(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) In the inaugural edition of what will be a weekly column highlighting Egyptian adventurers, Fady Hanna recounts an impromptu hitchhiking journey € Daily News Egypt's culture editor
I can't even argue that I am too organised when it comes to planning my travels. I take it too seriously and I plan everything before taking off, leaving little chance for unforeseen surprises. Of course, surprises can always happen.
I was in Morocco during the last few days of Ramadan and I had booked a flight from Casablanca to Malaga in Spain the day following the end of Ramadan. I had hoped to capture the vibes of the holy month in an Arab country. I did and it was fantastic, especially in Marrakech. Then I would go on to enjoy summer on the beaches of AndalucÃa.
At the end of my time in Morocco, I packed and headed to the airport and slowly made my way to the departure hall to catch my morning flight to Malaga. But once I was there, I couldn't find my flight at any of the check-in desk. I felt confused; I had checked the night before that my flight was still on time. When I asked, I found out that the check-in desk was closed.
As crazy as this may sound, the entire country had changed their clocks when Ramadan ended. Everyone in Morocco changed their clocks except me! I was one hour too late, the check-in counter was closed, and there was absolutely no chance of boarding the flight. Well, my holiday is ruined and here I am stuck in Morocco instead of enjoying the beach in Malaga or wandering through the Alhambra in Granada.
I was stranded in a busy place, what could I do? My first thought was to change my flight to the next day but there I couldn't. I thought of buying another ticket but I found that the first available seat would be 48 hours later, in business class, and ridiculously expensive so definitely not an option.
It was time for an unknown adventure. I took my backpack and jumped onto a train back to Casablanca city centre without a real plan. It was about 4pm. Then, I decided to go north and told the guy at the ticket booth: "I want to get to Tangier to catch a ferry to Spain tonight." He didn't reply but his expression was sceptical.
I took the 5.30pm train to Tangier. On the journey, I mingled with the locals. We talked about Morocco and I talked about my travels and what had happened in the airport earlier until the train finally made it to Tangier at 11pm. I was in a city I had not planned to visit without any kind of booking, reservation or scheduled departure. But I thought, let's bring it on. I hailed a taxi and he took me to the port.
Ten minutes later and I was asking about ferries to Spain. Luckily, there was one departing at 12.30am for just ‚¬40. But there was a problem. The ferry would arrive at 1.30am in a small town called Tarifa. I had never heard of it and started to question myself saying: "Oh boy, this isn't smart! I should have taken that flight."
As usual, asking around and talking to people presented a solution. I decided to hitchhike. While still on the ferry, I asked people if they could drop me at or near Malaga. Eventually someone accepted. The ferry arrived in Tarifa, I got my passport stamped and was driven to Malaga where I arrived at 4am.
It's never a good idea to miss your flight but luckily for me, it was the start of a great adventure. Not everyone can say that they've hitchhiked into Europe via the Strait of Gibraltar.
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