Tangier in a day.
When we decided to jump on the tour to Morocco, we were actually staying in Marbella, Spain. Lucky enough for us, the hour-long ferry from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier, Morocco is about an hour by bus from Marbella, so I finally got to check off my sixth continent! But it seemed like such a mysterious country with such beautiful people and amazing food so stay tuned when I’m able to write about Fez and Marrakech!
Depending on your tour group and time of day, you may be fortunate enough to go for a quick, typical-tourist camel ride. I have to say, it was pretty cool but also a little terrifying. These animals are super tall! There’s a step ladder and a heave-ho to get you mounted atop. After a few minutes’ ride and making sure my travel partner had this documented, I was ready for my dismount. Don’t worry, no one was spat on, in our group anyway. There is apparently a warning for that so our friendly locals made sure we stayed out of the splash zone.
Hercules’ Caves (Les Grottes d’Hercule).
According to the Greek legend, Hercules came to live out his days in this rather large cave on the coast, which was discovered in 4000 BC. This spot is about a 14km drive just outside Tangier in Cape Spartel (another reason guides can be great). You can see the beaches far below the cliff in front of the entrance to the caves, and maybe a few dots of people walking along the sand. Spend a few hours getting lost inside the massive tunnels as local guides wait outside to welcome your euros for a brief historical tour. They’ll show you where marble was carved out to use for local architecture, and where the water has weathered an Africa-shaped window into the rock leading to sea.
The caves are also close to the summer palace of the King of Morocco as well as Ba Kacem Beach, which we drove past but will have to review on our next trip.
Souks, as these enormous markets are called in Morocco, are a major part of daily life anywhere you go in the country, and is definitely an attraction for all the senses. Between the hustle and bustle of these Moroccan malls you’ll find anything and everything from spices to jewels to fabrics to food to toys… you get the idea.
I still have a business card from a rug salesman that I have every intention of utilizing. I also have a beautiful silver bracelet and statement necklace that I purchased for a very reasonable price. And yes, I haggled (very well, I might add). We stopped to shop the main market in Tangier - the indoor Grand Socco Market and Berber Farm Market. It’s probably a good thing that we had a guide and a timeline because you could seriously spend all day in here. There will be a souvenir suggestion around every corner so I suggest having an idea of something you’d like to buy, or you could walk out with a camel hauling all your loot. Seriously, some people may think the selling could be a bit aggressive, but of course we are all trying to make a living somehow!
This was one of the most lively restaurants I think I’ve been to. As soon as our group walked into through these colorful, vibrant breezeways, the band of local musician started their show. Prix fixe or Chef’s Menu is always a good way to go, and we had several local dishes coming to our tables until everyone was completely satiated. Rice, veggies, lamb, chicken, and falafel all served in a symphony of spices. Delish! I can’t wait to go back to see more of Morocco, so stay tuned!