Well the time has come for a new travel post! This time we’ll visit a little corner where tourists never go.
Yes I know I said that about Barcelona, and then ended up still putting up photos of touristy places anyways. Well what can I do? Pretty much ALL Barcelona is quite touristy and there is something worth seeing in just about every corner of that enchanting city.
However this time round we WILL indeed go someplace a little off the beaten track. So I thought we’d go to La Línea de la Concepción.
So, where in the world is that, you might be saying. So yes, that is how far off the beaten track it is.
No tourists, no tourist attractions. Just a tiny, humble little fishing village. Well a fishing village with a MAJOR petroleum refinery, perhaps.
Even so, you may have passed through La Linea at some point in your life. If you’ve ever been to Gibraltar, then unless you arrived winging over by plane from the UK, you’ve been to La Linea.
La Linea earned this name by being the borderline: the border between Spain and Gibraltar.
For a long time ancestral rivalries between Spain and England kept this borderline closed. You couldn’t enter Gibraltar by land. The Spanish government re-opened its access to this rock in 1985 as part of its measures for gaining entry into the European Union.
Gibraltar is a fully sovereign, self-governing British overseas territory, which means that its citizens, in addition to being Gibraltarian, of course, are also British nationals. All of its internal affairs are locally governed, but the British government oversees everything and the Queen of England is its head of state.
However, this is not a post about Gibraltar, which, being strong, famous and a popular tourist destination, can pretty much hold its own in the world.
Today it was my intention to speak, rather, about La Linea.
A good percentage of the population of La Linea depends on Gibraltar to bring bread into the household. This is the case of my friend in La Linea too, who works cleaning homes and yachts on the rock.
Nonetheless you will still see a good many fishermen casting out their lines on the beaches, especially at dusk, or taking out to the seas in their little boats.
You can see how close Africa is in this photo. That long strip of mountainous land across the way there is Africa. Looks like you could just swim right out there, right?
Unfortunately for hundreds of thousands of aspiring African immigrants, it isn’t that easy. There are very treacherous undercurrents in that little strait!
Unlike Malaga, La Linea is small and quiet. Most of Malaga is filled with tall buildings. Most of the homes in La Linea, by contrast, are small one- or two-storey houses built the traditional way, square-shaped and without a sloping roof, with an interior patio.
This makes it a very hot place in the summer, because there is no shade!
There isn’t that much to do in La Linea, I found. Unlike Malaga, it isn’t bustling with a lot of exciting places to visit.
There are a few parks. One of the really nice ones is the one inside the City Hall grounds. It’s enormous, with different sections including, of course, a large playground for kids. Which is pretty much the only thing you will notice if you travel with kids.
This time we didn’t enter Gibraltar, although we visited it few years ago. So if you are on the look-out for these 2 little mites that you can see in these photos, running around somewhere on the streets in your visit to Malaga, rest assured that they are hardly little mites anymore!
They still play in playgrounds though, and very happy to do so I can assure you!
In the summer it is almost impossible to do anything during the day in La Linea. Except move around on the beach.
At night is when most of the action takes place.
I personally would not like to live in La Linea. The people aren’t particularly friendly. I took my friend’s gigantic dog for a walk – to give you an idea of just how gigantic it is, when it stands on two paws, which it does quite frequently (it probably thinks it’s a baby) it’s as tall as I am – and as I approached a little shop for a bottle of water the owner exclaimed irascibly: “That thing isn’t entering my shop!”
So it was my son who entered the shop for water instead. (Yes, he’s hardly a little mite anymore. Even sports a moustache now!)
There are many thieves in La Linea. And a lot of drugs too. So not a good place to raise kids, especially teenaged ones. Even my friend has sent her teenaged children to Marbella to receive an education, so that they can move around in peace and avoid the harassment of La Linea bullies and drug traffickers right at the doors of their high schools.
Well I suppose I should like to end on a more positive note about this little town.
You can observe a feeble attempt at nocturnal photography here. I don’t really have the equipment for that, though. Here this was an attempt to portray one of those typical, stately, larger colonial-style homes that grace many parts of town. However at night without proper lighting I’m afraid its majesty is all lost in the shadows.
In spite of some local tiff-taff because of the drug dealing, for the most part it is a nice, humble, peaceful place to live, where the residents mind their own business and don’t get into a lot of hot water (except on the beach, of course, with its balmy waves). You won’t see lots of protest marches on its streets the way you would in larger metropoles.
There are also no major gangs wreaking havoc. Not a lot of street violence. You can walk around town at any hour of the day or night and expect to be left in peace.