Tangier

17 Jan

I think the very best way to describe Tangier is culture shock. Of course, I read a little about it before going and expected it to be different, but reading and being somewhere is never the same! Tangier is very metropolitan, crowed and obviously hasn’t been preserved the way other cities I’ve visited in Spain (aka kind of dirty). However, it definitely has improved and still is. Not to say we didn’t have fun and enjoy being in a new place! It was just different.

Brushing up on Tangier during the ferry ride. You can't go wrong with Rick Steves!

Anyway, we arrived to Morocco at a port a little outside of Tangier. Driving through the countryside into the city was breathtaking! The coast and mountains are right beside each other and the weather was perfect. Entering the city of Tangier was an abrupt and drastic change. First, you drive by the newly built and still-being-constructed condos by the beach and then into the city. There are suddenly buildings everywhere! Some are more modern and typical office-looking buildings and others are old French colonial style. The sidewalks were either wide and packed with people or non-existent and still packed.

The first night we were pretty exhausted from traveling all day and it started to rain so we walked around near our hotel, ate dinner and crashed. The next day we visited the medina, Grand Socco and Kasbah (the oldest part of the city). This was my favorite day! There are great views from the Kasbah, which used to be an old palace located on the top of a hill in the medina. The palace has been turned into a museum and it, as well as the area around it, is painted white with splashes of color and keyhole doors and arches.

Grand Socco plaza before entering the old medina

Houses near the Kasbah.

Beau and I in front of one of the many mosques in Tangier/ the medina.

View from the old city's perch. So pretty!

However, getting up to the Kasbah from the old medina was almost an ordeal. From Grand Socco we walked through a keyhole arch to an area with an overgrown plaza and a lot of French colonial buildings. We THOUGHT this was the old medina. It wasn’t. We passed through another arch onto tiny, labyrinthine streets (most of which weren’t labeled) with a few odd smells. Shortly after a group of teenage boys began herding us toward the Kasbah, at which point I was sure they would get us lost then try to mug us.

Well, needless to say that definitely didn’t happen. After I made it very clear that they needed to back off (aka freaked out a little), two of the boys, who ended up being good kids and charged us for the unofficial, unsolicited but definitely needed tour, became our guides for the day.

The next day we had to wait around for our train to Marrakesh. The extra day in Tangier wasn’t really needed, but I did get to ride a camel!

Yay!

Off to Marrakesh! XO

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One Response to “Tangier”

  1. vanessa January 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Marisa,
    I enjoy every single picture and every single word. Thanks for sharing this experience in this way.
    i love you and miss you.
    Mom

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