Tuesday, 25 March 2014

25th March

We met up with Hanna at breakfast who had also been woken up at 3am by loud voices and slamming doors, so we assumed that there must have been some sort of “do” on somewhere and these were the revellers coming back to the hotel.

We got out of Tangier relatively easily as the traffic was a bit lighter at 7.30am  Getting through the port was also quite easy especially as some chap offered to get us the exit forms, fill them in for us and get our tickets.  Of course, he wanted payment and asked for “twenty”.  So, Chris gave him 20 dirham, which he wasn’t impressed by as he wanted 20 Euros!  We gave him another 20 dirham and just drove off!!  We then had our passports stamped, sorted out the car documents for exiting the country and then the car was scanned by a huge X-ray machine along with 3 other vehicles.  We all passed that test and then sat in a queue of cars waiting for the ferry to arrive.  It finally arrived at 10am – when we were supposed to leave! Our car was loaded just before 11am and we finally departed about 1.75 hours late....not bad at all based on our outward bound experience!  We have bets as to how far behind schedule we’ll eventually be when we actually get off the ferry in Spain.  Hanna and Chris’s money is on 1.5 hours late and mine is 2 hours and I already know that I’m the winner and was far too optimistic.

Yep, our 12.30 pm arrival time slipped to 14.40, but luckily our itinerary had allowed for that.  We had a 3.5 hour journey ahead to Granada on motorways so straight forward or so we thought.  At first we just couldn’t believe how easy the driving was – all cars going one way on the motorway, no sheep or cows to contend with, no pedestrians, no buses stopping for passengers, no police road blocks, no donkey and carts, people driving within marked lanes, no horns beeping........

However, we were driving up a reasonably steep hill (the drive to Granada from Algerciras is up hill as it goes through a lot of mountainous terrain), when the car just didn’t seem to want to go.  Chris had his foot flat on the floor and we just kept slowing down.  We’ve no idea what the problem is (a consultation on the web lists a multitude of possibilities ranging from a cheap repair to a write off scenario), but we hope the car will limp on to Seville (a short drive from here, and then get us home. 

A tantalising glimpse of the Alhambra from our hotel...
We’re now in Granada – in the old area - and it’s an absolute delight. We’re staying in a fabulous hotel and have been upgraded to superior rooms.  We arrived just in time to get our free afternoon tea which they finish serving at 6.30pm – of course, we foolishly sampled every cake there was and then went out for tapas.  We started off in a very modern and sleek tapas bar that specialised in seafood.  We ordered 2 dishes but also got 2 dishes free which was an enormous amount of food.  From there, we decided to check out another recommendation from the hotel which turned out to be a traditional, old fashioned tapas bar.  We just wanted a glass of wine, but ended up being presented with another free tapas plate, which we picked at. We decided to have one final night cap and this time turned away the next free tapas dish.  We understand now – a round of drinks gets you a free tapas dish.  We shall be much wiser tomorrow night.

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