On December 12 we returned to Spain to pick up our bikes and gear that we had stored while we were in Rwanda. Then we headed south...yes, back to Africa. We biked to Tarife, Spain and took the ferry to Tangere, Morocco. The Muslim community gave us a very different experience than our prior African experience in Rwanda. Many people were very persistent and eager to help us. Once I kindly and firmly asked them to quite following us they receded. A large percentage wear the traditional Muslim dress, scarves and cloaks. The numerous open markets offer a variety of items ranging from scarves to fruit to meat products. As a dietitian I had a bit of a problem with the unrefrigerated raw meat hanging from the booths openly exposed to the heat and flies. We enjoyed the tradional local foods but made sure everything we ate was cooked!
After Morocco we returned to Spain and biked to Lisbon, Portugal. We noticed people in Spain and Portugal don´t decorate for Christmas as extravagantly as Americans but they do have the "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" at every street corner.
The European portion of our trip consisted of 23 countries, 22 languages, 16 currencies, 5600 miles, 8 flat tires, 4 brand new tires, 3 cracked rims, 9 headaches...and a partridge in a pear tree.
We made alot of new friends in Europe and Africa and have learnt that people are people...no matter what their religion is, the color of their skin or the language that they speak. Everybody has a heart and almost everybody wants to help. We won´t be able to repay these people for their kindness because it was pricelss. But, we can pay it forward. Thanks Europe and Africa for an unbelievable 6 months!
Please see our e-group for a more detailed report of this portion of our trip. If you are having problems receiving our e-groups please email us and we will email the egroup to you directly.