El albergue

El albergue

Friday, May 10, 2013

A weekend escape

So often, what we need is a weekend to get away from work and normal life. Especially when we’ve been feeling overworked and under rested for the past month. And ooboyhowdy was that ever how I was feeling last week. Of course, I was not the only one to be feeling this way, so five of us took advantage of Spain’s Constitution Day holiday to hop in a car and head on down south.

After a relaxed morning and a long day of driving on Thursday, we finally found ourselves in the province of Cádiz, in the little beach town of Chiclana just in time to catch a marvelously pink sunset on the wide beach down the street from our lodging. A quiet stroll along the water looking out into the darkening horizon, and we soon became convinced of the beauty of Playa Barrosa. Plus, we found so many perfect, big shells that it just made the little kid in us happy.

Friday morning, a lovely leisurely breakfast, then we were off to explore beaches nearby. We didn’t go that far away, but we were practically screaming the whole way because of how many stunning wildflowers covered the lush fields and stuck themselves in among the brushy forests along the road. At one point, I kind of felt like I was in Switzerland or something like that because of all the green, rolling hills, the flowers, the windmills (modern ones, actually), and the low mountains in the distance (I know, I know, Switzerland would have the towering Alps).  

And the beach we ended up spending the afternoon at? It was wonderful! A quiet little place tucked away in the rocks – sunny, breezy, with perfect sand. A few hours there, and we headed to the city of Cádiz for an evening stroll along the sea wall and through the old town, followed by an absolutely amazing dinner at a great little place hiding in a small plaza.

Cadiz in the evening

Waiting for dessert... it was worth it!

We woke the next morning, sad that we were leaving after so little time and wishing we had a couple weeks to relax in the little paradise we’d found. But we had more ahead of us in Málaga, so it wasn’t all that sad. Along the way between cities, we had a few more adventures too…

First, we stopped in a miniscule village because more than one of us had to pee, and after running around in joyful abandon and exclaiming over the lovely views, we ended up having a fifteen minute conversation with a local grandma chatting with us through her window about her rose gardens and scattered family. 

And a lovely rose garden it was.

Then we stopped over in Tarifa, attempting a picnic lunch on the southern-most point of Europe. The wind was too strong and the sand too fine though, so to avoid consuming more sand than necessary, we cut the picnic to the most basic possible. Aside from the low-flying grit, it was a beautiful area, a small point with the Mediterranean on the left and the Atlantic on the right, with a long stretch of beautiful beach just begging for a walk.

Who wouldn't want to walk along this?


Before we left, we ventured out onto the fine strip marking the end of the point of land and instantly wished we were wearing more than our simple beach outfits as the wind picked up force and whipped fine sand into our bare legs (and faces!).

Off again, we drove along the beautiful coast and finally made it into the city of Málaga. An evening meander through the city center, a light dinner, and we were toast. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that sleeping is a good thing when you’re out and about getting to know new places…

Sunday morning we were supposed to start heading back to Madrid, but soon a quiet walk down along a broad street filled with the beach town air turned into a pause in an art fair at the pier then a quick visit to the ancient Moorish fortress on the hill then a stroll through the agreeable little streets of the center. And by then we were hungry, so we stopped for a late lunch at a small bar/café, which turned out to be a great thing. Not only was the location nice and the food great, we got treated to a street performance of some local dance. Cool!

But then we had to get back to our lodgings to finish packing up and throw together some sandwiches for the road… and by the time we left the city, it was seven o’clock in the afternoon!

We were all pretty exhausted by this time, but it was a decent ride back, quiet for the most part except for one part in which three of us went crazy in the back seat from caffeine and lack of sleep. (we experienced the true definition of hysterical laughter) We had to quiet down though because one of the front-seaters was a little too tired to deal with us. It was a good thing we did though, because if we hadn’t, I don’t think we would have taken the time to look out at the stars at the exact moment a meteorite flew across the sky. We all screamed in admiration (when the event is intense and short-lived, the admiration must be as well, of course) and proclaimed it to be a wonderful finale to our weekend, the crowning jewel of all the things we were going to have to remember the next day when we were dragging back to work again.

The group. And yes, that is Africa you can see behind us!

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