I imagine most people take their first African footsteps in Egypt or Morocco or South Africa. But we like to do things differently, apparently. After a short drive from our hotel to Algeciras, Spain, we board a ferry for Ceuta, Spain. A domestic trip across the strait of Gibraltar, to one of Spain’s two towns on continental Africa. Ceuta is a small Spanish enclave on the north coast of Morocco, which has been part of Spain for over four hundred years (since the 1668 Treaty of Lisbon ceded the city to the Spanish).
Just as Spain demands the handover of Gibraltar from Britain, Morocco demands the handover of Ceuta (and Melilla, the other Spanish enclave a bit further South) from Spain. As with Gibraltar, the local populace don’t want a bar of it. Somehow, Spain doesn’t see the hypocrisy. However for now, it remains Spanish, making it an attractive port for Africans hoping to make their way to Europe. A large fence separates Ceuta from Morocco, and if you ever hear about Ceuta, it will be about people trying to climb over this fence.
The town isn’t exactly teeming with sights, the most interesting part is the Afro-Spanish look and feel. We spent much of the morning in the oversized man-made lagoon, Parque Maritimo del Mediterraneo. At 56,000 square meters it doesn’t heat up particularly well, which makes for a very refreshing, although short, swim. In the very refreshing, although short, swim. In the afternoon, we have a quick wander around the town. There is a castle in the centre of town, complete with walls and a moat. Unlike most moats you come across, this one actually contained water, as it linked to the sea.
The main defining feature of our walk around Ceuta was the statues. For some reason Ceuta seems to have dedicate most of their money to erecting statues, it’s almost impossible to walk for a minute without coming across another statue. Although none of them are particularly inspired. It was a short, but interesting day, in part of the very small area of Africa that is also in the European Union.