a hang out of local teenagers. Inside the rundown castle we could see someone had created an easy path to enter and exit through a broken/mostly boarded up window. AG climbed inside and after a minute I decided why not and entered as well. The building was small and full or broken, tile and rocks, with a seedy mattress in one of the rooms. We continued to the top where we go the beautiful view of the beach from the once opulent terrace. We also noticed a little bit of American that made its way to Tarifa by way of Spongebob graffiti on one of the landings.

Interesting choice of graffiti
Interesting choice of graffiti

I felt mischievous and adventurous and was once again reminded of my earlier journey through turkey. It excited me for the rest of our trip. After few great days in southern Spain but I was ready for the next adventure, my first time into Africa!

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