Wednesday, December 10, 2008

10 November: Jerez to Chefchaouen

Last night we wandered down to our private Flamenco Show at about 21h00. We had dinner there (nothing terribly impressive for the amount we paid - there is usually a show price and then a price that includes dinner, they're vastly different. We had no option but dinner-included because the place was basically open just for us and had to make their money's worth I guess).

It was an odd sort of old plain restaurant with lots of 1970's photos on the walls and a stage in one corner. But, once they started the show, it was all worth it. There were 3 women dancing, 1 man singing and 1 man playing the guitar. I have never seen feet move that quickly!

This morning we were up before 6am (and it still looks like night at 07h30!) to get an early start on our long day of traveling.

I have not slept especially well this trip. I think it's a combination of a new hotel bed nearly every night, sometimes eating quite late (like last night) and often dozing during long bus rides. I have also been having dreams (which is unusual for me) although they're not memorable after I've woken up. Still, it is very weird.

First (on our long journey) we took a bus (mode of transport for the day number 1) to Algeciras which was sadly late arriving as well as being a longer bus ride than was expected. So instead of taking another Bus from Algeciras to Tarifa (where the express ferry leaves from), we caught taxi's (mode of transport for the day number 2) and sped there as best we could. Unfortunately it didn't help us as we arrived to watch our 11h30 ferry leaving the harbour. The next ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar was at 13h00 :(

So we spent some time wandering the very surf / kite-surf oriented town of Tarifa. Which was good because I managed to buy some Jerez sherry for mom after all :)

The ferry ride (mode of transport for the day number 3) across was pretty speedy, only 35 mins (which is really all you need, it's not terribly exciting!). Pity the weather was overcast so I didn't get any amazing "crossing" shots. Plus, I was totally expecting some kind of "Welcome to Africa" sign or something ... hello people, you have a potential tourist experience here, why aren't you making something of it ?! Maybe it's just me ;) I was the only one avidly watching our progress across the Strait from the outside area of the ferry. Everyone else seemed quite content to sit inside and chat away as if it was no momentous experience. See, I'm sure it's just me :)
Note: the photo on the right is from us leaving Europe, but it gives you a good idea of the weather!

On arrival in Tangier (finally, another stamp in my passport!) we took minibus taxi's (mode of transport for the day number 4) all the way to Chefchaouen (they tried to fit the last vowel in there at the end but figured then you'd really not be able to pronounce it ;) ). It's about a 2 hour drive and the scenery here is lovely, all green hills.

Chefchaouen is quite lovely and perched high up on a mountainside. And the place we're staying in, Dar Echchaouen, is gorgeous!! After we settled into our rooms, we went for a walk in the Medina. Oh my word, I am in market / shopping heaven! I haven't bought anything yet, nor am I even sure what to buy but, all the colours and the vibe is wonderful. All the houses are various shades of light blue and white and the streets are all quite narrow and it's hard to tell one from the next.

Met a fabulous seller called Abdul who is apparently a Berber from the Sahara. He was showing me necklaces and telling me the stories of how the design was used as a compass in the old days and how it represented the different tribes (Berber, Nomad, Bedouin and another) coming together in the desert. Was amazing and very interesting.

After wandering for a while on our own, we met for dinner. It was lovely. I had a cheese salad to start, followed by a sweetened meat tagine (amazing flavours!) and finished of with pomegranate seeds with honey - yummy!

I am looking forward to a day spent wandering the medina tomorrow (I certainly won't be hiking in the nearby mountains like some of our group). Can't wait for a nice, relaxing day exploring a beautiful town :)

On a scary note tho, Varen smsed earlier today to say that his Schengen Visa was declined (he needs it for his 24 hour pre-Morocco stop-over in Spain!). He's off to the Spanish Embassy in Pretoria in person tomorrow to plead for an emergency visa, he's flying out on Thursday evening (that's 3 days away)! I'm hoping that worst case scenario is that he has to just stay in Madrid airport for that time, since he already has his Moroccan visa. Finger's crossed!! Eep, this is why I *hate* visa's!


Janine / Being Brazen said...

Holding thumbs that Varen gets the visa.

your travels souns so interesting :)

Tamara said...

Flamenco is so awesome when performed by a pro!

phillygirl said...

@brazen - luckily he found a way to work round not having the Schengen Visa :) Thanks!

@tamara - it really is. I'm hoping to be able to put a video I took up eventually ... but with the new computer and whatnot, I haven't managed to get the software I need downloaded, installed and working :(

Blog Widget by LinkWithin