Most of THE MEDINA in Tangier is in good condition. Streets are narrow, houses are in many different styles, there are many commercial areas and it's colourful with many painted doors.
I thought this was an amazing part of the tour as we wound our way through and got a glimpse of the many sights, sounds and yes even the smells of Tangier, especially the distinct smell of curry. I loved peeping into the little nooks and crannies and saw little businesses tucked into the smallest of spaces. There was the tailor/seamstress. There was a little bakery with pita bread just coming out of the oven. Children playing in the narrow streets. A lady doing her washing. It was all just fascinating to me how they could all live in harmony in such closed quarters.
Nobody bothered us on this particular walk, but perhaps it was because of our big, burly "bodyguards" positioned front and back of our group.
As Tarifa is a mere 13 km or 8 miles from the shores of North Africa, spectacular views of the Rif Mountains of Africa can be seen across the water.TARIFA is the southern-most tip of Europe, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
As we Headed back by ferry to Tarifa, we had the good fortune to have a wonderful sunset over the sea. I tried to capture the moment as we sailed into the PUERTO DE TARIFA.
We passed the Castillo de Guzman El Bueno - The ruins of a 13th century castle.
Also there was an awesome jetferry in the harbour - the Hanse Jet.
Favorite thing: After our walking tour ,we came upon a clearing in a square and there waiting for us were the SNAKE CHARMERS. I always thought a snake charmer coaxed a snake out of a basket with music. These charmers pulled snakes out of a box to the sound of a beating drum and invited anyone to put the snake around your neck and take a picture. There were a few takers, including Hans who had some fun with it. After , the basket went around to gather any donations.
As our tour bus wound its way around the city, I couldn't get enough of this fascinating city. Old and new. City of contrast ( Note the picture with the McDonald's sign and the Mosque in the background). People going about their business. I captured a man in Arab garb just casually strolling the streets. Then there were the young Soccer fans celebrating a win, in the streets.
My head was turning every which way, so as not to miss a thing.
Favorite thing: We were in for a treat. We walked into a huge room with walls covered with the most beautiful carpets. We all sat down on little wooden stools while a salesman gave us a CARPET DEMONSTRATION and explained to us all the different kinds of rugs and what to look for when purchasing a rug. If you decided to buy one, they would ship it home for you. Will that be Master Card or Visa?
Located in Northern Africa, TANGIER is across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. The location of Tangier at the crossroads of Europe and Africa has made it an important port and commercial center.
There are three official languages, French, Spanish and Arabic. The city of Tangier is a mixture of the old and the new. The old part of the city, called the Kasbah, is walled and has white houses and narrow winding streets. The new European section is modern and luxurious. One of the modern buildings we passed on our bus tour, is the Moroccan National Assembly building, pictured in the extra pics section.
The square near THE KASBAH fronts the former Sultan's Palace, which is now a museum of art and architecture.
Tangier's 17th century fortified residential quarter, the Kasbah is the highest point of the city and on a clear day it is possible to see the Spanish city of Tarifa.
The Dar El Makhzen was built by Sultan Moulay Ismail. While this Palace is not the largest a Sultan could reside in, the DAR EL MAKHZEN is still tastefully finished with wooden ceilings, arabesques, marble fountains and two inner courtyards.
The Palace was abandoned in 1912 and was later turned into a museum of Art and Architecture.
Entrance to DAR EL MAKHZEN MUSEUM or Musee De La Kasbah, is one Euro or 10 dirhans.
Favorite thing: The GRAND MOSQUE is said to have been the site of a Roman Temple and at one time housed a church built by the Portuguese.The Mosque is unique in having square towered minarets instead of the usual round ones, but as far as mosques are concerned, the building itself is quite small and unimpressive.
My friend was working for the Calcuta sisters there in a house for single mothers, that are illegal in Morocco (single mothers), so I decide to visit her and while she was working I use to take care the children there, they were so sweet, so great, you could not stop loving them!
This was one of the mothers, No, she was not hurt, she had a problem with an eye ...
I am afraid my experience in Tangier was not very tourist, it was very therapeutically for me, as I was just dismissed from a horrible job, and my friend suggest me to go there, help them for a while, and she promise me I will see life completely different after that!
I agreed with her immediately!
Sometimes we need someone to remind us, how lucky we are to live in such wonderful conditions as we live in Europe...
maybe is not my best tourist travel but it has been the one that teach me more about this wonderful moms, broken families, new families (one of the single mothers got married while being there...). I was told while I was there that single mothers does not exist there, and their kids do not exist for their law... I am not sure if that is true still now... as Morocco is changing a lot.
The only thing I did not like was that I was suggesting not smoking in the street, as I was a woman! (I was suggested only to do it in my private accommodation!) Horrible for an addicted person LOL
I would invite someone who had never been to Tangier, for a few hours walk around the medina from Grand Socco to Kasbah fortifications and the Atlantic coast. I would add some (mostly window because of high prices) shopping and eating local food on the way. Add a visit to the Moroccan Arts and Antiquities Museum in Dar El Makhzen, former sultanate and governor's palace.
Fondest memory: I do not miss anything in Tangier itself but I would take a loop drive to nearby Cape Spartel again. But, I would skip Hercules Caves. Instead, I would visit the ancient Roman site of Cotta.
In Tangier I would visit Forbes Museum of Military Miniatures in Mendoub Palace and the American Legation.
Most of the nationalities (european countries, USA, Canada, NZ, etc for mroe details check at the Moroccan Embassy) do not need a visa to enter in Morocco as tourists, you normally need a valid passport with more than 6 months expire date,
If you come by ferry, check for a long queue, that the line to get your passport stamped, it will include a number, if you come back to Morocco, you will only have to show that number as they have registered you.
This trip was just a short break for our anniversary, 3 great years together and we were looking for something nearby, not too expensive and relax. First we were looking for a cruise but there were not cabins free in the one we liked, then I remember Tangier, I wanted to show Stacy for a long, long time and this was the best moment.
I phoned Olga (my best friend) that had been living there for suggestions and we found ourselves there in less than a week.
A great experience and I know we will be back.
My third visit to Tangier was at Christmas 2005/New Year Eve 2006. A group of friend we crossed by ferry to spend the long weekend and celebrate NYE at Tangier, maybe not a party place, but we had a great experience. We celebrated also the birthday of Olga´s best friend of Tangier and had dinner at Hammadi. A perfect weekend.
DIRHAM: The currency
DAR: House, building or palace.
IMAM: Islamic prayer leader and political leader
MINARET: The tower of a mosque used for calling the faithful to prayers
JELLABA: Large cotton or wool outer garment with sleeves and hood
HELLO: Salam Alaykoom
EXCUSE ME: Smeh Lee
THANK YOU: Shokran
YES: Eeyeh / Waha
NO PROBLEM: Mush