14 January 2013

Mellilia
Wind
Old Fortress
More Wind
Searching for Supermarkets
Even More Wind
Hideout with Wine
Still Even More Wind

A good view with Breakfast

A good view with Breakfast

O.K.  It rained fairly heavily last night, but at least it was not raining today.  Being Monday, things should be open today, and it is our only chance to check out the city.  We started our walk well.  Finding a coffee shop that did bacon and eggs.  It is amazing how you can have a craving for something, and this one has been with me for a few weeks by now.  Finally I got to fill it.  It was worth every cent!  The cafe was next to the bottom walls of the old fortress, and we decided to go have a look at it.  On arriving, we found out that most of it is now taken up by two museums.  Both of which are open on Sunday, but not Monday!  Typical.  Still, we were able to wander around parts of the walls, see a few cannons, and admire the different architecture of the four periods over which it was built.

Out of the wind

Out of the wind

With the overcast weather, everything looked grey, but the rain was holding off.  Walking around to the main entrance, we proceeded up the ancient steps and through into the fortress.  Here we were sheltered from the wind a little, but as we worked our way out to the battlements we bore the full brunt of it.  The view more than made up for the fact that we were walking at a forty five degree angle.  The city has done well with the place though.  The repair work has been done in style, and throughout the different sections they have things set up explaining what you are looking at, what period it was created, and what daily life was at the time.  In English!

MM49postpano1

Very Old, New, and just old.

Very Old, New, and just old.

The different sections have been built up over the hill, and the modern city is around and through the fort.  There is one section that is separated by 1960’s holiday apartments, and although it is a different look, it shows that the place is still constantly evolving.  Having almost been blown off the ramparts a few times, we thought we had done enough of the fortress, exploring the different sides, seeing the sheltered cove that it was protecting, and an underground parking lot where the storage areas under the hill were.

MM50postpano2

Looks good, but I don't think they use it any more

Looks good, but I don’t think they use it any more

Walking around the docks, we made our way back to the supermarket we had seen yesterday.  Hoping that it would be open today.  It was.  Going in, we were kids in a well, supermarket.  All the chocolate we couldn’t get, real cheese, alcohol and a variety of other foods and essentials.  As we started browsing the shelves, there was an announcement over the P.A system.  The shop was closing.  We had forgotten about Siesta.  The shop is only open a few hours, before it closes for a three hour lunch break.  While I enjoy the idea of Siesta, when you have just started shopping, you don’t want to have to stop.  Still, we got enough to last us until it reopened in the evening.  Back outside, we walked through a different section of the city to get back to the hostel.  Our meagre bag of food trailing along behind us like a balloon on a string.

MM51postpano3

It was overcast.  I swear!

It was overcast. I swear!

Having enough sand and other miscellaneous small bits being blown into our eyes, we returned to the hostel, where we made a really nice picnic lunch of salmon and brie, washed down with a fairly decent wine.  Luxury.

Now the clouds came back in, rain started, and we decided against hitting the nightclubs for a liquid dinner.  All in all, without the wind, Melillia would be a nice place.

AA

13 January 2013

Oujda – Food!  Movie and chilled out

13 Jan 13

To Nador
Taxi to Bni Enzar
Walk to Spain
Hostel
Walk around Spanish Enclave
No Food!

Its the 12th today.  A very uninspiring day.  Stayed in, watched a movie and chilled out.  This was due to the fact that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  We have been eating street food all over Morocco, mostly without incident.  However on coming back to a city, we decided on a meal in a restaurant, as we had been living off said street food for a while, and thought it would be a pleasant change.  This turned out to be a mistake, and we are paying for it today! ‘Nuf said

13th

View along the way

View along the way

A busy day today.  Not sure if our visa is for three months or 90 days.  Unfortunately there is a difference, and we want to make sure we stay within the law.  We caught a bus up to Nador in the morning.  Here we travelled through rolling hills and green pastures.  Olive trees again.  This was OK as we haven’t seen them for a week or two, and you start to miss them.

After arriving in Nador, we didn’t have time to stay and check out the place, anyway we are planning on doing this on our way back.  We found the Grand taxi station, and started our negotiations to go to Melillia, One of the Spanish Enclaves on the Moroccan side of the Med.  It was 50Dh to go to the border, or 16Dhgto go to Bni Enzar.  This is a port town right by the boarder, and we thought why waste the extra money?  It took a bit of negotiating, as they didn’t want to take us collective, but we got our way in the end.  The drive out was not that far.  Only about 20km or so.  Most of the place is fairly well built up now, and there is not a huge difference between the two towns.  On arriving at the taxi station, we were told by the driver to go around the next corner and walk straight.  This would take us to the border.  On going around the corner, we could see the border post about 100m away.  Not sure why there was such a big price difference, other than a last ditched effort to get some more money out of the tourists.
Walking up to the customs point, we were approached by people saying they were officials and had the paper work needed to cross over.  Saying we were not interested and would get it at customs itself, they kept pushing.  On further clarification, they again said they were officials, and not after money.  We took the immigration cards proffered, and filled them out, only to find the hand up afterwards.  We disputed this, and told them to get stuffed.  If you lie to me, don’t expect any money.  They were a bit put out by this, but didn’t cause any problems.  Probably because there are police around, and we had a fair point.  Oh how we are looking forward to Spain, in this respect.

Spain!

Spain!

Going out of the country was fairly easy.  We walked up, found a doorway that was half open, and passed our paper and passports through.  Stamped out and told to continue on.  Walking over no-man’s land was a blast.  It had been raining, and there were puddles and pot holes everywhere.  Even more surprising was the amount of buildings here.
On the Spanish side, we were given another piece of paper.  Filled out and passports.  I was duly stamped into the country, and the immigration person waved Anna through.  “EU – No Stamp!”  And that was it!  So much easier than flying.

Great parks, but also lots of garbage.

Great parks, but also lots of garbage.

We wandered over to the bus stop, and then realised we had no euro to pay for the bus ride into the city.  When the bus did come, it was not a problem, and they took Dirhams.  Our change was in Dirhams.  It must happen a lot, as even the receipt was in Dirhams! (the exclamation point is for the receipt)  It was a bit surprising, as the bus seemed to be full of Moroccans that had been shopping and were heading home to Melillia

Beautiful Spanish architecture, but the same ideas about maintenance..

Beautiful Spanish architecture, but the same ideas about maintenance..

At the main roundabout, we started looking for a hotel.  There was one, but at Euro 75 we thought we could do better and wandered around a bit more.  The city is not overflowing with hotels, but we did find a hostel at half the price.  Still a shock to the system after Morocco.  However it is Europe, even if we had hoped for Moroccan prices.  The only issue is that it May be European prices, but definitely Moroccan quality.  Still, its only for two nights.

The only place open on a Sunday!

The only place open on a Sunday!

Going back out, we found the drizzle had eased up a bit, and we went in search of food.  There were plenty of places around, but they were all closed.  The town also seemed to be a bit of a ghost town.  Only then did we realise it was Sunday.

Everything is closed.  We did find one place serving street sandwiches, and grabbed two, then went to find a supermarket.  During the walk the wind picked up, and it was bitterly cold.  There was garbage blowing everywhere, and it was not the idyllic walk around a coastal town you would expect.  We did find a supermarket though.  It was closed.

Nobody on the streets

Nobody on the streets

Walking back to the hotel, resigning ourselves about going hungry, we came across a small shop on a side street that was open, and we were able to pick up the ingredients to a rudimentary sandwich.  On the up side, we also picked up a cask of wine to wash it down.

Back in our run down hostel, we made our pathetic sandwiches, wrapped in every blanket we could find, and drank wine that had more in common with vinegar than grapes.  A good start to my first trip to Spain.

AA