Reflections on a Journey: Day 7 Andalucia/Day 1 Morocco

by britishmisk

The day started with us missing our train to Algeciras. What followed was a mass of confusion for 2 hours.

As I mentioned before, hardly anyone in Andalucia speaks English, after talking to the ticket salesman, I assumed he told me that the next train was at 6pm and would take 6 hours via Bobadilla to get to Algeciras, by which time the last ferry to Tangier would have left. So for the next couple of hours I attempted to find a bus to Algeciras or to even try to rent a car. Eventually after looking at the departures board I realised that there was a train leaving at 12pm and would get there for 6. I had just misunderstood what he was trying to tell me. I guess Allah always tries to test our patience in different ways. He knows best.

As I mentioned we had to change trains at Bobadilla. A small town, (more like a village) in the Andalucian heartland. We arrived there at siesta time, and you get a real sense of why Sergio Leone decided to film his spaghetti westerns here. It felt like we were caught between modern times and a real western, it was hot, felt deserted, and you keep hearing that constant sizzling sound you hear in the movies.

Once we got on our next train I was a little happy we missed the fast train and got the slow one. The scenery between Bobadilla and Algeciras is absolutely stunning. You pass through mountains, streams and colourful fields. Small houses and farms, teenagers swimming in lakes, it was an idyllic countryside you could only dream of. But unfortunately it all comes to an end at Algeciras.

Every guidebook mentions the fact its a dreary industrial port town, the only reason people travel to it is to get to Morocco. We made our way to the docks to be greeted by a whole line of ticket vendor windows. It can be quite confusing as to which one to go to. Best thing is to ask one of them if they have tickets for the next ferry. The next ferry for us was from Tarifa down the road from Algeciras. If you get a ticket to depart from there, it includes free travel on a bus connecting the two towns. The vendor will tell you when the next bus will arrive, when you get to the bus stops where all the coaches are, a green bus will arrive with no sign on it whatsoever at the time the vendor told you. Check with the driver or other passengers if it’s the one to Tarifa.

Once you arrive in Tangier, my advice to you would be get out of there as soon as you can.

Apart from the fact there isn’t much to see, the city (Especially around the Casbah) is teeming with hustlers and drug dealers. It’s not very pleasant and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go there.

We spent one night in Tangier, we had someone show us around the Casbah and he ended ripping us off for his “tour”. An official city tour in Morocco is around 120 Dirhams, don’t make the mistake we did and pay a faux guide anything around this figure.

The next day we took the train to travel to ancient imperial city of Fes…