Friday, October 15, 2010

Marbella, Gibraltar, y Tarifa.


Yes, I've yet to have my Euro Trip, but I sure enjoyed a Spanish Road Trip this past weekend. Fernando and Miguel drove two cars stuffed with the following Americans: myself, Natasha, Brandon, Chelsea, Alex, Arisa and Christina to a beautiful holistic getaway in Tarifa--but not before making some epic pitstops on the way.

We stopped in Marbella for a lunch. Marbella is a very, very affluent coastal city. It was a cross between what I imagine Monaco in France would be like and Newport Beach, California. Wow. The cars, stores, and yachts said it all. Of course, we are all university folk and dined at:

Burger King. Yep. After six years of abstaining, here I am. Eating American fast food in the South of Spain. My, my.

So Dad would have liked this city, but not loved it. It was like the difference between the Dunes in Newport and Shoreline in Long Beach--there's just something about wooden docks versus concrete. This place was concrete city. But beautiful nonetheless:

A nice family photo. Back: Fernando, Natasha, Brandon, Christina. Front: myself, Miguel, Chelsea, and Alex. (Arisa took the photo.)

Proof that it was in fact, a road trip. I am playing co-pilot here as Miguel drives us on the Spanish equivalent of the Pacific Coast Highway. At one point, we saw a land mass in the ocean. "Qué es eso?" I asked. Miguel looked at me confused and asked, "Eso?" "Claro! No sé que es." He laughed and replied, "Eso es Afrika." Yes, that translates to my being confused, asking the native, and finding out that I was looking at the continent of Africa in the Atlantic coast of Spain. Jaw-dropping to say the least.

Unfortunately, our trip to Gibraltar was brief and didn't require any photos. But I did get to use my passport for the first time since entering Spain! Gibraltar is British territory. Shortly after Gibraltar, we were in Tarifa and I was impressed by the heavy Muslim influence, but also the existance of Catholicism.

We had to drive up unpaved and muddy roads to get to the retreat. It was so hardy though! There were cows just chilling in the road. We all had such a bad laughing gag at this image:

Finally! We were at our retreat in Tarifa. We were expecting rain and lightening storms, but we did not prepare for the mud. Wow. It was glorified camping, as Natasha and Arisa will demonstrate with the Morroccan tent that Fernando, Alex, Chelsea, Brandon and Christina slept in:

And that's me with a cat:

These felines were everywhere. Arisa lovingly named them all: Serina (who later became Charlie as we discovered its masculinity), Chompers, and about a million other names I don't recall.

Arisa, Natasha, Miguel and I stayed in a yoga room-turned sleeping area. It was so beautiful! There were murals of blue people on some walls, colored sheets covering glass skylights, stain glass windows, hand-thrown pottery and stone floors. Amazing!

The bathrooms were hilarious as the entire area is compost-compatible. So boys peed in the woods, girls got to use a toilet without running water (you rinse with a pitcher of water next to it). And for number two, well, Chelsea and I can't find a better way to describe it than "India." Hah.

Then came dinner. What a feast! The lovely María and Laura cooked for us and they did a fantastic job! The entire meal was as earthy as the retreat--a micro-biotic meal of Moroccan cous cous, a tomato, mixed greens, sunflower seed (and what ever else laid in the garden) salad, and an amazing dessert. This bad boy was cobbler-style apples, peaches and pears with home-made soy whip cream. The dessert was 100% raw and 1,000% delicious.

Brandon and I feeling very at peace (and very full) after dinner:

Since we were camping and in the process of making a bonfire outside, Fernando surprised us with face paint and we became in touch with our inner savages. :]

Yet another hilarious family photo.

That night was so beautiful. The rain stopped long enough to build a good bonfire and sit outside in the hills. We saw the lights of Africa over the ocean, the gorgeous beach, and the stars above. The sky was so clear that we could see the Milky Way. Shooting stars galore. Overall, a fantastic night.

On the way home, the rain cleared and the sun came out. We stopped at the actual beach of Tarifa and frolicked on the beach. Some of the boys raced and the girls leapt into the air at every photo opportunity. Unfortunately, Brandon took those amazing photos and he waits entirely too long to upload his photos. So I will have to post those another day. But I assure you, they are worth the wait. For now, I'll leave you with this photo of Africa from Tarifa.

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