Mon 05/12/16: The rain welcomed in the day again for us and we watched from the vans windows as the rain kept on falling making the sand beneath us very heavy and clingy. No point us going anywhere for the moment and so we caught up on some more admin bits and phone calls etc. So bad was the rain that the local school in the area was closed for the day and the sports arena had been turned into a refuge area for any flooded out homes. Eventually there was a break in the rain and so fully equipped with para-aquas, wellie boots and macs we headed off back up the hill into Vejer. Unfortunately our Spanish teacher at La Janda must have heard we were back in town and had taken that week off so we never got to see her and show her just how bad we had become with the language- oh well. It seemed that Vejer had got quite a bit more trendy with lots of modern bars, cafes opening and rather lovely trendy jewellers than when we were here before- good for the town but hopefully it won’t lose too much character. We decided to have a light bite for lunch whilst we were up the hill and revisited a lovely bar where we had lunch after school one day.
Curried meatballs caught our eye as a tapa and they were indeed superb. Once on a roll we tend to stick with it and then headed off to the Califa café and had another round of kebabs there, a cheap date for lunch and filling to boot as well before we slid back down the Vejer hill and back to base camp.
Tues 06/12/16: A quiet night’s sleep and no rain to begin the day-hooray but time for us to leave our lovely Vejer and head not far away but to the coast of Los Canos de Meca. We would have loved to stay at Camping Vejer as we could well have cycled to Los Canos but the site at Los Canos is a Camping Red site and we have sort of made it our thing to go to as many as we can in Spain as they are always lovely well run sites, plus we are now very close to getting one night free such is our loyalty to them and points awarded so off we went. The site was indeed everything a CR usually is and after pitching up we headed off for a walk along the beach and to see Cabo de Trafalgar again. Dig deep into your history memory bank –this is the nearest land point to where dear old Nelson battled, won and saw off the Spanish and French in 1805-well done that man. This coast is also top southern surf area giving that lovely laid back degenerate hippy feel to the area.
For us surfers the waves were high that day and it being a bank holiday here the sea was busy with the ‘seals’ bobbing around waiting for that right wave so we left them to it just for then to find our surf legs. Just a few lunchtime nibbles before we headed back to our appropriately ‘hippy’ dinner of curried lentils with veg. It has to be said David wasn’t looking forward to this dinner, no meat involved for one thing but after a few goes of ‘open wide, here comes the choo-choo’ he actually quite liked it.
Wed 07/12/16: Bread for breakfast which we haven’t had for some time and so for me a lovely banana roll- can’t beat it, unless of course it’s bacon or perhaps sausage. But the carbs set us up for our cliff top walk into nearby Barbate.
The walk was along the cliffs and in the Parque Natural de la Brena y Marismas de Barbate another lovely wildlife area filled with pine upon pine trees. In fact it must be pine nut
season as all along the way and even on site there were guys up the trees and/or bashing them with sticks to get the cones down and then the pine nuts out of them and I can now understand why these little nuts are so expensive given the work and danger that goes into harvesting them. We were hoping to have a menu del dia on the seafront in Barbate but given the time of year and the fact it was a day sandwiched in between 2 bank holidays a lot of places were closed and the front looked forlorn. Then we remembered a place that ‘teach’ had recommended here in Barbate and so we headed there away from the sea front. Back in the day when we were newbies we were put off going into this restaurant due to the crowds and noise such is its popularity but this time we boldly marched in and stood our ground for a table and we were very glad we did. This restaurant specialises in tuna and Barbate is known for its locally caught tuna thus the combination worked really well and after a plate of grilled red atun both David and I agreed it was probably both among the best fish and food that we have had in this country. We were both looking for more when we had eaten it but at the same time didn’t want anything to take away that lingering taste in our mouths. We did succumb however when they offered us a free liquor though. The walk back was as lovely as going, but hard on our legs as we were walking in sand most of the way so refreshment was much deserved later that night in the bar.
Thurs 08/12/16: Bank holiday again here, still it’s always good to have a nice gentle run into the Christmas festivities! The day was bright but strong winds forecast and so we decided not to surf that day, better to give the others a chance really and so we took to our bikes heading to Las Palmar beach where we found a lovely little surf school that of course we just had to buy a T-shirt in. After all what’s the point of being surf dudes if you don’t have the right outfits. We also revisited a lovely bar that we had stopped in for refreshment back in the day when we were among the only few customers there. Today was different the spot held the sun and the place was full of Spanish sitting eating, drinking and chilling with a myriad of dogs and children running in between your legs never quite knowing if they are strays or belong to someone, that includes the dogs. The food is tapa and good with lots of different dishes appearing to all the tables. We had some patatas aioli and then prawns before heading of further on our bikes to the bigger metropolis of Conil. No further food was had as we have completely taken to ‘our body is our temple’ surfers life and vegetarianism and had decided on pasta arrabiata made with fresh tomatoes, slightly heavy on the fresh chilli but very tasty and of course cheap along with filling. Apart from the carrot cake later that evening in the bar we both should be looking much more the part for our wet suits tomorrow with all this lack of meat
Fri 09/12/16: Back on our bikes and into Conil as we cannot give up the modern world completely for surfing and we needed to top up our phones. The wind was a very strong force to content with that day and more than once the wheels went from beneath me but we made it into this lovely white washed sea front town. The town has a lovely local market like everywhere here in Spain and as you would expect the quality of the fish was amazing, but for us just some eggs and habas for tonight’s dinner. The cycle was such hard work for us that day in the wind that we opted not to surf again but of course still hung out with the dudes chatted about the waves and spray etc for a couple of hours in our usual bar before heading back to NiKi. Not being the best of cooks I had now ran out of all my vegetarian recipes and so we had decided to revert to an old favourite nearly vegetarian if you don’t count the chorizo which along with the rice makes up the two main ingredients but nevertheless we added our veg option of habas to give us our balance and kept us on the nearly meat free road. After a couple of drinks in the bar later that evening we decided we would probably take to the waves tomorrow and surf, can’t keep us old dogs down after all.
Sat 10/12/16: Gosh only 14 shopping days left to Christmas so we have better give the surfing a miss again today- far too much Christmassy stuff to be doing and so a return visit to Barbate. Worn out with all the Christmas shopping and prep we decided to treat ourselves again (when don’t we?) to lunch in the same restaurant again- Club de Pesca Deportiva “el Atun” As before the place was overrun with locals but the waiter recognised us and found space for us in the ‘overspill’ area. As well as the grilled fresh tuna we also had tuna tartare which along with some local prawns made for an excellent starter. We bade our fond farewells to the staff and as ever they were delighted with the fact we praised them for their excellent fish and cooking- the Spanish really do puff their chests out when you compliment on their local food and drink. Dessert was on the front sitting in the late afternoon with an ice cream- Pedro Ximenex for me and about 3 mixed scoops for David. We then made our way home amidst the locals out for a prom causing them all great amusement with our shorts and T-shirts.
Sun 11/12/16: Unfortunately the surf could hold us no longer –time to move on as we need to get to certain places along the coast before arriving in Murcia for Christmas. We bade a sad farewell to Camping Red and our fellow surfer dudes and hit the road to Malaga. A longish drive but more or less direct and as we are on the costa’s big shopping malls as well with Carrefour open on Sunday. Thankfully also on this particular shopping mall was a tyre place and we were able to get the damaged tyre repaired, so we are back to 4 +1 again- phew. This plus the drive put us arriving quite late into Malaga and we are writing this blog as we cook another standby- spag bol.
So surf boards safely stored back under the bed again as David takes on the Camino de Rey and we enjoy the Spanish build up to Christmas.
The Route This Week.