On the way out of Tarifa after our first night there, the first diversion we made was onto a small paved side road leading through a pine forest on the coastline. It so happened that one of the 'walking' sand dunes in this part of Spain had worked its way up the slope from the Atlantic Ocean and was threatening to take over both the road and the forest.
When we spotted this local goat herder with his flock, we just had to stop for a closer look at both the dunes and this man. Sue approached him and gestured that she would like to take his photograph - he nodded but indicated that he would like a cigarette in return. Unfortunately for him, neither of us smoke so he took her gestures at face value and allowed himself to be photographed. While Sue was speaking with him, she noticed that he had very piercing blue eyes (and I thought I had that department covered!), as well as a very calm demeaner. By the time their brief meeting was over, his goat herd with their tinkling bells had drifted off into the forest as they followed a stream. It took Sue quite some time to catch up to them as she listened to the sound of the bells (3rd photo) but she eventually re-appeared and we then continued our way up the coast toward Bolonia.
This was the first time that we experienced Christmas/New Year in a Spanish-speaking country and we noticed that the level of festivities seemed to be prolonged much further than the December 25th Christmas Day customs in english-speaking countries (Canada, England, Zambia and Papua New Guinea in our case). At several different locations in Spain, we noticed decorations such this one across the street from our Hostal Alborada in Tarifa, showing both Santa Claus and the Three Wise Men gaining access to someone's house (apparently one does not 'come down the chimney' there!).
It turns out that the end of Christmas in Spain is not celebrated until January 5, when a party is held and everyone exchanges gifts. This is tied in with the arrival of the Three Wise Men in the city where Jesus was born and then presenting the baby with gifts. In Spain, Santa takes second place to them in popularity. I was wondering why the festivities were still continuing while we were in Madrid almost a week later!
This is the Paseo Alameda (gardens) here the local towns people like to sit and people watch, just the same as us tourists :-). A lovely spot to sit for a while under the palm trees, or soaking up the sun., although I should imagine quite busy in summer months.
Cafes/bars/restaurants along here also. As is the Tourist information.
This little fishing town was the first point of the Moorish invasion of Southern Spain in AD711.
In 1295 Guzman El Bueno defended the town against the invading Moors. According to the local legend, the Moors captured his son and threatened to kill him if Guzman didn't surrender the town. He refused and threw down his sword with which they killed his son.
Local fishermen still use the Almadraba method of fishing using a circle of boats and nets, a practice which has not changed since 13th Century. The Tuna fishing season generally starts at the end of March and runs for about three months.
The Arab Castle of Guzman the Bueno is open to visitors. It was built in 960 AD on the orders of Caliph Abderraman III. The irregular oblong architecture has Roman influence giving rise to the theory that it was built on the remains of a Roman fort. To the east two high towers protect the entrance from the Arab town.
There is an impressive view of the shores of Morocco from the Miramar Gardens next to the Town Hall (the Ayuntamiento) at the top of the town.
Calle de la Fuente (where else?) is where you can find a pretty and unusual little fountain.
La Alameda: Typical Andalucian paved gardens where the old folk sit on wrought iron benches in the shade of the vast palm trees. Just across the road, at the entrance of the castle is a magnificent statue of local hero Guzman el Bueno, saviour of the town.
There are plenty of little tapas bars in the old town just to the east of the Alameda. Outside the Jerez Gate on the main street called Batalla del Salado (leading north out of the town) you'll find the surf shops and trendy clothes shops.
On the hills behind Tarifa are hundreds of wind turbines generating enough power for a small town. It is one of the largest wind farms in Europe.
Tarifa fans will also be interested in 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coehlo featuring the tales of the little shepherd boy who visits Tarifa on his way to Morocco.
Buy the book 'The Alchemist' from amazon.co.uk.
The Holy week has a good tradition over here, so it would be interesting to visit instead of going to the big cities as Malaga or Sevilla, as it will show contrast of diferent styles.
Also the 16th July for the Virgen del CArmen.