8 March 2011
The next morning, I parted ways with the rest of my friends and made my way down to Tarifa on the southern most tip of Spain on the Costa de la luz (Coast of Light). The train journey took about 3 to 4 hours, winding through the hills and valleys of Andalusia which ended in Algeciras. There are no trains to Tarifa so I had to take the local bus which was another 2o minutes through more winding paths. Luckily the bus stop and the train station in Algeciras is right opposite one another. However, arriving at the main “bus station” in Tarifa was quite different from any station I had been to elsewhere in Spain. It was basically just a bus shelter and that was it.
Unfortunately, when I arrived there, it was raining but luckily not cold. I unpacked and waited for the rain to stop which it eventually did in the late afternoon and so I decided to head out and see the coast and walk through the old town. One thing for sure about Tarifa is that it really is a windy town. No wonder it’s a hit with all the kitesurfers. Walking through the Puerta de Jerez is the the historic town with its narrow streets and then it opens up to the harbour and the sea. The beaches stretch out as far as the eye can see and again, there is the incessant the wind. I saw two old forts there and I kept wondering which one Paulo Coelho was referring to when he wrote the Alchemist. But I was here. The place I had wanted to be at, to catch a glimpse of the Moroccan coastline from Andalusia. Now that I was actually standing there, at the place I had always wanted to see since I had read the book I still couldn’t say whether I had found what I was looking for either.
What I did find though were some new friends as I was walking back along the beach. They were from Brazil on exchange in Faro in Portugal. He came up to me as I was walking past to take a photo for them and asked what I was listening to on my phone (I think I was having an emo moment listening to the likes of Cheb Khaled whilst walking along the beach). Going solo and arriving in Tarifa in the rain and also grazing my knee at one point (yes, I still managed to graze my knee in my late twenties…) I wasn’t expecting much out of this visit to the port town but it ended up being a fun and interesting stop.