My Atlantic Spain and Portugal pilot refers to Barbate as a practical stopover in a somewhat soulless town. The marina certainly isn’t packed with nightclubs and restaurants. It has two of the later and none of the former. More distressing, for any slothful sailor like myself, is the 2km hike into town to buy provisions. Despite this, I wouldn’t go as far as calling Barbate soulless. I’d settle for a tad dull.
I wandered aimlessly about the town for days, took the obligatory snapshot of the white sandy beach, church and town hall (all very nice if you frame the photo well), and loitered suspiciously for hours at venues offering Internet access (both restaurants at the marina have WiFi, and in town there are two “cyber-cafes”. The coin operated one near the beach is probably your best bet).
Despite enthusiastically delving into the myriad of touristic offerings (attempt at dry humor here), I couldn’t quite get accustomed to Barbate and eagerly awaited an opportunity to depart.
The regular jogger set, dog and power walkers, passed by frequently as they made their daily pilgrimages between downtown and the marina. I lived in fear that they’d move beyond our now customary brief nod of recognition, and stop to converse.
For someone as poorly versed in Spanish as myself, (my conversational repertoire is currently limited to boat talk and the weather), the mere thought of engaging in serious small talk is traumatic! Mind you, I did plan to take it in small steps… starting perhaps with a few words to the dogs and slowly working up from that. 😉
I needn’t have worried. No one ventured to go beyond the briefest “Ola”. Perhaps I’d already outstayed my welcome. This paranoiac notion grew as staff at El Espigon, (where I visited daily for a morning espresso and tostada), suddenly appeared reluctant to provide me with Wi-Fi access (it’s mysteriously switched off when customers linger for more than the briefest of sessions).
Even the restaurant at the other end of the marina has started using the “silently switch it off” strategy to ration Internet usage. It’s a Barbate conspiracy. True, I’m no big spender, (I can only drink so much coffee), but I’m also very unlikely to seriously impact their bandwidth quotas by writing my blog.
To add insult to injury, they’ve only given me one packet of jam with my toast today! Simply outrageous! It’s clearly time for me to move on, but where is that weather window when you need it?