18. April 2012 19:21
A week in Tarifa with the Camino team, Tony, Betsy and Tim (if you want to see how they are getting on, go back to the main site and try the entry for the Via de la Plata Camino 2012). We stayed in a "bijou" house in the Old Town, with the rooms cunningly intertwined with those of the houses next door and a wonderful roof terrace (not for those suffering from vertigo) with views all the way to Africa. That may not say much because Africa is only around 14 miles away across the straits of Gibraltar, but it makes for a grand view.
The team started the walk from Gibraltar, advancing in stages with the help of the hire car to drop them off and pick them up. I don't know what I was expecting in Gibraltar but it didn't really live up to it - except for the apes who are skilfull and incorrigeable thieves sneaking into the cafe when someone holds the door open for more than a second and snatching any food they can. Perhaps more interesting were the Roman ruins at Baelo Claudia - remains of a complete town, including factory for making fish sauce, the monosodium glutamate of its day. This is where I left them on the final day to continue in earnest - no house to come back to now - they will have to find accomodation where they can.
Tarifa has a number of things to recomend it at this time of year - no noisy British drunks, beautiful flowers both round the town and in the surrounding countryside, dozens of small cafes and restaurants serving good food, and the meeting place of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. It was slightly disconcerting to be able to walk in two minutes from one to the other across a causeway leading to the Isla de las Palomas, rather than the 13 years of holidays we spent in France doing the same thing along the Pyrenees. The downside was the strong wind - apparently fairly typical, but it took the edge off the warmth, and, for those straying too near a beach, led to episodes of sand blasting about the legs.
Having come back to Bristol with intermittent rain and a temperature of 7C I would welcome a Tarifan wind, as long as it came with Tarifan sunshine!