11th Oct 2011
Rota to Ceuta
We thoroughly enjoyed Rota & we were there at a good time after the main holiday season when the population swells from 25000 to 100000. Our one day bus trip to Seville was great, its a really beautiful city which lies in a hollow so that on a hot day there's no escaping the heat ....35deg on our visit.
We hired a car & with Peter(an englishman who has lived on his boat in Rota for 4yrs) as our guide we visited a "white village" called Arcos which was very old & built on the top of a rock so as to be nearest to God. The streets were extremely steep & narrow..quite a work out for Richard !
Another excursion was to Gibraltar, parking the car in La Linea & walking thro the border. There were many British shops & banks there & we stocked up with some of our favourite foods intending that we would call in with our boat later whilst entering the Med. Overall however we were glad to leave Gib as we found it dirty,crowded & full of duty free shops.
We were delighted to receive a visit from Ian on the first weekend in October. He had hoped to arrive in his light aircraft but eventually decided that Ryanair was a better solution on this occasion. That weekend, Rota was having a fiesta so we were well entertained. In fact the carnival procession went past us as we sat having a late breakfast at a pavement cafe . Next day on Sunday, we were treated to a procession by the local horse club consisting of classically dressed horsemen & their colourful & attractive senoritas .
Finally the gale force easterly winds abated sufficiently for us to leave Rota & head for Gibraltar & the Mediterranean. Approaching the straits we felt some trepidation because the pilot book advises galeforce winds around Tarifa 80% of the time. However we found F4/5 westerly (ie blowing from the west) which combined nicely with the east going tide. When we reached the turn off for Gibraltar , we noticed that the expected busy commercial traffic was in fact not very busy, so not being that keen to revisit Gibraltar we promptly turned right & headed for Ceuta. As some may know Ceuta is a Spanish enclave in Morocco & is inhabited by a curious mix of both nations. We certainly felt quite excited to be in Africa. Last Sunday we took a coach trip with guide across the border on a triangular route thro Tetouan, Tangiers, & Port Tanger. It was all most interesting especially in the Medinas (ancient markets) tho we didn't enjoy some of the persistent hassling by street traders. Richard succumbed to one salesman & found himself with a rug which didn't please Carole. We have now booked a 5 day package coach trip to Morocco which will take in Casablanca, Marrakesh, & Rabat which departs from Ceuta tomorrow morning. We shall be back in Cueta on Sunday 16th & plan to depart on Monday heading for Costa del Sol.
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