III: GRANADA – TANGER

Las termas estaban buenísimas, un hoyo en la tierra con un tubo que tiraba agua muy caliente con olor a huevo podrido por el azufre. Ahí nos quedamos 2 noches cantando ITALIANOOOO!!! con María de la Tierra. Volvimos al parking muy limpios (terma vale como ducha!!) Nos fuimos de tapas y nos despedimos de Noemí que volvía a Suiza a trabajar.

Partimos hacia Castellar de la frontera, un pueblo okupado por antiguos hippies y nos fuimos a acampar a las afueras en medio del bosque. A la mañana tomamos café en el bar de María.

De turismo en Castellar de las Fronteras

Seguimos camino hacia Algeciras, paramos en un lugar de mega tiendas y compramos las últimas cosas que necesitábamos como carpas, colchones inflables, llantas recicladas, etc. Dormimos cerca de una urbanización y empezó l’agua l’agua (lluvia) !!

A medio día llegamos al Puerto de Algeciras para tomar el barco hacia Ceuta. El tiempo estaba malo por lo que costó encontrar Ferry que cruce el estrecho, finalmente a las 7 de la tarde salimos hacia Áfrikaaaa!!! Fueron 45 minutos de mareo continuo, pero llegamos vivos!!!

Estrecho de Gilbrataaarrrghhh

En Ceuta fuimos a casa de Roger y bajamos a una playa cerca para acampar; dormimos bien hasta que la policía nos despertó y nos dio 1 hora para abandonar el lugar.

Llovía e intentamos tocar en la calle peatonal, un poli amistoso nos dio permiso, pero después vinieron otros no tan buena onda y no nos dejaron tocar porque el alcalde venía a inaugurar las luces decorativas de las fiestas. Por la noche fuimos a tocar al cumpleaños número 18 de un chico ceutí, la fiesta muy divertida, tocamos, tomamos, bailamos y nos fuimos.

Nos sigio l'agua l'agua l'agua a Ceuta
Nos sigio l'agua l'agua l'agua hasta Ceuta

Unos kms de viaje y llegamos a la frontera con Marruecos!!…donde estuvimos 3 horas con los trámites de aduana, como siempre faltaba un papel de la furgo, al final no pasó nada y entramos en territorio marroquí! Seguía lloviendo y decidimos ir a Tánger. La carretera se caía a pedazos, nos acordamos de todos los dioses de todas las religiones y gracias a ellos llegamos sin novedad al Parking Akram donde algunos de nosotros ya habíamos estado 4 años atrás. Algunos se quedaron durmiendo en los autos mientras Marco con Damien y Yazmín se fueron a Casa Barata a vender cosas en el mercado, donde conocieron a un señor que nos invitó a su casa a comer couscous y dormir a cambio de música. Al final no llegó a la hora acordada ni después así que las parejas durmieron en hostales y los solteros en los autos.

Tomamos la famosa sopa marroquí Harira!! Al día siguiente se volvió a vender en el Mercado y por la noche seguimos viaje a Tetuán.

***


Spontan entschlossen wir zu den nahegelegen heissen Quellen zu fahren wo wir ein paar Tage verbrachten, heisse Bäder, kalte Nächte und der erste Abschied: Noemie fuhr zurück in die Schweiz.

la loquilla suiza
la loquilla suiza

Von Granada wollten wir eigentlich relativ direkt nach Ceuta, blieben aber einige Tage in einem alten Hippiedorf ,Castellar de la Frontera“,mitten in den Bergen hängen, wunderschön,ziemlich verlassen,und wurden bei unserer Abreise vom Regen eingeholt der uns so schnell nicht wieder verlassen sollte…

Camping Castellar
Camping Castellar

Nach einem Tag Extreme-shopping“ (wobei viele von uns , sich mit Luftmatrazen und Klappzelten ausstatteten um das Zigeunerleben ein wenig luxuriöser zu gestalten) und Sturm nahmen wir nun die Fähre in Richtung afrikanischen Kontinen in Angriff, der zwar ein bisschen verzögert aber dann doch wahr wurde..und zwar auf eine sehr wellige Art und weise die uns mit grünlich-weissen Gesichtern aus dem Schiff steigen liess.

Mit der grossen Hoffnung ein vor einiger Zeit in Ceuta abgestelltes Auto abzuholen und damit ein wenig Platz in den Fahrzeugen zu schaffen suchten wir einen Platz zum Zelten, direkt am Meer, von dem man zurück auf Europa blicken konnte..einen entscheidenden Schritt hatten wir hinter uns…ein anderer entscheidender fehlte noch: der Grenzübergang nach Marokko und damit das wirkliche Verlassen der oxidentalen Welt.

Das erwünschte Auto reiste leider nicht mit uns weiter,an der Grenze mussten wir wegen Papierkram warten und bangen wurden dann aber schliesslich reingelassen..

Endlich AFRIKA!

Eine schreckliche Nachtfahrt durch Sturm und Regen, mit hinuntergestürzten Felsbocken auf der Strasse und ein wenig klappernden Zähnen brachte uns nach Tanger, wo wir zwei Tage zwischen Parkplatz und Marktplatz verbrachten und die ersten famosen Flohmärkte

stattfanden von denen uns Marco soviel erzählt hatte(die Brüder kannten es schon von der vorherigen Afrikareise).

marco pedro pistola
marco pedro pistola

Durch den Verkauf von „Krempel“ und Brillen finanziert fuhren wir weiter nach Tetuan.

***

Oops, we grossly underestimated the internet situation here in Morroco. Yes, we made it to Africa but we’ve taken an unintentional internet hiatus due to the limited (or nonexistent, mostly) connectivity. Now to catch you all up. Back to Granada ….

We didn’t do much tourism in Granada. Mostly we stuck to the main streets and plazas—the boys playing music and the girls selling CDs (I think only Noemi, Xelo, and Aymara actually saw the Alhambra)—but Gabriel, a very nice Uruguayan and fellow hippie bum from our Bedouin campsite invited us to some nearby natural hot springs up in the neighboring hills. Leaving the Subaru behind, we loaded up his and our van with humans and dogs and headed through terribly bumpy and unmarked dirt roads.

ITALIANOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
ITALIANOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

After setting up camp in the midst of dust clouds and olive trees, we followed the sulfuric scent through the night until we all ended up sans clothing and soaking in a deliciously scalding natural pool. Coincidentally, there happened to be a rave about half an hour’s walk from our campsite, and Carlos, Andres, el Perro (the other Andres), Xelo, Noemi, Aurelio and I went on an expedition to investigate. Fine, we wanted to get crazy one more time before crossing over to substance-abuseless l’Afrique. We ended up in what felt like a movie, for the characters that one tends to cross in a rave are truly unique works of art. Physical appearances apart, the mere fact that they actually enjoy and move strangely to the monotonous factory and machinery noise with no apparent rhythm was…educational. I think this was my first experience with not understanding an evolved genre of “music” and I actually felt old. At least we lasted until long after the sun had come out and somehow made the trek back to the campsite amidst a sudden infestation of hunters, clad in camoflauge and flanked by their packs of dogs, shooting at lord knows what (Pheasant? Grouse?? None of us saw a damn bird nor any other animal for that matter in any of the surrounding fields) but that’s another story. And there is video footage of the hunters in a rave ground if anybody is curious enough to want to see it….

Upon our return to Granada we found the Subaru safe and sound, camped one more night, and after we utilized our daily neighborhood bar to have our AM coffee, use the toilet, brush our teeth, and wash our faces (blessed Oscar, the owner of the bar. I ask you how many people out there would happily receive 12 dirty hippies who’d leave their bar and bathroom in shambles every day and still treat us to free coffees and pastries), we dropped Noemi off at the train station (she had to get back to Switzerland) and headed out that same afternoon.

Cafeteria Rodales, donde Oscar
Cafeteria Rodelas, donde Oscar

Because he had old friends there from a previous trip ten years prior, Marco had the grand idea of returning to Castellar de las Fronteras, an itty bitty little fairytale town characterized by a medieval fortress at the very tip top of a mountain. In theory it was a great idea—I would have never visited such a refreshing chunk of earth that doesn’t even appear on any roadmap. I deeply enjoyed a bit of solitude while exploring the virgin and tranquil surroundings. Rolling hills covered by forests of cork trees and curious rock formations, clean, refreshing air, gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys, lakes, and to the south, the strait of Gibraltar and the continent of Africa on the other side.

Castellar de la Frontera
Castellar de la Frontera

I say in theory because the town and its inhabitants did not live up to Marco’s memory; we were friendly to the townsfolk but they gave us the cold shoulder and lame excuses. When we asked if we could play a small concert in the only cafeteria/bar that we saw, the owner told us no, because she was sure nobody would come. I had never before seen such a sorry group of people, who they themselves admit that they used to be much cooler, much more fun, open minded and easy going, but now are unfortunately not—yet having acknowledged this, don’t seem to want to do anything about being so lame….

We reached Algeciras a few days later just in time to get caught in a catastrophic thunderstorm. We battled against the wind in an effort to erect some sort of shelter within a gathering of trees in a neighborhood outside of town. It was one of those enjoyable stressful moments in life that require quick thinking, communication, and coordination. That night probably wouldn’t have amused me so much had I known that it was the beginning of more precipitation woes to come. Now that I think about it, it has rained at least five days per week ever since then. The next day at the port of Algeciras we had to wait for the ferries to resume their trajectories, which they had cancelled in the meantime due to the bad weather.

waiting for a ferry after the storm
waiting for a ferry after the storm

Even still, the 45 minute crossing of the strait was about as bad as a mediocre day along the Drake Passage—the giant ship swelled back and forth, sending many green-faced passengers to the bathroom.

THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA!!! Yet we were still in Spain….for we found ourselves in Ceuta, which is a curious mix of arabian faces, dress, and customs yet speak and live like spaniards. We camped by the sea, showing off our last-minute european purchases that we had opted for in Algeciras before crossing over to Africa, such as two-second tents and air matresses. So what? Hippies get old and value practicality and comfort at some point of their lives, too!

Camp Quechua
Camp Quechua

The people of Ceuta were extremely friendly, and the guys played in the street for an eager crowd (and two very kind policemen) and were also hired on the spot by a wealthy individual to play at his son’s 18th birthday party that night. After the show we decided to hightail it to Tanger, Morroco, because the border crossing usually is less hairy during the early AM hours and Marco was already paranoid enough about entering with two recently acquired vehicles with european license plates packed with an excessive amount of junk, people, and a dog. That’s about when the hurricane-like winds and torrential downpour began again. I inched the Subaru along (what a warrior) through curtains of rain and pounding wind along the unlit and curvy road, swerving around automobile-sized boulders that had fallen onto the highway and other landslide-produced debris as well as cars driving on the wrong side of the road zooming towards me, which apparently is not uncommon in morocco, and other such obstacles that you don’t tell your mom about when you call home to tell your family how your trip has been so far. Six hours or so later, we miraculously reached a public parking lot in Tanger. I was so delirious and exhausted and extremely relieved (though not quite sure how I hadn’t killed anybody) that I passed out in the driver’s seat within minutes. Everybody was overcome with exhaustion after having been alert for so many hours, and we managed to sleep for a few hours.

Parking/Carping in Tanger
Parking/Carping in Tanger

The following day some of us set off to the souq (market) to make some money selling some of the stuff we had lugged from Swizterland, and that evening some of us (ok really it was the girls) agreed that since we had been in Spain not even 24 hours before, it should be our last day of thinking in euros and we shelled out the 40 dirham (4 euros) for a hostal room with TV. Hell anyways it was the first bed we slept in in a while and may be our last real roof in a while, we justified. The following morning after a hot shower and breakfast, we met everybody at 2 pm in the parking lot, repacked the cars, and set out en route to Tetouan.

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