In our last week in Spain before heading to Morocco, we spent a few days in Cadiz, travelled on to the famously windy town of Tarifa before crossing the border to Gibraltar.
On the Rock, it was all change.
Our van Molly went for an overnight stay at a garage for a full once over. My son Conor flew in for a few days to join me in Gib while Stuart took the same plane back to the UK for his son’s graduation (congrats Callum). Then it was vice versa at the weekend. Stuart flew back to resume our trip and Conor took that same plane back, returning for work at 64 Degrees (the best restaurant in Brighton btw). Perfect symmetry.
And the highlights:
In Cadiz, we wandered through the narrow streets, lined with elegant, pastel-painted houses ..
…and strolled along the causeway to get to the Castillo de San Sebastian, meeting – but of course! – yet another bride-to-be on a photo shoot.
We also got our ‘bird of the week’ shot, though haven’t yet worked out which species as yet.
This Dragon Tree looked pretty grand in the city’s botanic garden Parque Genoves.
And we ate the most typical dish of Cadiz – a plate of mixed fried fish. This is what we ordered.
And this was what was served – a deliciously fresh mixed plate.
We didn’t actually stay overnight in Cadiz – we took the 40-minute catamaran in every day from El Puerto de Santa Maria. That’s a seaside resort which looks like this at sunset…
We ate in ‘Bespoke’ and among the many dishes we sampled over two nights (we had to go back for more), this migas. It’s the third version of this traditional Spanish dish we’ve tried and all have a slightly different twist. This was the best though.
It was soft and silky and and spongy and squidgy and tomatoey and garlicky – the ultimate comfort food. Oh for Nigella’s thesaurus to describe it properly.
And we enjoyed incredible Spanish hospitality thanks to Peter and Mariola – two locals back on a holiday from working overseas and very happy to sup with us till 3 am (at which point we discovered they’d covered our entire – and substantial – bar bill.
High wind in Tarifa:
It’s not exactly a fun fact about a destination but if you google ‘Tarifa’, chances are there will be a reference to it’s very high suicide rate. I’ve no idea whether this is, or was ever, true but whatever, the cause was apparently due to the psychologically debilitating effect of the continual wind.
Tarifa sits right on the bottom tip of Spain, facing Morocco, with the Atlantic on side and the Mediterranean on the other. With the warm levante coming in from the East, meeting the cooler poniente wind from the west, the winds are continuous.
So making the most of it, it has the biggest wind farm in Europe. It was mesmerising driving past miles and miles of these shiny windmills.
No surprise then that Tarifa is the place to go for kite surfers. We went to the beach and watched this loyal mutt wait for his master to come back to shore.
He waited patiently. Then the wind whipped up the sand….
Sod this. I’ll see you at home….
After two sleepless nights in Tarifa – not a terribly scientific study I’ll grant you – I’d agree there’s definitely something truly unsettling about continually being in a restless, buffeting, gusting wind.
Short break in Gibraltar:
The first glimpse of Gibraltar was impressive. There it is, this huge rock jutting out at the edge of Spain.
Walk down the main street though and it’s like you’re back in England.
That’s apart from the glorious blue skies, of course.
And the macaques on the rock, here’s mummy, daddy and baby…
There are clear warnings to say you shouldn’t feed them so I’m guessing this one paid for the Magnum himself.
And they have some interesting cuisine in Gibraltar.
Here’s a dish I’m definitely going to try out when I get back home – it mixes two types of pork meat with some grilled vegetables and an interesting way of serving eggs.
And it was great spending time with Conor…we followed the tourist trail, visiting the tunnels through the Rock…
..and up to the top of the nature reserve.
And Molly got the all clear:
We had booked the van into Rock Motors for a full check up. Slight flaw, she didn’t fit into their garage…
But they found us an alternative and happily, there are no problems to report and nothing to delay our journey to Morocco.