(To really see this photo, check out the large version on Flickr)
Barbate used to have the second biggest fishing fleet in Spain, until the local tuna supply started running out. Now the town isn’t as rich as it used to be (Franco used to holiday nearby, which also helped) and to be honest, some corners of Barbate (map) look a little ragged.
But who cares when you are 9 years old and can play football on the beach? On a beach that stretches for kilometers to the south, and on clear days has a perfect view of the continent of Africa just across the Straits (Africa! So close!)
And what happens when one of the kids boots the ball through the netless goal posts and it runs 200 yards down the beach?
The striker isn’t getting it. The beligerent goaly won’t budge. So they all sigh in exasperation, crash to the ground, and make sand castles for 5 minutes, until the most football crazy of them all can’t bare it for another minute and takes off down the beach, sprinting full pelt with the wind behind him, to fetch the ball.
Their future in Barbate might look a bit edgy, but I don’t think you can beat a childhood like this!