December 27, 2011

One CRAZY adventure!- Tarifa & Tangier, Morocco

Alrighty… we’ve got 3 more cities to visit in Spain. Technically 4, but I wasn’t very impressed by one of them so it doesn’t get it’s own post. 🙂

I could have stayed in Ronda and relaxed for a couple more days, but we still had more of the country to see. So we hit the road to drive down to the coast, to the Straight of Gibraltar. We caught a glimpse of the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance but didn’t go close enough to get a photo. We headed to Tarifa, a little white-washed port town, where we had a hotel right on the ocean. We read that they hold a lot of wind-surfing competitions there. Wanna guess why? Yeah… it’s REALLY windy. When we checked into our “beach-side resort”, our stinky room was a major disappointment, especially after our amazing place in Ronda. We got them to switch our room, so at least we could stand being in there, then headed into town to check it out.

Well when they say “sleepy little town” they’re not kidding! I think we may have seen 3 people walking around. It wasn’t sleepy, it was DEAD. It was the weirdest feeling! We did arrive during siesta time though. This town really took their siesta seriously! We had a hard time finding somewhere to get lunch because almost everything was closed.

We did come across the cutest little bakery though. We wandered in to get something hot to drink and ended up staying for at least an hour and a half. We struck up a conversation with the owner, a cute little German gal, as we tried some of the sweets her husband makes. Delicious! We found out about how she and her Spanish born husband met in college in Germany and how they had recently moved to Spain and opened this bakery. She shared her opinions about Spain’s desserts and how they don’t really have any good ones. Well compared to these, she’s right! Two German couples came in to ask for directions and when she delighted them by speaking their language they bought a bunch of treats and coffee. She made their day!

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After I got a few photos of her cute shop, which was by far the best thing about Tarifa, we thought we should get out of her hair. We said goodbye and wandered back through the town, which was much more alive now, wandered through some shops, where I bought a cute bag, and back to our car. We needed to get some good sleep since we were headed to Morocco in the morning!

This day was QUITE the adventure. As we rushed over to buy tickets for the ferry, we needed to decide if we were going to join a tour or if we would just hire our own guide when we got there. I kinda “helped” sway us away from the tour. We just barely made the ferry so we were kinda stressed out. I could tell Lanette wasn’t too happy with “our” decision to hire a guide, so we were kinda quiet during the whole ride over. Check out Intrepid Powerboats for more boat options. Once off the boat, we had to decide on a guide. A man approached us and we talked with him for a while. It was much more expensive than I thought it would be, but what choice did we have at this point? I told Lanette it would be fine and really hoped it would be!

Our guide, whose name I’ve blanked on, found a guy to drive us around for the day. First they took us to this lighthouse, which is where the Mediterranean Sea and Straight of Gibraltar meet.

I didn’t take my 5D with me that day so all of these photos were taken on my s-95 point and shoot.

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And here we are with our guide.

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Then as a “special treat” he took us to this beautiful resort to show us the amazing views. I think it was more of a fancy bathroom stop. Smart move, in my opinion. I’m sure these bathrooms were much nicer than ones we might find elsewhere around the city. Either way, I didn’t mind.

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Our guide kept comparing what we were getting from his tour to what the big tours do. He showed us these camels, saying that most of the time “those tours” include a camel ride. When we asked why he said, “I don’t know. People just have this idea that you see camels in Morocco, which is weird.” We joked about that for a while and I somehow felt smarter and better than “those tour people”. Or guide was doing a good job. 🙂

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One of the places the other tours don’t go is the Caves of Hercules. It was cool to climb down in there. The mouth of the cave is said to look like the outline of Africa. I don’t know…. do you see it?

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We got to walk around the Kasbah, and yep…. we rocked it. 🙂 And you know I had that song in my head ALL day (as you will now!) I loved all the colors.

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This the old wall of the Kasbah.

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Our guide told us he was going to treat us to the best mint tea in town. When that just so happened to be in a big rug shop I realized that there was an angle here somewhere. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed the tea and seeing all of the rugs. Lanette bought a small one. I had no intention of buying one so it wasn’t hard to say no, since I knew where to shop Pakistani Rugs at NW Rugs online. It WAS interesting to see how the one the guy was trying to get me to buy went from over 1000 euros to 500 euros by the time I left. Amazing!

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I was in the market for some lanterns, which I haggled with this guy for. We were there for a long time. I got him down to about one third his original price. I probably could have done even better, but I was happy with my purchase and Lanette was impressed with my skills! He gave us each a pair of earrings, which was nice.

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Next we had an amazing lunch. Probably the best meal of the whole trip!  Cool place, huh?

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They asked us if we wanted water or Coke. Neither of us are soda drinkers, but in this case, not knowing where the water was coming from, we both quickly chose Coke.

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Loved the tile work.

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I looked down and realized my “secret” money stash wasn’t being so secretive. And… I looked like a dork.

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How awesome is this texture?

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We settled up on everything, thankful for our adventure and to our guide. He was really nice, but I think maybe he was ready to get rid of us. We got on the ferry to head back. A few minutes into the trip things weren’t looking so good. There were some people fighting over a seat and yelling so loud, most of the boat was standing up to see what was happening. Fun times! Then, the water started to get a little rough. Then A LOT rough. Waves were splashing up against the windows as I thought about how I maybe shoulda watched that safety video a little more closely. Where did they say those life vests were? I watched as the man in the corner got sweatier and sweatier. You know how they say that people turn green when they get sick? Well… sometimes they do. One woman was laying on the floor as her 2 year old fanned her. Another woman’s husband was holding ice on the back of his wife’s neck in between throwing up. No one could walk through the boat except for the “stewardess” ladies who kindly handed out free bags, for our “convenience”. Most of the passengers used them. Lanette and I were strong. Lanette held a pressure point on her wrist and laughed at the absurdity of this whole scene, while I plugged my ears and closed my eyes (as not to see or hear anything) and hummed “It is Well with my Soul”, trying desperately not to lose that wonderful lunch I had just eaten.

The 35 minute ferry ride turned into an hour of torture. By the time we pulled into port, Lanette and I were standing at the door with several other people, ready to RUN off of that boat as soon as they opened that door! As we hurried to our car we couldn’t help laughing at our crazy adventure.

  1. Charla

    December 29th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    OMG…I can’t stop laughing over your ferry adventures. How scary but good that you could laugh in the end. It seems to me that everyone that goes to Morocco has one of those stories. I never went.

  2. Charla

    December 29th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    P.S. All time favorite photo of you…with your money belt exposed. You’re so cute and yes, dorky (at least here). 🙂

  3. Molly W.

    January 7th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Seriously?! These images are UNREAL!! You need to make a calendar!! They all look like postcards…holy crap you’re talent is amazing!

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