We are all tired from the 3 day tour that we got home from Friday night. We went on a tour, with 25 other people (who all happened to be Canadian), to Seville (Spain), Tanger (Morocco), and Gibraltar (Britain?, hehe). It was such a highlight of my trip so far… it seems that each new thing I do becomes the new best thing. But really, the tour was unreal and such a good way to ‘scratch the surface’ of these three places.
Our first day, to Seville, Spain, we left early in the morning and drove right to Seville. The Spain border is about an hour from here, and then Seville is another hour or two. By the first rest stop, 2 hours into the trip, we’d almost finished our lunches that we’d packed… that were supposed to last the whole day. Haha. The drive into Spain was so beautiful, especially in the morning light. Once I learned how to block out the banter of our Portugese tour guide Louis (pronounced Loo-eeessgghhh), I really enjoyed the drive.
On either side of the highway are open, green fields filled with many crops and orchards: almond trees (pink and white), olive trees (delicate looking), orange trees, grape trees, cork trees etc. etc. Scattered are small farm houses and the odd herd of sheep or horses. The horses look smaller and thinner here … and I think the sheep are just cuter! I did not notice any cows along the way. They don’t eat much beef here, it doesn’t seem.
Needless to say, I became more and more excited as we drove … the land honestly became more beautiful and simple as the trip went on.
We reached Seville and spent the morning touring. We visited the Jewish quarter, which was narrow alleys and basic looking buildings. We passed up the tour of the gothic cathedral and some palace, as I’ll be doing tons of that in the near future…. And there were a lot of shoe stores beckoning us (beckoning grampa, to be exact). Haha. Below are pictures of a buildilng and courtyard that were part of expo something or other.. to be honest, i cant remember what this building is but it was pretty beautiful.
After an afternoon of shopping, and then eating the strangest hotdog ever, we met back up with the group and went to our modern looking hotel – I’m pretty sure my room was a minimalist piece in itself.
The following day we all inhaled breakfast, a lot of breakfast, because the 1st nights dinner was really weird and chinsy. We were briefed, by Louis, over and over about the plan for the day. Going into Africa for only 8 hours was bound to be a little complicated. Since he does this tour once a week for about 6 months of the year he knows a lot of the people and has a smooth routine. We were put on the ferry and off the ferry with no problems at all. The ride was quick, and exciting. We arrived in a whole new land where the sun was shining bright and the people were in action all around us… I honestly couldn’t believe we were in Africa when we stepped off the ferry. The air was very warm and sweet, or wet, it was nice.
Our bus toured us right through downtown then on to the residential area and then to some seaside area. Downtown was busy and fast. All the signs are in Arabic and French, as these are the two main languages here. When in school the kids learn these languages and then when they get to highschool they have to choose a third language to learn.
We made our way out of wonderful Africa and back onto the ferry, for a sunny ride back to Spain. It is a day I’ll always remember – that’s for sure. I definitely want to go back.
Our third day we headed to Gibraltar… which was very strange and not something I was very informed about before we went. A British owned, tiny tiny country attached to Spain – A total culture change by driving only a couple hundred metres. I did the rock tour with most of the other people on our trip. We drove all around the rock in a tiny little bus with a local tour guide. Then we drove up to 2/3 of the way up the rock and stopped at the cave. The cave was made to be used for a hospital and hide away during the war, although I don’t think it was ever used for that purpose. It was amazing and huge and had a stadium of sorts in one part of it. We also spent a lot of our time with the local monkeys, which are actually small gorillas. They came over from Africa back in the day and now there are about 200 or 300 on Gibraltar. At first I was so scared to let one jump on me but then I gradually got used to it. I fed this tiny little baby one a dry noodle,and while I was doing that a bigger one jumped on my head haha and ripped at my hair…. I think that was an accident though. The baby monkey had tiny little fingers, that could have been human fingers. As we were about to leave the last sort of look out point on our way down the rock we got to see one of the mama monkeys feeding the baby. It was so amazing and, obviously, I almost cried. While she fed it she kind of groomed its head and rubbed its neck. Very very amazing.
We did some shopping in Gibraltar, then headed back to the bus for the full ride home. I got some gravol (gel capsule!) from a lady on the bus and passed out cold for the first few hours haha then the rest of the ride was the beautiful sunset drive through the last of Spain.
Of course, I’ve rambled again, as always. It’s a little hard to tell stories of my time here without just chronologically listing what I do each day. This three day trip, though, was worth listing off in detail .. because it was very amazing and memorable. Each place was so different and worth the time.
Time to go. I miss home a little – I really miss Jonni and her rambling new language that she’s discovering, hehe.
My next post will probably be once I’m in Spain again – I go there Friday and will be there for a week until I go on to France and Italy. Ill be meeting Rachel and a Columbian girl, Karoll, in Spain. And then… Brenna will be meeting me in France or Italy. Yayyyy. I hope internet access is available so that I can still post pictures and such.