This log covers early May 2005 where after leaving Seville, we take in Gibraltar and Morocco. We are officially at the gateway to the Med.
|Map for April and May 2005 travels|
It feels great to be on the move again though it will take time to get our 'sea legs' back again after being stable for so many months. It takes no time at all to remember how little our boat is out here...we always have to be on watch.
|A tanker silently going opposite our way. |
May 2, Gibraltar - Watching air traffic from the anchorage
|Plane lands in Gibraltar - view from our anchorage.|
|One of many beautiful old buildings|
|Main street in Gibraltar|
Gibraltar's main economic activities are now tourism, shipping, and financial services. Main Street, with its distinctly British flair, offers a nice place to walk and window shop - a pleasant change though we don't really need to buy anything. There is a Safeway nearby and we hope to find some hard to find items, like pancake syrup, salad dressings, canned soups, etc.
|Duty free shopping|
Gib claims to offer duty-free products, especially liquor and tobacco products. However, we don't find the prices that attractive at all, except on diesel for the boat, which was very cheap by European standards. And eating out in this tourist town is double what we are accustomed to. So, other than trying some grease-sodden fish 'n' chips one night, we opt for meals on the boat. Residents of the area usually cross the border to Spain to stock-up.
Tuesday, May 3 - Trafalgar War Cemetery
|Trafalgar Cemetry - a historically significant sea battle|
|Trafalgar head stone|
|One of the many tunnels in Gibraltar|
In 1779 through 1783, one of the attempts by Spain to regain control of Gib was called the Great Siege. During this time, the British hewed by hand more than 70km's worth of tunnels inside the 'Rock', more distance then there are roads in Gib. These tunnels were large enough for military vehicles to maneuver and served gun emplacements around the perimeter.
Saturday, May 7 - climbing the Rock
The street leading up to The Rock is also known as the Union Jack Steps or Referendum Steps and were originally painted in 1967 to celebrate Gibraltar's first sovereignty referendum of that year.
|Union Jack or Referendum steps|
|Joel meets a Barbary ape|
Most of the upper Rock is a nature reserve with great views of the Atlantic, Africa, the Straits, and the Mediterranean Sea.
In the nature reserve are the Rock's most famous inhabitants, a colony of Barbary apes. Perhaps these primates were introduced from North Africa as a means to bolster Gib's tourism and diversify its economy after Spain closed the borders? We don't know for sure, but there is enough of them and they are very comical. Up in the reserve, loads of tourists in taxis and tour buses are unloaded to stare at the macaques.
|Apes getting ready to fire ...|
|The Rock of Gibraltar...amazing .|
A lot of effort lands us at the top. We have climbed 426 meters (1398 feet) to what is commonly known as one of the two Pillars of Hercules. The other pillar being in Africa where we soon plan to visit. The views are truly iconic. Living so closely together on Tioga we truly are each others Rock of Gibraltar. :)
Sunday, May 8 - Heading for AFRICA!
|Heading to Africa|
11:26am Monday, May 9 - Day trip into Tetuan, Morocco
|Moroccan border at Ceuta|
We haven't crossed borders looking like these since central America. We've just taken a 15 minute bus ride to the border and now we are walking towards the border, not too sure what we'll find. We're hoping to find an English-speaking guide, as we have heard, to take us into the city.
12:30pm - Our first camel...
|Gerrit rides a camel|
Just inside the border there are actually numerous guides waiting to take tourists into Tetuan. Our guide, Mohammed, speaks 7 languages and has 12 children. His English is very good and we double check what the price should be before heading off. As we head down the road in our taxi, we see a man with camels on the side of the road. We can't resist stopping for photos and the camel-man offers to give us each a ride (but not out of the goodness in his heart).
1:20pm - Wandering the streets of the old city
|Wandering the streets of Tetuan|
The streets of the old city are a maze of passages, a mélange of sounds and sights. Our guide weaves through the streets telling us of Moroccan history and explaining their customs. We pass little shops that sell everything, just as they have every day for the past thousand or so years.
We want to try some street foods but before we left, our guide told us we didn't need to convert Euros to Moroccan currency. But he forgot to tell the shop keepers where we wanted to go. As we suspected, it's the shops, merchants, and restaurants that our guide will take us to that will accept as many Euros as they can possibly pry out of our pockets. Nevertheless, its enjoyable wandering around.
|Making Khobz - Moroccan bread|
|Old city walls of Tetuan|
Arabic is the country’s official language, which is the primary language of some 75 percent of the countries 30 million population. Numerous Moroccans also use French and Spanish.
... a mosque
Up until recently, Islam was established as the state religion of Morocco. Almost the entire population is Sunni Muslim. Recently, however, the monarch has separated Muslim authority from running the country. Still, only 1 percent of the population is Christian, and less than 0.2 percent is Jewish. Mosques abound, their minarets peaking above the house tops calling the faithful to prayers.
|At the rug merchant|
We asked these men playing dominoes if they minded us taking a photo. Obviously they didn't.
4:17pm - End of our short Moroccan tour
|Back at the border|
As we head back the 40 minutes from Tetuan to the border, Chris explains to Joel in the backseat that there is still one more serious negotiation to occur. The one where our guide will go for more money than was understood at the outset. This one got a little gritty, but in the end we prevail. After over three years of travelling, we've learned a thing or two. Back at the boat, it's now time to head up to the Balearic Islands. The forecast shows the winds switching to west tomorrow.
Log 36 has us skirting the south coast of Spain and heading straight to the Balearic Islands.