We arrived back in Spain feeling slightly the worse for wear after leaving Morocco, thankful we were only staying in Tarifa and didn’t have to travel far that afternoon. Tarifa, being on the southernmost point of mainland Europe and at the channel into the Mediterranean from the Atlantic, is very windy and a paradise for kite and windsurfers. We wandered down the beach across the road from our hostal, taking in the hundreds of kites on the water and getting ready on the beach. It was very colourful and interesting to see how busy it was. They have kite-surfing schools here, but I wouldn’t want to learn in this wind!

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Kitesurf central – Tarifa beach

The following day we drove north, stopping first at Baelo Claudia, an archaeological site revealing the remains of a Roman town where salting cod was done back in the 1 & 2 century. The day was lovely and we enjoyed wandering the ruins and remains and reading the interpretative signs telling us about the life of this bustling outpost of Rome.

 

Then to Cadiz, as this was one destination we hadn’t made it to but it was a little disappointing. Arriving on a Sunday, we found the old downtown area was alive with some sort of noisy music festival and packed with Sunday sightseers. We spent some time here but then retreated across the river to our lovely accommodation, taking it easy as we were still recovering the effects of our Moroccan tummy upsets.

 

 

Now we headed to our next housesit, with two lovely dogs and three aloof cats. We had met Toots and Tiger-Lily (and their parents) a couple of weeks earlier, as we had dropped our excess luggage and Chris’ bike here while we went to Morocco, and were excited to meet them again properly. The location was amazing with views over rural countryside, right in the middle of polo fields and training areas near Sotogrande. The house was very comfortable and light, with plenty of areas to sit and enjoy the view. One of the things we love about housesitting is that we can be “home” for a week or more, home comforts like laundries, kitchens and space to spread out inside and out. Being rural, we could walk the dogs off lead – they knew what the routines were and showed us where they wanted to go.

 

Tiger was a 10-year-old goer – her short legs didn’t stop her from keeping up with the much larger Toots, a 4-year-old Mastin that reminded of the lovely Sam we lost in Taberno. Our days involved walking the dogs along the rural road and up into the hills each morning, with a shorter walk in the evening, feeding both cats and dogs and enjoying their company and the peace of the location we were in. Some walks seemed a bit much for poor Tiger’s stubby legs and she wasn’t averse to a short pick-up up the hill of the driveway on the return journey (you could see her smile!) Our peace was disturbed somewhat by Toots’ deep nighttime barking; on the rainy nights it was good to keep them both inside so she kept quiet, and the weekend hunters shooting game in the hills.

 

Those days we kept our walks to the road, not venturing into the hills and there were plenty of used shot casings evident over our walking trails after the weekend.

 

Unfortunately, we also needed to access a doctor as Chris had an eye infection flare up. It is interesting to see how the medical system works here – chemists sell the basics and anything out of the ordinary needs a prescription (where back home we have access to much more over the counter). We had no idea how much the doctor consultation would be so €50 seemed acceptable. While we were there, I suggested to Chris we should get our ‘flu shots as we had missed out in March and winter was approaching here. We needed a prescription to purchase the vaccine from the pharmacy but then had to return to the doctor for administration. Once again, we had no idea what costs would be involved, being told at the pharmacy when we ordered that the vaccine was very expensive and, so, were pleasantly surprised that €30 covered both vaccines and a further €20 in total for the administration. We were pleased to get this covered off, as we have both been quite well during the past 7 months apart from a couple of colds and then the tummy upsets.

 

All too soon our week was up – pack up day was marred by torrential rain, but we got everything ready and shooed the reluctant dogs out of the house, knowing that they had bed and shelter in the garage. (It turns out that unknown to us, they both snuck back into the house before we closed it all up – hearing from the owners later that day when they returned that the alarm had been tripped surprised us and we felt awful for not ensuring the dogs were in the garage as we had thought!) We would be back here in a months time to re-sit here and we look forward to these lovely girls and this beautiful setting.

 

(Some of you have asked us what housesitting sites we use – we find that we have had the most success with Trusted Housesitters – this platform has a good set up to advertise yourself,  you get reviewed and can read reviews of the homeowners for advertised sits. Yes, you pay a higher membership fee than some of the others, but when we add up all our accommodation savings and the lovely people and pets we have met, it is worth much more than the upfront fee – click here to get a discount or use my code RAF47287)

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