Yey! We made it back by the skin of our teeth, after spending the night in Tangier and then getting up at 5am to get our ferry. It was all a bit traumatic particularly the bit on the stormy ferry when all the Moroccan people started puking in plastic bags. I’m feeling very Christmassy now, although not so Christmassy that it overshadows the fact that it is Tom’s birthday. Merry Christmas..
Not wishing to worry anyone but I still appear to be in Morocco and tonight I should be in Malaga. There seem to be some very heavy winds so after a 4 hour wait in the port at Tangier we decided to check into the Hotel Continental and keep an eye on things. Luckily our flight isn’t tonight so we still have 24 hrs to get back to the airport and hope the wind dies down. Keep your fingers crossed! I don’t want to spend christmas in the Hotel Continental. No really don’t worry (mum) we’ll get back somehow.
So where did I leave you?
Aaah yes Fes. After another lovely breakfast in Riad Lune et Soleil we went to get a Petit taxi to the train station. Luckily ….oh I can never think of his name….I have been calling him Lionel and now I want to call him Vernon….aaah yes Jurgen drove by and offered us a lift to the station, via a cash point. We got to the staion and bought our tickets. The ticket man got someone out the back who spoke English to come and explain to us that we were travelling on a very special day as the train company were celebrating their 20m traveller by having a competion. All you had to do was to fill you name on a form and then put it in a tombolla. The lady wished me good luck and gave me a sweet. If we win we get first class train travel in Morocco for a year….yes! All this excitement was had with an instrumental version of Obladioblada (I don’t think that is one word but you get the meaning).
We got to Asiliah station and as I was getting off the train it started to move which I didn’t think was very good. Mustapha came to meet us with a random silent friend. Mustapha speaks basic french as do we (though a little more basic than him) so it was a little difficult to communicate but we got there in the end. We managed to communicate the most important things such as we would like fish for dinner (poisson) etc. He dropped us off in a coffee shop so he could go and buy the poisson and a man started hassling us and got us coffee and then we realised we had taken coffee from a strange man and another complete stranger had gone off with our bags and we could be in a bit of a rubbish situation. But it was ok Mustapha turned up again with our bags and some fish and the man hadn’t drugged our coffee.
He took us back to Berbari his village and the place we were staying. The owners were away and there were no other guests it was just me and Tom and Mustapha and a lady who did the cooking and never showed her face. We knew you needed a 4×4 to get to Bebari but I don’t think we were prepared for the state of the mud tracks leading up to it I thought the car was going to tip over at points.
Mustapha showed us some rooms because we had the pick of all of them as there were no other guests. We chose the Ron suite, a room at the top of the main house. The house was made of bamboo and mud and our bed was made of mud too. It was such a brilliant room – a massive bed, a lovely little bathroom and mud steps up to the bed.
The living space was also very nice. Windows all the way round leading onto a few terraces and there was a grand piano. The most random thing was the stalks nests in the village. There was one directly above our room and it was the biggest thing I have ever seen as you will understand if you have seen a stork. It started walking around the tin roof this mornign and that was very scary, clicking its beak.
So we were there along. Mustapha lit lots of candles and from about 4pm we started to smell these lovely smells coming from the kitchen. For starter we had a whole spicy aubergine with salad and then for main we had fish tagine with 2 whole red mullet (we thing it was that) each. It was delicious. Then poached pears and dates and things for pudding.
At night it was noisier than East Street with the dogs all having a big bark at about 11pm and the cockerels going all night and then the storks and the donkeys having a go too then the call for prayer at 5am.
But it’s ok because the next day was a total relax as there really wasn’t anything to do so we read and played chess and I played games on Tom’s phone and then we went to Asiliah with Mustapha as he had to get us some more food. We had to push he car to make it start. We got so hassled we went to the beach where we got hassled some more so we just walked quickly to run away from the people hassling us.
That night we had a delicious soup for starter then for main we had lamb with poached pears, dates with sesame seeds and hard boiled eggs. That also was delicious except the pears were poached in a red liquid and we couldn’t identify their origin to start with as they looked really really fleshy, I won’t tell you what we thought they were but it was a little bit scary.
So then we got the train to Tangier this morning and here we are, still in Morocco. Still being hassled. We are going to go back to the port in a minute and check out the ferry situation. I’m tempted to get a taxi to reduce the hassle.
Firstly I apologise for the crap typing. All the keys are wrong but Tom knows how to change it to an Englishkyboard so I am having to touch type with no key reference starting points and I’m finding it very hard.
So i’m in Morocco.
We got the bus from Malaga to Algesiras and then a ferry from there to Tangiers. The ferry was pretty cool with amazing coffee for sale and Tom saw Dolphins off Gibralter while I was getting my passport stamped! I couldn’t believe it as i spent the whole of our Norway hol looking for them and I didn’t see one.
We had prepared ourselves for the hassle and the hustlers but it is so in your face you can’t really prepare. You just have to look confident and pretend to know where you are going. Luckily our hotel was in walking distance of the port and well sign posted so we got there in about 10mins.
Our room was cool with a lovel balcony overlooking the port. We woke up the next mornign with the call to prayer at 5am and it makes you realise what a different culture you are in compared to the one just over the water.
Breakfast was at 8am on the terrace in the warm sunshine. 4 cakes and a coffee. Then on the way back to our room a trip to the antique shop witht he man who talked about the Severn Bridge and how he had been on holiday to Reading. Then he asked if I knew Jonathon Ross because he was a friend of his. I said I knew the famous Jonathon ross and he said yes he is on BBC radio Bristol. Tom said yes he was 10 years ago.
Then the train to Fes where we found out it is considered rude and selfish to eat on public transport unless you offer some of your food to your fellow passengers. I’m afraid I only made enough sandwiches for me and Tom so we waited till the others went ot the loo and scoffed them. No one else had any food except one man who secretly took out a cake and then went into the corridor to eat it.
Jurgen picked us up from the station and took us back to the Riad Soleil where we had coffee and he had German tea which is beer. Then he told us lots of things we could do and drew us maps. Then I had a jaccuzi and we went own for dinner. We had our own personal dining room looking out onto the garden with the orange and lemon trees and we had the most amazing meal ever! Whole calamari stuffed with green and white beans plus stuffed round courgettes with a spicy sardine mixture. Then for main big chunks of fresh tuna with amazing tasting vegetable tagine. Followed by little cake things and mint tea. We couldn’t move after we were So full.
After goign to bed at 9.10 and sleeping for 11hrs we got up still full and had to eat an equally nice breakfast. Bread, dates, prunes, pancakesm scrambled eggs, honey, cheese, yoghurt and coffee. We were very full again.
Enough time to have another lie down until our tour guide Kamal came to pick us up. He took us on a tour of the Medina which is so confusing he even had to tell the postman what road he was on. We saw big dying pits which have something to do with pigeon poo and brains and smell so bad I thought I was going to be sick in the leather shop when the man was trying to sell us some pouffs. People tried to sell us embroidery, brass things, scarfs and kids kept following us and pulling our arms. We nearly got run over by donkey loads of times and we particularly liked the donkey that collected rubbish. We went into a nursery school and the kids showed us how they could count to 10. We didn’t quite know what to think of that. It was just all pretty overwhelming.
Then we left our tour gudie and took a petit taxi to the market in the new town which was really good. We bought lots of nice things and tasted olives and figs and really hot spice mix whcih was a bit of a mistake.
Then I think I had a bit of a sleep before going to see Abdul in his ancient palace at 4pm. He was crazy. Jurgen had arranged for us to meet Abdul and he showed us round. It was the most amazing palace I have eve seen with only him living there with his camera collection and his paintings. There are loads of pigeons and lotsof pigeon poo and it is basically nearly falling down. The roof terrace had an amazing view although the roof was a bit concave and I was worried it might fall in. His best art was ‘Fes at night’ which was random lines on glass with fairy lights flashing behind – all with a background of the best hand crafter mosaics.
So then we just had another nice meal. Coffee is really good here and little cakes are really good. I thought I wouldn’t feel christmassy but Fes medina looks like bethlehem and people with little donkeys carry heavy loads down dusty roads. I am going back to christmas basics none of this commercial rubbish.
The most wrong thing to happen for a long time. I got my copy of the Christmas Radio Times and turned to Boxing day, channel 4 to see what the Royal Institution Christmas lecture is on this year. It wasn’t there. I just looked at the website and it turns out they have signed a 3 year TV deal with FIVE. I won’t be watching it because I can’t get FIVE and my post christmas festivities will be slightly not so good.
I have been frantically crafting over the last couple of weeks because today I took the craft to another level and actually had a stall at a christmas craft market. It was funny. I shared with my friend Jo who was selling jewellery.
I was selling bags, cards, gingerbread christmas decorations (delicious) and Christmas stocking which one young man described “wow the anti stocking”. I don’t know if that was good, he didn’t buy one.
It was a bit slow but I did sell a couple of bags, a couple of stockings, a few cards and lots of gingerbread.
There is loads of craft left though and bags are being sold to friends at a special price of Â£6 (usually Â£8). I have lots of Vegetable and fruits, library books and shopping ones but I think all the ‘lunch’ ones have gone. If you have never seen my bags before you won’t know what I am on about. I will post some pics but let me know if you would like one before christmas and I can send this week before I go to Morocco on saturday.
They are being snapped up fast so better be quick. Oh and there are some very cool stockings. I will post some photos. They are the anti stocking apparently.