Monday, February 24, 2014

A Strait Adventure (Part 2)

So, the next day we started our trek, before the sun got up, to head to Tangiers, Morocco. To get from Spain to Morocco, you have to take a ferry so we headed to the port of Tarifa, Spain. Just like at an airport, you have to go through customs when taking ferry's from country to country, and even a passport check on the boat, but you don't feel anywhere near as violated as you do flying. Though it can be painful in other ways, such as a very rough turf. Luckily, since this was the first time I'd gone on a “non lake/river” body of water I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't get seasick at all, even with the boat tilting back and forth pretty drastically.

Now for what we were doing in Morocco, my friend Chris had organized a tour guide Said to pick us up from the port in Tangier to take us around. We started by walking around the old part of Tangier as our guide gave us tidbits and stories that only a local would know, even pointing out a man cover that had been made in Casablanca. 

 Pretty neat to see real world examples of places you've only seen in movies. The next adventure was to ride the bus to the Cape Spartel where we stopped at a few stops for photos like Cave of Hercules and the lighthouse on the cape.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the next part where we were able to ride camels in Africa!! I've never ridden a horse before but camels are something else. You have to get on while they are sitting on the ground. Then as they get up the lean so far forward that sometimes another person has to help you to stay on the camel as it gets up. And boy, were they bumpy to ride, but a blast. That's one thing that I never thought I would ever do. Chris did a fantastic job organizing this trip.

Finally we were returned to Tangiers where our guide organized a special lunch and we ate local specialties like camel cheese on local bread, and were even given free samples of the local olives. Everything tasted amazing. After that we had a final wander through the main market place in Tangiers where we met with a snake charmer, heard the sales pitch of the herbs and medicine salesman, and were accosted by antiquity salesmen. Finally, we were hustled back to the docks early due to bad weather canceling the last ferry crossing the straight. It was quite a site to see us being rushed through customs by our tour guide, like he owned the place.

Finally, we made our way back to Spain and our hotel to relax the rest of the night before dinner. Dinner that night was spent hunting around the local town and we found a small restaurant hidden far away from the main roads. Honestly no where near where we thought it was supposed to be. It was a really neat restaurant that even had small stage, foosball table, and other neat items in the backroom. The food was great and the owner even better, challenging one of us to a game of foosball. Declaring Spain 1, USA 0 after he won. Then we went back to the hotel to finish off the night. Man I wish I remembered the name of that place...

The next day we drove to our real destination of Malaga, Spain. On the way we stopped at a beach Playa de Bolonia where we wandered the sand and stopped at a local restaurant for a snack and some drinks of water. I have to say this is one of the most beautiful sections of beach and coastline I've seen, with the exception of possibly Ireland :-). When we reached Malaga, we checked into the Sahara Sunset Resort there, which were beautiful apartments with decent views of the ocean. You don't even need to be a member of the timeshare itself to tent rooms, though they are slightly more than I would be normally willing to pay if we weren't enjoying a pre-owned timeshare. Good amenities, such as pools and other standard things like that. But they charge for every extra, such as internet. We basically just relaxed after the drive but did have dinner at a very interesting restaurant that served both Italian and Indian food. Most of us ordered Indian, and it was fantastic. I highly recommend it. 

The next day started off by enjoying an awesome Full English breakfast at a cafe right in the resort before we drove to Seville, Spain. A very beautiful and quinte city with many attractions from it's towers, to the cathedrals and the home of a building built for the world fair that was held in Spain many years ago. My favorite part was the gardens in the main palace of Seville. I could have spent half a day wandering around those gardens easily. That said, I would say in my opinion, Seville is very beautiful but almost not worth a trip by itself. If you're in the area, definitely visit. But it's not a must see to me other than the gardens, especially when compared to things like Gibraltar, Conseugras, Toledo, Pamplona, or Barcelona. Very nice visit but in retrospect I would have been fine not seeing it.

The last day was a bit of a rush. As soon as we got up we all piled into our rental car and drove back to Madrid to make sure we caught our flight back to Germany. The downside was that a couple of us were starting to get sick, from what we believe was food poisoning, not sure from what. Otherwise the trip back to Germany, while long and tiring, was uneventful. Make sure you look twice at the food you eat, especially if you're concerned that it might not have been cooked or cleaned properly. I doubt we would have noticed anything but it pays to double check. Over all I don't regret anything from this trip. It was all absolutely fantastic, and I even got to step foot on another continent when we visited Morocco. I loved every minute of this trip.  Aside from food poisoning...

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