I am so much behind with this blog and finally got to reviewing and publishing the photos from last summer that it almost seems like I’m nostalgic. I am anything but. Summer is possibly my least favourite season of the year, especially in this country, when it’s simply too hot to do anything, any sport activity is a health hazard and temperature still hits 39ºC at midnight on a bad day. But being in Tarifa looks like a nice way to do summer. Not sure how hot it gets in August, but mid-October is just perfect. Located on the southernmost tip of Spain where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic, it’s evenly exposed to the two winds, westerly Poniente and easterly Levante, which keep the temperature stable at 22 degrees 24 hours. It seems warmer during the day, as the sun still burns, but there is undeniable magic to spending a day in mid-October in bikini. On mainland Europe. The wind exposure makes of Tarifa the wind/watersports paradise, while going to the beach for leisure or sunbathing is not a good idea for several reasons. First, when the wind picks up, you’re in for a free peeling. Second, literally every available space is taken by kites, kite strings, ropes and assorted equipment, people of various level of experience trying to lift their kites, with varying ability to control and fly them. If you want to make acquaintance of a handsome kitesurfer, being hit by a falling kite may certainly break the ice, along with a few bones.
Speaking of fit gentlemen: this beach is heaven. Or at least this is what heaven would look like if I were Master of the Universe (which I am, but the Universe doesn’t seem to show any intention to yield to my will). Literally every man here is instantly layable. Without a second thought. Or the first, come to that. They are lean, athletic (like, defined abs, bordering on science-fiction), sun tanned and dressed in rubber as a bonus. They come in all heights and ages, and they are all extremely good looking. Every single one of them. They may not have much else than sand in their heads, but does anyone really care? It’s not like medieval philosophy needs to be discussed, and politics are best avoided anyway. Can you tell that the most intimate physical interaction with another human being I’ve had in months has been with my hairdresser? It would also be the only regular one, but I freely admit to having a haircut more often than I normally would, just for the few minutes the nice lady spends washing my hair. (She still resists my offers of marriage in exchange of performing head massage on me daily. Oh well. I’m not giving up just yet.)
Playa Valdevaqueros, early in the morning with 0 wind. As soon as the wind picks up, the place will look like a rave party.
The kitesurfing. I did my day course in the Pata Negra kitesurf school, and I will use them again when I come back to learn more, possibly next spring. They were nice, professional, made me feel safe and they have the cutest dog (below). It looks easy when you watch other people kiting. They control the kite with one hand, literally fly over the waves and jump with nonchalance. The first day is hell. You spend in on the beach, learning the basics, the safety rules, how to unfold and build the kite, how to control it. You basically sit on the sand, flying the kite from one side to the other, trying not to let it fall on someone’s head (with mixed results), and when you get comfortable enough, you stand up and try again, and eventually you get to repeat the same exercise in the water, first without and then with the board. Maybe at the end of day two, you may be able to try and stand up, that is unless your kite collides with someone else’s, and if either of you panics and unleashes the sail from the harness, all the ropes get entangled and you spend a good hour separating the two kites. By the time the day is over, you will have sand and salt literally everywhere, especially in places where sand and salt should never ever be, least of all at the same time.
Playa de los Lances
Now, a day is obviously not enough to master any sport, let alone something as technical as kitesurfing, but I also don’t declare defeat easily, so I will certainly be back at some point next spring and hopefully pick up where I left it. The real question is, shall I bother with booking accommodation, or shall I just go straight to the beach and pick the lucky guy who can host me for the weekend? Maybe best to have a base for any eventuality. Or variety.
Kite at Valdevaqueros beach
Tarifa istelf (no photos, sorry, I only visited in the evening and didn’t have time to fiddle with my camera) is a charming whitewashed village, that has a feel not dissimilar to certain ski resorts, with the difference that every bar instead of showing snow conditions has wind previews on. As the area is famous for tuna fishing (slaughtering, more likely), tuna is served everywhere, in any form (tartare, sashimi, tataki, whatever your heart desires), fresh, wonderful and dirt cheap. I had dinners based on fresh tuna (and other seafood) for 20 euro.
My new friend Baloo, the cuddliest giant evvah, like