Tarifa: Southernmost Tip of Continental Europe

The weather was starting to turn stormy, so we spent a day at Mcdonald’s using the internet. I’ll be hearing the muzak in my sleep for weeks. The next day we drove past the harbor in Algeciras where we’ll be taking the ferry to Morocco soon, just to get the lay of the land. There were people standing around trying to sell ferry tickets. One of them spotted us and actually chased us on foot all the way back out to the main road, where he continued to bug us, taking full advantage of the traffic situation:

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When we finally got through, we headed towards Tarifa, a small city that sits at the southernmost point of all continental Europe. It’s a big surfer hot spot, and the beaches are supposed to be fantastic.

The beaches are definitely fantastic.

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We parked in a small parking lot by the water, where there happened to be a big sign that read “no camping”. We decided we would try it out and see what happened.

The first night, the police came and told us that we could park there, but not do anything camping-like, such as, for example, setting up a table and chairs outside. That was fine by us. We went dumpster diving in the evening with some of Philipp’s friends that happened to also be in Tarifa, and came back pretty successful.

The next day we went for a bike ride around the city and chilled out on the beach.

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It’s not exactly warm enough out to go walking around the beach in a bathing suit, but it is warm enough to go out without a jacket. At this point, it had been awhile since we’d last showered, so we got excited when we saw that the showerheads along the boardwalk worked. Only problem was, the water was freezing cold. Still, I really, really, really needed to shower.  I decided to put on my bathing suit underneath my jogging clothes and went for a long run to increase my body temperature. I didn’t stop running until I got to the showerhead, stripping off my clothes mid-run during the last few meters. The water was still unpleasantly cold, but I tolerated it for a good thirty seconds, which was enough to quickly scrub off and shampoo my hair. My lips were blue for hours afterwards, but I didn’t care. It felt great to be clean.

After being at the beach all day, I was craving seafood. I took a walk to the supermarket to buy ingredients for seafood paella. On the way, I had a quick beer at one of the beach bars and took a couple of minutes for myself. I’ll remember how I felt in that moment for a long time. Looking out onto the clear blue water, a warm breeze, sun shining, cold beer, lounge chair, peace.

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I got back with my ingredients, and started cooking.

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We didn’t want to make a fire because of the no-camping rule, and we were running out of gas for our stove, so the only option we had left was to use an outdoor gas burner that Philipp’s friend Thorsten had with him.

Mike was getting pretty psyched for food. Actually, Mike is pretty much psyched all the time.

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Soon enough the cops showed up and yelled at us, but luckily we had just finished cooking anyway.

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The paella was awesome. We all somehow squeezed ourselves in around our tiny table inside the bus, and stuffed our faces.

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After dinner, Mike and I left the two Germans in peace to discuss the technical details of their motors and stuff that they’ve fixed on their respective vehicles, and went back to the bar that I had been to earlier in the day. All and all, it was a really pleasant evening.

The next morning we woke up to the sound of a horse. We got out of bed, asking ourselves what kind of drugs could possibly be on, and peered bleary-eyed out the window. There was seriously a horse standing there in the parking lot.

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Soon enough, the cops felt their spidey senses tingling, and showed up on the scene. At this point, they had officially had us pegged as troublemakers, and were absolutely convinced that this was our horse and we were somehow screwing with them. I have no idea where they thought we had room to transport a horse, but I guess at some point they realized that what they were saying was ridiculous because after awhile, they finally gave up trying to get a confession out of us and left.

After that, we decided that now would probably be a good time to move on. Next stop, rock climbing in San Bartolo!

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