We decide to go to Tarife via the local roads and end up in Babete, another Atlantic beach town. On the way we pass through small beachside communities notable for their tourist trade and random development that makes driving almost impossible. Everyone has staked out their territory, “no paseo”, and there is plenty of multiple point turns. Babete is crap. I cannot find other words to describe it. All the beachside cafes are closed, It is season’s end and the final dregs of European tourism wander and wonder. We are lucky to find coffee and toast, good fare and cheap. Everyone looks jaded, it was a long hot summer and the service industry looks as though it needs a rest. Off to Tarife, 35 minutes by Jetcat to Tangiers. Very alluring as I have always wanted to go to Morocco. Dee of course is all for going while I can’t bring myself to take a quick look.
We decide to get provisions and lunch by the sea. Stopping at a hip cafe to toilet and coffee we are delighted to find a really comfortable décor and great coffee. What a pity Coffs hasn’t got this yet. No, Fiasco can’t compete.
Without knowing what Tangiers could have been, lunch on the beach is relaxed and affords a view of old fortifications and bare tits.
Just a quick note to let you know that Dee has become a nag while simultaneously slaughtering the Spanish language. She asked me to tell the truth, I’ll bare the repercussions later. (Note from Dee – yes I’m murdering the Spanish Language, but nag … well … I keep telling Pete he’s driving too close to the right hand curb, which is why I keep closing in the side mirror – he takes/hits a curb at relatively high speed, all the other hits have been slow, and then finally doesn’t seem to mind when I tell him go “left”. Mind you I drove out of Salamanca happily taking two lanes. I think in our concentration to drive on the right hand side of the road we over-compensate.)
Tarife is overcrowded, garish and white (the architecture). Looking around, investigating the back alleys, as we have become used to doing, we always seem to find the remnants of the “traditional” ways of living not yet pushed out by tourism. A good walk always beats a good drive. We finish our affairs in Tarife by walking to the the old fortified island remarking on how clean the sea is. Divers are heading for the water armed with their weapons. The island is now a military area, probably always has been given its strategic position at the entrance to the Mediterranean. At this point the Atlantic and Mediterranean are separated by less than 50 m of sea wall.
Driving back to Conil de la Frontera we encounter a storm complete with lightning and thunder. The huge wind turbines are like ghostly sentinels, slowly revolving against steel grey skies and driving rain. By the time we reach Conil (or Colin or Colon as Dee is referring to it – told you she was murdering the language) the sun is out, it is warm, time for afternoon libations and a leisurely walk along the beach. The rain has washed Conil clean, it takes on a more beautiful “persona”, stark white against the landscape. The beach is well populated but no more than the one small bar on the beach is open and that is very popular. We are delighted to see a very large pod of dolphins pass. The sun is setting and the pale golden light is extraordinary. Tired legs carry us back to our room, vino blanco and a light dinner. Tomorrow Sevilla, galleries, etc.
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