Welcome to Melilla, Spanish Morocco

Even more than Andalucía, the enclaves of Spanish Morocco represent a fascinating hybrid blend of Berber, Jewish (Sephardic), Christian, and Hindu cultures. Somewhat off the beaten track for tourists from outside the region many people are unaware that Spanish Morocco even exists, and if they do know about it , Ceuta is probably the place that comes to mind.  Still Melilla, a former penal colony, is a friendly and inviting place despite its somewhat dark history.  (Courtesy of HAL)

Grey skies and cool temperatures greeted us as we sailed into the protected harbor area.  Thankfully the wind was a following one so the on deck temperatures were bearable, and the views and weather were definitely not what we expected for North Africa.

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The next two pictures show the swell of the tide as we entered the harbor:

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The port and city had provided us with a free shuttle from our berth to a location near the Plaza de Espana, where we boarded a “Trolley” for a 45 minute tour of the old and new parts of the city. At four Euros a piece it was a bargain. and completely changed our plans for exploring on foot.  Barbara immediately went in to “shopping mode” as we decided to stroll the streets looking for something small to purchase and giving her an opportunity to hone her bargaining skills.  We had been advised that public toilets were scarce so if we needed a pit stop we could stop at a cafe , buy a drink and use their facilities.  However, in our wanderings we found the Parque Hernandez and some excellent. clean toilets.

We took a page from our children’s photo taking technique and managed to capture this photo in the park,aren’t we cool?:

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Notice the beautiful tile work in the background.

After a stop for a beer and hot tea, and an apertif on the house, and after more shopping we returned to our floating hotel.  We found Melilla as advertised; friendly and inviting.

Next: Recuerdo Cartagena

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