Day 11. Tarifa - the southernmost point of Europe

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Mon 15 Nov 2010 19:42
Day 11.  Monday 15 November 2010. Camping Rio Jara, Tarifa. N36 02.498 W005 37.842. Distance driven 112 km
Not only is Tarifa the most southern point of mainland Europe, but it also has the reputation of being the most windy spot in Europe. It has long been the preserve of windsurfers and kite surfers and, for further evidence, it now has a huge concentration of large wind turbines.  There must be over 100 within a few miles. Spain has certainly gone overboard with alternative energy.  There are wind farms everywhere and some huge solar installations, the like of which I have never seen before.  The panel size is about 7m x 15m (100 sq.m) and each panel array is mounted on a frame which can be trained in both azimuth and elevation, presumably electrically or hydraulically, to attain maximum angle of incidence of the sun.  I wanted to get close to study and photograph the mechanism but could never find one where I could do that. In a "farm" there would be about 60 to 100 such panel arrays - say 6,000 to 10,000 sq.m. How many kilowatts is that?  Surprisingly however, very few houses appear to have solar water heating.
We came off the Castellar mountain this morning and headed for Gibraltar, intending to spend 2 days there.  However, we quickly found that there is no flat ground in Gib and no camp sites.  Depending on who you talk to, camping is said to be illegal.  We did spend £22 to drive halfway up the rock and see the apes, St Michael's Cave, the Siege Tunnels and the Moorish Castle.  The views across the Straits to Morocco were spectacular in the sunshine and Jenny counted 38 ships at anchor in the roads. Once we had done the sights we left and returned to Spain looking for a camp site.
Rio Jara is a pleasant camp site and well sheltered, so we should have a quiet night tonight, although the temperature is forecast to drop to 7 degrees. It is populated by large camper vans, all with German number plates.  Tomorrow is set aside for laundry and a bit of maintenance and to sort out the stowage of everything in the truck.  Then, on Wednesday, we will take the 1030 ferry to Ceuta, a small Spanish enclave in Morocco - only a 35 minute crossing. We already have our tickets!