Cape Trafalgar was not at all what I had expected, or what anything I’d read about it had led me to expect – I had imagined something wild and rocky and lonely, not the far end of the beach in a little seaside town. Possibly because the only cape I really know anything about is Cape Wrath!
I knew there was nothing in particular to see there – it’s not like a battlefield, and even on a battlefield there’s not much to see – but I was always going, as soon as I’d worked out that I could. And in the end there was more there than I expected.
The original plan had been that I would go the day after I came back from Gibraltar, and have my last day in Cadiz itself, but there were two problems with this – that I was tired of travelling (not insurmountable), and that I’d lost my tablet charger somewhere along the way, and more to the point the adapter attached to it, which I needed to plug in the camera battery charger.
So I couldn’t go anywhere until I had found a new adapter – which I did more easily than I expected, in a jenny-aa-things shop on an early morning expedition, but not early enough to be ready for the morning bus.
The little town is a place called Caños de Meca, about an hour and a half from Cadiz by bus – although it was a stopping everywhere kind of bus.
(I have to say, by this point I was feeling quite a lot of sympathy with Stephen Maturin’s complaint about the ‘barbarous jargon of the Andalou’, and it seemed to be worse down here. Dos was do, tres always sounded to me more like seis, Cadiz was pronounced something like Ca-ee, and a lot of it I never got my head around at all. I still liked the t-shirt of the girl in the bakery where I got my breakfast, which said ‘Habla bien, habla andaluz’.)
I walked out to the point along the beach, which was more appealing than the road, and came up eventually on the road through the dunes to the lighthouse.
(There was a road, honest. There was just a lot of sand as well.)
I liked these flowers, which were more exciting than anything that grows in sand dunes at home.
On the road I came across this plaque, commemorating the bicentenary of the battle.
It’s not even all that obvious a point – just one of several on the coast between Tarifa and Cadiz. (Africa should be just behind that last point, but it was hiding again. I only saw it from the road coming down to Algeciras.)
It’s a place that’s been used for a long time, though – as well as the modern lighthouse, there were the remains of a much older watchtower behind it.
Round the back of the lighthouse there was an information board about the battle. (Board 1 was about the geology, I don’t know what 2 was!)
And down below that there were finally rocks, and a little beach where I went swimming – even on a calm day there were some good Atlantic waves coming in, which is my favourite kind of sea – just stand and let them bounce you about. It probably would be a wild place in an autumn storm, to be fair.
Less than 24 hours later I was in Argyll, slightly dazed by the change (not that I haven’t gone swimming in the Atlantic there many times, but not this time).
Since Trafalgar is the name of the point, it was hard to tell which names were just geographical. This place had definitely named itself after the battle, though!