Ceuta, Spain

Bill and Judy Stellin
Fri 28 Sep 2007 15:35
Ceuta, Spain  North Africa coast,  Sept 28, 2007     Position    35:53.355N   005:18.823W
This port is one of more  pleasant surprises  as we make our way out of the Med.
Rather than go to Gibraltar, where it is expensive, noisy, and inconvenient for shopping,
we chose to come here.  Also we've never been here before and people told us it was
a great stop.
When we arrived, a man came over to us and asked us if this boat had ever been
in Cascais Portugal.  I said "yes as a matter of fact, 8 summers ago Cascais was
our landfall after having crossed the Atlantic."  He said, " I was next to you in the marina".
We couldn't believe someone would remember a specific boat after all those years.
We talked for a minute or so and I did remember him as well. 
What a fitting end to our sojourn here over these many years.  Meeting the person  who
welcomed us to Europe and now was bidding us fond farewell, seems like a proper
One of the many attractions Ceuta has is the fact it is free of the VAT tax that all of Europe
imposes on all transactions.  This makes everything about twenty percent less.
Diesel fuel is .76 euro cents a liter. Normally it is a little over 1 euro
Culture and natural beauty are the hallmarks of this unique enclave.  It is Spanish, but it
is multi-cultural in character. Christians, Jew, and Muslims all coexist peacefully.
For us, certain things are most important, and top of the list includes shopping for
Here, the central market for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and fish is across the street.
Down the street there is a "Lidl" store which is sort of a "Sams Club" without a membership
requirement. It has everything at deeply discounted prices over and above the low prices
resulting from no VAT.  The store is full of Moroccans who just about empty the place every
Yesterday, we spent the day in the municipal pool which is by far the biggest I've ever seen.
It is a work of art by the Canary Island artist Cesar Manrique and by far the cities biggest
tourist attraction.  It has three huge artificial salt-water lakes surrounded by exotic gardens
with winding paths through lush tropical trees, plants and flowers.  It covers an astounding
14 football fields and cost a paltry three euros for adults. ( If you have Google Earth and can
see our position here in Ceuta, zoom in on the park and the pools to see how immense it is.)
The city also has some marvelous buildings and a gigantic fort that was part of
its important military past.
This is a small part of the moat that surrounded the fort.  It still has deep water
in all of it.
Gardens, fountains and pretty buildings are everywhere.  Even a pretty lady
sitting on the knee of one of the dozens of statues scattered about the city.
On Monday, weather permitting, we will leave the Med and begin a new
chapter in the Canaries.
I will be sending reports using our new Iridium phone as the data link.
Hope it works.
There will not be so many pictures because the speed of Iridium is painfully slow
(and expensive).  Also the blogs will probably only be a paragraph long as I don't
suppose there will be much to talk about.  Mostly eating, sleeping and keeping the
boat pointed in the right direction.