We left Alcaidesa Marina, La Linea (Spain) in the morning and had a 5 hour trip to Marina Smir just around from the Spanish enclave of Cuerta opposite Gibraltar. The marina is good and safe and we are stern to right on the main drag of the marina with cafes and restaurants (THAT DON’T SELL ALCOHOL) just off the back of the boat. Not very quiet and peaceful but interesting watching the people – and a camel. We have put up our black sun shades so have privacy along with our tinted back windows otherwise it would be a bit intrusive. People stop all the time getting their photos taken. In fact until we worked out a pulley system to pull up the passarella they even got on the boat for a selfies! We are now barricaded in with our drawbridge up. Even so everyone is friendly and the security guards have their post just near us to scare away the little boys.
One of our ARC Europe friends gave us a good contact for tours and we have been out with Rashid for two trips one to Tetouan and another to Chefchaouen (The Blue City). Both really interesting and we got to see some non touristy areas. Tetouan was the ancient capital and where the Jews and Muslims were exiled to when the Christians took Spain in the 14th century. We went in the Medina (old town) on a Berber and Bedouin market day. The ladies come down form the mountains by foot and by donkey to sell in the markets as they have done for hundreds and hundreds of years. The Catholic Churches, Mosques and Synagogues exist happily together on adjacent corners and there are adjoining cemeteries.
We thought it was all very colourful until we went to Chefchaouen. The whole place is varying shades of blue. According to Rashid they used to be white till one day (I’m not sure when) they all decided to colour it blue – what an amazing thing to be able to just do. Try that in Australia! Each trip Rashid has found a really nice place for lunch and they do have wine in some. We have seen a few restaurant inspections – the police, a chef, a doctor and army officials go in and if they are not happy the place gets closed down! Quite reassuring really….. also if any Moroccan Muslims are found drunk the place that sold them the alcohol gets closed and the owner goes to gaol. You can buy alcohol is some places but they can only sell to tourists.
For the last 5 days we have had 3 guys on board cleaning and polishing everything. It hasn’t been done thoroughly since Trinidad and the smooth areas were oxidising with all the salt water, dust and sun in all the various places we have been since then. Pete and I clean with a wash and wax regularly but after a while it’s just not enough.
Off to Tangiers with Rashid next.