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June 2002 Daily Diary

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(Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Morocco)

01.06.2002

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We arrived around 8:00 am in Uyuni freezing cold, especially our feet that felt they were going to break off every time we took a step. We first very stupidly got a hotel room. We thought that we would have to spend the night there before doing the tour of the Salar de Uyuni and Laguna Colorada.  However when walking around town later we found out that we could start the tour today. So after checking a few agencies we decided to got with one.  We were able to bargain him down a little, 5 dollars, using the excuse that we had already paid for our hotel room.  So we then went back to the hotel, and got our stuff and left. They did not give our money back, none of it, even though we only left our luggage there an hour and did not use any of the facilities.  That was not very nice of them, but that is how it works here.  Later on we went to the agency and dropped off our stuff and then went sightseeing around town (it took 2 minutes as there is not much to see and Uyuni is really small).  The tour started off an hour late, which was a sign to come.  We first drove to the railroad junkyard. It was kind of cool being able to walk all over old locomotives.  It was then off to Salar de Uyuni, the Salt Blocks.  The sun was very bright as it reflected off the salt. There were a few men there working, scrapping the salt into piles to dry.  The salt blocks are actually very beautiful and we were very happy that we were doing the tour. It was then off to Hotel de Sal, a hotel made from salt blocks.  We then had lunch at Fish Island. there we were able to walk around this island in the middle of the Salt Plains.  We walked up the hill on the island to get great views of the surrounding area. What was really interesting there were the Cacti that were growing there. It was then off to San Juan. San Juan is a small town on in the middle of nowhere.  We walked around a little, Kirk played goalkeeper with some kids on the soccer field before we had  dinner (a just ok meal, chicken and fries) and went to bed.

02.06.2002

In the morning the breakfast was very weak.  We then started driving toward a serious of Lagunas.  The car did not warm up enough and the radiator was frozen.  Eventually the radiator started loosing fluid and the driver had to stop.  He took out a torch to heat up the radiator and melt the ice. We could not understand why he did not warm up the truck before we left.  The guy was not organized. We stopped at one of the five Laguna's and had lunch there. Pink Flamingos were bathing in these semi frozen Lagunas. It was weird seeing these birds in such cold surroundings.  When thinking of Pink Flamingos one thinks of  tropical settings, not freezing cold places at 4000 meters and above.  The scenery and landscape in this whole area was just beautiful.  We stopped at Laguna Colorada for the night. The Laguna Colorada is a red colored Laguna with white surroundings.  We walked around a little before going to the hotel to have some tea and coffee.  We were already running out of tee and supplies which was not very good.  We were not getting very much for our money.  The dinner was also weak, a piece of Lama and some mash potatoes.  Not very much mash potatoes at all.   Some people complained, all the driver could say was that we were on the cheap tour. He was right about that.  It was also freezing cold at the night. We slept at 4300 meters. 

03.06.2002

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In the morning we woke up at 5:00 am and started driving at about 6:00 am. It was very cold and the truck did not have any working heating.  It was freezing and a shame that there was no heating in our vehicle. All other vehicles had heating  which we saw.  We first visited the geysers, where the ground was boiling around us.  We then drove to the hot springs where we were able to warm up our freezing cold feet in the hot water. We also had brunch there.  It was then off to Laguna Verde where we had beautiful views of the volcano Licancabur and it's reflection in a Laguna below.  We then left the tour and got on a bus which would take us to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.  We did not give our driver a tip, because there was too much wrong with our tour, and we did not think that the tour deserved one.  One has to point out somehow that one was not satisfied. Our group was ok, there was a nice young American couple in the group.  The others were not our type, a Canadian guy drove everyone a little crazy, he was very self centered and only though of himself it seemed.  He also spoke about too much crap.  The border crossing on the Bolivian side was the most beautiful border crossing on our whole trip.  A middle of nowhere mountainous area with no real road to the other side.  The bus just drove over this terrain until it got on a road on the Chilean side.  There is almost 1500 meters done in elevation to San Pedro Atacama.  There we bought bus tickets to Santiago. We also decided to go on a tour of the Valle de la Luna since we had around 6 or 7 hours before our bus left.  The tour was quiet good actually and worth the couple of bucks to do.  We also got to view a nice sunset overlooking the desert.  The Canadian guy turned out to be on our trip to again. What a pleasure.  The bus ride was ok, even though they promised 3 meals which we did not get. For dinner we received a small bag of chips.  What made us a little mad was that we had asked them if we should buy food or not for the trip and they said they would be serving food.  We also sent an email to Pepe, the son of one of Kirk's mother's friends who lives in Chile that we were coming to Santiago the next day.

04.06.2002

The night in the bus was ok, we slept pretty good because we were very tired.   We did not receive the promised breakfast either. Just a couple of cookies.  So we were fairly hungry the whole way.  We actually got some lunch at 3:30 pm.  The bus ride was otherwise ok. The roads for the most part were ok, even though it had rained quite a bit.  The weather had been supposedly very bad in the Santiago area.  However our bus arrived only 30 minutes late in Santiago.  There we eventually got a bus to a hostel.  At the hostel we first did some food shopping and then Maren cooked dinner. We also tried to call Pepe but he was not at home.  The hostel was ok, the owner was really weird though.  He tried to be helpful with everything, but he had a screw loose somewhere. 

05.06.2002

In the morning we decided to do a little sightseeing.  Kirk though first called Pepe to see if we could meet.  We made plans to talk later.  We then went to downtown Santiago and walked around the town for a while. The weather was not great, very overcast and it rained a little. But all the buses were running and everything in the city seemed to be working ok. Most of the flooding seemed to be over with.  We also checked out a travel agent for flights to Asia.  We then went back to the hostel and had some lunch and tea. The rest of the day we read some magazines and checked the internet. Kirk also tried to call Pepe to see if we would try and meet, but we could not reach him.  Kirk also sent an email to let him know we called.

06.06.2002

 

 

In the morning we walked around Santiago again, and checked out a few travel agents again.  We went to the other part of town where we were able to get a student card by showing our tourist card.  This was very good because we were now able to get the student prices on flights out of Chile. This would save us 500 US$ each. So that was a major relieve.  After finding some flights we liked, we went a little food shopping. What was nice they had all types of things to try in this supermarket, like cheese and wine. Later we went back to the hostel and did some work on our website.  Kirk's mom also called which was really nice.  It was good to speak to her again. It was the first time since we left AZ.  Maren also made a delicious lunch.  Later on we went to the bus station.  There we got a bus at 7:45 pm to Osorno.  It would arrive the next morning.

07.06.2002

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In the morning we arrived in Osorno. There is not much there, so we booked another bus to Bariloche Argentina.  Before that we walked around the town a little before the bus left.  The bus ride went through some beautiful landscapes with white covered mountain tops.  The spot between the Chilean and Argentinean borders was a snow covered mountain pass.  The road was covered with snow and it also started to snow.  We even had to wait a while in a small traffic jam while the road was clear of snow.  The ride took about7 hours to get to Bariloche Argentina.  It is located on a beautiful lake.  At the bus terminal there a lady spoke to us, she had a home stay at which she wanted us to stay. We normally do not go with these people, but Maren thought she was really nice.  Kirk thought she was a little nice crazy.   Argentina is really cheap now, the Peso has lost in value more than one third, and it seems like the prices have not moved up yet to match the fall of the Peso against the US$.  We are paying 5 US$ for a room with breakfast.  She also made us a dinner for 2.22 US$ together.  It was very good. Her husband is also very nice.  One has a very homely feeling when staying here.  I think we are making the right choice staying here.  We also got to watch some CNN.  Later Kirk wrote some diary for the first time in 6 days.

08.06.2002

In the morning we got a descent breakfast. It was just bread, jam and some type of cheese.  But it was all we could eat, so it was ok. We then decided to walk through town a little and down to the lake.  Again the weather was horrible.  It rained and was very cloudy. Also the wind was blowing very strong, especially down by the lake. Too bad the views are supposed to be spectacular.  In town we used the internet and had hamburgers for lunch.  We then went back to the place we were staying and had some tea before heading to the bus station.  We decided to walk there, and not pay for a taxi.  She said it was 5 km away, but to us it seemed much shorter.  At the bus station we bought our tickets for the 5 pm bus to Puerto Madryn. The bus ride was ok, as usual one could not understand the loudspeakers when watching the movie.  We fell asleep anyway.

09.06.2002

We arrived in Puerto Madryn fairly early in the morning. We had to wait to till 9:55 am for the bus to Puerto Pyramide.  There we wanted to book a tour to go out and see the baby whales.  Well when we finally got to Puerto Pyramide, we figured out fairly quickly that the boats were not going out to the sea this day.  It was very windy and the sea was very rough.  So we had a major problem because the buses were not going back to Puerto Madryn until 6:00 pm.  So we had to figure out how to waste a whole day there.  One has to understand, there is nothing there, except a couple cafe's, and some boat offices. Otherwise there is nothing.  So we first had a hot chocolate, which took up almost an hour. We then decided to brace the cold and wind and take a walk along the beach.   The whole way a black Labrador followed us and played fetch with Kirk.  We still had about 4 hours to waste,  so we decided to make a fire on a wind protected spot near the beach.  So between trying to find firewood and keeping our fire alive we managed to get through the day ok.  It was actually quite nice to sit by the fire and keep warm. We also had a picnic lunch and Kirk finished off his book.  At 6:00 pm the we got the bus back to Puerto Madryn. The bus driver even gave us a hot chocolate before we left. It was really nice because it was cold and windy outside.  In Puerto Madryn we then got bus tickets to Buenos Aires.  The bus ride was ok, though at 12:00 am they woke us up for dinner and they did not play a movie the whole way, even though they promised.

10.06.2002

We slept all right on the bus, we had each two seats to stretch out on.  We never did get our promised breakfast. So all we ate until we arrived in Buenos Aires was an apple and some popcorn we bought along the way.  The scenery along the way was very unspectacular, mainly flat farm land that was flooded. At 4:00 pm we arrived in Buenos Aires.  We first called a few hostels and then took the metro to one of them.  We did not stay at the first one because they were charging in dollars, and did not take in account that the Peso has dropped off so much. We then called a couple more and took a subway to another one.  There after checking in Kirk noticed that Maren did not have her jacket with her anymore. She had left it in the telephone calling center.  We quickly went back there, but it was gone.  The guys in the place either took it or the next customer took it who came in and used the phone. Too bad it was a really nice jacket.  Later we used the internet before going to bed.

11.06.2002

In the morning we took the subway into town.  We first checked a travel agency for different flights out of Buenos Aires. To our surprise, everything was really expensive, more than in Chile.  That was a little discouraging. Means that we might have to go back to Santiago.  Later on we did a little sightseeing around Buenos Aires. We visited the Plaza de Mayo and a few other sights.  For lunch we had our long awaited steak.  For around 8 US$ for the two of us we had each a steak and fries, a bottle of wine, coffee and a fruit salad for desert.  It has become really cheap here to eat.  Later we walked to the Congresso Nacional.  We then looked for some clothes for when we get back into civilization.  They are about one third the price here than in the USA.  We still had a hard time to find anything we really wanted.  Kirk found a suit, but it normally costs over 1100 Peso, but it was on sale and after bargaining around 800 Pesos. 215 US $.  It was a really nice suit, which probably costs at least 800 or 900 US$ at home. We did not buy it but might tomorrow.  Kirk needs something when we are back.  Later we did a little food shopping and went back to the hotel to work on our website. 

12.06.2002

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In the morning we first went to the bus station to buy tickets for an evening bus to Puerto Iguazu.  We were happy to be able to leave our backpacks  there for free. We then went to the store we visited the day before to buy Kirk the suit.  We had thought it over and one will never find a suit at that price in the US or Germany. Kirk again tried on both suits, and we eventually were able to bargain and get a  good price for two suits.  Kirk paid 330 US$ for tow really nice suits.  We then went a little shopping for Maren before taking the bus to La Boca. It is a very artsy section with colorful painted buildings.  There we had a picnic lunch before heading back to the main center of town. In town we walked around some more, had Pizza for dinner. A fairly descent size Pizza for two for under 1 US$. We also used the internet, before Maren bought some cloths and a pair of shoes.  Before heading to the bus stop, we picked up Kirk's suits which had been tailored.  The bus ride was much better than previous ones.  The meals were descent and one even was served wine.  Though one still could not understand the film they were playing. The loudspeaker systems are really bad on these buses.  By the way Happy Anniversary Bob and Ingeborg.

13.06.2002

We arrived at around 11:30 am in Puerto Iguazu.  We first found a hostel to stay in.  We then went to the Brazilian Consulate to get Kirk a so called Visa to Brazil. It is actually a reciprocal processing fee not a visa.  Since Brazilians have to pay 45 US$ to get into the USA, Americans have to pay 45 US$ to get into Brazil.  What is a shame is that they charged 225 Pesos for the visa here, which is around 63 US $.  They do not accept US$, claiming that the Argentinean government forbids them from collecting US$. What a scam.  We tried to figure out how they get 225 Pesos from 45 US$, but they just played dumb and their English became non existent. They are just crooks down here, and it gives one a really bad taste in the mouth. Typical South American behavior.  They get you where they can.  Though they had the visa ready in an hour. The only thing that eats you up, is that you have no choice, if you argue too much they will refuse you the visa and you will not get over the border, they know they have you in the corner.  We almost said forget about it and left, but we then thought it would be best to go to Rio de Janeiro. Later we went food shopping and then Maren made a great Bolognese meal for lunch/dinner.  Kirk played around in the internet later, while Maren sorted out pictures.

14.06.2002

This morning we woke up early and had breakfast.  We then went to the bus station to go to the Iguazu Falls on the Argentine side. However we changed our mind there and decided on going to the Brazilian side first. We wanted to first check for bus information to Rio de Janeiro in Foz do Iguacu. There we first had to search the town for an ATM machine that we finally found. They had one at the HSBC bank that accepted Visa and Mastercards.  It was then off with the local bus to the long distant bus terminal for information on buses leaving for Rio de Janeiro.  We then got the local bus to the Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side.  The weather was really bad, it rained basically the whole day.  The falls however were very impressive.  They are quiet wide, but not nearly as tall as the Victoria Falls in Africa. At least that was how it seemed to us.  After getting completely soaking wet from the rain and at one point from being near the falls we headed back to Argentina.  Another thing, we actually used our cheap ponchos we had bought in Peru.  In Puerto Iguazu we did a little food shopping again and then went back to our hostel and had dinner, checked the internet, read a little and wrote our diary.

15.06.2002

The weather was a little better today, still cloudy but the rain had stopped. After breakfast we took the bus to the Iguazu National Park on the Argentinean side.  We first took the train to the section called deep throat.  It was cool because one walked on a boardwalk over the water to get to the section of the falls.  At the end of this 1100 meter boardwalk, one almost hovered over the falls. We then did some walking around to some other sections of the falls with other views. We also took the free boat over to the island in the middle.  There we got fairly wet because one gets close up to the area where the water comes crashing down.  The falls are very impressive and after seeing both the Brazilian side and the Argentinean side, we both came to the conclusion that the Argentinean side is more impressive and much more to see.  Not to say the Brazilian side is not impressive and should not be seen.  However if one has to pick, the Argentina side offers much more.  After spending 4 hours at the falls walking around we went back to Puerto Iguazu and grabbed our backpacks out of storage and got the next bus to Foz da Iguacu on the Brazilian side.  We were able to eventually find the tax refund office at the border, hopefully they will credit our credit card back for the tax we paid on the stuff we bought in Buenos Aires.  We were lucky and just got the 3:00 pm bus to Rio de Janeiro.  The bus ride was ok, they played mostly English movies, even though they were not the best. At least this time one could hear the sound.  The buses are nice, but not nearly as luxurious as the buses in Argentina.

16.06.2002

We slept alright on the bus.  Not much happed, along the way. We just watched a movie or two.  We arrived around 1:30 pm in Rio de Janeiro. There we called a few hotels and hostels before deciding to take the local bus to one of them.  We were planning on taking a taxi, but decided we would risk it with our stuff.  It actually was no problem and we got dropped off around 500 meters from the hotel.  We chose the hotel because it offered us a double for the price of staying in the youth hostel in a dorm room.  We thought it was safer for our stuff.  Later we walked around a little and then went back to the hotel room. There Maren cooked on our stove in the room, noodles with lots of onions, tomato sauce and cheese. It was delicious.  Otherwise we did not do much.  We are now deciding on what to do next! on our trip.  Happy Fathers Day Dad!

17.06.2002

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During breakfast the Brazil against Belgium game started.  The streets were almost empty this Monday morning.  Everyone was watching the game.  We first decided to walk to the center to look for flights out of South America.  We found a student travel office that had some great prices on some flights which we would have booked, but the flights were all full.  This means we are going to have to go back to Santiago de Chile for a flight out of there.  By the way Brazil won and the fire crackers went off in full force.  We walked around the center for a while visiting the various sights, before going to Corcovado where the Statue of Christ the Redeemer is. There we took up the train to the top.  One can walk, but we have heard many stories of people being robbed and mugged on the way up.  The guide books also recommend against it.  At the top the views must be spectacular, but there was a misty cloud covering the city. One still could see the city, but the sky was not a beautiful blue color.  The statue is impressive, but the both of us thought it would be somehow more spectacular.  But we were glad that we had came.  We then took a bus to Copacabana and walked along the famous beach there.  The beach is nice, especially for being in a city, but otherwise it was just another nice beach.  We then took the subway back to the center, before walking back to the hotel.  Later we walked around a little more and checked the internet before retiring. 

18.06.2002

After breakfast we took the local but to the bus terminal and got the 9:00 am bus to Foz do Iguacu.  Kirk bought a Time magazine for the road, which he was done with in less than 40 minutes. Time really does not offer much reading. The bus ride was not very exciting and actually not very much happened.  The movies were too often in Portuguese which was not interesting to watch.  Along the way we stopped for food. We had one thing, some doe and cheese or chicken thing.  It was disgusting and barely eatable.  The bus journey otherwise was uneventful.

19.06.2002

We slept just ok on the bus. The trip took around 22 hours from Rio de Janeiro to Foz do Iguacu.  It went by fairly fast, but we still had anther 22 hour bus ride ahead of us.  We then took a local bus, actually 2 different buses to get back to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina.  There we decided on taking the bus to Cordoba and then we would change the bus to go to Mendoza.  It seemed better than taking the bus directly to Mendoza because the direct Mendoza bus goes a different way which takes much longer.  We also decided to take the luxury seats for 5 Pesos more (1.4 US$).  These seats fully recline so one can get a good night sleep.  The bus left at 13:30 pm so we had time to get some food in town and got to an internet cafe to check our emails.  The bus ride was a luxury trip to Cordoba. The food was pretty good and they had movies in English. 

20.06.2002

The bus arrived after 10:30 am in Cordoba.  There we decided to take the night bus to Mendoza and to spend the day in Cordoba. We did the usual sightseeing tour of the city and had hotdogs for lunch.  Later we checked our email and did some shopping. Maren bought some pants and we walked around a lot. Cordoba is a nice city, sort of like Cologne Germany.  It however does not have a lot to offer.  But we were glad to get a little break from bus riding.  At 10 pm we got on the bus to Mendoza. 

21.06.2002

We arrived a little after 7:30 am in the morning in Mendoza.  It was another 10.5 hours in a bus.  So we have been in busses around 54 hours in the last 3 days.  But we are getting through it ok.  We first went to a hostel and got a room in a dorm room.  We then watched the world cup match between Germany and the USA.  Germany won, but it was not a good match.  We then walked into town, where Kirk got his head shaved. We also visited a travel agent, but did not find any flights that were available.  We then walked around town before checking the internet for an hour. It is really cold here. Later we took the local bus to a vineyard on the outskirts of Mendoza. There we went on a wine tour and visited the vineyards museum. The tour was in Spanish so we did not understand much.  For wine tasting they only gave one small glass of wine to try.  We both thought they should give you a few different wines to taste. The more one would drink, the better chance one would buy some wine.  We did not buy any.  We then went back to town and to the hostel. After taking a shower, we went back into town and walked around some more.  For dinner we bought some steaks and rice and Maren cooked a great steak dinner. The meat here is so cheap. We had four steaks for around .70 US$.  After dinner we worked as usual on our webpage before packing and going to bed. We are planning to leave early in the morning to Mendoza. 

22.06.2002

We got the 7:10 am bus to Mendoza, the 6:30 am bus was already full.  The ride was ok, absolutely beautiful along the way. The white cover mountains were really nice.  We saw people skiing which made Kirk very jealous.  He would really like to do some skiing. But we needed to get to Santiago to try and find a flight out.  We arrived 7 hours later in Santiago. We first checked into a hostel which was recommended to us a while back.  We did not want to stay at Scott's Hostel again this time. He was just too weird.  After dropping off our stuff, we went to the student travel agent to try and see what type of flights they had.  But with our luck they were closed until Monday. So we will try then. We then did a little food shopping before going back to the hostel.  Maren there made some dinner and we watched a movie and read a little. Otherwise not much happened.

23.06.2002

This morning we woke up fairly early, had cornflakes for  breakfast and then decided to take advantage of the fact that most museums in Santiago are free on Sundays.  So we ended up going to 4 different museums. They were the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolumbino, Museo Hostorico Nacional, Museo de Santiago, and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.  They were all ok, but nothing amazing.  They are worth going to though. We then walked around a little before we had lunch. Later we walked around Santiago some more.  We then worked on our website some more and watched a really bad movie.  

24.06.2002

This morning we woke up fairly early. Maren slept in the TV room most of the night, because this 74 year old guy in our room snored constantly the whole night. It sound as if he was dying, so bad were the noises coming from him.  It was the second night in a row and Maren could not take it anymore. Also in our room a new couple in love were showing each other their affection.  Maybe they did not realize they were in a 7 bed dorm.  After breakfast we caught the subway to the Student travel agent.  We had hoped to get a flight to China, but that was not possible, everything was booked out at least till the middle of July. That was too long for us to wait around, so we took our only other option, a flight to Lisbon Portugal.  We were lucky at all to get a flight out of South America. We got the last two seats on the plane.  Otherwise in the next two weeks we would have a major problem flying anywhere except to the USA.   So our plans have changed some bit, next time.   Later we sent a package to Europe before going back to the travel agent to pay for our tickets. We then walked backed to the Hostel and cooked a meal.  We then took a much needed shower before Maren went back and picked up our tickets. Kirk played on the computer for a while.  Later we went to an internet cafe, actually two different ones and uploaded some of our web pages. We also made a correction to Mohammed's website in Wadi Rum.  We then went back to the hostel where Kirk read some downloaded pages in the TV room.  He eventually left because some people we smoking pot and it was smoking up the whole room. The both of us had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. It was not only this time the old mans fault even though his snoring was also horrible.  They had a barbecue at the hotel with a live band that played their music late into the night.  The people also partied the whole night.  That the building is old, one hears everything through the walls. 

25.06.2002

This morning we had breakfast as we watched Germany beat South Korea 1-0 in the semi-finals of the world cup. Afterwards we packed our bags and got the bus to the Airport. There we had a three hour wait until our plane took off to Sao Paulo Brazil, where we transferred to the flight to Lisbon Portugal. The flight first stopped in Buenos Aires Argentina. There we stayed on the plane and in around 50 minutes it took off to Sao Paulo Brazil.  There we changed planes. The plane took off a little late, but otherwise we had no problems.  We actually slept a lot, missing the movies. 

26.06.2002

We arrived around 11:45 am in Lisbon Portugal.  After getting our fist taste of Euros out of the ATM machine, we took a bus to the city center and found a place selling guide books. We read up that we could camp around 6 miles from the center of town. So we decided to go there. It was cheaper than staying in a hostel.  After pitching our tent, it was back to the city center to do some sightseeing and buy a guide book for Europe.  The Lonely planets cost 24.95 US$ on the cover, and the stores all charge 39 Euros for them here. Explain that exchange rate to us.  Every store was the same.  It sort of pissed us off a little, but we had no choice but to buy.  Also here, there are the extremes in personalities.  Some people are really nice and helpful, but then like the lady in the tourist office is a real B_tch.  We visited the Castelo de Sao Jorge, Rossi, and walked through the district Baixa.  The views from the Castelo de Sao Jorge of the city were really good.  Later on we got some information on buses to Seville. It turned out that we have to take the bus tomorrow morning. The next bus is on Saturday, and that would be too late for us.  We then went back to the campsite and took a shower before going to bed.

27.06.2002

We got up at 6:00 am in the morning to be able to catch the 8:30 am bus to Seville.  The bus ride was ok, we both slept a lot on the way. We were suddenly tired.  In Seville we wanted to maybe stay the night, but the hotels we checked out were all to expensive or all full.  So we decided to put our bags in luggage storage and go sightseeing and take the evening bus to Algeciras and from there take the next morning ferry over to Tangier Morocco.  In Seville we visited the Alcazar, which is free with a student  card or 5 Euros if you do not have one. It is the residents of Muslim and Christian royalty and started out as a fortress. We then walked around the Cathedral which was already closed.  Too bad the inside is supposed to be really nice. The city is really beautiful and we liked it a lot. We then walked around some more before getting the 18:30 pm bus to Algeciras.  In Algeciras we checked out a lot of hostels.  They all had the same 18 Euro price.  Which means they all have decided together to have one fixed price for the budget accommodations.  Eventually we took one.  It was late, we took showers and worked on the computer before going late to bed.

28.06.2002

We got up and went right away to the ferry station.  There were about 50 different tour agents selling tickets for the ferries.  We could not understand that one because they all were selling the tickets for the same price.  The ferry left at about 7:00 am. On board we got our Moroccan Visas right away and the stamps in our passport. The trip across to Morocco was nothing exciting and in about 3 hours the boat arrived in Tangier Morocco.  We had heard that the touts were really bad, but we did not have any major problems with them at all. We did not really get bugged at all, except for a few comments here and there.  We then went to the tourist office to get information on where the bus station is.  We then walked there and got a bus straight to Rabat. In Rabat we eventually found a hotel room, before taking a walk through the town.  We did not do much, since the both of us were quite tired and wanted to go to bed.  We did check the internet and had some honey melons for dinner. 

29.06.2002

In the morning we got up around 8:00 am in the morning and decided to visit a few sights and walk around the city a little.  We visited the Kasbah  des Oudais  which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Tour Hassan which is an incomplete Mosque that was wreck in a 1755 earthquake.  The Tour Hassan was very beautiful and interesting.  The people trying to get your money here are very smooth.  They try and make it as subtle as possible, never coming out and directly offering you something.  Just like these so called tour guides, who try to show you something and bring them into their realm by having you think they are being just helpful. Once we say we do not want a guide, they disappear real quick.  Later we walked around a little before catching the 1 hour train to Casablanca. There we just wanted to see the Hassan II Mosque.  We could not find any luggage storage so we had to walk with all our stuff to the Mosque. It was very impressive and we were glad we stopped off here.  We were also lucky that we timed it right and were able to catch the daily tour.  It was good we had student cards because it saved us 50 % on the ticket.  The mosque is absolutely huge and very beautiful.  Afterwards we rushed back to the train station and were just able to get the 3:30 pm train to Marrakesh.  In Marrakesh we eventually got a hotel.  There were a lot of touts bugging us, but we got through them ok.  We then  walked into the center and had dinner at one of the many food stands.  There were thousands of people all around eating at the hundreds of food stands. There were also a lot of street entertainment. We are not sure if a festival is going on at the moment or not. It was just packed with humans.  We are very glad that we are able to see some of Morocco on our trip.  Later we walked around some more, checked the internet and then went back to our hotel.

30.06.2002

To our surprise it was raining this morning. So we decided to just get some bread for breakfast and wait until around 10:30 am to go and find a cafe where we could watch the World Cup Finals between Germany and Brazil. We watched the game over a cup of really good coffee.  As everyone knows, Brazil beat Germany 2 - 0.  Later we visited the Koutoubia Mosque, Royal Palace, Palais de la Bahia (which was closed) and walked around the Place Djemna El-Fna again.  Marrakesh is ok during the day, but it really comes alive at night.  One guy started following us for a while, Kirk told him to get lost, but he was really mentally ill and he just came following us.  Eventually we saw a policeman and Maren told him that this guy was bugging us.  The policeman told us he knew the guy and he was mentally ill.  He told us he would hold him still for a while until we were out of sight. The cop was really nice actually.  We also walked to the bus station to find out about buses to Fes or Meknes.  On the way back we got lost for a while.  All the streets look the same and there are so many small streets to get lost on, it is almost like a labyrinth.  What was nice was that one guy gave us really good directions to get back.  He even drew them on a piece of paper.  Maren's knowledge of a little French came in handy.  Later on Kirk bought some pants.  They were fairly cheap. 5 pairs were just as expensive as one pair in Germany.  We also had them tailored for around 1 US per pair.  What is really nice is that the fresh orange juice is only 24 cents a glass.  So we had three of them. Later we checked the internet before picking up the pants we had bought. We then had some lentils and bread for dinner at one of the many stalls.   It mentioned yesterday in our diary that we though there was a festivals here going on, well there are non at the moment.  How ever the place seems to be packed with humans starting in the early evening when everyone comes out.  There are so many people in the main square one has a hard time moving around at all.

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