I come from a land down under.... Men @ Work

Tarifa Travel Blog

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the pool at our 3 star Morrocan Hotel

Seville is to be our next stop and the weather is great.  Travelled by minor roads to Faro and note that the developement of the coast has gone onto steriods.  Massive appartment blocks under construction with cranes dotting the landscape like something out of a science fiction novel.  Move onto an expressway to get into Seville and as we approach find ourselves in a 10 km traffic jam.  Open the windows and the sun roof and find our Essential Aussie Backpacker CD's and indulge in some homesickness. It is Anzac Day.  We see that some of the occupants of the vehicles in the traffic jam are wearing full flamenco gear and we wonder.  Learn much later that this is Seville's biggest festival week!  Change the plan and head off to the coast at the southern tip.

Berbers with camels in Tangiers
  A wise move we find later as accomodation is all booked out, even the camping.

We want to go to Algeciras  but find a great spot at Tarifa.  To get to Tarifa we pass through huge expanses of low hills with huge wind farms.  Reading our travel books we find that this spot is favoured by wind surfers and kite boarders.  Drove down to the port to check up about getting to Morocco and decide on a two day trip leaving the van in Spain, at the campsite.  Set up tent which we have been sleeping in since day 2 now as it is so warm.  Walked to a nearby roadside cafe/restaurant and I had fried calamari and Andrew had the pork steak.  Back at the camp site on dusk, we set out to walk to the sea and cross a large expanse of salty dried marsh land, test out the water temp and return to pack two back packs for the couple of days.

Tarifa to Tangiers by a fast ferry indeed!
 

Take a taxi (8 euros) then for 82 euros we get a fast ferry return trip to Tangiers, a day tour, lunch, a night in a three star hotel with dinner, breakfast and a day to ourselves before returning to Tarifa.  The crossing is calm and there is a clear difference in colour and currents where the two seas meet.  As we are staying overnight unlike the rest of the tourists, we have to have our passports stamped by three police officers who are on board the ferry.  Tangiers appears to have a layer of smog-haze above it and with time adjustments we begin our tour at 10.30am .  The group is separated into two, with Spanish speaking and English speaking guides allocated to the two coaches.  We are taken through and around the city to the hills where there are some Berbers with their camels for photo opportunity.

The harbour at Tangiers
  Back into the city and  Mohammed's assistant (our guide) materialises and he appears to have the cattle dog job of keeping 30 or so tourists together in the Medina and Casbah.  A visit to the snake charmers, a carpet emporium, where we learn of the four distinct styles of carpet making.  Unsure if the carpet you are about to purchase is made of silk or wool and not something synthetic?  Just hold a cigarette lighter against it.  I gasp as a masterpiece is used to demonstrate it's authenticity, but there is not damage done.  To a medicinal herb dispensery and we are given a 30 min talk on the herbs and their uses.  I buy some blocks of musk to keep away the mossies and arnica oil for the bruises I have manage to inflict on myself.
A 1000 year old Moreton Bay fig in a courtyard where study takes place.

Lunch is in a grand restaurant and we dine on shish kebabs, tagine of chicken, cous cous and mint tea.  Musicians play the lute, a drum and do a wailing kind of singing.  One very old muso keeps smiling at me over the diners heads and I later realise he is hoping for a big tip!  Out into the casbah and the hawkers descend on our group big time.  The assistant seems to have to keep them at bay as well as keeping us in a group.  I can't resist a hooded cream kaftan and hastily get it with some bargaining  as we are charged briskly onwards.  For 10 euros all done I get my kaftan as we speed through the area.  We squeeze past shopkeepers leaning in the doorways of their shops in the narrow streets.  As I pass one he murmers "Australian" in my ear.

The assistant and us at markets
  Looking at him he points to my kangaroo pin and says "Kangaroo".  I decide to give it to him and he delightedly says "thankyou".  The coach takes us back to port after a stop at a five star hotel near the water to allow us to buy refreshments and souveniers.  Out of the two coach loads, it appears there are only four of us staying the night and the other two are from Albany, West Australia!!!  Taking advice from Mohammed we arrange with his assistant to have him meet us next day at our hotel and then are taken by mini bus to the outskirts of Tangier to a fantastic hotel which is a three star place.  Nicole and Keith are great company to spend our next day with and after a swim in the large hotel pool we meet up again in the lobby to try out the beers.
Me overlooking the harbour in Tangiers

The hotel has the ornate painted tiles and decorations of persian living.  The rest of the guests seem to be German as Nicole picks the conversations as being in high German.  Our next day the A(ssistant, we never knew his name) met us with a Mercedes taxi driven by some family member we suspect.  As it was Thursday it was market day before everything shuts down for the holy day of Friday.  We weren't pestered by vendors in this produce makets that housed fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, olives, cheeses, dates.  Many Berbers with their chinaman style straw hats with coloured wool plaits and pom poms, their women with tatoos under their bottom lip which denotes which tribe they belong to come to the markets to sell their rural produce.

The Assistant in the fish market
  Goat's milk cheeses pressed into rounds and presented on a plate of woven palm leaves.  Lunch was at our expense and Keith was invaluable in selecting a good menu for us as he had travelled, worked and lived in Europe in the 70's I believe. 

The A showed us more carpet emporiums and this time Andrew worked very hard to say no, to a purchase.  The A received a phone call from the carpet place long after we had left offering us the carpet at the ridiculously cheap price that Andrew had offered.  We really didn't have the money to buy one at all or we would never afford to finish our mega trip and get home!  The A took us up on to the roof of a residential building to look out across the city where next door had a couple of goats up there and a pile of horns which tell they also butcher them there too. Caught the hydro ferry back and a taxi to the Rio Jarra camp site, farewelling Nicole and Keith.

 

 

 

 

 

pacovera says:
And in two words, do you like Marrocco?
Posted on: Jun 09, 2006
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the pool at our 3 star Morrocan Ho…
the pool at our 3 star Morrocan H…
Berbers with camels in Tangiers
Berbers with camels in Tangiers
Tarifa to Tangiers by a fast ferry…
Tarifa to Tangiers by a fast ferr…
The harbour at Tangiers
The harbour at Tangiers
A 1000 year old Moreton Bay fig in…
A 1000 year old Moreton Bay fig i…
The assistant and us at markets
The assistant and us at markets
Me overlooking the harbour in Tang…
Me overlooking the harbour in Tan…
The Assistant in the fish market
The Assistant in the fish market
Good for windsurfing and wind farms
Good for windsurfing and wind farms
Tarifa
photo by: katyrico