peter barnett Art Blog
I'm just back from a two week painting trip to Portugal and Spain, with 22 small panels completed in 12 days. I'll have a lot to say about the Portuguese part of the trip, but I'm going to start by talking about the most romantic notion behind it: to get at least my big toe into Africa.
Chase an I discovered that if you take a rental car into Morocco, you can't get it back out again, so we did the next best thing. Spain has a little-known enclave carved out of the coast of Morocco, called Ceuta, accessible by ferry from Algeciras, a trip of a bit over an hour. We spent two nights there.
Ceuta is itself a "toe" in africa: a rocky peninsula with a narrow neck, therefore easily defended by land if you control the sea around it. In fact, a moat was dug across the neck, only about 500 yards at its narrowest point, and the seaward side fortified from shore to shore.
The main town, within the fortifications, is very spanish, but if you go beyond the moat there are several miles that still belong to Spain before you reach the Moroccan border, and here the landscape become progressively less spanich and more north african. My favorite spot was the little town of Benzu, near the Moroccan border, overlooked by a dramatic mountin escarpment. That view produced what might be the best psinting to come out of the trip.