A short day trip over to Tangier, Morocco by ferry. How you may ask? Well after some careful planning we realised that whilst spending time in Southern Spain we would be able to take a ferry from Tarfia down to Morocco’s northern port in Tangier.
I was giddy at the prospect of being able to travel across to another country. Getting up early in Tarifa, we got down to the port and booked our day tickets (€55pp). Some 45 minutes and a little motion sickness later, we stepped off in Tangier.
Stepping off the port was a stark difference to when I had been on holiday to Marrakech a few years ago. Immediately surrounded by local men and boys that hang around the port, we were offered on several occasions different items as well as offering their services as tour guides. It’s difficult when you stand out as a tourist and it’s a constant battle of trying to say no. Somehow, we managed to shuffle past the male predominantly male crowds and made it into the start of the souks.
The walk through Tangier and up into the Medina took around 15 mins, (after going around in circles for the first 5). The hustle and bustle of the souks was very real. Senses heightened through the smell of spices, local food being made fresh in the clay ovens and small kitchenettes situated at the rear of the markets. Even passed the port, it was all very overwhelming with the constant shouting of ‘lady’ to get our attention. I can’t remember the last time I had to deal with such confrontation. Ah right, yes i do. It was Egypt.
But hey, aside from the hassle, It was exciting to just wander the winding the streets and get lost in the endless alley ways. Walking through towns has always been my preference to explore the culture. Also, it’s 20 degrees in December. I can’t really complain. Ever so often, we would come across a walkway, or door which took me straight back to Marrakesh. The intricate detailing, the warm colours and the infamous tile designs.
A couple of hours into walking the souks and seeing all the Moroccan sweets available, our stomachs began shouting to us. Cue, find somewhere good to eat. After googling a couple of restaurants on our trusty Tripadvisor, we found a cafe not far off. Cafe Hafa, small cafe set across 3 floors with a sea-view. Perfect. After seeing many locals in the restaurant, it pushed us to go try it. Always have to go where the locals go. Of course, a lamb-tagine and mint-tea was on the menu. The tagine came, slow-cooked and flavoured to perfection. I believe this was Moroccon living.
- Plan a little. We didn’t and did the whole day on a whim. It was a lot of walking and we walked so far out (into a residential area) we had to get a taxi back to the centre of Tangier. It cost next to nothing, but we did loose some time. Which is vital when you’re only in one area.
- Be modest – this wasn’t like Marrakech in the slightest. Albeit the level of tourists around last December are few and far between. I wore a shirt and jeans for the day. When going around to look at local Mosque’s – it’s always good to have a scarf handy.
- Haggle – every local is there to get your money. Being foreign they will start high. Go in low but don’t be disrespectful. You can always say no and walk off, they’ll have a way of giving you a price you end up purchasing from.
- Eat – go where the locals go. You want authentic, tasty food – then that’s a no brainer.
- Currency – carry cash. If you stay local there aren’t many cash machines around – if any unless you go further out. For all the souks you will be paying cash, it’ll also help with gift purchases!
Have you even been to Tangier? Share you experiences in the comments below.