The choice on Day Four of Spanish Goodness was to drive up and see the fine city of Jerez, where one finds sherry, and dancing horses galore (there are other attractions, including a zoo, but none are so popular as the two mentioned above) or to take a (much shorter) drive down the coast to Tarifa where one can see Africa on most days. Due to the multiple airport runs, three days of lengthy excursions as well as a particularly nasty thing called jet lag, M&M decided they would prefer the shorter trip followed by some quiality time at the casa where the Brothers J could get their fix of NCAA football for the next couple of months.
The drive to Tarifa is only about forty-five minutes from our town. Along the way we were able to see the many windmills dotting the landscape. There are a few types, but the most common is of this variety:
Once we found a place to park the coche, we walked down the main street towards the old town and the coast. Signs are everywhere in high-tourist areas, but as I've mentioned before, they are not for the one thing we all want: streets. Instead, they are for a mixture of other important things. In all towns signs are multi-lingual, but the closer you get to Tarifa and Africa, the more Arabic you will see:
We strolled through the puerta to the old town and weaved through the tiny streets on our way to the coast. The streets feel a bit like a maze the first few times you walk through them. Tarifa is so small compared to other cities that learning your way is fairly easy and in the case that you don't actually learn the streets, it is really no matter because there are so few that you will never go so far as to be lost.
There is a small plaza beside the ruins at the coast. This plaza has beautiful painted-tile benches and a long slender fountain. To one side is the Atlantic and Africa and to the other the streets of the town. This building has a view of the ocean and the plaza:
An old city wall/fortress ruin sits at one end of this lovely area. From up here one usually has a fabulous view of Africa.
On the days when M&M were with us, we had quite a bit of haze between the two continents and were unable to get a clear view. When you can it is beautiful.
This last day was a fairly hot one, so we quickly headed back towards the tiny streets and the shade. On our way back towards the car, we came upon a lovely rose garden.
We were all getting pretty hungry, so we drove back towards Sotogrande. Señor CC and I had been to a Mesón along the way that had fabulous tapas. We stopped there and ordered a few things for our midday meal. Calamari, jamon, chicken, and a few other items were delicious.
There are a couple of places along the drive where one can pull off the road to get a more elevated view of Africa. We stopped at one that has a snow-cone/icecream vendor and postcards of the view for sale so that M could try to get a better picture of herself with Africa for her Mom. We were higher up and the haze was low, so the picture was better, but still not great. I supppose we shall have to try again the next time they visit.
Home we went for an evening of NCAA (Lee Corso, that whistle is so annoying!) and regular food stuffs. Cooper was very happy that we were hanging out at the apartment and I think all of us were happy to veg out for a while. It had been an exciting and eventful visit.
I've already told you about the next day's activities. Oh so exciting were they. More to come soon on our glimpse of Jerez last Wednesday. A glimpse...but with pictures...of course!