31 Mar 2008
Hola a todos! Well, I made it back across the border from Africa! It was definitly an eye-opening experience…it was like a whole different world there! We went to Morocco, which is basically straight south of Spain. We left early on Thursday the 27th – we took a bus from Sevilla to Algeciras, Spain where we got on a ferry. The ferry was very nice – it was like a miny cruise ship! When we were on the ferry we were able to see Gibraltar – a small part of the south of Spain that is still a part of the United Kingdom – the have a huge rock/mountain thing that we could see! Our ferry landed in Ceuta which is a Spanish city on the continent of Africa. From there, we took a bus to the border! It took awhile to pass through, but while we were waiting we saw a couple of Moroccan’s hop the fence to come into Spain – it was kind of like a movie! We then went straight to our hotel (yes, a hotel finally – not a hostel…what a treat!) which was in Tetuan. They greeted us there with mint tea and cookies – tea was sooo sugary but the cookies were delicious! We then visited an artesan school and saw many students working on their art – they spend 7 years learning their different trades. We then had lunch in a Moroccan Restaurant – which the food was amazing!!! You will see in my pictures the different food we ate – completely different from Spanish food. After that we did a walking tour of the Medina (market area) of Tetuan. It was pretty much like a bunch of garage sales set up – I think we were in a poorer city. We did learn some fun facts from our guide Jamal – women can divorce their husband if they have bad breath, banks in Morocco don’t give out loans or provide interest on savings accounts, the people of Morocco drink 20 glasses of tea a day, etc…
On Friday, we got up early and took a bus to Tanger – the more cosmopolitan city of Morocco. It was on the coast and it was just beautiful! We visited the Tangier American Legation Museum and Research Center in Morocco (boring) but then we were able to walk around the city a bit and enjoy another delicious Moroccan lunch! After lunch was one of my favorite parts of the trip – we drove through some bluffs where all the rich houses of all the different kings were – we saw the palace of the King of Morocco (he was actually passing through Tangier while we were there – we didn’t see him, but we saw all the people lined up in the street waiting to see him!). Along the coast we stopped to ride camels! We got about a 2 minute ride, but it was still fun to say I have riden a camel! We then went to the caves of Hercules – very cool because it opened up to the ocean!
On our last day we checked out of the hotel very early and hopped on another bus to Chaoen (a city in the mountains). Upon arrival, we had a tour of Chaouen – saw the gorgeous mountainside, the traditional white houses and all the streets where painted blue because it supposably kept the city cooler in the summer! Again, very hard to describe what we all saw – but hopefully you can get an idea with the pictures! We then had free time to shop and barter for good prices 🙂 We finished up with another great Moroccan meal and unfortunatly had to get on a bus to make it back to Sevilla! It was a very long trip back: 2 hours driving through Morocco, 1 hour on the ferry and another 2 hours to drive back to Sevilla – and a soccer game was just letting out when we arrived in Sevilla so we got stuck in traffic for almost half an hour! Oh well! Overall it was an amazing experience – I can now say I have been to Africa! It was nothing like I expected – it was beautiful scenery! I am now resting up and getting things done because I have class this week, but then we have another week off for Feria de Abril – a big Flamenco festival in Sevilla! My roommate and I are going to Prague and Budapest for the second half of the week! It should be a lot of fun!
posted Monday March 2008