Trying to get a vacation as well as a free trip back to work this year, I worked out a dope deal where I pieced together a flight to Spain, and then a flight from Morocco to Sudan, paid for by work, while I would travel in between on my own for a few weeks. Unfortunately I had to also work on a summer school graduate class, which resulted in me having to work on assignments each day and having to constantly look for wifi and electrical outlets, but I was able to have a fabulous vacation, finish my class, and get back to work in time for the school year to begin. Success!
I started my trip in Cordoba, because I only had ten days and I wanted to see Andalucia more than I wanted to see the big cities like Madrid or Barcelona. After living in Sudan for a year, I’m interested in the African influences in Southern Spain. I love the way the winding alleys of the streets offer very little hint as to what is behind a doorway- you open it and suddenly there is a beautiful courtyard, a fountain, blooming flowers, a cool breeze. I went on a walking tour of Cordoba and later enjoyed a night out with a bunch of people from my hostel, including a flamenco show at the Tablao Flamenco Arte y Sabor. I spent half a day at the Mezquita, the mosque-turned-cathedral with the famous red and white arches inside, including the underground flooring dating all the way back to the 780’s. The courtyard is lined with orange trees and smells so good. Nearby is Ferdinand and Isabella’s home, the Alcazar, and the Roman Bridge. I could have stayed in Cordoba for days. And eaten ham and olives for days!
But I also wanted to see Morocco! So I hopped on a train and headed south to Tarifa to take the ferry to Africa. As we left Spain behind, I could see Gibraltar in the distance.
Arriving in Tangier, I stayed in the Medina area of Tangier, not far from the ferry. The hotel turned out to be really old, but so ornate! I could get lost in the hallways and terraces just looking at the intricate mosaics and fountains. I visited the Kasbah (can’t get that song out of my head) and the Grand Mosque. I took a train down to Rabat, and spent hours in their medina and their kasbah, and visited the mausoleum of Mohamed VI. I also ate a chicken heart sandwich, quite by accident. I bought some leather goods at the medina, including some very cool goatskin and henna lamps.
One last train ride, to Casablanca- didn’t want to miss my chance to see Rick’s Cafe and the Hassan II mosque, as well as the sunbathers on the corniche or the blindingly white L’Eglise du Sacre-Coeur. I was only there for a day, and happily a nice hotel let me store my luggage there for the day, so I was able to walk around the city unencumbered. By evening I was at the airport, on an Air Egypt flight back to work in Khartoum.