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Friday, 8 August 2014

Tarifa

The town of Tarifa is nestled on the southernmost coast of Spain. Because of the strong winds, it draws the hippy surfing crowds, making the atmosphere completely different to the rest of the Costa Del Sol. It has a relaxed and arty vibe to it, reflected in the buzzy bars and shops packed into the winding whitewashed streets which are open until the early hours. 
Historically Tarifa has been the settlement and battleground of invaders and was once occupied by the Romans - their 'Almadraba' method of catching tuna is still used in the town to this day, apparently. The battle of Trafalgar was fought off the coast here too, so the place is steeped in history.



We began our day with a whale watching trip. Hoping to see orcas, pilot whales and maybe even a sperm whale, we were very excited. 



 There were plenty of dolphins that followed our boat, flipping and diving in the swirl... 

 

We looked, and we looked for the whales...




...and the dolphins came too.



We were determined that we would see a whale. The guide positively assured us that they cross over the Gibraltar Strait all the time in August....so we looked some more.






We saw no whales.


After getting over our disappointment, we mooched into the old town for a spot of shopping. The streets are full of beautiful little details in the walls and windows, hidden courtyards and cobbled paths, giving Tarifa its quirky charm. 




The Moroccan influence is heavy, especially in the shops which are crammed full of lanterns, metalwork, exquisite jewellery, pots and carvings. 




We grabbed an ice cream and sat down for a drink before meandering on to find somewhere to eat (paying a visit to each tiny shop along the way).
















We met this little pooch hanging out of his window checking out the noisy square. Tarifa only gets going in the late evening (once all the surfers have woken up).


We gave him a stroke and went on to dinner.


We settled on a lovely Italian trattoria in a back street. It was quite dark in the moonlit courtyard and the pictures haven't come out very well, but I'll show you what I can. We had a huge buffalo mozzarella salad, mussels steamed with lemon and gnocchi with gorgonzola and garlic bread to start. This was followed with rich seafood tortellini, cream and wild boletus mushroom tortellini, penne bolognese and seared tuna. There was a tiramisu too and copious amounts of wine... it was all divine. 










We walked back to the car sated, serenaded by the sound of a Spanish guitar and cursing those damned whales.  


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