I work in one of those companies that have their offices closed between Christmas & New Year. While that works in the favour of the majority, i.e. parents, being able to spend more time with their children. It limits what annual leave I can take during the year as 4 days are deducted automatically for this period.
This yeah, NYD 2016 fell on a Friday, the calendar god’s had sung giving us an extended weekend. So at a stretch, a 10 day holiday could potentially be in the pipeline We took as a sign to be spontaneous and book Christmas in the sun!
Frantic Researching Begins
With the excitement brimming, I began searching on skyscanner around September. Egypt crept up numerous times as the go-to, 10 days, guaranteed good weather and a range of chill out and activity based fun! So we booked and started counting down.Unfortunately, due to all the terror threats that followed, airlines had to follow safety procedures and cancelled all flights into Sharm-El-Sheikh until further notice. So there, in a flash our Egyptian Christmas was short lived.
With the refund on flights, we started our manic stages of researching all over again, now being early December the countdown was on to book quickly. There was no way I was willing to spend time at home now having dreamt up of a winter adventure abroad, and there we landed on Southern Spain. Specifically Almeria and Tarifa. Two places we’d never been so an adventure for all involved. We booked then and there and bagged ourselves return tickets for under £100 pp!
A lot was done in 7 days – so for the purpose of this – i’ll cover our highlights.
So Christmas Day flying – a first for me. I was somewhat underwhelmed expecting all staff, passengers to be in the Christmas spirit of which we’d all join in. It didn’t happen that way – airport was of course quieter than normal but we still had a full flight. Usually not being a fan of early morning flights (7:40 departure) I was excited as we reached Almeria by lunchtime. Grabbed our car hire and made our way to our first home of the trip.
Our host, a wonderful Spanish lady who showed us to our rustic s/c apartment. Beautifully authentic terracotta buildings with tranquil landscapes. Definitely a place to relax, unwind and soak up the sun. 18 degrees and blue skies isn’t something i’d ever had the pleasure of seeing on Christmas Day, ever. To add to the festivities, the evergreen trees around the main house were covered in ball balls.
The next day was spent wandering close by and the afternoon a short drive to the coast of Cabo De Gata. We reached the view point near San Jose and had to step out. Gorgeous coastal views with the blue sea settled against the green forest. Sun was high and the sea reflection looked to be endless. Making our way further south, just following our noses (the motorway route) towards Monsul beach. After hearing good things from our host, it didn’t disappoint. A surreal Boxing Day spent soaking up the afternoon sun on a golden beach. It could be worse, right?
Cabo De Gata National Park
Our all day hike – no cars included.
After demolishing a big Spanish breakfast, we set off around 10:30 from Almeria and followed a fairly coastal route across and down towards San Pedro. Cabo De Gata covers a huge area and boasts some impressive views and the aim was to take in as many of those as we could. All in all, it was exhausting but a great day. We walked for 8 hours in total and totted up around 146 flights climbed (courtesy of my health app). I love how much the walk varied, starting off more in-land with rocky paths, moving into beach pit stops and to top off a long-standing castle. I do love a good castle. Getting to San Jose and devouring a huge red tuna steak just topped off the end to a pretty much perfect day.
Tarifa, Tarifa, La La La
Windsurfing, wind in general and a whole lot of beaches!
So after 3 glorious days in Almeria – our stay was up and we set off on a 3.5 hour drive across Spain to Tarifa – the windy city. Our sea front guesthouse was waiting. The drive was intense but watching the sunset across the atlantic ocean was pretty damn special.
I go wherever you go, the sun that is.
So, unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side in Tarifa. After arriving late the night before in time for sunset – an early night was in order to recharge. We did some homework on where would be sunny and got to Cadiz.
The forecast didn’t lie. An hours drive out of the current Tarifa stormclouds and we reached blue skies and warmth. Amazing. Anything else at this point would have been a bonus. We walked alongside the beach, and beachy it was. Sand stretching out for days (maybe not days). Christmas in the sun was living up to all expectations so far. The afternoon consisted of pottering about the City Walls and eyeing up the Cathedral which ended up having some spectacular views. With the weather still on our side we had a late lunch within the plaza looking up at the old town.
How can you complain with that?