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Trip Report Mini-trip report, Gibraltar and Tarifa, February 2012

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Rather than an unnecessarily wordy trip report, I'll just post some essentials and some links to pictures from the past ten days or so.

New York to London, Feb. 21, two nights at the Marriott Heathrow. Uneventful and comfortable, despite having to use the Hotel Hoppa bus, my vote for the worst possible "welcome to Britain" message delivered to countless thousands of visitors.

London to Gibraltar, Feb. 23, followed by one night at The Rock Hotel. Gibraltar is funky, weird, congested, spectacular, beautiful and ugly, culturally fascinating. The Rock Hotel is a wonderful/horrid example of British Imperial Art Deco architecture, with tea on the terrace, photos of Winston in the bar, commemorations of famous weddings held (John and Yoko, Sean Connery twice) spectacular views from the rooms, Weetabix and bangers for breakfast, and apes on the balconies.


Gibraltar airport (okay, picture taken on departure, sue me.)
View from our hotel room, Rock Hotel -
..And a little later -
Warning on hotel balcony -
Not being spiteful at the moment -
Mosque built at Europa Point by Saudi government - visible from Morocco -

Gibraltar to Tarifa, Feb. 24 - 29: We stayed at the Hurricane Hotel, in a suite overlooking the pool, and, a few steps beyond and down, the beach. Marvelous place, friendly staff, superb restaurant, couldn't have been happier. The temperature in the day hovered around 70° F, at night we needed the heater, but just barely. Surprisingly affordable since it was the off-season. What a difference from wintry London.


View from our room -
Path from hotel to beach -

Activities, Feb 25 - Feb 28: We thought about a day trip to Morocco (fast ferry from Tarifa) but decided against it - too much cost and hassle for one day, plus we were enjoying the local scene too much. So instead we did a couple of day trips - to the Roman ruins at Baelo Claudia around 20KM from the hotel, then to Vejer de la Frontera, one of the pueblos blancas, around 40 KM from Tarifa, then to some beaches (the area is the Euro capital of windsurfing and kite-surfing); and on to Arcos de la Frontera (too trafficky to do much in) and finally to Medina Sidonia, another historic white village and by reputation the oldest city in Europe, having been founded by Phoenicians (hence "Sidon" in its name.)

At Medina Sidonia we watched them readying the main plaza for the evening's entertainment, the burning of a witch to mark the end of Carnival and the beginning of get-down-to-it Lent. The bruja was a lovely, green-skinned, 15-foot-tall old gal, with a cool broom. Via con… oh wait.

Oranges in the street trees, sun on your face, fresh fish from the ocean and dinner at 10. Ah, Andalusia in February.

Then we returned to Gibraltar and London; herself went on to Uganda and I returned home to dogs and March bills needing paid. It's colder here (Seattle) than it is either in Kampala or Tarifa. No witches, though.


Roman bits on the beach at Baelo Claudia -
Vejer de la Frontera -
Laundry day at Vejer -
Arcos and orange trees -
Kite surfers at Tarifa -
Sand dunes at Punta Paloma -
Medina Sidonia street scene 1 -
Medina Sidonia street scene 2 -
Bye-bye Bruja -

All the photos:

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