A + World Academy is sailing with Sørlandet for fifth school year. They will cross the Atlantic and Equator several times before returning to Kristiansand - her home port - in May 2020. Below you can read an update from the Dean of School - GG.
Dear A+ Family and Friends,
Salaam from Tangier, Morocco - the ‘white city’ that is Europe’s gateway to Africa!
I stood on the dock of the beautiful new Tanja Bay Marina on November 26th and watched, with pride, as the majestic Sorlandet glided gracefully into the port and there was a lot of hustle and bustle on deck in preparation for coming alongside.
Tangier is where the wonderful Emily and I switched our roles as the Dean on ship.
Arrival Day was an academic day and students were busy in their studies. We started the day with Amalie's birthday celebration..yay...and in the evening we just chilled and watched a movie.
On November 27th our field experience was a wonderful cultural introduction to Tangier and its history.
We learned that Tangier has a wonderful blend of cultures and influences as, beside its native Berber population, it was governed by many nations like France, Spain, Britain and Portugal. In the mid-19th century it was turned into an “international zone” and France, Spain, Britain, Portugal, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Italy and the USA were involved. The rest of Morocco was divided between France and Spain. It was in 1956 that Tangier was returned to Morocco and became a thriving port. There has been a lot of investment and development in Tangier and now it is home to almost 2 million people including a lot of foreigners.
Our tour guides picked us up at 1000 and we set off to see the highlights of the city. The city is situated on a hill and we drove through misty rain and fog up the hill towards Cap Spartel. As we went up the hill through beautiful house, green trees and palaces and occasionally we could catch a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean waves hitting the shores. Cap Spartel, 15 km west, is an old promontory about 300 m (1,000 feet) above sea level at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. It had been critical in offering safety to various ships that crossed the waters. After the light house we stopped at the juncture where Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterrean Sea meet. A great opportunity for historic photos!
Our next stop was a highlight for our students…camel rides! Everyone who wanted to got to ride the camels and enjoyed the experience tremendously. Many students were also quite concerned with the proper treatment of the camels and spoke to the guides to ask about this…it was great to see such empathy from our young men and women.
We then went to see the amazing caves of Hercules. The caves are an intriguing complex -50% natural and 50% man made and the opening of the caves towards the sea is in the shape of Africa. Legend has it that Hercules slept here on his way to steal three golden apples from the Garden of the Hesperides.
Our tour took us to the Kasbah in Tangiers next and we walked a short distance to our lunch destination: La Terraza de la Medina - a beautiful restaurant with great views. Lunch was amazing. Moroccan traditional music was being played by three elderly musicians dressed in traditional Moroccan clothes (djellaba - tunic) and a tarboush (a fez hat). Our starter was a vegetarian soup followed by couscous and chicken cooked in a tagine (traditional Moroccan pot). We ended the meal with a delicious baklava and mint tea. The service and hospitality of our host was incredible.
We also had the pleasure of experiencing a Moroccan cultural dance performance - a traditional Berber belly dance (which was completely unlike the Middle Eastern belly dance). It was entertaining to see the dancer pull different students and teachers up to dance with her. The lunch finished with a snake charmer showing us his skills and walking around putting the snake around various students’ necks. Very entertaining to watch some students petting the snake and others recoiling but doing it anyway! So much fun was had by all.
The afternoon was spent walking through the Medina and its various markets and narrow streets…we also had a demonstration of traditional herbs and spices and some of us were excited to buy some products!
Students really enjoyed their cultural experiences of the day.
November 28th was shore leave day and the sun was shining! We were proud of our students for dressing conservatively and following our instructions regarding safety. They had a wonderful time exploring the city without any incidents and returned to the ship at 1800 with many snacks and some traditional Moroccan clothing. Shore leave had gone well and whew, that was a great relief to me!!
This port the students enjoyed an extra half hour of time before bedtime and that went really well too. Some lovely pictures will be uploaded to our social media so please keep an eye out for those.
We said farewell to Tangier at 1000 today - November 29th - school is back on as are our normal sailing routines. November 30th we will celebrate Emma and Andrea's birthdays...yay!
We hope to be in warm Las Palmas on December 6th.
Until then all of us here send you lots of hugs and our love!
Dean of Students
A+ World Academy