4.3.15 - 4.9.15 75 °F
On Friday, I met up with Wendy in Fes around 5pm. All I had to do was ask a stranger where the nearest blonde girl was and immediately I found her! Wendy and I went to a couple of shops and then we killed some hours at Cafe Clock. This restaurant is definitely a tourist trap, but it won me over this week and last week with its delicious, and very westernized, Moroccan food. This time around I got a lamb burger with mint/cucumber salsa and it was on point! I also had a mint iced tea, perfect after a hot walk through the old medina. Afterwards, we made our way to the bus station and got on our overnight bus to Tangier. Saturday morning at 6:15am we arrived to Tangier, grabbed a taxi to Tangier Med, and barely made it on time to our 8:00 ferry. Once we boarded we were on our way to Algeciras, España!
After going through customs and getting my next stamp in my passport, Wendy and I met up with Raul. We found Raul on BlaBlaCar, a website that matches you up with carpools. We rode with him and his friend to Seville, an interesting and hilarious car ride filled with practicing my Spanish and having to translate many words on his phone since he hardly spoke English. In Seville, Wendy and I found an apartment that we booked online through AirBNB for $50/night for our room. However, the owner wasn't there so we hauled our stuff around town to go sight seeing and to get some lunch. At the restaurant we found I got a ham sandwich, I couldn't resist because I've missed pig meat so much after being in Morocco!
Seville is beautiful and full of families, people drinking and eating tapas along the river, and active people running and biking through town. Once I got there I loved the vibe of the city and couldn't wait for the weekend's adventures!
After dropping our stuff off at our room with flower bunk beds, Wendy and I made our way to the Alcazar Palace. We took a taxi - where the meter hiked up the price every 5 seconds - to the Alcazar Palace for our reservations. I am definitely not used to paying $6 for what seems like a 5 minute car ride (that's over 60 Dirhams - a trip to Fes and back!) However, when dropped off at the Alcazar Palace, Wendy and I stilled managed to get lost. But getting lost was a blessing in disguise because we stayed and watch one of the parade processions in the street! This is where we saw the Nazareno priests wearing capirotes, an outfit oddly similar to that of the KKK. Once we found the Alcazar Palace, one of the biggest places in Seville - how we didn't find it, I'm not sure - we walked in an hour late for our reservations, no questions asked! The palace was stunning, and every time it extended in another direction we were stunned by how large the place was! The gardens were beautiful and we even found some peacocks! Wendy and I relaxed and hung out around the restaurants that night, we even tried and approved of Spain's famous Sangria.
On Sunday, we got an early start so that we could get good seats at the Sevilla Cathedral. However, Sevilla did not wake up at the same time and at 8 am hardly anyone was there! Instead, we grabbed some coffee and donuts and by 8:30 the procession for Easter Sunday began. We watched the parade and made our way into the beautiful Cathedral for Easter mass. That day we went Maria Louisa Park to enjoy the warm weather and we watched some street performers and saw the Plaza de España (where a Star Wars movie was filmed). After another sangria we went up into the Torre de Oro watchtower to get a great view of Seville. We even went people watching at the bull ring because today was the opening day for the bull fighting season. I couldn't believe how well-dressed everyone was, they looked like they were going to the Kentucky Derby! Wendy and I wondered around some more on Sunday and saw the Metropol Parasol ("las setas" - the giant mushrooms). Later we met a bar tender named Alex that night who showed us around the town and then we eventually made it back to our apartment once the town died down at night.
On Monday, we caught another BlaBlaCar (somehow) and went to Granada. In Granada we found a cheap hotel with a beautiful balcony! Once settled in, we walked around town, went to the Cathedral, and made our way up many steps and hills to the Albaican Quarter where there is a lookout where we could sit an take in the view of Granada and the Alhambra. That night we went to a Flamenco show where the dancers were amazing! Afterwards we danced our way to go tapas hopping. In Granada, when you buy a drink you get a free tapas (mini appetizer). We went to a couple tapas bars and then made our way back down to our hotel.
Come Tuesday, Wendy and I woke up at 5:45, trekked up hills in the pitch black city, and grabbed a spot in the ticket line at the Alhambra. Last week we tried to get tickets online, but they were sold out! Instead, we heard they sold tickets the day of. After waiting in line for two hours, we somehow made it into the 13th century city. The Alhambra was beautiful, and all of the doorways, walls, an ceilings were carefully detailed with Arabic calligraphy and colorful tiles. We hurriedly made our way up to the top of the bell tower - which was my workout for the day since all of the hills had me winded for hours! The Alhambra was huge and filled with colorful flowers and archways. It was definitely worth waking up at 5:45am to see!
Unfortunately, we had to catch a train at 12:15 to head back to the ferry port. I guess we have to go back to school eventually! Once in Algeciras again we caught a bus to Gibralter. We only had about 45 minutes here though since we had to catch our ferry. Gibralter is a British territory. So I got another stamp in my passport and walked through England for a solid 30 minutes. It was extremely windy today. Everyone walking or riding bikes looked as if they were defining gravity because they were walking/riding at a 45 degree angle.
When Wendy and I made it back to Algeciras, we were informed that our ferry at 9pm had been cancelled. In order to save some money, we decided to crash at the ferry port for the night so that we could catch the next ferry at 6am the next morning. After many uncomfortable sleeping positions and praising God that 6am was about to arrive, we found out that this ferry departure had been cancelled as well. We kept waiting, delay and delay, until finally - 21 hours after our original ferry departure - we got onto the 6pm ferry. We should have just spent another day in Granada! The ferry ride was terrible. The waves were huge, plates and people were falling over, and one of the workers handed out plastic bags to everyone who thought they might get seasick. When I got to shore in Morocco I kissed the land in relief. Then after arriving to Tangier, our petite taxi even rear ended the car in front of us. To fulfill the magic number of 3 bad events in a row - our bus to Fes broke down for 3 hours at 3:00 in the morning, extending our travels back home. And finally on Thursday morning, Wendy and I made it back to school at 10am - Alhamdulillah! We were thankful the problems all happened during the trek home. But overall our trip to Spain was amazing and I wish I could go back again soon!