You may be familiar with the custom of offering free tapas with drinks in Spain, but no-where have I ever seen heard of such substantial portions offered free of charge and virtually limitless! We would have expected olives or crisps as were offered in our hotel, but other bars and restaurants offered seriously weighty portions such as individual portions of paella, jamon Iberico on bread or tortilla patatas on a request basis whenever we ordered a drink. Some bars even just brought food out to us and at first we couldn't work out why the bill was so cheap!
Pines forests of Rostrogordo
I know that is unusual visiting Melilla, but is more unusual visiting Rostrogordo.
Rostrogordo is an area located in the north side of Melilla where you can see pines forests and a military fortress and where a camping is situated.
A interesting visit in the places which refuge the population of the town when there was siege, you can see a bakery, little chapel and even a hospital.. There are 3 levels and will be open more galleries in the future.
Melilla, although hundred per cent Spanish territory, is a world apart from Spain, with a strong personality based on a pleasant symbiosis of Christian and Muslim atmosphere.
I paid just 37 euro for one way ticket Melilla - Malaga. The ferry sailed from Melilla at midnight and reached Malaga at 8 AM the next day, so 8 hours journey.
You can take a daily ferry from Malaga or Almeria to get to Melilla, or vice versa.
I was coming to Spain from Morocco, so I chose Malaga as my destination because I wanted to visit Pablo Picasso birth house and his nice museum in that town.
After suffering almost eight centuries of invasion by the Muslims invaders, who destroyed most of our churches and cathedrals and made the Christians pay abusive taxes (including hundreds of virgin girls as a yearly tribute, who were sent to Damascus, on foot, through the desert, to be distributed in the harems), we could finally get rid of their cruel yoke in 1492, and in order to prevent our country from further invasions, in 1497 we conquered Melilla, in northern Africa (Morocco did not exist by that time) as a defensive port.
By the same port of Melilla you have an impressive fortress with a church inside, a museum and plenty of things to see. The panorama view of Melilla from the upper side of the fortress is impressive. There is a statue devoted to don Pedro de Estopiñán, the conqueror of Melilla, and also another one dedicated to General Franco (something very rare, since our present Government has removed practically all of them from Spain).
Walking around the town is superb; there are many Art Deco buildings everywhere, and cafeterias where if you order a beer, for instance, you will be offered, for free, a tapas dish consisting on calamares, olives, pieces of cheese, or just peanuts.
This free of charge tapas tradition when ordering wine or beer, is typical of Andalucia and some other generous parts of Spain, such as Melilla and Madrid.
Melilla is a tax free territory, so you can buy there perfumes, electronics or liquors, at a lower price than in peninsular Spain.
The border with Morocco is at about 20 minutes walking from the Plaza de España.
These islands of volcanic origin are an archipelago composed by Santa Isabel, Rey, and the only inhabited Congreso. Today constitute a Natural Park. It is a paradise for ornithologists (there is the greatest colony of Audoin sea gulls in the world, plus fishing eagles, cormoran (sea raven), and focas monje (Monk Seals).
Although the archipelago is military, shielded by a contingent of soldiers, and only fishermen can land there, once a year, during the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen, the Major of Melilla follows an ancient tradition called Romeria (a sui generis ecclesiastic Spanish pilgrimage), and organizes free trips by boats to the islands, situated at about 50 kilometres of distance from Melilla.
I heard that presently, after the Perejil islet argument with Morocco a few years ago, the Spanish Army does not authorize these pleasant free journeys to the Chafarinas, but probable will be resumed in the future.
So, I will wait…
"Melillla. General Fancisco Franco statue"
He was the Comandante of the Legion in Melilla, and well loved in that town.
"Plaza de España"
Walking is a pleasure in Melilla, and the best way to discover the city.
"The city where all the travelers should discover!"
Melilla, 4 cultures, and this is the place where everybody wants to feel but nobody knows where it is, part of the population is christian, part muslim, and some hindi and hebrew, also gipsies, chinese, pakistanian and black african living there.
Surprise means the most cosmopolitan city.
Part of my family was living there and my great grandfather has a street dedicated to hismemory and heritage.
"A preserved fortress"
Like Malta or Minorca, Melilla has a big bastion to protect all the attacks from the north african tribus.
Melilla was a Territory of the Hispaniarum provintia during the roman empire, and is the only part which still belong to Spain, as other region of Spain
"Map of Melilla"
A 50,000 inhabitants city, where you can almost go walking everywhere, in 12 square kilometer, In the border line, the places are isolated