A windy day today so instead of going to the beach we chose for our outing a walk through the Parque Natural de la Breña y Marismas del Barbate to the Torre del Tajo, a 16th-century tower on the cliffs high above the Atlantic between Barbate and Los Caños de Meca.
It is for good reason that this part of the coast is called Costa de la Luz. We drove a few kilometers from Conil, past the lighthouse to a little cove that can be reached by climbing down the cliff on a wooden staircase. There were just a few people there still, enjoying the last rays of sun. With our tripods in tow, we too wanted to catch the last light of the day - with our cameras.
Conil, where we are staying, is also a pueblo blanco, but on the coast. Vejer, which is located on a plateau and is nine kilometers inland, isn't far, just 15 minutes by car. It makes a nice afternoon destination for us with our cameras. Here is a short description of Vejer from the Internet and then some photos from our walk.
This classic white village on the hilltop is perched high above the steep gorge of the River Barbate. The more interesting arrival is from the outpost at the bottom of the ravine called La Barca de Vejer. From here a steep road takes you up the escarpment and straight into the beautiful Plaza de Espana. This stunning castellated town is a magical place to explore, its quiet cobbled streets meandering through a charming jumble of secret corners, hidden patios and delightful houses. One is relieved to find barely a hint of plastic or a trace of the 20th Century. Even the rubbish bins appear to have been carefully designed to please the eye!The village has been officially declared an Historical Artistic Monument of National importance.
It's just a little bit Christmassy here in Conil. There are lots of street decorations and lights, but I don't see anything like the shopping frenzy that pervades Munich at this time of year. But then again, I don't go shopping here. Except at the supermarket, Mercadona. Mercadona reminds you that it is Christmas by playing all the popular Christmas hits from the past 20 - 30, 40, 50? - years. After shopping I came home with an ear worm - Frosty the Snowman, and that in sunny Spain!
Our day consisted of a lovely sun rise, some indoor photography, a walk through Conil for some last minute shopping and Christmas Eve dinner with our friends from Kassel, who are spending the holidays here, too.
At El Palmar
Not much more to say than is in the title - just another beach walk, this time at El Palmar instead of here in Conil. We drove over with our friends Heinz and Bruni, who are also spending the Christmas holidays here. When you know a beach well, then you see the differences. Beach is not beach. The surf is different, the contours of the shore are different, we even saw a giant jelly fish washed up on the beach. Never saw one on Conil's beach.
El Palmar is where the surfers come. There is hardly a town here, it looks like the village is populated excusively by beach people. In December only a few bars and bistros are open for a cold beer and a meal. Lots of surfing schools are boarded up for the winter.
The outig made a nice change of scenery for us.
At least that's what we were looking for in Chiclana.
We drove to Chiclana de la Frontera, a distance of about 20 km, in the early afternoon. We thought we would take some pictures, as usual, and stop for hot chocolate and churros. Well, it seems that fresh churros are only to be had in the morning, it's kind of a breakfast thing. Janos was very disappointed. We stopped for coffee anyway, I had hot chocolate without churros. The chocolate here is quite scrumptious, thick like pudding, you can spoon it more easily than you can drink it. The churros, a fried unsweetened pastry, are then dipped in the hot chocolate. We'll have to go back in the morning.
After our coffee stop sans churros we walked through the town and visited the covered market. Christmas decorations are up, but they don't look like much in the day time. We not only have to return in the morning for churros but also after dark for the Christmas lights.
Saturday Afternoon in a Small Town in Andalusia
Saturday and time to get in the car again and extend our horizon beyond Conil. I wanted to visit Decathlon, a sporting goods store about 50 km from here, but I couldn't justify driving 50 km to go shopping if I couldn't combine the excursion with something else - and that was a visit to Puerto de Santa Maria, usually just called Puerto, on the periphery of Cádiz.
The historic center of Puerto is pedestrianized, there were a few bicycles too. As we discovered, Saturday afternoon is a time for sitting outside and socializing, meeting for a drink or a meal or both. It was a wonderfully vibrant scene. The weather was perfect, children were racing up and down the streets, groups of women, groups of men, families sat at tables and enjoyed life. Who knows what their worries are, where the shoe pinches. I suspect the people of Puerto aren't less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life than in places that have a more somber look on a Saturday afternoon.
On top of the church were the nests of dozens of storks. I took dozens and dozens of pictures but they were all actually out of the range of my zoom lens. Here are not just one but three pictures from the lot that I have to share - quantity being the indicator of my enthusiasm for these birds.
As predicted, the rain came. We woke up to a howling wind and rain pelting the seafront windows. By early afternoon the sun was out again, but the wind was still going strong.
Eventually the rain stopped and the sun came out. But the wind kept blowing. In the evening there are usually lots of people out on the beach walking their dogs or just walking, but today there was hardly a soul. And the few people who were out left no traces. The wind swept the beach clean of all tracks, leaving only the seashells and sand drifts to create a pattern.
I dislike sunset pictures. They seem to appeal to our lowest esthetic instincts, corny, pure kitsch. But when I see a pastel sky and clouds rimmed in gold as the sun nears the horizon in the west, I love it. I can't resisting shooting frame after frame until the sun disappears. So as I post this one from the evening after the storm, I forgive all other sunset photographers as well.
I like to walk the beach at low tide when the sand is nice and firm, but sometimes I don't get my day synced with the tides and I go out when the tide is in and the going in loose sand is slower and more strenuous. Since I am more or less determined to get a minimum of 10,000 steps a day - which really isn't much - I then can choose the promenade. It's also nice but not as nice as walking at the water's edge. Yesterday I did a mix which worked out fine.
In the interest of getting enough walking in, I am trying to convince myself to leave my camera at home and walk without so many stops. It's either exercise or photography I told myself. But I haven't been able to give up my camera yet. I have it in my backpack and take it out if I feel the urge.
I was glad to have my camera along yesterday.
Daily Life - Alltag
How do we spend our days here? I looked through my pictures from our first days here and was glad to see that I hadn't only been taking pictures of the ocean. Although it is captivating, staring out to sea wouldn't be quite enough to fill our days. There are things like laundry, housework, cooking and errands. I try to keep these activities at a minimum, this is after all a vacation. Then I ask myself vacation from what since we are both retired and I don't overdo the housework at home, either. I have also been walking and working on my photography, of course.
... is up and running again. It is a space for notes on my daily doings - walks, bike rides, photo outings, travel. Thanks for reading.