Monday, February 8, 2016

Continental Drift – Erich

My title is perhaps misleading, as it may make the reader think he or she is about to read a treatise on tectonic plates, geological time, and ocean floor spreading. But alas, the reader anxious for such a blog post is about to be disappointed. Because what I am really writing about is our transition from the continent of Africa to the continent of Europe. 

Our story begins in Tangier, Morocco (that's in Africa). It's a beautiful sunny day. It actually happens to be February 2, or Groundhog Day. But they don't really celebrate Groundhog Day in Morocco. I suspect that those who are not Bill Murray fans have likely never even heard of it. For one thing, they don't have winter in the same sense that much of the United States does, so they aren't so concerned with whether or not there will be six more weeks. For another thing, I don't think they have groundhogs. That makes it a much less satisfying Groundhog Day.

On this beautiful sunny day, we walk to the Tangier Ville Port. Here we have our passports inspected and stamped indicating our exit from Morocco. Soon we board a large ferry. If we had a car, you can drive it right onto the ferry. The lower level is a huge garage. The upper level (actually two upper levels) are comfortable passenger seating. There is a cafe with waiters here as well.

And so by boat we leave Africa. We ply our way across the Straits of Gibraltar (on the Atlantic side of it) and land in Tarifa, Spain. We now set foot in Europe! Again our passports are inspected and stamped, our backpacks x-rayed, and then we board a shuttle bus which will take us from Tarifa to Algeciras. This is all happening so fast I don't really get much time to get pictures of Tarifa. This is a shame because Tarifa is a beautiful area. But I do manage to get one shot with the name Tarifa so I can at least prove we were there.
See! We really were there.
The trip from Tarifa to Algeciras is beautiful. The land is lush green with rolling hills or even a few low mountains. And there are wind farms all around Tarifa. It is, I am told, the wind surfing capital of the world, and the Spanish are using the wind for more then just recreation.

In Algeciras, the shuttle bus drops us off at the port there. We then walk to the San Bernardo Bus Station (or Estacion de Autobuses). We purchase tickets for the bus to Seville. Again, I do not get a ton of great pictures of Algeciras, but I do obtain a couple. One, from the bus, shows Algeciras climbing the hill.
The name proves our presence
Prettier picture of Algeciras
This bus ride is equally gorgeous and equally lush and green. And remember, this is in February. This is winter at its worst, if one can say the word worst in connection with the southern Spanish winter. We pass from Cadiz to Andalusia, and the landscapes are gorgeous. We pass through tunnels to go under some of the hills we must get past. Other hills we follow through their curves. And at last, we arrive at Seville, the great capital city of Andalusia.

There will be more blogs about our adventures in Seville. But one thing we note is the flying of three flags together. Whenever we see flags flying, which is common on the hotels of Seville, there are three of them in a row. There is the green and white flag of Andalusia (one of the provinces of Spain. Though to the people of Spain, each province is like its own country.) Then there is the red and yellow flag of Spain. And finally there is the dark blue with yellow stars flag of the European Union.
Three Flags, like half of a Six Flags amusement park
And so we have, like our early hominid ancestors, left the cradle of humanity in Africa and embarked into Europe. Though I suspect they didn't use the same means as we did of getting here. Thankfully, modern transportation brings the continents much closer together. Not as close as when they were Pangaea, but give it time. Continental drift will probably bring us all together again someday.

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