OCTOBER 17-18. If you are heading to the beach for a spot of kitesurfing and bump into a troop of Napoleonic soldiers don’t worry. At least don’t worry if it happens on these dates. Tarifa travels back in time to 1812 to enthusiastically recreate some Napoleonic battle action and there will be people in period dress guarding the ramparts and marching left right and centre. Actually, organised by the Asociación Histórico-Cultural Tarifa 1812, and attracting participants from similar organisations across Europe, it promises to be a very historically accurate re-enactment of the siege of the Plaza (barring death and injury).

The Peninsula Wars, Napoleon’s efforts to add all of Spain to his empire, dominated the start of the 19th century across Europe, but for some reason it’s always surprising to come across a plaque marking the spot where Napoleon’s soldiers did something or other in an inland village like Algodonales, or to be reminded that for a very long time the old city of Cadiz was under siege. The British led by Major General Thomas Graham and then, finally the Duke of Wellington, joined the Spanish forces, and, with the help of Spanish guerrilla fighters, eventually saw off Napoleon (who turned his attention to Russia). But it took several years, and was a messy sort of war.

This is the fifth such event in Tarifa, and it really promises to be good. An Italian, Luciano Casolari, president of the cultural association “Armée d ‘ Italie” which organises events in Italy and has participated in various reenactments in Europe will be wearing the uniform of marshal of France to give life to the marshal victor, explains the association’s facebook site, and will be accompanied by another Italian Roberto Colla, who usually takes the role of Napoleon, but in Tarifa will be wearing the uniform of the French Brigadier General.