Morocco 16th July

We take a day trip to Tangier, Morocco, crossing from Tarifa. North Africa’s coast is almost tangible, its vast mountains visible in the distance, from the town.

The ferry taking only 45 minutes to cross from Europe to Africa! Once we boarded the boat we were asked to queue to have our passports stamped which took about 25mins.  This is avoidable if you just wait for the queue to disappear halfway through the journey!

As we arrive at Tangier the bundle starts; it’s every man woman or child for himself!  As everyone departs from the cargo bay, we manage to find our guide and the group.

The groups are split between Latino speaking countries, i.e Spain, Italy, Portugal etc and English, German and French. Our guide was an old local man, who was wearing some sort of cloak/dress you would see in Lord of the Rings (Gandolf comes to mind)

We are taken on a bus tour around the city to see the different provinces. We drive up to a hilltop just past the embassy area where we are offered the token camel ride for €1. As I have never been on a camel before I chance it and take a ride …

We are then taken for a tour around the old Medina.  Walking through the narrow alleyways, we see locals spinning fabric, making bread, and pass through the hordes of touristy shops. Through the back alleys, we pass many old mosques only identifiable by their minaret or their decorated doorways.

Walking through the streets, the differences between Africa and Europe become apparent, with children as young as seven approaching us and asking or insisting we buy lots of tacky souvenirs.

We emerge from the alleys ways to be greeted by the local snake charmer, teasing a python for loose change.

We are taken by the guide to a “local” restaurant for lunch where we are given traditional couscous, vegetables, chicken and meat kebabs for starters.

We then arrive at the obligatory rug shop (Martin comments he has been to 20 of these before, he’s not impressed!)

An interesting stop is the spice shop, with a very enthusiastic and loud Moroccan called Said, who tells us about a variety of spices and concoctions, which claim to cure headaches, snoring and improve memory to name but a few.  It almost seemed like he had a remedy for everything!

We visited a local pharmacy where we were able to buy an ample supply of antibiotics and altitude sickness tablets over the counter, no prescription necessary.  This was not possible in Europe.