Ceuta and the 36 hour nightmare!

Trip Start Dec 17, 2005
Trip End Dec 23, 2005

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ceuta. Spanish Morocco, and the start of my 36 hour nightmare.
I originally planned on going from Ceuta to Malaga via ferry but apparently no ferries went during winter (thanks for not telling me that, Lonely Planet!). In fact, the weather was bad enough to cancel all ferries scheduled for travel to and from Algeciras. I had booked a night's accommodation in Malaga and not Ceuta, so I spent the night on the floor of the ferry terminal (note: I don't sleep well, if at all, on hard floors).

Friday morning comes around and so too do hundreds of stranded travellers. We're told that there's a ferry leaving at 11am, and there's a huge rush to get tickets. A friend and I start queueing to board at 9am, and it isn't until 2pm that we actually get onto the ferry! My flight leaves Malaga at 8:50pm, so I need to be there at around 7pm. I know it takes 2.5-3 hours on the bus from Algeciras to Malaga, so that means I need to leave Algeciras at about 4pm. Thankfully I'm on the fast ferry and it takes only an hour to cross the 14km to mainland Spain. By the time I get off the ferry and through customs it's about 3:30pm, so I leg it over to the bus station, only to find that there's a queue of about 100 people in front of me all wanting tickets to the 3:45pm bus to Malaga! Eventually I manage to get a bus ticket, but the earliest I can get is 6:45pm, arriving in Malaga around 9:30pm!! This obviously isn't going to do, so I manage to find 3 others who need to go to Malaga, and we take a taxi to Marabella (about 2/3 the way), and then an airport shuttle to Malaga airport.

I arrive at the airport at 7pm, well chuffed that I had made it on time and check in, only to find out 30 minutes later that the flight has been delayed until 10:15pm! Eventually the plane leaves and I land at Gatwick airport. Unfortunately, there are no more trains going to Balham (my local station), so I have to take two trains to Clapham junction and then a taxi from there to my place.

All in all, not a pleasant experience coming back from Morocco. For those planning on going, make sure you leave plenty of time between when you're thinking of taking the ferry and when you actually fly out!
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