Not much to say about the last 24h in Tangier. Took a taxi to the airport at noon and for most of the 25 minute ride, the cabbie gave me a briefing on Moroccan politics. He also proudly pointed out that his Mercedes (good German car!) was almost as old as me (built 1984) and had run 1,313,900 km so far.
The airport sees about 1-2 flights per hour and is fairly relaxed. No need to get rid of that bottle of water and just leave your laptop in your bag. Organisation isn’t top-notch, I only found out that my flight was 1h delayed, when I checked its status online.
In Barcelona I stayed at a friend’s place and got up early to get to the 7:30 train to Bilbao. The train started out fast but gradually the tracks got worse and the train slower. Curvy track, slow travel, bit like the Balkans but minus the smoking and with considerably more comfort. Bilbao’s train station looks a bit like a church.
Came Thursday it was time for one of the main attractions of the trip: Sailing around Spain and Portugal. My brother had pitched a trip on the Alexander von Humboldt II for several years and finally managed to convince me.
As a trainee without any sailing experience, I’ll be shown the ropes (pun intended) and learn how to be part of a tall ship crew. So far we’ve gotten a safety briefing, set a sail, climbed up into the rig and stood watch. The latter is about as exciting as it sounds…
Captain says we’re leaving Bilbao tomorrow at 7:30. No blog updates till the 27th or so!
Having a 14:00 flight tomorrow, I didn’t wanted to take any risks with a same-day bus connection and instead went for the safer option with one night in Tangier. I wasn’t overly keen to come back, as the laid-back Chefchaouen was much more my cup of tea.
The first half of the day went by quickly with some work, lazily dozing on the rooftop terasse and nice conversation over a prolonged lunch. The 15:15 bus didn’t quite make its schedule and it was about 19:00 when I arrived in Tangier.
The bus didn’t make it all the way to the general bus station but instead stopped at the bus company’s headquarters. Not unusual, but it meant far fewer taxis available. Stepping out of the building I’m offered a ride to my accommodation. Asking for the price I’m quoted 100 Dirham. I laugh in the guy’s face and walk off to the main street. “60!”, he shouts. Five minutes later I sit in a regular taxi and pay 15.
Back in the Medina I get some hellos and friendly waves from the old potheads at the cafe. A boy in the streets looks at me, stops and says “You left! You are back!”. I have no idea whether he actually remembered me or simply does that to everybody. But I have a feeling it’s the prior. Strange place, this Medina.
This town is getting up late. 10:00 in the morning and vendors are just starting to set up shop. Where Southeast Asia’s streets have been bustling for hours, activity just starts around here.
It is somewhat descriptive of the whole city’s atmosphere. Everything is relaxed and even the touts are fairly non-persistent. Quite a few backpackers at the hostel have extended their stay more than once. The easy access to nature, cheap and good food and an abundance of high quality hashish make for a powerful combination.
For me it’s time to leave today. I’ll have another night in Tangier and tomorrow in the afternoon take the flight back to Barcelona.