Greetings from Africa!
After a damp few days it was lovely to wake up to still, sunny conditions on Sunday. The girls were up early enough to see the sunrise from the rooftop patio of our pensione, we were surprised to see how close to the water we were.
We left Olhao and Portugal by bus, heading to Jerez, Spain with an afternoon in Seville on the way.
Normally I consider horse and carriage rides to be expensive tourist traps but in the context of a brief visit this was a great way to see some of the sights of Seville and great fun too. After that we visited the Alcazar, home of the Spanish royal family, a most impressive palace with lots of Moorish architecture and geometric tile patterns, and extensive, highly manicured gardens.
Coffee, cake and people watching rounded out our afternoon then it was back on the bus to Jerez.
We arrived at about 8pm and then went out for a lovely dinner at a restaurant, followed by a late night city orientation walking tour.
This was capped off with a spontaneous game of bitter orange soccer which was hilarious fun until Giselle stood on the orange. It looks sad, doesn’t it!
Jerez is the home of sherry so a tour of the Gonzales Byass Sherry Bodegas was a must after a lazy morning exploring the market and shops. Our tour guide was Maribel, a sassy Spanish lady, who left us in no doubt that sherry is not liqueur, is WINE!
We then set off by bus, bus, ferry and private bus to Chefchaouen, Morocco. We covered some changing terrain most notable for the huge number of wind turbines and the view of Gibraltar as we arrived at Algeciras to change to the bus to the ferry terminal in Tarifa. Africa is amazingly close to Europe at this point, clearly visible across the water.
The ferry took us to Tangier where we were met by our driver for the winding journey through the Rif Mountains to Chefchaouen. It was a pity it was getting dark by the time we arrived in Tangier, I imagine the drive would be spectacular in daylight.
Arriving at our hotel was like arriving in fairyland, behind the blue doors was a candlelit path through the garden into a warm and inviting lounge and dining area. A veritable feast had been prepared for us, we were all very excited at the array of salads and vegetables which were most welcome after our recent diet (tasty as it is even the best Jamon, cheese, bread and potatoes gets tedious after a while). While I’m on food in Spain did you know they have several varieties of Special K including two with chocolate?
This morning we were taken on a walking tour, first up the mountain to a mosque which we’d seen the night before, appearing to be floating above us in the dark night sky; then into the town through narrow laneways, up and down steps to a cooperative where local textiles are sold and finally to a lovely restaurant for lunch – more good food! A dominant colour here is light blue, a remnant of the Jews who came here after they were kicked out by the Spanish in the 15th century. Many buildings, paths and steps are painted in varying shades. Another feature is the enormous number of mangy, scruffy cats, not so nice! This is our hotel: