|A GOOD PLACE TO SPEND AN AFTERNOON.|
Monday morning, Jerry and I were awakened by the alarm clock at the crack of dawn. It was 7:45 a.m. here but I’m sure it was the crack of dawn somewhere. We rarely see 7:45 a.m. We met Teré at the bus station (the bus we needed did actually leave from there this time) and the three of us headed down to the beach for the day. Teré is very proud of her upbringing in Conil de la Frontera, a small pueblo on the Atlantic Ocean just east of the city of Cádiz. It’s about a 1-3/4-hour drive south from Sevilla.
|MUNICIPAL OFFICES (SINCE THE 1700s) TO THE RIGHT OF THE CHAPEL IN PART OF THE OLD MONASTERY.|
The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but Conil’s origins go back to the Phoenicians (some time around 900 BC, give or take 100 years), who established a new way of tuna fishing called “almadraba.” I won’t go into the details of almadraba except to explain that it’s a net maze that traps the fish in a central pool. It’s used less and less now because it’s tough on fish populations. By 711 AD, the Moors reached Conil and ruled until the “reconquest” by the Christians in 1265. The words “de la Frontera” were added to the name at that time.
|MONUMENT TO THE ALMADRABA FORM OF FISHING.|
Jerry and I arrived with Teré late morning 2012 AD, nearly 800 years after the Christians and more than 1,300 years after the Moors. We went and had breakfast (#2) at a little café in town where we got to spend some time with Teré’s father and brother, who were (no surprise) kind, warm, fun, and gracious, and made us feel immediately welcome. We three then headed with Teré’s brother to another café across the street from the beach for a drink. I was looking forward to some vino dulce (sweet wine made with raisins), but the café was all out. So, instead, I had a soda and we all enjoyed the warm sunshine.
|THE ARCH IN THE BACKGROUND SEPARATES THE OLD FROM THE NEW PART OF TOWN.|
We took a walk around town, bumping into Teré’s extended family and childhood friends everywhere we went. The entire town was tranquil with few people about. It was much larger in area than we expected and has a population of about 21,000. We were told in summer the population increases to well over 100,000. I can’t imagine it. Although I would enjoy browsing the shops and street markets that thrive in summer (and are mostly closed in winter), I have no desire to compete for space with the mobs and am really glad we got to explore on a quiet winter’s day.
|SIXTEENTH-CENTURY CHURCH OF SANTA CATALINA,
WITH MODERN “RESTORATION” IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY AND RENOVATIONS IN 2008.
We had an unbelievably good seafood lunch beginning with delicious small sandwiches of “marrajo,” which turned out to be what we knew as mako shark. I didn’t get a picture of the sandwiches because we ate them too fast. I did, however, get one picture of our delectable fried seafood sampler plate before knocking my camera off the tall table and onto the marble floor. The camera did not survive the plunge. My smart phone will have to do until I buy a new camera — and it “did” for many of the photos shown here.
|A FRIED SEAFOOD SAMPLER FOR LUNCH. MOMENTS BEFORE I BROKE MY CAMERA.|
After lunch, we walked some more and then headed back down to the water. We walked in the sand to a little beach café and sat and relaxed (over coffee and pastries) for about an hour. You can walk this stretch of beach for 17 km (10 miles). We, however, didn’t walk the entire length — going about 1/4 km (about 270 yards). We then headed back to the edge of town to catch the bus home.
|LOOKING WEST FROM OUR CAFÉ ON THE BEACH.
KEEP GOING, VEER A BIT NORTH, AND YOU’LL EVENTUALLY REACH THE DOWAGER DUCHESS.
There was a pleasant and very typical café bar across from the bus stop. We arrived early for the bus, so headed inside where we found a group of locals sitting and playing cards at one of the tables. Of course, Teré and her father knew the owner/bartender. Her father also knew all the card players. I got to have my vino dulce. And Jerry was pleased to find a video gaming machine by the door. Teré’s father played along with him, showing Jerry what buttons to press at bonus time. Jerry never quite understood how it worked, but he managed to double his money before we left town. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for a new camera.
|JERRY TRYING TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE SOME MONEY.|