Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Safi to Barcelona

Time to see the sea again. I choose Safi, pronounced Asfi, a confusing detail when buying a ticket to get there. The guide book had no information, only warning that El Jadida further north is the playground of the Casablanca folks and not really tourist oriented. The map was not much help either.
More dirty train windows. I was tempted to run outside when it stopped to wipe them clean, a risky venture without knowing how long we'd be in each station. Lots of people getting on and off, likely returning home from the holiday.
Arriving safely in Safi we schlepped our bags across the road to a cafe and sat watching the other passengers slowly dwindle away, picked up by taxis, trucks and buses. Since we didn't know where we were going it seemed prudent to ask someone in the cafe. With the little info we garnered I stood on the road waiting for a taxi.
Where did they all go? Eventually a fellow with a truck (we rode in the back to start with) took us from one hotel to another till a suitable room with a long enough bed was found.
The town has no real beach, a big harbour, a naval base and a promenade along the cliff. Walking there, we speak with a couple of men who talk about, among other things, the sulphur coming from Vancouver to make matches(?). I recalled the great piles of it on the north shore, visible from the Lion's gate bridge.
We wandered through the Medina and now having some experience, successfully purchased a few items.
Due to the holiday the only restaurant open was a specialty chicken place and what a deal! Soup, bread and a delicious spice mix on the more than abundant meal. No other choices! So much for seafood.
In the morning I found a manhole cover worth photographing.

On the bus north, fields and fields of vegetables both sides of the road and adjacent to the lagoon-like inland waterway. Looks like a great kayak destination.

The young men in the seat in front of us wanted to talk (French) and later in El Jadida they take us to a great hotel.

After arranging our room we headed to the beach where we saw a camel and pony (dog and pony show?) all decked out for rides along the sand. Our friends from the bus were having tea and coffee in one of the many establishments along the promenade so we joined them getting more lowdown on the town.

The Medina there is a an old Portuguese fortification, the souk or market takes place across the road and up a main street, fruit, veggies, spices and meats off to one side then clothing, pottery and everything else lining three streets around. I found us a place to sit at a juice bar, a triple coloured treat of avocado, strawberry and mango.

For the first time in Morrocco we saw beer for sale, although no women in any of the establishments catering to such trade. I purchased a few to go and we enjoyed a quiet beer over dinner in our hotel room.

The folowing day walking north along the promenade past football (soccer) players, surfers and fellow walkers spotted an immense seemingly abandoned building. I imagined... real estate opportunities...
On our way to the train the next morning overhead a flock (!) of Storks flying inland.

We'd been told "Casablanca is not worth visiting". Since we were changing trains there anyway, we enjoyed breakfast at the cafe across from the station watching myriad "petite"taxis dropping off and picking up. Each registered and numbering in the thousands! We made a contest of spotting the lowest number while waiting for our train back to Tangier.
Our plan had been to spend the night but it seemed possible to take the ferry that evening. After walking along the promenade looking to exchange our local money (good only for novelty outside Morocco) a generous cabbie dropped us sans fare at the ferry slip. More than one company and more than one ferry made for confusion.
The trip across, in the dark and rather rough made picture taking untenable. But the bus waiting at Tarifa was a relief, and I was happy to surrender my last piece of chocolate to a fellow passenger with insulin challenges on our way to Algecera.
Another night in the hostel next to the market, this time at the back of the building! Not a sound did I hear.
The (only) afternoon train in Spain ran mainly in the rain, through some awesome terrain... back to Ronda! And then on to Barcelona, one of our original destinations...

1 comment:

  1. I think there is a great book in the making, CM: the search for the long bed! My father in-law actually worked at the Naval base in Safi for many years! Wasn't the Sangrada Familia awesome!!??

    It must blow your mind to consider all that you have taken in a few months!