Our ninth and last stop in Spain (for now, that is) was Tarifa, right on the southern tip of the peninsula where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. How far south, you ask? Tarifa, it turns out, is further south than when we were in Tunis a year-and-a-half ago. Seems strange, but yes, part of Spain is further south than some African cities.Most people come here for the world-class wind sports like surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing, and even in mid-November there were plenty of people out enjoying the strong winds in the region. For us, though, ultimately there were four standouts: food, a coastal hike, Gibraltar, and the ferry to Morocco.
For a relatively small city we were impressed with the quality of food. There was one tiny tapas bar that was usually way too crowded to get into but we did manage to have lunch there once and we understood why it was so popular and crowded. For dinner we would head to La Burla, a slightly larger tapas bar run by the cutest Italian couple who made some great food and finish the meal off with a little bottle of Grappa (our first clue that they were, in fact, Italian).
Next up for having fun was a great coastal hike that runs maybe seven miles up the coast along the Mediterranean coast. We didn’t hike the whole way but the part we did was beautiful.
And then there was Gibraltar. Except for having seen the Rock when I sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar in 1974 (and in numerous old Prudential commercials) I really didn’t know much about it. To my surprise it’s more than just a rock: there’s a community of over 30,000 people packed into the relatively flat area at the base of the rock. The really strange thing about the city, of course, is that it’s a British possession. So we took a bus from Tarifa to the last stop in Spain and then walked across a border, with passport control and all that, before then walking into a city populated with fish & chip restaurants and red telephone booths and people with British accents. Very strange. We got there too late to go to the parks up on the Rock – we keep having to relearn that we don’t really like day trips – but it was still a fun little excursion to go to the UK for lunch. Next time we’re in Spain we’ll stay a couple days in Gibraltar itself, though trading Spanish tapas for British “food” is a real loss.
Finally, then, we were in Tarifa to catch the ferry to Tangier. So farewell to Europe for a few months and Hello Africa!