Ceuta – A Spanish Outpost in Africa

Beside Melilla, Ceuta is the second Spanish exclave in Morocco. It has 85,000 inhabitants and a size of about 18km^2. The region was conquered by the Portuguese in the 15th century and became part of Spain in 1580. Ceuta can be reached from the Spanish mainland by ferry from Algeciras. The ferries run every 40min and the journey takes about 45min. There is also an affordable helicopter shuttle service between Ceuta, Algeciras, Melilla, and Malaga.

Ceuta is an autonomous city. It is part of Spain and the EU but not of the NATO. Moreover, it has own tax laws. For example, gasoline is about 30% cheaper than in Spain (about 1€ per liter). The inhabitants of Ceuta are 50% Christians and 50% Muslims. The historic city center is located on a peninsula that is separated from the mainland by a channel and fortifications.

This map shows the

The Spanish Perejil (Parsley) Island is a small rock and located some kilometers West of Ceuta. In 2002 Moroccan soldiers landed on the rock. They pretended to observe the drug trafficking. The Spanish navy sent ships and soldiers to bring the Moroccan soldiers back to their land.

View from Ceuta towards Tarifa and Cape Trafalgar.

Ceuta has two parks where you locals go running or cycling. It is absolutely worth to explore those areas! The first park Parque de San Amaro outside of the San Amaro fortress. There is a road surrounding the peninsula which offers beautiful views.

The second park is called Campo de Tiro de la Cuarta Bandera. The most famous viewpoint is “Isabel II”. Locals come here to enjoy the sunset over Ceuta and enjoy a beer.

View from viewpoint “Isabel II” towards Tétouan in Morocco. One can see the border and also border crossing.
Cementry at Av. Dr. Abdelkarim. The grave stones reflect the light in the morning.
I highly recommend to enjoy the view over the historic city center from Park de San Amaro.

I recorded a video about Ceuta (in German). Enjoy!

Exploring the Mines of Rio Tinto, Spain

During my tow-month stay in Seville I did a scouting tour with my motorbike to the Rio Tinto river. The river is known for its reddish color which is caused by microorganisms that process sulfur and iron ore. The microorganisms produce sulfuric acid which makes the river very acid and “normal” life impossible. The spring of the Rio Tinto river is located in a mining area. Since 3000 BC different cultures like the Tartessos, the Romans, or the British have exploited the area and left their traces. The goal of my trip was to get an overview of the region and to have fun with my camera and motorbike.

Overview of the area around Nerva and the Rio Tinto river. The open-pit mine Cerro Colorado is still in operation. The towns Nerva and Minas de Riotinto are literally located in the middle of the mining area. The historic open-pit mines Atalaya and Peña de Hierro are no longer in operation. Peña de Hierro can be visited. The train station is where you can take a train along the Rio Tinto river towards the coast (Huelva).
The colors along the Rio Tinto river are amazing. If you have a car or a motorbike you can explore the region around the village Berrocal where the river passes. There you can find some awesome photos. Along the river you also find old train stations and ruins of former mines. Berrocal is about 30min south of Nerva on the way towards Huelva.
As of today, the open-cast mine of Cerro Colorado is operated by the Atalaya Mining corporation and produces copper and silver. The pit is about 230m deep and located just outside Nerva. This photo has been taken during blue hour at an official viewpoint.
There are several lakes that have different colors. Unfortunately, several are not reachable since they belong to the Atalaya Mining corporation. The two lakes depicted above are separated by a dam. The left lake is called Embalse del Agua and the right one Embalse de Gossán. This location is easily accessible.
In the region between Nerva and Seville it is common to see burned woodland. Most of the fires are man made. In 2004 a mayor fire burned 26,500 hectares. The photo above shows a victim of an artificial fire in 2018. The tree caught the sunlight very beautiful and the plantations in the background build a nice contrast.
The region along the Rio Tinto river is a paradise for people who like to explore lost places. Man left traces from around 5000 years of minding. The ruins above are located close to the train station between Nerva and Minas de Riotinto. I guess it shows a former train station where trains got loaded.
Exploring the entire area is very rewarding.

I also published a video about the trip on Youtube (in German):

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