A Small Nibble of North Africa
This is the only time we have been to Morocco. Our only other visit to Africa has been to Egypt, more than a decade earlier.The visit was an overnight "optional tour" offered with our 2 week stay in Torremolinos. After reaching our hotel in the outskirts of Tangier, we were fed a lunch of tagine and couscous and then taken for the afternoon to Asilah. The following morning we were bussed to the Caves of Hercules and Cape Spartel with views of the coast, before our final adventure: walking through the Grand Socco in Tangier with lunch in the Medina.(Restaurant Hammadi). 25 years earlier while on an independent tour of Andalusia we had contemplated visiting here, but were persuaded by friends to stay in Ronda instead (which was a good piece of advice).
"The Outskirts of Tangier"
The hotel was most solicitous (Hotel Ahlen) and welcoming. Next to its grounds was a large dinner- performance tent and a field with wooden spectator stands where we observed a short demonstration by native horsemen and were offered a (free) camel "ride". The other land adjacent to the hotel was poorly developed residential properties. Luckily the venture is blessed by a stork family, although I estimate that more than 1000 tourists a year pass through this experience from our agency alone.
"The Moroccan Entertainment"
Our evening was spent in the spectator stands and dinner tent next to the Hotel Ahlen. The show brought back memories to me of 75-80 years ago when I was exposed yo side-shows of traveling circuses and similar venues at Coney Island at the end Brooklyn, N.Y. or vaudeville shows in many places.(As a child I did not experience state fairs and their midways). (see our Travelogue for more).
A Two-Day Trip to North Africa
We took an “optional tour” to Morocco as part of a 2 week “Extended Vacation” in Torremolinos. (The added charge was $150 per person). The trip not only exposed us to the city of Tangier, but also to some of its environs.On debarking at the port after crossing from Algeciras by ferry, we were bussed to our hotel in the suburbs of Tangiers (Hotel Ahlen) where we were ceremoniously welcomed and installed. Next came lunch of tagine and couscous (dishes with which our quartet were familiar and fond). To finish the afternoon we were taken to the town of Asilah on the Atlantic Coast for a long walking tour (See separate Tips).
"The Evening Tent Show"
The evening was spent adjacent to the hotel at a large tent dinner theater. The show was preceded at sunset in a special arena, also adjacent, where we were given an exhibition by costumed Berber horsemen demonstrating charges with rifle shots, flambeaux and much shouting.The opportunity to mount and ride a camel for a few moments was then offered to all. The dinner followed with couscous and meats plus fruit appetizers and desserts. The floor show followed with whirling and jumping male dancers, a female belly dancer, a contortionist, a snake-handler, a conjurer fire-eater-broken glass-walker. They were backed by a native musical group. (We have illustrated the evening in two travelogues under our Province de Tanger page)
"The Second Day"
The following morning we were whisked North to Cape Spartel and the Hercules Cave which we have described. At noon we were back at the Grand Socco where we lunched and then walked through several areas, including a spice market. To help our guides increase their incomes we finished at a rug emporium (for tea or juice) where to the dismay of many in our group, my sitter and I (plus my wife) bargained, haggled , bought and arranged for USA delivery of several rugs. (We had intended to probably buy rugs before we left home, knew what we wanted and had target prices which were met). We arrived back at Algeciras and Torremolinos and had a late dinner because of the two hour forward time change advance going from Morocco to Spain.