Throughout history the Strait of Gibraltar has represented a variety of often disparate things to different peoples. For the Greeks, the narrow passage was seen as the western extent of Hercules’ exploits and the boundary of the known world, bearing the inscription Ne plus ultra, “Nothing further beyond.” For the Moors, it was a path to conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and the expansion of the Islamic faith. For medieval artists and writers like Dante Alighieri, the strait was depicted as a gateway to Purgatory and the Inferno. An end to life and the sunlight. Here there be monsters. Abandon all hope, ye who enter.
For Angela and me, it was a beginning.
As Angela explained in International Travel: Facing the Fear, we consciously, overtly constructed our early relationship around travel. We recognized the wanderlust in each other and knew we wanted to see the world together. So we planned and saved, taking short domestic trips and biding our time until we could afford the exotic destinations.
And while Spain and Gibraltar were both beautiful and spectacular, it still felt like we hadn’t strayed far from the accustomed path. We wanted to get lost in a country and a culture that felt deliciously, uncomfortably foreign. We wanted to see what we were like in such a place, where the only familiar faces were our own.
From La Línea, Spain, we caught the bus to Algeciras (4€ each) and enjoyed the 30-minute ride around the Bay of Gibraltar. It was only a 15-minute walk from the bus station to the Algeciras ferry port, and we arrived in plenty of time to buy our tickets at the counter.
While there are several comparable ferry companies servicing this route, we went with FRS (42€ each) because they offer a complimentary shuttle service from the arrival port in Tangier Med to the actual city of Tangier Ville. And, even though we ultimately decided not to utilize the shuttle service, I can still highly recommend FRS for this crossing. Clean, comfortable, and fast, we had our choice of seats and spent the ninety-minute trip dozing in the morning sun and watching once-distant Africa approach.
Upon disembarking, I walked in front of Angela, down and off the gangplank, turning back just in time to see her take her first step onto African soil. We traveled to Morocco for many reasons. Adventure. Love. Experiences.
I came on this trip to see her face when she took that step.