Wild parties and sandstorms in Spain

sandstormsFrom Valencia, we headed some 820kms south east to Barbate, one of Spain’s most southern points on the east coast. Cruising into town at about 2.30am we had hopes of finding waves (for surfing) later that morning when we stumbled across a gigantic party right in the heart of town. Yes! This place is awesome, we immediately thought.

We were then faced with the decision of to either to park the van up and boogie on down with the locals or rest up for the night, buy some surfboards in the morning and hit the surf.
We made the smart move to rest and awoke in our van perched on a magnificent cliff where we had parked the night before, presenting astounding views of the ocean. Excitedly jumping out of the car we rushed to the beach to see waves, only to discover it was flat. No reasonable sized swell at all and it would be almost impossible to surf on the size boards we were looking to purchase.
With no waves, we scoffed in breakfast and trekked through the bush down from the cliff to the beach below for a swim. Chatting to two Spanish tourists we established that the party we witnessed the night before is actually a carnival in town for the weekend, which happens only on twice a year.
Following our beach visit, it was time to obtain some surfboards for our road trip, as we planned to surf the coast of Portugal, through into Spain and up into France, where we would then catch some world class waves. Believing that this is where we would get our boards, however, the shops in town didn’t even stock any, although we did find out that just over the hill there are some surf shops where we might be lucky enough to unearth what we are after. So we cruised over to this little beach town and found one place where we could perhaps buy boards, although they had none in stock, the owner would have his mate bring some for us to see.  No sweat, there were no waves anyways so we headed to the beach to walk up to the point.
 As we leisurely strolled up the beach we found it odd the amount skin the women were showing (more than in [“Barcelona” – link] and Valencia) until we came across couples completely stark naked! Oh Ok, I see this is a nudist beach, ok cool, so we hesitantly dropped our shorts and casually walked up the beach naked just as everyone else was. Not! Ha nearly got ya, not ever would I participate in such a thing. So with a board shorts on we “kept calm and walked on” as the WWII slogan suggests to see if we could find waves up by the point but consequently it was dead calm as was just about everywhere else in the south of Spain at that point.

That evening partying was on the agenda so we hit up the carnival before we left, with the plan to move on to Lagos in Portugal the following day where we could certainly buy boards and surf. Parking our car in a car park down the hill for the night right by the carnival and adjacent to the beach we cooked dinner and started our drinking escapades, despite the car park guard telling us not to. Fairly drunk we mingled with the locals being treated like celebrities as rarely do foreigners come to town. As the sun started to rise in the early hours of the morning we parted with our friends from the night before to collapse and loath in our drunken self inflicted hangovers.

Soon after, we woke up at around 10am to an immense sand storm and being right by the beach there was no escaping it. With only the van windows slightly open but protected by the curtains, our van was mimicking a small children’s sand pit. Damn! We were still worse for the wear (half drunk/hung-over) but had to abandon the car park. In our half conscious state we managed to start the car and ventured off to find some shelter (a park in the bush), slept off our hangovers, cooked lunch, emptied the sand pit from the house (our van) and eventually started our voyage to Portugal in quest of some waves.

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