life through the lens
Some of the Spanish peñones, or military rock fortresses, are a couple of hours drive from Melilla near the Moroccan resort of Al-Hoceima - October 2011. I revisited Al-Hoceima and environs in December 2013 to complete my stakeout of the Spanish territories.
The Moroccan Dirham
A view of Al-Hoceima from the the hill above the bus station
A portrait of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI - Al-Hoceima
Hotel Villa Florido on Place du Rif - Al-Hoceima
The gardens of the Espace Miramar, a restaurant overlooking Plage Quemado - Al-Hoceima
Plage Quemado is the town's main beach - Al-Hoceima
What I presume are fishing boats set out for their catch - Al-Hoceima
The steep walls surrounding Plage Quemado - Al-Hoceima
Three islands are clearly visible from the Moroccan resort of Al-Hoceima. But they're not Moroccan, they're Spanish. On the left is Peñón de Alhucemas, in the middle Isla de Mar and on the right Isla de Tierra.
A short taxi ride to the Moroccan beach Plage Asfiha provides a good look at the islands. The main one is Peñon de Alhucemas.
At its longest point, Peñon de Alhucemas measures 220 metres
The military fortress is crammed with buildings, including a church, houses and helicopter landing area - Peñon de Alhucemas
Spanish military personnel exit the helicopter, next to the church. And yes, Peñon de Alhucemas is off-limits to visitors.
The Spanish military helicopter circles Peñon de Alhucemas
Walking along the Moroccan beach Plage Asfiha
A few hundred metres from the military fortress are the uninhabited Spanish islands of Isla de Tierra and Isla del Mar
Isla de Tierra is so close to the Moroccan coast - weird! The islands are a legacy of Spain's influence in Morocco, which extended down to Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara).
'No entry. Grounds of the Spanish Ministry of Defence' - a sign in Spanish, French and Arabic on the uninhabited island of Isla de Tierra
Heading west of Al-Hoceima is the small coastl town, Torres de Alcala
The area has a beautiful rugged coastline. The hilltop ruins in the foreground are Spanish miltary watchtowers - Torres de Alcala
But again the reason for my visit was to track down another Spanish military fortress, this one being Penon de Velez de la Gomera
A slightly bored Moroccan soldier looks across the waters to Penon de Velez de la Gomera.
It takes about an hour's walk from Torres de Alcala to reach the Spanish military fortress of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, a magnificent structure linked to the Moroccan mainland by a narrow stretch of sand
The tiny fishing village of Bades lies opposite the penon
The beach at Bades
The most bizarre international border I've come across! The thin blue rope just after the fishing boats marks the border between Morocco and Spain. Until 1934 it was an island but a storm washed up rocks and sand, creating the weirdest frontier... As I walked towards it soldiers from both Morocco and Spain began shouting at me - Penon de Velez de la Gomera
From a distance it seems only a few of the buildings are painted blue.
The previous photos were taken from here, the Spanish Mosque, situated on a hilltop above town - Chefchaouen
Goats are herded along the trail to the Spanish Mosque - Chefchaouen
The Rif Mountains surround the Spanish Mosque - Chefchaouen
Ras el-Maa Falls are on the way to the mosque, but somehow I don't think this is them.
A Moroccan woman heads home - Chefchaouen
At the outskirts of town - Chefchaouen
Blue and white buildings abound in Chefchaouen
Beautiful decoration, typical of houses in Chefchaouen
Father and daughter wander through Chefchaouen's medina
There's plenty of lanes and alleyways in which to lose yourself, though the medina is sufficiently compact that you'll get your bearings soon enough - Chefchaouen
An entrance to a medina street - Chefchaouen
An elderly couple walk past a medina clothing shop - Chefchaouen
A painting just off the central Plaza Uta el-Hammam - Chefchaouen
The heart of Chefchaouen is Plaza Uta el-Hammam
On the edge of the plaza is the Grand Mosque - Chefchaouen
The 15th century Grand Mosque - Chefchaouen
The plaza is very touristy but a great place to relax in the evening - Chefchaouen
Dine alfresco and sip mint tea, fruit juice or coffee - Chefchaouen
Also on Plaza Uta el-Hammam is the Kasbah - Chefchaouen
The walled fortress of the Kasbah - Chefchaouen
Local men take a rest at the entrance to the Kasbah - Chefchaouen
The Kasbah has a small garden and museum - Chefchaouen
Climb the stairs to the top of the Kasbah tower - Chefchaouen
The Kasbah tower lookout - Chefchaouen
Get a good view of the mosque and the Rif Mountains from the Kasbah - Chefchaouen
There's a café-restaurant just off Plaza Uta el-Hammam which has a roof terrace - Chefchaouen
A great place for a drink providing you can hide from a scorching sun - Chefchaouen
Plaza Uta el-Hammam, with the Kasbah on the left and the Grand Mosque further back - Chefchaouen
The Rif Mountains from the roof terrace - Chefchaouen
Thatching looks a pretty precarious job to me - Chefchaouen
Buildings on the slopes of Chefchaouen
In the narrow lanes a moped and/or donkey are useful modes of transprt - Chefchaouen
Are these natural dyes? Outside a shop in the medina - Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen, also known as Chaouen, translates to 'Look at the Peaks'
Blue became the town's prevalent colour in the 1930s - Chefchaouen
A very colourful and welcoming entrance - Chefchaouen
And so is this one. Keeping up with the Jones's in Chefchaouen
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