And so it begins. In Tarifa. Which seems apt. This wasn’t planned. Honest. Traipsing down Avenida de Andalucia yesterday it suddenly dawned on me that it was almost 25 years to the day (I can’t tell exactly) that I travelled alone on an interrail ticket from Harwich to the most Southerly point of Spain and slept on Playa Los Lances, the 7 km strip of beach that stretches North and is famous for its high winds and kite surfers. Here I was at the bottom of town approaching the beach. Ah yes, these were the steps I must have trudged down at night looking for a spot and surely there was the ‘duna’. Yes, that was definitely it. And here’s the place..
How funny that someone had chosen the same spot when moments before I had the memory of my own past there. That could be me, aged 17, like Tarifa, caught between 2 worlds – full of a teenage dreamer’s hopes and dreams and here I am a quarter of a century later none the wiser looking at my younger self and feeling really not much different. I will have sand in my hair and ears for weeks following that night as I crisscross Europe on my return to the UK. And the winds of Tarifa never relent or grow old. What was it Edward Thomas wrote? “These winds were old when gods were young” or something..
So this is to be a journal – I guess – it’s just going to be me and life and what happens. I have no plans as to what to write or what route this ‘blog’ (I don’t like the word) will take. What I can promise is that it will be truthful. Nothing will be exaggerated; nothing confected. Candour will be the constant and might make this enterprise redeemable. After all this is really only meant for my own benefit and if others find it worthy of merit, then I am happy.
I can think of no better way to spend a morning after way too much rum than slowly, aimlessly getting lost in the old town of Tarifa. Every time I come here it seems different or is that me? It seems to contain a bold spirit as the last outpost of Europe before Africa and has a busy, eccentric charm which meant every time I thought of heading to pick up my car I was dragged back into another little whitewashed alley and would rest a while admiring the light in the palm trees or some Moorish design in a window or just the everyday hubbub of the townsfolk going about their business.