Sunday, 4 March 2007

SPAIN - Ceuta, a Spanish corner of Morocco

Late Jan 2005, possibly 29th or 30th

This overnight trip was part of a longer stay in main-land Spain. As the place is such an unusual one, I felt that it deserved it's own record. It was partly as a follow up to our trip to Tangier the year before and partly for completeness in our ambition to see all of Spain.

Ceuta is an enclave. A spit of land forming part of Morocco, a bit like Gibraltar is to Spain. I found the correlation between the two quite amusing. The Spanish government want Gibraltar back despite the residents who resist it. The Gibraltans are hassled at the border. It is no different with the Spanish refusing to hand back Ceuta to the Moroccans. It is funny that the Spanish government over look this. Ceuta is seen as the gate way to Africa. The Africans see it as a holding area, for those caught trying to cross the Straits of Gibraltar hoping for a better life.

The ferry crossing from Algeciras to Ceuta is a swift one (Euroferrys), similar to the crossing to Tangier. The high speed catamaran service delivers you to the port in 35 minutes. A short walk later, we checked in at the Tryp Ceuta hotel near the centre. The attractions are few and far between. Even the Parador hotel is a prefabricated concrete monster. We strolled the town, port and historic city walls which were the most attractive thing we found, with a deep sea moat, built to defend the town from invaders.

Unfortunately, as it was very much out of season, we could not even find a restaurant and ate at the hotel. The food was good and despite the apparently run down area, it was still an interesting place, especially as it snowed while we were walking the town. It was possibly the most remarkable thing about the trip. I would return in the summer but only for a day trip. It did not justify an over-night stop.

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