I woke up and got started early, Clare and Ann rose and breakfasted later, then we made our way to the port to take a ferry boat across to Tabarca Island. It's a 'must do' excursion for any Sta Pola holiday.
The ferry arrived at the modern jetty in a bay at the narrowest stretch of the island just after midday. The ancient point of arrival is on the foreshore beneath the town walls near the 17th century church of St Peter and St Paul. The mediaeval walls give access through three gates, one of which, dedicated to Archangel Michael, is above the mediaeval landing area on the island's north side.
Since our first visit from Geneva in 2000, I have observed the slow progress of restoring this the largest and most prominent building in the town, if not the whole island. It follows the Spanish tradition of fortifying church buildings - iconic in defence of the faith, I guess. The church job seems complete, although access to it wasn't possible.
The parish rooms and clergy quarters attached to the church east end are still a roofless ruin. But, a place with potential as a hospitality centre, much needed today. I hope something happens to complete the picture even if it takes another decade to find the funding. This is indeed a special place to visit for whatever reason. Like the foreshore of Sta Pola bay it was probably first colonised by the Pheonicians, then the Romans. It was conquered by the Moors, then reconquered for the Spanish monarchs and again conquered by the Kingdom of Morocco for a generation in the 18th century, before being liberated yet again.
It was too early to eat, so we walked the length and breadth of the island before settling for lunch at the Gloria restaurant on the south side of the island. After lunch, we spent another hour walking around discovering different places, then took a boat back to Sta Pola at five so that Ann and Clare could swim from the beach next to the port.
We were fortunate to have such a beautiful day for our island excursion.