A Travellerspoint blog

March 2019

Top 4 of Tangier

We should have skipped Tangier

sunny 27 °C

Top 4 of Tangier
1. Going back to Fuengirola
2. Guy from the coffee house
3. Guy who sold fridge magnets
4. The good luck tree

I might need to open up that Top 4 a little bit, don’t you think?

We tried to make it a top 5 but just couldn’t. All day we tried to find those good things about this trip..

We hopped on a tour bus early in the morning. We booked this tour on the beach day before. Bus drive to the harbour took longer that it was suppose to doe to accident on the road so we missed earlier ferry. In ferry terminal our tour guide gave us our tickets and my name was wrong. My last name was written same as my fellow companion. Afterwards we get little laughs about it, ”I got married in this trip”-kind of an way but at the moment I thought that it might get me into some trouble. Our tour guide reassured me that it’s not a problem. And it wasn’t, funny. My ticket and my passport was examined dozen times in that day but no-one didn’t seem to care what name was and where..

Back to the ferry terminal..It was small and badly organized. In tiny cafeteria there was couple of tables and chairs and millions and millions of people. We ordered some drinks and sandwiches and elbowed our way out in the hallway where we had room to eat and breath at the same time.

In the end we got on the ferry and arrived in Tangier where we hopped yet another bus. In the bus with us came our moroccan guide who told us about his country and neighborhoods we drived through. That was kind of interesting. Then we stopped in the parking lot. Where they bought dromedarys (camels with an just one hump) to us to ride. Or we could ride them if we pay for it. In my opinion riding a dromedary around a parking lot didn’t sound or looked like fun.

After dromedarys we drive in a market place. And walked briskly through it. Sure we could have walked slower and looked around and enjoyed our surroundings, but where we are from it’s rude to make others wait for you, so we dutifully followed our tour guide past everything interesting.

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We found ourselves at the gates of the Medina, the Old town of Tangier. Just inside the gates were this huge tree. We were told that it’s one of the oldest trees in Morocco and to touching it will give you good luck. Unlike other normal trees this tree grow it roots in the air so there where roots hanging on the branches everywhere.
Top 4, check. It was a cool tree and who could decline some good luck?

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In old town was also the restauraunt where we went to eat. Restauraunt was nice enough, there were locals eating too, but the tables were small and we were seated next to a band. Way too close to the band, I almost knocked the bandmember with my handbag while trying to get to my seat. All of us got preordered 3 course meal, soup (really good), chicken couscous (bland) and dessert of tea and bisquit. While the bisquit was quite dry the mint tea was good!

While others still ate we decided to go just outside of the restauraunt and buy our mandatory souvenir, a fridge magnet. I have spotted guy selling them next door. I didn’t want to leave without it and the way out trip was going I wasn’t sure that we would have time to buy it later.

Others finished their food too and we got to continue our trip. Outside street sellers of course spotted our group of obvious tourists and started to sell us everything and anything. Including fridge magnets. This one guy came to us and asked where we were from. His comment to my ”We are from Finland” got us many laughs during the day. ”Oh, you are from Scandinavia, people from Scandinavia doesn’t buy fridge magnets, they only want ice cream”. I don’t know if you think that is funny but we sure did. As you might guess, this was Top 3.

Then it started. The obligatory ”Buy this, buy that”-part of the tour. They, and by they I mean our tour guide, took us to his relatives carpet shop where we were given the speach. Our carpets are the best, you just can’t live without our carpet.
Another one of his relatives made and selled argan-oil products. Same sale speach there.
It’s just boring to listen to these speaches when you know that you are just wasting both of your time.
Goes without saying that we didn’t buy anything. No need for a carpet and I can get my handsoap 1/10 of the price back home.

Luckily for us the salespeaches couldn’t go on forever. Now, for surely we could get some own time to explore. And yes we did. Whole 20 minutes! What can you do with a 20 minutes?
We choose to go this nice cafeteria next to our meeting point. It was full of locals, best place to be in a foreign country, don’t you think?
Guys ordered cokes and I wanted more of that mint tea.

When I got my tea I discovered, rather painfully infact, that it was scalding hot. I could drink maybe 3 sips before we had to go..The tea was as good as it were in the restauraunt and sadly I leaved it almost untouched at the table.

There had been sell-guys yelling after us and I have ignored them all day so when I heard this ”Miss, hey miss” from behind me I ignored it too. Not until Toni, my boyfriend said my name I turned to look. And there it was The Top 2. Waiter from the cafeteria had followed us with my tea! He had poured it in to-go-cup. This was absolutely my favourite part of the day and if I would have been alone it would have gone straight to top 1. I smiled all the way back to the bus. And back to the ferry. And even little in that evening.

But I weren’t alone so the Top 1 would have to be the ride back to Fuengirola aka the end of this trip.

Learn from my mistakes. Organize your trip yourself, don’t be lazy like me and buy it from the beach. You will have much more fun, trust me!

Posted by hennaonthetrek 17:00 Archived in Morocco Tagged ship morocco tangier Comments (2)

Road trip, Part 2

Gibraltar

semi-overcast 22 °C

I were even more excited than yesterday! Today i get to go to Gibraltar!

Our group has decreased by two from yesterday. It’s just me and the guys today, girls didn’t want to come ”There is monkeys in Gibraltar” was the reason. I don’t understand, monkeys are cute. And there is no monkeys in the city itself, right?

Driving was pretty much same than yesterday, except there was not serpentine roads in this way. But the toll booths were there. Damn.

We decided that it would be easiest to leave the car in parking lot in Spain-side of the border. So can you guessed what happened?
My driving was perfect! And then I asked the guys that are they sure that I was driving in the right direction, in the traffic circle Toni lifted his hand and pointed ”Go there”, so of course i went where he was directing. And you who guessed that we didn’t make it to the Spain-parking, you were right..
I drived us straight in the line which were waiting to cross the border. So we didn’t have no-choice but drive through. It was experience itself, to get to Gibraltar you have to drive through an airport!

After the border and the airport we started to look for an parking. The parking lot we founded was full. We waited for a while to someone to leave but we had to render up and go looking somewhere else. Of course we got lost. Navigator stopped working, something to do with the mountain so phones were useless. But I am so proud of myself, I didn’t panick nor flipped out. I just started driving and said to the guys (who were flipping out becouse of the navigators, by the way) that at some point we will find the way out of the city. So we drived around quite a while before we founded the airport and border again. This time with better success we get to the Spain parking lot.

To you who doesn’t know me, I get bitchy and impatiend if I am tired or hungry. And by then I was starving! So that said maybe you can be little bit proud of me too by getting us out of Gibraltar and with smile on my face!

Third time we crossed the border byt foot and walked through the airport. We choose to hop on the bus instead of walking to the city and found us at the bus stop, in Gibraltar! To a hungry hungry girl the slice of pizza what I ate was better than anything, ever.

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When I’ve been fed we could go explore the city and find those monkeys. At the bottom of the monkey mountain were the world longest line to the rope elevators. Boys were relieved when this guy came to us and offered to take as an private tour to the mountain. They were scared of the rope elevator for some reason so it wasn’t a brainer. We paid the man and hopped on his car with couple other tourist with same idea.

First stop was by the Pillars of Hercules. You could see both the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean from there! We aslso visited St. Michaels Cave, beautifully lighted caverns which were named after the oldest monkey of the mountain, Michael.

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At the top of the mountain was monkeys feeding place, there we saw monkeys monkeying around. And the gorgeous view at the sea. Both were great!

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In the way coming down we got a chance to visit Gibraltar’s Military tunnels inside of the mountain. Interesting piece of history.

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I still wanted to see Alameda, Gibraltars Botanic gardens. After futile try to find it we had to give up and find something to eat. I couldn’t understand how I was hungry again, we just ate, couple of hours ago..
In the restauraunt we chose, I was suprised to discover that the waitress didn’t speak english. We ordered in spanish, no problem but it was peculiar, just the same.

I think this was the best day of our 2 week holiday!

Posted by hennaonthetrek 13:16 Archived in Gibraltar Tagged mountains monkeys gibraltar Comments (2)

Road trip, Part 1

Zahara de la Sierra and Ronda 4.10.2018

sunny 23 °C

That morning I was equally excited and nervous when we walked from our rented apartment in Fuengirola to car rental place.
The car rental guy was Finnish so we didn't have any language problems while renting our car and soon we had our own handsome red car for the next two days. I am an girl so don't bother asking make or the model of the car, heh. It's enough for me that the car is running so it could take me from point A to point B and back. Though I took a photo from the license plate that we wouldn't loose it in the parking lot if there is other red cars.

So, we had our handsome red car (Did I mention already that the car was red?) and we were ready to go. Toni, my boyfriend and also my map reader put Zahara de la Sierra in navigator and the road trip begin. Fuengirola - Zahara de la Sierra 127 km.

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To the excited/nervous part, I was driving! In a different country where for a small town girl there was hell-of-a-lot other drivers around. We made out of the city okay, and to a toll booths. We don't have those in Finland so it was new to me, and somehow exciting too. I know, sounds stupid to be excited about tolls.
I drove to the toll booth machine and doe to my "back seat drivers" who were making sure that i didn't hit anything I didn't. But all the other drivers got good laughs, I am sure, watching this short Finnish chick hanging half way out of the window trying to reach that machine.

Narrow serpentine roads was my and every other driver next challenge. I didn't dare to drive as fast as others, in unknown curvy roads so I was pain in the other drivers buts. Except they were behind me, heh.
Anyhow we made it to Zahara de la Sierra, beautiful small town, little drive away from the coast. And the battle between me and parking lots started. I am almost certain that the parking lots won. So sure that I could find us a park in the town i drove to a only parking carage there was. It was almost empty but the lots were all reserved. This nice old gentlemen tried to help us with our parking, problem, he didn't speak any english and my spanish is passable at best so we ended up thanking him and driving out of the carage. The streets in Zahara de la Sierra are really really really narrow so driving out of town wasn’t as easy as it seems but we founded our selfes nice parking spot at the side of the road just out side of town.

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Much earned drink was in order after that. In town there were these nice spanish taverns, we choosed one and sitted outside in the table. It were one of the best orange juices I have ever drinked!

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Our next move was to climb up to Castle Olvera. Our group got separated, one of the girls didn’t want to walk all the way up because of the heat so she and her boyfriend stayed down in the town, while me, Toni and our friend started the walk up to the castle. The weather was perfect, hot, but perfect, sun was shining, no clouds to be seen, I got my sun cream and water, no complaining here.
The view up from the Castle was amazing. You could see Embalse the Zahara with mountains on the backround, well worth the hike.

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At the drive back to Fuengirola we stopped in Ronda for a lunch in a local tavern and little sightseeing. One of our group decided to hike down the ravine, while rest of us stayed in the square drinking beer and playing cards. Holiday at its best. Afterwards I have regret a little for not going down in the ravine too but lucky for me, it looked great from the above too!

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Posted by hennaonthetrek 05:27 Archived in Spain Tagged spain ronda rentalcar zaharadelasierra Comments (4)

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