We put Tarifa on the schedule so we could take a ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier, Morocco. Weather-permitting...the winds can be fierce and ferries canceled. So when we woke up Friday to a beautiful sunny day with howling winds, we thought "uh-oh."
But when we reached the ferry terminal, everything was a go, so off we went. Note that this was 9 AM.
|Our guide in the bakery/peanut roasting shop|
What they don't tell you is that you might make it to Tangiers, but your return ferry could be cancelled. Our guide Aziz was concerned from the start and let us know he was monitoring the situation. Oh, hurray. In addition, it was Friday, so many places would be closed after the midday prayer (which we also didn't know and it wasn't mentioned anywhere). But we had a good, if rushed, tour of Tangiers in both a van and on foot. A tour of the medina included a brief history of the world, Morocco, Tangiers and Islam; we went through the Sultan's Palace, visited an artisan co-op for an obligatory sales pitch with our sweet mint tea (and the carpets were gorgeous, I have to say, and "For you, 450 euro, includes shipping and we take MasterCard!") and took a quick jaunt through the grand Sacco which was amazing with the fresh fruits, veggies, meat and fish.
I did the typical tourist thing and bought a palm bowl of goat cheese and two loaves of bread for later, and it was a good thing I did, because snacks and lunch were taken off the agenda by a phone call saying our return ferry was cancelled. And this is when the real value of hiring a guide comes into play - Aziz put Plan B into effect which meant a crazy drive along the coastal mountains to the more industrial port of Tangier Med, where we could get a larger ferry into Algeciras.
But not before we went to Hercules' Caves, which has nothing to do with Hercules as far as I can tell, and stopped for a photo op with a dromedary, and then for gas for this unplanned trip to a different town.
|Goat cheese and bread lunch on the ferry|
Insert several hour wait at ferry terminal and on ferry, and a very rough ride across the strait, here. We consumed the goat cheese and bread, then Ryne and I simply passed out, rocked to sleep, while Bob slept a little and paced (he's a little more prone to seasickness than we are). AND insert a wireless connection that allowed a text from Vonn to come through to call him right away (see next post, because it deserves it's very own).
So yeah, the revised destination was Algeciras NOT Tarifa. You know, where we started. And where our hotel, and the car, was. "You can get a shuttle to Tarifa for free," says Aziz, except NO WE COULD NOT, AZIZ. The unassailable logic of the ferry company was that they were not running shuttles because the ferries were not running out of Tarifa.
|View of the Atlantic and Mediterranean |
After a few false starts, we found the bus station and a bus to Tarifa at 7:30 PM - home by about 8 or so. The original schedule got us into Tarifa at about 3:30 or 4, so I guess we weren't THAT far off, right?