Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Note, Not a Sailing Note, to Sailors Who Might Consider Melilla

15 04 2012
Melilla, Oriental, Spain AFRICA

Budget Committee Strolls through the Souq (African Market)
in Melilla

Spice Market in the Souq
From our frustration being unable to get out of Almerimar you might suspect we did not enjoy our time there.  You would be incorrect.  Not totally incorrect either.  It is complicated.  We had just been there too long.  Living for six months in a sedentary sailing community taught us a whole new set of survival skills which are very akin to those same skills needed to survive life in a small town.  Like the town we used to live in.

Some of what we learned we intend to share with fellow travellers, but in a future post.  A little time and a fuzzy memory will savour not sour the telling.

Just Off the Boat: The BC, Hanno and Paula
blaze their first trail in Melilla
As is so often the case the voices in our midst which spoke of the horrors of Melilla (one person actually used the word horrors) and urging we reconsider our trip were incorrect.

One view from the Plaza de Espana, Melilla
 Melilla is one of the nicest ports into which we have sailed so far in Europe, exceeded only by Seville (mind you vastly exceeded by Seville).  It is far less expensive than Almerimar; it is clean, the showers are bright and warm and hot and there are no disintegrating hulks of empty buildings lurking on your every horizon and closing you in.

Protective Sea Wall Circling the Old Town
Constructed by Hand in 1540 something
Big thank yous go out to the sole crewmember of the German flagged, Olli, for his dead on accurate navigation advice for entering the harbour ("no problem at all.  Even in the night it is lighted like day.  You will enjoy your time there") and to Graham and Suzy on Silenta ("Melilla?  Good choice.  That would be my first destination out of here too.) and finally to Paula and Hanno on Calypso who when they learned of our destination said only "Us too.  When do we leave?"

One of Eight or Ten Tree Lined Boulevards in Downtown Melilla
And We Have Only Begun to Explore
The BC At Our Slip,
Rif Mountains in the Background
In a twenty minute walk of the marina we have found two Supersol groceries, one huge, a Maxi Dia, a Spar a humungous new Lidls (all grocery stores), half a dozen butchers and a handful of green grocers.  Prices for food are maybe 2 percent higher than mainland Spain on average but really most items are the same or less (Cruz Campo Beer is €9.50 for a case of 24).  The Souq or african market sources everything fresh you could ever need at fractional costs of store bought food.  And they have spice.  Mountains of spice so fragrant you could just dive in and flop around in the delightful scents.

A FLowerpot Wall in the Old City
The marina is safe.  Patrolled by Port Police and the Guardia Civil hourly or more.  Charges for our boat are €6 per day including IVA, electric and water.  The marina is clean and professional.  I wish we had Fumi and Paco and several of trhe other marineros from Almerimar here.  They were an exceptional crew but this marina runs well.

Internet is €6.18 per week including IVA and it works well.  Access is however tightly controlled.  You buy the service from the Port Police and they not only monitor your comings and goings they control them.  Many sites are barred.

Every Building Maintained, Trees Abound
A Beautiful Urban Environment
If you want a living town, great inexpensive fresh food, great accommodations, a lovely walkable town with really good cafes and beaches and full city amenities come to Melilla.  You will not regret it.   If you do you know where to reach me.

We wish we had escaped our winter cocoon a month ago or more.  If we knew then what we know now we would have tried a lot harder.

Here is the ugliest scene we have found in Melilla.   It is of the working harbour in Nador, Morocco, visible from our cockpit.  There in the 50 MPH (80 KPH) winds we had here two days ago a shimmering shifting cloud of coal dust was kicked up .  Absolutely mesmorizing.  The camera and my lack of skill therewith has leached all aesthetics.

Nador seen from Melilla

Here is the anemometer from the boat I photo'd right after the picture above.  It is in nautical miles per hour so multiply by 1.2 to get MPH and by 2 to get KPH.

The wind is back today.


Happy in Melilla

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