Tarifa – the windy town

The bus trip to Tarifa traverses semi-mountainous country side dominated by massive wind farms…dozens of  wind towers, their blades slowly spinning in the breeze, strung out along the ridge tops for as far as the eye can see. Spain is serious about seeking alternative energy sources, and several huge solar farms were in evidence as well.

Glimpses of the Atlantic can be seen between the peaks – then suddenly you come around yet another bend and realise there’s a new landscape beyond the water. Africa.

Tarifa, on the edge of the Strait of Gibraltar, is on the southernmost tip of Europe, it’s also the nearest town to Africa (Gibraltar is further into the Mediterranean). Its constant winds make it a popular surfing, parasailing and windsurfing site. Being end of season, most of the camping parks were closed and only a few die hards could be seen ripping along the tops of the waves and occasionally taking off.

The apartment, located in a small barrio, literally abutted a corner of the ancient wall of the city. A visit to Pepe Lopez, proprietor of the local corner shop which sells everything, soon revealed that everyone knows everyone else. He was effusive in his service (no English) – and had chicken and fish to sell as well – just come into the kitchen of his home next door. He bustled past his wife and dived into two packed freezers. Some fish and chicken drumsticks later, and back in the shop, he’s emptying a 500ml water bottle and filling it with olive oil because he had no small bottles of oil for sale. And recommended two wines. And handed over a scoop of olives, some bread sticks and slices of chorizo – with his compliments – to go with the wine. What a welcome!

Had a delicious paella for lunch in the plaza…everything cooked just the way it should be, no burnt or sticking bits.