May 29, 2020

Where We’re At: Updates From the Road

We can now see Gibraltar from our workspace…

Well, our time in Jimena de la Frontera is just about at an end. It has been a great stay in a tiny Andalusian white pueblo town, a foothill village topped with a stunning 9th century Moorish castle. We suspect you’ll be hearing more about Jimena soon, as recent archaeological finds date the roots of the town back even further, to Roman times. Stone Age art found along the river suggest that humans were here even earlier, plying the region for thousands of years.

You can see Gibraltar and even all the way into Morocco in north Africa from here on a clear day, and those are our next stops. It has been great to stay parked for a month, but it’ll also be a welcome change to get moving once again.

We’re turning in our car at Gibraltar airport, which also means that our world is once again shrinking from what we can haul in an automobile, to what we can each carry from point to point. Actually, with the size of a European rental car, the two categories are very nearly the same.

The ‘stay longer, with day trips’ mantra has served us well, and we’ve managed about a dozen short range excursions while at Jimena. As happens every trip, our visions of what we would go see and do was a bit grander than reality. We always like to tell ourselves to leave something for next time and that we’ll be back, and in the case of Jimena, we think that this will turn out to be true.

Here’s another trick we’ve learned over the years for long term travel: have a plan, but build in some flexibility. Some of our greatest adventures have been the result of getting lost, wondering just what’s down that other road, or making the best of a wrinkle in a well-laid out plan. I can’t count how many times the restaurant or site we hoped to visit turned out to be closed on Tuesdays, or no longer existed. Sure, you can’t always have a plan B, and back home, you just know the rhythm of your particular hamlet so that such surprises rarely occur.

And where to next? Well, after a brief stint in Terifa

Update: scratch that.

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…

The past few days saw us reshuffle our plans (all for good reasons). Two basic things caused us to readjust our strategy, and have allowed us to stay in Jimena de la Frontera just a little longer. The first is a striking long term rental overlooking the town, with a price and location that we just couldn’t pass up. Seriously, I’m on the patio overlooking a gladed valley right now, with Gibraltar far off in the distance.

The other thing that happened is, we now know what the ‘Schengen region‘ of Europe is, and how it applies to us as Americans. We realized (just a few hours after we booked our long term stay, no less) that we can only do 90 days per 180 day period: there’ll be no hopping to Morocco for the weekend to reset our stay.

So, after some quick realigning of plans (and much imbibing) we decided to ride out the remainder of our current stay in Jimena, and will depart for as yet undecided Schengen lands in late May, to return to Andalusia in October. It’s been a whirlwind last 48 hours to make this all happen, but one flying trip to Gibraltar later to renew the rental car, and we’ve managed to move out of our Air BnB life for the first time since arriving in Rota.

All is well in southern Spain.

Ain’t travel grand?



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