Today we left Spain. Not coming back to Spain on this trip. We will go to Morocco, and from there to Italy, Switzerland, France, and Germany. From there we will head to southern Africa. We are going to take a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar, or the pillars of Hercules.
We had gone to sleep early the other night to be ready to wake up at 6:30 in the morning, while it was still dark. We finished up the packing to leave Maruja’s apartment nice and tidy, and then set out to the bus stop to be nice and early. The bus arrived soon after we got there, and we were on our way to Africa!
It was too bad, because first we had to take a 3-hour bus ride to Tarifa (port town on the very, very, very southern tip of Spain), and from there take a 1-hour ferry ride across the strait of Gibraltar. It would not only be my first time in Morocco, but in all of Africa as well. This time it was different. Usually when I would go to a new continent, I would just fly right over the border into the heart of the city. But this time, since we were arriving to Africa by boat, I got to walk off the boat and take my first step, watching my feet, onto African soil. It would be a memorable moment.
From the bus window we caught sight of the rock of Gibraltar and a little bit of Africa on the other side. I couldn’t believe that I would be over there in just a couple hours! After the bus ride, we got to customs and all that border control at the port, and from there onto the ferry. The whole time I kept feeling so happy and joyful, awaiting the moment when I would really be in Morocco! On the boat we had to be very careful about leaving our luggage unattended. Because Morocco is a more unstable place, and someone might try to sneak drugs across the border on us, or just pickpocket our packs. Even someone sitting down next to you and “accidentally” bumping into your pack could be a sign of stealing something.
We got closer and closer to land until we landed next to a pier that stuck out of a Moroccan town that was another port town, like the Moroccan Tarifa, and right across from it too. We were in Tangier/Tanger (I can’t remember which).
That moment where I got to step onto African soil was here! I joined hands with Jasper and Kieran as we all jumped over the line into Morocco. We were in Africa.
But we still had most of our day’s trip ahead of us. Alex had rented us a little Moroccan hotel for the night in Tangier/Tanger, and the next day we would take a train to Fez. We walked through tiny, cramped, Moroccan streets to our hotel. Pilar was our translator because she speaks 4 languages. Spanish, French, English, and Italian (wow). We checked in and we were all hungry and it was dinnertime. So we set out to the best, cheapest, Moroccan restaurant according to Trip Advisor in the area. It was delicious. Moroccan bread is delicious. Moroccan lentils are delicious. It was all delicious.
After that we went to a park where we saw some very interesting things. First, the playground. The playground was an absolute mess. There were 3 structures. A swing, on which the seats had been taken out, a seesaw which is very different than a normal seesaw in Seattle, and a play structure. On the play structure all the metal was rusty and the floor had fallen out. It wasn’t very big either. Second, cats. A group of stray cats seemed to recognize an old lady that was feeding them some food, and, sadly, there were a couple kitties that didn’t look so good. One of them was white and black, and was sitting comfortably on the ground, except for one thing. It kept moving it’s head in twitchy motions, and it had its tongue out and eyes wide open. It seemed to have something wrong with its neurological system. Another kitty looked like it had gotten into a fight with another kitty. It was missing an ear, and the area around it seemed to be infected. Not good.
Morocco is a very unique place, speaking French because Morocco was a French colony a while back, and being 100% different than the U.S.A. A lot of shopowners repeatedly ask us if we want to buy their products, because they know that we come from the U.S.A. and that we have the money to buy a toy camel, even though we don’t have room for one on our backs for this year.
I will clarify more about Morocco and the way of life here in another post tomorrow. Morocco is just fascinating.
Below: Us leaving for Morocco
Below: Left to Right: Jasper and Kieran on the seesaw; Us on the play structure
Below: My first Moroccan meal
Below: Moroccan street