Year Abroad In Rabat Part. 4 Ceuta & Tétouan

Ceuta,  November 2017.

Tétouan, November 2017 (including pictures of the hotel Riad Dalia).

Short Travel Diary: Ceuta & Tétouan 

Whilst living in Morocco, though I didn’t travel as much as I could have had, I did spend time in other places aside from Rabat. On November 2017, I went on a trip to Tétouan (Northern Morocco) and Ceuta (a Spanish-territory city in the North of Morocco). On April 2018, I visited Tangier (Northern Morocco) and Tarifa (a city in Southern Spain).

To be honest, what mainly drove me to do those two outings was the need to renew my 3-month visa-free stay in Morocco (i.e. I either had to get a resident card, or officially exit Morocco every 3 months, to be able to stay there for the whole academic year; the former was an overly bureaucratic process I never attempted). Nevertheless, the excursions were also a bit motivated by my desire to travel across Morocco. I even wanted to visit other places, but time constraints, plus my health, didn’t allow me to do so.

My 2-3 day trips to Tétouan-Ceuta & Tangier-Tarifa were rather nice. I went on my own, taking CMT buses from and back to Rabat. Since both cities are in Northern Morocco, the journey to them took similar times. I normally departed on the early morning, arriving at my destination in the afternoon. During my first trip, as soon as arrived to Tétouan, I took a taxi to the border with Ceuta, which was a 30-40 minutes taxi drive from the city. Entering into the Spanish-territory was easy and didn’t take long, just a few formalities and passport checks.

The experience was actually a bit odd. It is hard to say exactly when I left Morocco and when I entered the Spanish-territory. The situation just reminded me of how random and imaginary borders are. There was no difference for me at first, until I saw some public urban buses that reminded me of my home city, and I began to hear Spanish words and sentences floating around. Still, at no point did I feel as if I was really back in Spain, after a year and a half without visiting my home country.

I spent the whole afternoon in Ceuta, walking around the small city, taking pictures, eating Spanish food, and buying clothes in a shopping centre from Spanish brands I missed. There wasn’t much more to do there, to be honest. It was autumn, so probably a low season when comes to tourism. Ceuta was a calm and pleasing coastal city, but rather inactive and not lively. Hence, in the evening, I crossed back into Morocco without hesitation, taking a taxi to Tétouan from the border.

When I arrived, I directly checked into my hotel, which was a lovely riad in the Medina. I actually had been really looking forward to that moment: staying in a riad whilst being in Morocco. Riads are traditional Moroccan houses, normally found in Medinas. They are characterised by mosaic-filled walls and a central atrium, with the house and its rooms built around it. I loved the hotel-riad I stayed in. I was served tea and pastries whilst I waited to check in. Then, I was showed my room, which was small and cosy, with just a wardrobe, a mirror, a double bed, and an old-style wooden door. The toilets were shared, located downstairs and upstairs, and were small too.

For a few days, that was a good place to stay. I only slept there for a night, as the next day I was going back to Rabat, and I found it very comfortable and homely. When I woke up in the morning, I packed my things and had a lovely continental breakfast in the dining room downstairs. Then, I went up to the terrace to explore it, from which I gazed at the marvellous morning view of Tétouan’s Medina and the city’s mountainous landscape. It was both breathtaking and relaxing.

Afterwards, I took some pictures of the beautiful riad and checked out. Before taking my bus back to Rabat, I wandered around Tétouan’s Medina, buying souvenirs and adventuring myself through the narrow streets till I found my way out. Once I did, I took a taxi to a park near the bus station, where I walked around and waited till it was the time to leave.

Photosets and words by Emilie F. Yaakaar. All Rights Reserved © 2018

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