We left Sagres after a week to spend a couple of days in Lagos (Portugal). I didn’t like Lagos. Try to imagine overcrowded narrow streets of an old town, the ancient buildings turned into bars and souvenir shops. To top that, sleeping in a hot and humid room, under your window, a night club playing a techno remix of Kylie Minogue until 6:00 in the morning.
Thankfully, we left town soon in an early morning bus to Spain. We crossed the unnoticeable border along a long bridge, the only tell-tale sign of a new country was that it was suddenly easier to read the signs.
Spain. My old home country felt warm and welcoming at the first instant. We took a taxi from the Seville bus station and I got engaged in a conversation with the driver. The colloquial phrases, tones of voice and manners came back at an instant. Gareth sat in awe next to me with a genuine “what have you done to my wife” look on his face. He had never seen me speaking Spanish before.
Good food, great service, cheap drinks, abundance of seafood, char grilled meats, fresh vegetables, jamon, chorizo.. White houses at hilltop villages, narrow alleyways.. There are so many reasons to love this country. I was happy to see that on our first evening in Vejer de la Frontera, Gareth had already lost a piece of his heart to Spain.
The plan in Vejer was to relax for a few days. Some short walks, beach and lots of good food. We did all that and so much more of nothing. Just relaxing. It kind of helps to relax when it is too hot to move. We got lost on the narrow streets of the old village, enjoyed the views, some tapas and a couple of cold drinks admiring the soft colours of sunsets.
On the beaches of El Palmar, I learned to dive under the waves (we don’t have big waves in Finland), and Gareth learned quite a few words of Spanish. We wondered the topless beach culture, and I found myself somewhat conservative in that sense. In all respect to the beautiful female body in all shapes and sizes, I felt more comfortable with my cover-it-all bikinis.
On the walk at the nature park, we encountered with a chameleon. A local man, who happened to be there, told us that it was very rare to get to see one of these little creatures (the only chameleons in continental Europe live on the southern coast of Spain and Portugal) and picked it up. He placed it on my arm, and while I got photographed by a bunch of strangers and Gareth, the tiny new friend tickled my arm with its nails. I felt so privileged having had that experience with our wild nature. The local man told us that people take them home (where they will most likely die), so we took the creature into the bushes and hoped that it gets to live its life free and happy.
Those few days were the perfect start for our time in Spain.