Here are the thoughts of Joanna nee Lake as she spends time in Ecuador, and beyond... Disciple, Fairtrade Freak, Psychologist in the making. Now part of the Blundell Jones clan.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Honeymoon adventures in Sevilla + Fes

Bueno bueno…. Ahora para hablar de mi luna de miel!!! Fuimos a Sevilla!!!! Where i brushed up on my spanish, a week gave me just enough time to get back into the swing of speaking and regaining my confidence! We stayed in Hotel Amadeus, which was amazing!! I’ve never been anywhere soo plush, it was a real treat!! And the best thing was it was all musically themed, it’s run by a Mozart aficionado, and there were 2 soundproof music rooms – if only I’d known I would have brought a few pieces and oiled my fingers with some piano playing! Oh the breakfasts in Seville, mmmm, a must for all chocolate fans!! Delicious hot choc every morning!!!

Seville was wonderful, exhausting coz we walked and walked and walked, it’s a fab place to visit, beautiful architecture and the food!!! Wow!! We love tapas!!! Our first tapas was kind of amusing, coz we didn’t really know what to order, so just guessed --- and ended up with loads including a half-baguette sandwich!!!??!!! We totally stuffed ourselves, which was good considering what came later!

Seville is absolutely covered in oranges, so pretty, it would’ve been great if only I could drink orange juice!!

The Jardines de Murillo (gardens)

Torre del Oro

Ferry trouble, not expected!

We had an interesting time trying to get over to Morocco, we’d arranged to catch a ferry from Tarifa on the Friday afternoon at 3pm to Tangier cept when we arrived the ferry was cancelled due to high winds – which is apparently normal for the area, which is second only to Hawaii (I think?) for great surfing/windsurfing or summat and is also known for a high suicide rate due to the constant battering of the town by strong winds… anyways we ended up having a very frustrating wait to get across, going to and from the ferry port every hour or so to see if a ferry would go… eventually at 7pm they told no ferry would go that night…by which point I was a mess, exhausted, stressed – bless him was very patient and loving! Praise God we eventually found somewhere to stay for the night, which was actually really nice….

The next morning, we were VERY pleased to find the ferry was going!!!

To Morocco

So at 9.30ish we set off across the ‘straits of gibraltar’, we set off late so ended up having to wait in the port of Tangier before docking for some time which ended up giving me sea-sickness as we kept ‘spinning’ round!!! It was only meant to be a half hour crossing, but we were on the boat over an hour! I soon perked up once on solid land and we found ourselves an eccentric little taxi, aquamarine with a yellow stripe!! And wound our way through our first sights of Morocco! Whenever I was in a taxi (quite often in Morocco) I did rather feel I was placing my life in the hands of a people who drive like maniacs!! I was soo amazed there were no accidents!

After a 5 hour train journey, which involved our first proper interactions with the Moroccan people (mostly great: a uni student, a beber family with the most adorable little boy, a couple; one not – a young fella made us feel very uncomfortable touting us for business) with some English, a LITTLE Arabic and some extremely dodgy and barely remembered GCSE French (when everything in my head wanted to say it in Spanish!!!), we arrived in Fes, our destination… to say we felt overwhelmed I think would be an understatement, after 5 mins we finally managed to grab a taxi (we were being polite, then realised to get anywhere one really needed to be pushy and muscle in) and attempted to explain to the taxi driver where we wanted to go!!!

Dar Seffarine

We stayed in a lovingly restored riad, Dar Seffarine, when you see pictures of how it was when they bought it, you just really cannot believe it was ever so derelict! It’s like a palace, the mosaics, stacco (decorative plaster apparently), intricately painted wooden doors. Our hosts were Alla, an Iraqi archictect and his Norwegian wife, Kate, who are really just opening their home for you to stay in. And they looked after us when we got food poisoning later on in the week (not nice, at all, took me a couple of weeks to get back to normal – in a strange way, it was good we were both ill!). The riad is situated in the old medina, which is the old city, a crazy, intense place where some 350-400,000 live! Narrow streets, buildings towering up above in a precarious medival type way… even if it’s hot in the sun, wandering those streets you can get pretty chilly!! Morocco is an amazing place, the people are friendly, but you do have to be quite firm sometimes with pesterers…

View from the Roof - Sneaky peek of our second room


We found this fantastic little place to eat on our first night near Bab Boujloud, literally a little square room about 1 metre square, with a dislay cabinet, stove and chair, and 2 tables outside, our patron was such a shrewd businessman. We were the first to sit down, and our host hurriedly sorted out what we wanted, sending off a friend to get the mint tea from a man down the road, to the man next door for the chicken, to another friend for our pudding – the nature of Moroccan business is very much ‘lets work together’. A little bit later we were joined by 3 back packers and we had a great time sharing stories and things, then a 30-something Italian couple took a table, and our patron motioned to us not to say anything to them – we later discovered why – we saw that he actually had 2 menus, one for 30dh, the other for 70dh. Each time a guest arrived he sussed out what they’d be likely to pay! We really should’ve gone back there a few nights later instead of what we thought was a slightly more ‘upmarket’ place with a large building, which gave us food poisoning!!! But anyways our first Moroccan meal was delicious, I told the man in poorly pronunicated Arabic ‘bnin’ which obviously delighted him as he beamed and shook our hands!!

Fountain Mosiac

So apart from the upset tummies which did kinda put a spanner in the works (knocked out for 2 days), we really enjoyed Morocco… it’s an intense place, but well worth a visit… I shan’t say anymore or I’ll bore you to death!!!

Bab Boujloud - Fes Tanneries

The only thing left to say is the story of ‘the disappearing plane’ which although long I will endeavour to keep short… We were due to fly out from Fes airport at 10.15am on a Ryanair plane….at 9.30ish we heard a plane fly overhead but nothing appeared. It was a little foggy on the runway, but we thought nothing of it. The arrival of the plane came and went as did our departure time with not so much as a tanoy announcement of it’s delay. Somebody starts asking questions and we’re told that our plane has gone to Rabat, that it’s dropping it’s passengers there and is not coming back….there will be no further Ryanair flights till Thursday. WHAT??!! You CANNOT be serious, we all say. There is no official ryanair personnel to tell us what is going on so we just have to sit tight and try not panic (after being so ill, Tim and I were just so eager to get home, I would go so far as to say I was desperate and was contemplating the long train journey back to Tangier and ferry to Spain to catch a plane, any plane home!!).

Next we hear that the passengers are refusing to alight in Rabat, and we are urged to get friends and family to ring ryanair/newspapers etc with our plight. Apparently people who rang Ryanair in England with our flight details were told there was no problem!!! Hmmm!!! Anyways about 1pmish we hear that the Moroccan officials are refusing the passengers entry, the plane will have to return to Fes! Yippeee!!! The day is saved!!! What a relief, especially for one poor family whose baby had to be back for some kind of operation! But the plane doesn’t come back straight away, oh no, the stubbornness of ryanair continues, their complete refusal to admit a mistake! Hey ho… our plane FINALLY arrives at 2.15, to get whoops and cheers from the passengers to be…and we are in the air at 3.15!! we should’ve been half way back to Sheffield on a train by now! But the difficulties don’t end, not only had the airport café run out of food and water thanks to our delay, the airplane was severly low on stocks too….everyone was starving but half way down the plane the sandwiches run out!! Oh dear…. But eventually we get to England, and a very kind train ticket man lets us on the train, sympathising with our situation with the comment ‘No one should have to stay in Luton’! Phew!!

We were sooo glad to get home and to be greeted by Ceri (and Joe), who drove us home and had blessed us with stocking up our cupboards and fridge with delights!!!

Phewff….. well done for getting to the end! Hope that all made sense! As you can see it was an eventful yet enjoyable honeymoon! Hope you like the piccy’s!! xx


Post a Comment

<< Home