On the coast road west of Tarifa we found a large field that was being used as a wild camping site by campervans and some caravans. There were huge puddles on the dirt tracks that dissected the grass, but we took it slow and Martha Motorhome got through ok.
Choosing a spot a good distance from other vans we let Poppy out to explore by herself. She can't do much exercise now but loves the freedom to roam off lead, as she used to on her daily walks. After an hour or so we were joined in the field by a herd of bulls and a few cows. They were actively moving accross the space, munching the foliage and Vicky went to snap a photo. Stepping out amongst a herd of Spanish bulls wearing a red top wasn't perhaps the brightest idea she had ever had but thankfully they weren't bothered and it was only once she was back inside that she made this connection!
As the day's intense heat subsided we padded barefoot through the muddy puddles, accross the main road and along the drive leading to the beach. Camper vans were crammed both sides of the dirt track adjacent to the low dunes which we crossed via a rickety wooden boardwalk. Wading through a warm shallow pool we found oursleves on the most amazing beach. Bleached blonde sand extended to Tarifa in the east and the 'great white dune' set into hills in the west, where several kitesurfers were playing in the strong breeze. In contrast to Tarifa's beach, Playa de los Lances had few people on it and we were able to select a spot to lay down our towels and soak in the sun. We paddled together in the clean white surf and Will went for a swim. It was a bittersweet experience for him to be here, because for decades he had known about Tarifa as one of the best places in the world to windsurf. He started windsurfing when he was 30 and it became his life's passion. He reached a good level and taught many others, including his two sons. It was a real wrench to have to finally give it up 3 years ago because of the strain it put on his knees. Despite the pang of regret we couldn't too feel down; it was such a beautiful place and the warmth of the sun soothed us into a relaxed state.
Come evening time we got a new neighbour; Olly. He had knocked on our door to explain that he was living in his caravan and that the farmer had allocated him a spot in the corner near us, to stay long term- would this be ok with us? He wasn't within 5m of our van so it was really nice he asked; there was a good vibe here and Vicky felt quite at home due to the number of people with dreadlocks! Larks hopped, swifts darted and as the light began to fade, cicadas set up a noisy cacophony of chirping, giving way to the croaking of frogs as darkness fell.
The following day we headed to the beach again but there were a lot more kitesurfers than the previous day. However it was still easy to find a spot away from the kitesurfing area with nobody too close. We sunbathed, played petanque and Will flew his kite and of course, swam. There were lots of people learning to kitesurf and gradually the brightly coloured canvasses established themselves around us, most hanging lazily in neutral position. It was a pretty sight, the sun glistening silver off the swooshing waves, the surf being added to by the white wake of boards skimming the surface. Nonetheless, we did begin to feel invaded at times, as shadows swooped over and momentarily stole our patch of sunshine or the wind conspired to splatter droplets of salty water over us.
As white cloud formed in a low band on the Mediterranean side of the straights, obscuring the faded grey silhouette of Africa we packed up and returned to the van for an icecream. We felt glad that the parking in Tarifa had been full, because we'd really enjoyed our couple of days at Playa de los Lances!Read more