Well ain’t life a beach!
Cadiz Tourist Board is not very complimentary about my local strip of sand.
I thought the whole point of a tourist board was to promote tourism!
Palmones beach isn’t perfect but it’s better than Brighton’s, which consists mainly of tar and stones. I know, I grew up there. It used to cost my Mum a fortune in eucalyptus oil, the smelly remedy for removing oil slicks from skin in those days.
Brighton beach is world famous but it’s no good for making sand castles or sunbathing naked.
It’s got a nudist beach but your bottom looks like perforated bubble-wrap after a few hours of sitting on pebbles!
It doesn’t take huge imagination to write something positive about Palmones beach, the last-remaining protected wetland on the Algeciras coastline!
There aren’t many beaches that can boast close-up views of luxury ocean liners and container ships the size of Manhattan street blocks.
There’s James Bond-style action too, when the Guardia Civil chase down cigarette smugglers in their high-speed launches.
It beats having to watch the chubby dude in front of you changing out of his wet cossie while you’re eating your picnic!
Palmones beach is sandwiched between an oil refinery and an industrial estate, so it will never win a Blue Flag. You have to cross the N340 from Los Barrios to reach it, and there are petro-chemical chimneys peeping above the palm trees.
But like the best things in life, it’s free.
There are no exorbitantly-priced sun loungers lined up like beds in a hospital ward, where you can practically rub thighs with your neighbour. There are no Scandihooligans hogging the prime spots with their beach towels.
There’s a shady riverside walk with a café where you can watch the fishermen raking for clams, or feed the geese which watch over the boatyard more vocally than any guard dog.
The tourist board has posted information boards about the area and its wildlife. The entertainment’s in the translations. I’m not sure Algeciras Town Hall would like the reference to its ‘city slums’, especially as ‘estribaciones meridionales’ mean ‘southern foothills’ in English.
Several signs proclaim Palmones to be the Gastronomic Centre of Cadiz. OTT, maybe, but the seafood at Restaurant Meson El Copo is still so fresh you can catch it yourself from their tank.
You can have Palmones beach to yourself all summer as only the locals go there. It’s usually well after 4pm when they descend with their tables and chairs and tents and cold boxes and half the kitchen sink. It’s time to leave when the kids get out their bats and balls and use your body as the net!
There’s only one downside to my local playa if you’re that way inclined. Hardly anyone goes topless. The reason, so I’m told, is that they’re a bit too intimately acquainted – either blood relatives or next-door neighbours!
Did you know Los Barrios is the Centre of the Universe? Find out why here.
You can catch the scenic Mr Henderson’s Railway from Los Barrios (or Algeciras or San Roque) to Ronda. Find out how to get your FREE Trip Planner here.