I Can See Africa From My House
After a fast train drops us in Seville, Spain, I walk past a barber shop. It’s on…that darn song…sticking in my head for the two days we spend here. “I’m the Barber of Seville,” plays repeatedly in my mind, making me nuts…not from the opera, but from Bugs Bunny cartoons back in childhood.
We find bargains while traveling in Spain during the off-season. Our clean, marble-floored hostal costs $70(US) down from $120(US) and the balcony overlooks cafes that line the cobblestone roads of Sevilla. Mare spills some beer from our balcony, and makes a waiter below us bellow obscenities and bad wishes our way. At least we cannot understand a word of what he says, but the message seems pretty clear.
Mare walks the city streets, all along the Watchtower of Gold, and finds a “Lonely Planet” travel guidebook for Morocco, the only one in English, for $40(US), while I catch up on some writing. We are getting spoiled…cafés and drinks, but at least we mostly dine from the grocery stores, with the exception of a few dishes like “Solomillo al Whiskey,” a marinated white pork, as well as some fried squid, clams, and seafood soup.
The people here, as well as most of Spain, continue to be friendly but distant. Most of them smoke cigarettes. All cafés, bars and restaurants fill with cigarette smoke, from the young and elderly, as if immune to the warnings of such behavior. Makes me want to start up again, but too bad smokes are so hard to quit. Many folks here roll their own. By the way, marijuana is legal here, for personal use, and not in public. I don’t even smell it anywhere.
After a three-hour bus ride, I can see Africa from my house! No, I’m not Sarah Palin (it’s a continent and is not Russia). We land in the town of Tarifa, the southernmost point of Europe, where the ferries take only one-half hour to cross to Morocco, about nine miles away. We decide to enjoy Tarifa for a few days, before heading out for a different, exotic adventure.
The people of Tarifa blend many cultures, as this land had been fought over for centuries. Foods range in influences from Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and of course, all delights from the sea.
We stay in Hostal Africa for about $50(US), located in the heart of the historic, walled city. Sipping beers on the rooftop terrace, (Mare is banned from drinking on our small balcony) we gander at a castle, church steeples, antennas on the tops of houses, and of course, a lighthouse that shines where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Our first night in town, we manage to stay awake long enough for a nine o’clock dinner. Mare eats seafood pizza, and I the squid and rice, blackened with the ink of squid, very tasty from an iron pot. That evening we encounter our first American tourists, on our rooftop terrace, a couple of nice guys from San Francisco. The strong winds and rain in this town make them feel at home. They share drinks and travel stories with us. We finds it refreshing to conduct a lengthy conversation in English.
The next day we walk all along the Watchtower, then towards the beach that earns the distinction of being the kite-surfing capital of Spain. Yes, we may stay here for a few days and look at the African Continent.
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody! We are thankful for our family, friends, good heath and the ability to embark on adventure. Thank you, Abundant Universe!