I can’t recall when or why I decided I wanted to go to Morocco. I just always have. When originally planning this trip had thought we might spend a few days there. With easy access via the ferry from Tarifa, thought we’d land in Tangier and then make our way to one of the major cities (Fez or Marrakech). When we decided to add an extra stop in Spain – Barcelona – this then became a night in Tangier. In the end, based on mediocre Tangier reviews, we decided on just a day trip.
Growing up in Toronto, my main ferry experience was the one that takes you from downtown to the Island: medium sized boat that allows access to the deck where you can watch the water flow by as you go from one part of the city, to a slightly different part of the same city.
The ferry to Tangier was no island ferry. By way of a ramp at the rear of the boat we boarded alongside everything from cars to cargo trucks. Not to mention loads of people. Several of whom seemed to be moving their whole lives across the sea. Picture roof racks packed several feet high with everything from luggage to pots and pans.
Those of you familiar with my fear of cruise ships (it is unnatural to be that far away from water on a boat!) will appreciate the degree to which I did not exactly enjoy my passage on this behemoth. But a dream not pursued is not one worth having, so in the name of Morocco, I managed to suck it up.
With only hours in Morocco instead of days as originally planned, we gave up the fun of self-navigating and opted for a guided tour. This had its down sides (felt very herded, and suspect we may have found better food – or at least a less touristy restaurant – on our own), but overall am glad we went this route. If only for the air conditioned bus. The blazing afternoon sun felt at times just inches from the back of my neck.
The tour was short on history (disappointing) but did cram in quite a number of stops for its four hour length. Best part for me was the live infomercial in a “pharmacy” in the old city (Medina). Twenty minutes of being pitched Moroccan oils, spices and herbs. The best in the world, of course. Made it out having spent only 14 Euro. But imagine how much the same products would cost me in Canada! Not double. Not even triple. The pharmacist assured me that to get the same goods back home I would have to spend at least four times as much! : )
Other highlight was the mint tea at the restaurant we ate at. Not unlike the mojito in Tarifa – best ever.
The food was decent but didn’t wow us. Overall, the place had a “this is what we think the tourists are expecting” vibe to it. Including the crowd pleasing musicians below (tried to get a candid shot and they started posing).
Will definitely have to attempt a longer Moroccan trip at some point, but for now am content to consider this dream realized.
Given the main reason for stopping in Tarifa was access to Morocco did not spend a lot of time there this morning before heading out of this beach town. Just a quick dip in the ocean (really quick – it was cold at 10 AM!) before starting the journey to Granada.
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