Finally tearing ourselves aware from the comfort and familiarity of Cabopino, we were aiming to spend a night or 2 at the spot in Puerto Duquesa that we had scoped out on the day we visited the Banos de la Hedionda (click here for relevant post), followed by a couple of nights in the free aire on the outskirts of Casares.
If you’ve been reading regularly you will know things don’t always go according to plan! This time everything seemed fine to start with. We arrived in the car park by Castillo Duquesa, parked up and had a cup of tea. All was fine as a policeman did his rounds and was perfectly happy, so we spent a couple of hours on the beach – which was idyllic at first as we had it pretty much all to ourselves, the sun was out and the van was but metres away! It was lovely even though the beach is not the nicest (slightly grey and gritty sand), and after about 1/2 hour the sandflies decided they liked the look of me!
So after a lovely couple of hours relaxing we returned to the van, to find 2 more vans parked behind us, and popped the kettle on again. At this point (it was after 5pm by now) the police returned, there were 2 of them this time, They proceeded to move everyone on, saying camping wasn’t allowed – indicating our step being out as being ‘camping behaviour’… We’re pretty sure the problem was really that whilst they will tolerate 3 or 4 vans, anymore causes an issue. The 2 vans parked behind us took the number stopped there to half a dozen.
Not wanting any more run ins with the police we moved – being our first time trying to park free of charge – to the nearby site of Bellavista (at 31 Euros for the night…) In the morning I went for a run along the seafront promenade and saw that 3 of the vans were still parked up where we had been – possibly confirming our theory relating to why we were moved on.
Before heading inland to Casares we went back to the same spot and visited Castillo Duquesa which was free to visit. The castle is clearly used by the community still as there are meeting rooms in the old rooms as well as 2 museums, 1 archeological and the other a fencing museum – it would appear that there is still a fencing school operating within the castle walls. There also appear to be a great number of cats living there – if the mess is anything to go by!
We decided to leave the car in the car park whilst we visited Casares, as we had to come back this same way before heading towards Tarifa anyway.
So it was just with the van that we headed up into the mountains. It’s not far to Casares and the road is very good so it wasn’t long before we arrived at the free aire on the outskirts of the town.
From here there is a lovely view of the town which is just over 1km away. There is also a viewpoint from where you can watch the Griffon Vultures gliding around. It’s really a rather special spot 🙂
It was much colder up here and we actually had to resort, not just to jeans, but our Rabs came out together with hats and gloves too! On our full day here (we stayed 2 nights) we walked into Casares via the track leading from the aire (rather than using the main road). This led quite steeply down and then steeply up again into the town! There were also alot of angry dogs in various dwellings on the way… When returning we followed the road 🙂
The roads in the town narrow very quickly, but we’re always amazed by some of the vehicles that are driving around – often watching delivery vehicles having to shunt backwards and forwards to leave a particular spot! The dustbin lorry was a digger! We wandered through the maze of streets, finding our way to the castle and 2nd viewpoint eventually. Whilst Calv spent what seemed like hours trying to get the perfect shot of the vultures I wandered around the castle, finding evidence of a via ferrata on the face of the hill on which the castle sits.
I visited the cultural centre, Blas Infante, which is situated in an ancient church. For 4 Euros I was able to visit here, a good visit, and also Blas Infante’s birthplace – which was underwhelming for me, not least because I struggled to understand most of the information signs and the video didn’t play properly (however, I would also have struggled to understand that as well I’m sure!)
As he was so clearly a huge part of the recent history of Casares, not only having the cultural centre named for him but also a statue in the main town square, I later researched Blas Infante. It turned out he was actually a politician considered to be ‘the father of Andalusian nationalism’ – read more about him here if you’re interested.
The castle is just ruins now, but there is a fair amount to wander round, which we did before heading back down through the narrow, winding streets to have a drink sitting outside a cafe in the main square.
It was lovely sitting there watching the world go by, listening to everyone calling to each other (everyone seemed to know everyone else) and watching the various lottery sellers plying their tickets – the lottery seems to be a big thing in Spain with sellers everywhere.
The other thing we noticed was that there were a couple of shops and bars that didn’t advertise themselves in any way – I guess the locals simply know they’re there! There was also a tiny market, in a building, where you could buy fish and strawberries within metres of each other!
In case you hadn’t realised we were totally charmed by Casares and would highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area. You are also able to walk to the Banos de la Hedionda from here – it’s a bit of a hike but if you’re into walking….
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