Al Hosema was a great base for exploring some of the more secluded beaches of the Morroccan Mediteranian coast. We discovered a brilliant gem on our third day there, by catching a taxi to Cala Iris and walking along the coast. To be perfectly honest, what we found was a little like a sunny Kimmeridge wt just a ew ids playing on the rocks and the odd Morroccn wandering past (all men of course, i dont think the women would have made the walk in thier full length outfits). We were playing the classic game of "throw the rock at the bottle", but decided we needed more of a challenge (well the boys did), so i offered to swim the bottle out to amuch further rock. No problem... what i didnt realise util i was so close i didnt want to turn bac, was that the water was thickly infested with jellyfish. REALLY PAINFUL JELLYFISH!!! Only when I got to my tiny island destination and stood up to observe the view, did i notice that not a square meter was lacking in the stinging demons. It took quite a few minutes of encouragement from the boys for me to get back in the water, and i only got stung a little on my foot on the way back. To be honest, I was a bit worried as I had taken no care in finding out whether there were any poisonous creatures living on this side of the Med. I seem to be alive however, so I assume it wasn't too bad...
After walking back to the main beach, we got surrounded by several groups of Moroccans, all desperate to be our friends (well, the boy's friends anyway). Conversation was pretty hilarious, with the unfortunate topic of Hitler coming up (my hair really has a lot to answer for in that country) and much tea shared. The men alter between either trying to chat me up or maintaining a respectful silence. It's quite confusing to be honest, but Im glad Ive been traveling with boys as I have had a chance to get closer to Moroccan society and not been forced to shy away all the time.
One very friendly Moroccan took us for dinner before helping us find a taxi home. Much to the amusement of the boys, when asked for 5 cokes, he returned with 4 normal cocacolas and a coke zero for me. I tried not to be offended! We ate a lot more sardines that night. Ive actually got quite skilled at eating fish, although I might have been put off for life after a experience in Malaga which I will disclose shortly.
The next day, we left Dougan (our Texan friend) behind, and began our epic journey into Spain. Starting with a bus to Nador, we then caught a taxi to Mellia, crossed the "border" into Spain, drank some long awaited beers and then waited for our ferry. The trip across the Med took us about 9 hours overnight, most of which we spent up on deck, with only the final few hours trying to sleep down below. It wasnt too uncomfortable actually, but there was a man behind me snoring so badly that every time he stopped I thought he was going to die, so it was pretty hard to relax.
Arriving in Malaga has been a bit of a culture shock. Not only are women showing thier ankles and shoulders, but boobs are out everywhere on the beach. At this point, traveling with three boys seemed like less of a great plan... The beach is absolutely rammed with people too, making me miss Morocco and wonder if I had tie to go back accross on the ferry (I dont!). We had a bit of a disasterous lunch, in which Rob confused scampi and calamari and Pete and I shared an enormous plate of mostly unidentifiable battered fish. I was pretty ill later that day, but Im not sure whether it was the fish, the sun or the beer. Either way I dont think I can eat fish for a while (I'm sure beer will be fine...).
In the morning I said goodbye to the boys, it's horrible having to loose friends all over the place, and set off alone to Sevilla. I didnt have too many problems really and even managed to find my way from the train station to a hostel, a journey that the Rough Guide suggests is "too much of a trek to be attempted with any kind of luggage". My map reading skills are actually rather good, which is a relief when I remember the amount of times I have been lost in supermarkets etc due to my lack of a sence of direction.
I ignored everyone in the hostel in Sevilla, as I couldnt be bothered to make any more friends and prefered to explore the city on my own. I wandered around for hours, seeing most of the sites and getting in the way of a few horse and carriages. The Plazade Espagna is definitly worrth a visit if you get a chance. I spent at least an hour taking it all in. It's a beautiful city, but I spent the entire time missing Morocco and all the friends I made along the way. It was nice to have a little time to think actually and I was so exhausted that I went to bed at 10pm (only to be woken up every hour with people coming in anyway).
In the morning, after checking out, I went to meet Uncle Geoff at the Plaza de Toros. Without a phone, I was so scared of being late that I arrived 40 minutes early, probably a record for me. Together we decided to visit the Cathedral, which I had only looked at from the outside and then the Islamic palace and gardens of Alcazar, neather of which I properly paid for as I found it quite easy to sneak in behind Geoff when they opened the gates to let him take his wheelchair through. As he said, there have to be some advantages...
Now I'm just hanging about at his house, making use of the luxury of a washing machine, drinking beer in the pool and eating bacon, egg and chips in his local resterant. Excellent.