|Travel Photography Iberian Peninsula
Tarifa is the closest harbor in Spain to Morocco, and is responsible for our word tariff, because pirates in the ancient ages used this proximity to exact sea-route taxes on continental traders.
The seedy pirate-town architecture still stands, although cropped against plenty of surf shops and trendy retailers. Today, Tarifa is a rather hip neo-Bohemian town. And surfboards are for sale everywhere. But where are the waves? An old unshaven Swede says otherwise. "The kite-surf and wind-surf capital of the world, yes, maybe, but small waves." Johann moved from Sweden to Marbella, a coastal area of endless high-rises to the east of here, but admits, "I was too drunk to drive home so this hotel is my second."
When I tell Johann I am Norwegian, he says, "we are enemies you know." I say, "Yes, I know." He says, "You Norwegians drink too much." He says this with the words slurred, and I say, "Why here?"
"I came to Marbella and Tarifa because it is primitive, you know? You buy a fish and it is not a fancy fish like in Stockholm. It is not delicate, but it is just caught and it is primitively prepared. I love the primitive preparation and the primitive womens. I love those Moroccan womens in their djebellas."
I tell him of my route with Jane, how we are collecting artisanal cheeses, and of Extremadura, the province north of here which has almost no value to the casual tourist, and plenty of value to anybody who loves agricultural landscapes, and cheese. I say, "you know that in Spain there are about thirty-five different types of sheep. And each of those produces a different type of milk."
He says, "Amazing. Primitive!"