Easter 2019 – Day 4 – One day in Africa

In Out caching
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The main goal this day, was to find a cache in Africa – a new continent for us. So we took a day trip from Tarifa to Tangier.

Approximate time out caching/traveling: 11 hours
Total walking distance: ~17 km / 10.5 mi
Total caches found: 8
Total DNF: 0
Famous places visited: Tangier Medina
Most memorable cache: GC73Q09 MEDINA TÂNGER
Biggest surprise: How far we ended up walking, and how many caches we found
Weather: Sunny
Temperature range: Hot

Early start

We had planned to take the first ferry of the day, so we could get the most out of the day. Finding the ferry terminal was a lot easier than finding the hotel, so we got there well in time before boarding. We had done some research, so we knew being here early could help us a bit.

So as soon as we got onboard, we went straight to the passport control – the Moroccan passport control. After about 5-10 minutes, we already had our passports stamped, and could relax for the remainder of the crossing (we hadn’t even left the port yet).

It didn’t take more than a few minutes more, until the line extended around the ship, so this really saved us a lot of waiting! When we got to the main lounge, we hit a road block. People (won’t mention nationality) with selfie sticks all around, like this ship itself was a major tourist attraction…

Better with one mosquito than 100

We made it safely to Morocco, and the passport verification (guess that’s how the ensure everyone actually visit the passport control on the ship) there took less than a minute.

Less than a minute after that, the first “guide” came running towards us. Tangier has lots of “guides”, that will randomly start to give you directions, and follow you around, before demanding money for it after a while. So we were prepared, we just weren’t prepared it would be this intense…

We managed to get rid of the first of them, but they just kept coming (and the tourist season hasn’t even started yet). One of them told us it was “better with one mosquito than a hundred”, and that we only had to pay 20 dollars for it (yes, they use three currencies in this city). The further we got, the more intensive they got. One of them thought we were clever, since we “had a map in the device” (our Garmin Montana). But he told us it wouldn’t work, “This isn’t America”. The tracklog above clearly shows that he was wrong, it did work 😀

You are not welcome here

We made it across the street, and almost into the city itself. A few “guides” later, one of them got really angry at us. Really angry. He held a long monologue where he told us that “People like you aren’t welcome here!”, “Go back to the ship!”. This is the 30th country we’ve geocached in, and we’ve never ever had anyone stop us to tell us this before.

We didn’t feel unsafe, but this was not a very pleasant experience. If you ever want to travel to Tangier, don’t go alone, and be prepared!

To get away from the “guides”, we consistently went the opposite direction of what they told us, which (after a quick stop to exchange some Euros for the local currency) brought us above the Medina – where we could finally sit down for a rest.

Our GPSr did work

Once we got away from the constant flow of “guides”, we were finally able to relax a bit more. And we could take a look at the map to figure out where to go. The GPSr worked very well (as long as you know about the limitations, and stop in the large open spaces to regain better accuracy), and we were able to get to GC73Q09 MEDINA TÂNGER without any problems. We didn’t even get lost ;P

We also made sure to stop by the nearby earthcache, GC6X7R8 The Tangier Bay.

Leaving the Medina

After walking around in the Medina for a while, and finding the two caches there, we decided it wasn’t worth the hassle to stay there any longer. So we decided to walk to the beach, to do the earthcaches there. We hadn’t included them in our plan, but we had all the descriptions printed – just in case.

And that was the best decision we made that day! A lot less people, and the people that were here, had more than enough minding their own business. This removed all the stress, and made Tangier look like a much more inviting place.

Wow, it’s a long way back

We did earthcache after earthcache, and before we knew it, we were several kilometers away from the ferry terminal. It was a long way back, but we had plenty of time – and it was so worth it!

And with a couple stops along the way, it wasn’t that bad.

An earlier ferry back

We arrived at the ferry terminal a bit early, but not very much earlier than what the ticket instructed us to be. The ferry that was scheduled to leave before the one we had tickets for, were delayed. So the terminal staff told us that we could take that one instead – so we did. The passport control on this side, going out of Morocco, was the slowest we’ve ever seen a passport control be. But we still made it!

Just one more

After another smooth crossing, and the fastest passport control ever (on the Spanish side), we just had to find one more cache. GC3BRY4 Castillo de Guzmán el Bueno was right next to the ferry terminal, so we just had to find it.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing, getting something to eat and watching the daily Easter celebrations again (not that we had much choice).