Estamos Camping en Tarifa

Trip Start May 22, 2008
Trip End Aug 20, 2008

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Where I stayed
Torre de la Pena II

Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We arrived at the Tarifa bus station (which is really just a bus stop) with no idea where we would be spending the night.  Although we DID want to camp, and had some vague idea where we wanted to end up.  All we had to go on was an email from Jenny's sister, Laura (which we only found because we checked our email one last time before getting on the bus out of sevilla).  Laura spent some time in Tarifa last year, and had visited an old civil war bunker on the beach and we wanted to see if we could find it.   Her email provided some valuable directions: "find the hotel Copacabana, walk from there out to the beach, then walk along the beach back toward town and you will see it."  We got into Tarifa around 5 PM and tracked down the tourism office for more info: Well the hotel copacabana is about 9 km's outside of town (5.5 miles), AND, no busses go out that way (even though we must have passed it on our way in... grrr).  However,  there were several nice "campings" (that's what they call them here, COMP-EENGS) right aound the Copacabana, and we could get a taxi out that way for 11 Euro.

So that's exactly what we did, tipping the taxi driver for hauling both of our 15 Kilo packs into and out of his trunk... poor guy.

Now all we had to do was settle into our campsite, a somewhat daunting task since we have never actually assembled our bug-hut anywhere except in our own livingroom, and the tarp was still sealed in its original packaging.  The task actually went flawlessly, not only getting the bug-hut up and ready, but smoothly stringing the tarp over it.  We looked at it in shock, took some pictures and did a little happy dance before unpacking the rest of our gear.

You'll notice from some of our pictures that we appear to be eating dinner on a street curb.  That's because this campground doesn't have any picnic tables.... NONE.  I don't know if this is common to campgrounds in spain, but most of the other campers seem to have gotten the memo... we did not.  We are in what is called a 2-star campground (out of 3), and they have nice clean bathrooms and showers, a swimming pool (which doesn't actually open for a few weeks yet), a cafe-bar, a convenience store, and laundry facilities.... but no tables.  The store is smaller than my living room but manages to carry everything from camping stoves / fuel and bug repelent to bottles of wine (only 3 Euro - woohoo), yogurt and fresh pastries.... but still no tables !?

After dinner, we decided to go exploring.  We found the Copacabana only 200 meters from our campground, headed down to the beach and then tracked down the infamous bunker.  We were also treated to some amazing shows by the kite-surfers, and of course the gorgeous views of the Atlantic / strait of gibralter.

Tarifa is the southernmost point in spain and the weather is similar to the the US's southely coasts (i.e. florida keys / San Diego) except for one thing - it is apparently known as one of the windiest places in spain, which is nice when you are out in the hot sun, or if you happen to be an avid kite-surfer or sail-boarder.  Not so nice if you have a noisy tarp whipping and crinkling directly above your head all night long.  I kept bolting awake thinking that I would have to jump up out of the tent and chase down the tarp after the wind whipped it right off the stakes.  Luckily, that never happened, but it still made for a somewhat disruptive night's sleep.

Never the less, we woke refreshed the next morning, had breakfast on the curb, and got ready to go see Tarifa.  Relieved of our heavy packs, we decided to walk instead of take a taxi.  We went about 2-3 km along the road, explored a cool tower ruin, and then hopped down to the beach to walk the remaining 6 km along the shore.  This was pleasast for only about 4 km.  Even without a pack, this distance along a sandy beach takes it's toll on your feet and legs .  And the wind is strong enough that it sometimes feels like the flying sand is going to tear the skin off your legs, so if you stop to sit down for a rest, it just hits you in the face instead.  As beautiful as the walk was, we decided tit would be a better use of our time to get a taxi for the return trip.   The highlight of Tarifa is that you can SEE Africa (Morocco specifically), which we did.  We also got a few beers at a local bar and chatted with a nice old lady who lives there (she chatted, we noddod and smiled and tried our best to understand her funny Spanish.)

We did get a Taxi for the return trip, just not the whole way.  We walked tha last 3 Km back, then grabbed our swim suits for a dip in the ocean.  The beach is pretty steep, and parts are rocky, and Jenny almost bailed on me.  I managed to convince her to give it a try though, and we had a nice swim.  The wind was much calmer the second night, and after having walked over 14 km that day (and consuming a bottle of wine with dinner) we slept like the dead. 
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