Last winter I had many friends visiting and wintering in the sunny land of South of Spain. I usually like to show them both Malaga and Cadiz, to experience different landscapes, cultures, cuisine, and most importantly: the light. One of my friends named Malaga the Land of the Sunrise and Cadiz – the Land of the Sunset. It may have nailed my decision to aim to share life between them both.
Also last winter, I made a transformative experience of setting myself free to do pretty much anything. This journey took me to practice open sea sailing and take an official exam. Part of the experience was sailing for 48h from Malaga to the other side of the Gibraltar Strait. There is no such magic in this world as experiencing the sunset, the night and the sunrise on the boat. And despite some tough situations on that particular cruise, I then fell in love with sailing truly, madly, deeply.
Even though you can prepare for what may be happening at the sea, it may surprise you in all possible ways. Like love or anything in life, I guess. On that particular catamaran crossing, I experienced spotting a pair of booby (yes…) birds during their courtship, huge vessels passing on by unexpectedly, and even falling off one of the crew member to the sea when it got quite rough. Fortunately, it ended up well and the severity of that situation did not discourage me from further pursuing my passion. Especially, that when the weather got better, I had one of the most beautiful experiences of watching the sunset over Gibraltar Rock, spending a night under the stars, and seeing the moon, Venus, and the sun rising from the East. Again, comparing it to some of the best experiences in life.
A few days later, I revisited my favorite birdwatching spots, Tarifa and La Janda, with my friend Marta, who came from the darkness and coldness of Berlin for the very first time to Spain. Together, we were wandering through the Mediterranean Arc trail between Tarifa and Algeciras, passing by the peaceful retinta cows, and overlooking the African continent almost which is only 14 km away from that trail. To rest up, we laid on the flowery grass, sharing a deep, friendship talk.
While walking in Conil, we also witnessed many birds which come by around March time to Europe. It was extremely warm even for the springtime in Andalucia, so birds like swifts, redstarts, and spoonbills arrived earlier than expected. Hoping that 2023 will be a better year for the birds, even though the prognosis is rather dismal.
Focusing on the here and now, and the spectacle of the migration, we were extremely lucky to spot hundreds of (Kentish?) plovers on the short, and a pair of hermit ibises, one of the 10 most endangered species. Several ibises made their home in La Janda, giving some hope to preserving this peculiar species.
Before sunset, Marta and I witnessed a very intimate moment of coexistence of the jackdaws, rock pigeons, kestrels, and ibis around the Castilnovo tower, also the only remnant of the Conilete village, destroyed by the tsunami in the 17th century. These moments, and sharing them with the nearest and dearests make the Cadiz sunsets unforgettable and special anytime I revisit. And make me cherish each sunrise that welcomes me when I return to my equally magical day-to-day in Malaga.