MOROCCO: A Day In Tantalizing Tangier
So .... we've got a week to traipse around Spain's Costa del Sol and figure why not hop on the ferry to Tangier? Easily doable from our base in Torremolinos - we could've done it solo (drive to Tarifa, take the ferry from there and wander around Tangier), but previous visits to Morocco reminded me that it's probably not the best idea for to arrive there with no plan and wander aimlessly around. Don't get me wrong, it's not like it's dangerous or anything — but tourists are spotted and targeted immediately to to buy .... anything.
If you've been to Morocco, then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, don't let it put you off, but be prepared to be harassed to buy, buy, buy every minute of your time here. Why go if I knew this already? I wanted the child to experience being in Morocco, so we were willing to accept the bad with the good.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
I broke one of my golden travel rules and booked a tour. Cost — maybe around 50€ and includes the bus to/from Tarifa, ferry to/from Tangier and guide/bus waiting on the other side for you. The bus drives around the city with the guide doing his schpeel, you stop to ride a camel, then walk through the Medina, have lunch in a typical restaurant with live music and a belly-dancing show, see a carpet demo and visit a Berber pharmacy.
Sounds cute, right? Except the camel was really a dromedary.... in the middle of the city.... in a parking lot... a 2-min ride for 2€ (of course, the child just had to do this). The mandatory stops at the carpet place and the Berber pharmacy resulted in several very pushy salesmen who didn't seem to understand the word "no" in any language we tried. Plus the entire time walking through the Medina, we were followed... by what seems like the same group of extremely pushy sales peeps. It starts to feel quite claustrophobic.
I mean, I know these dudes are just trying to make a living and everything, but what they fail to realize is that if they gave people space to breathe — more peeps would most likely buy their stuff. Instead of enjoying being in Tangier, the constant, aggressive harassment to buy stuff, just makes you want to run back to the ferry to leave and never come back. Aside from that, Tangier is a beautiful, tantalizing city — the narrow alleyways, cobblestone streets, the brightly colored woven fabrics everywhere, the smell of fresh bread and spices.... I just wish we could be left in peace to truly enjoy it.
Still... glad I went, glad the child got to tick off another country — hell, another continent — off her list, and of course, the photo ops are awesome (which is the main reason I wanted to go!). Enjoy!
The middle child, just waking up from her nap on the ferry to Tangier
Oh look, maybe I can hitch a ride back to Spain on this
Off the boat and making our way to wherever they're taking us
The middle child getting a lift from a Dromadery
She doesn't look so sure about this anymore!
Up close and personal with these dudes
View of the city from some hill...somewhere in Tangier
Traffic on the way to the Medina (Market)
Vegetable and fruits available all over the square as you approach the Medina
Prepping veggies in the market
Fresh red peppers
Ladies negotiating the cost of veggies
Lots of price negotiations going on
Time to see what else they have in the Medina
Lots of handmade pottery
And candle holders
Beautiful glass lamps
Tempted to take one home with me
So much beautiful handmade stuff here
Hand-painted plates and bowls
Making our way through the maze of the Medina
Even more handmade goodies
Steps at the market in Tangier, Morocco
A pink mosque tower in Tangier
The child, checking out the view
Tangier Morocco Mosque in the Grand Socco Market Square
Our super helpful guide, Sa'id
Ancient Banyan tree in the court of justice - they say if you make a wish while touching it, it comes true
She's thinking about what to wish for...
Medina - Tangier, Morocco
Busy day in Tangier
The smell of something yummy grilling
How about a slab of beef?
Love walking through markets, only wish I could buy some stuff to bring home
I guess these will have to do - a snack for the ferry ride back to Spain
Naked birds..... I guess we've made it to the butcher section
Yup - definitely the butcher section of the market
I don't know what these are, but I want... like, 2 stacks of these suckers
Time to break for lunch at Restaurant Mamounia Palace
Our welcoming committee
Gorgeous dining area just waiting for us
Time to get comfy
Waiting patiently for food
Starting off with tomato and chick pea soup with fresh bread
Couscous and veggies
Belly dancing show
Dessert - cookie with mint tea
Time to head back out to wander around for a bit
Gorgeous doors everywhere
We're getting roped in to sitting through a carpet sales pitch.... at least the entrance looks promising!
They're rolling out the carpet for us....
Time to check out some carpets.....and some other interesting stuff
Time to make our way through alleys to get back to the port
Can't walk anywhere without being harassed to buy something
So that's where carpets are hung out to dry in the city
Photos taken | written by JENNIFER MAHON
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