NYC to Malaga to Tarifa to Tangier to Fes

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My good friends Aimee, Shruti and I celebrated our 30th birthdays and many years of friendship with a trip to Spain and Morocco—a trip we had been talking about, dreaming about and planning for for years. We plan to make a Blurb book to document our journey but following are some highlights. First, an unexpected day in NYC. Due to weather and broken planes and long lines, we missed our flight out of JFK to Malaga, Spain, and the next flight was a long 24 hours later—a huge disappointment but we made the best of it.

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West Village—already, we’re shopping.

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Gyros for lunch.

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View of Malaga, Spain from the plane (finally!).

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For awhile we contemplated skipping the Morocco portion of our trip. Because of our delay in NYC we missed our flight from Spain to Morocco. But in the end, we couldn’t bear not going to Africa. So as soon as we landed in Morocco we bought a ticket for the next 3-hour bus ride to Tarifa.

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Then we boarded a ferry for Tangier—a 2-1/2 hour trip.

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So far, so good—even getting from the airport to the bus station, and from the bus station to the ferry docks.

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Our passports were stamped while on the ferry. We had no time for sit-down meals so food was limited to snacks.

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Finally, Africa. We spent a lot of time sitting (and taking turns cat-napping) while waiting for our train.

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On the plane I thought, A five-hour train ride from Tangier to Fes, how fun! Not fun. By the time we boarded the train it was dark out (so no watching the Moroccan landscape pass by), our cabin was terribly hot and at this point I had been wearing the same clothes for three days and hadn’t slept in almost 48 hours. Yet still, somehow, I smiled.

We arrived in Fes at 4am. Thankfully a driver from the amazing Riad Tizwa was there, sign in hand, to pick us up.

And so our trip began.

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things—air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky—all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” —Cesare Pavese