Morocco- Day one: Tangier

[Note: They always say better late than never. It only took a year.]

Friday morning, Elizabeth and I along with five of her co-workers traveled to Morocco for the weekend. We drove from Málaga to Tarifa, where we boarded the ferry to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Tangier, Morocco. We had to go through customs twice: first to leave Spain and then to enter Morocco. The Moroccan officials checked our passports while we were on the ferry, so once we boarded we had to get in line. The line was so long we spent 45 minutes of the one-hour trip in line. It was quite windy, so we had to hang on so that we wouldn’t fall.   

Leaving Tarifa, Spain
The bellhop was more than happy to pose for a picture.

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Once we settled in, we departed on our tour bus with an English couple from Cornwall. Our guide drove us all around Tangier past several palaces, including those owned by King Mohammed VI, Morocco’s current king, and the Saudi Arabian prince.
We drove along the coast and got our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean and even stopped at Cap Spartel, the lighthouse where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean.
We then had a chance to ride camels while looking out over the Atlantic.
Tangier is a very historic town with different sections of the city that highlight its history–French, Spanish and Jewish. There is a new section of Syrians that have immigrated recently due to the political turmoil. There are multiple mosques, synagogues and churches scattered throughout. In the heart of Old Town is the medina surrounded by a centuries-old stone wall that was once meant to protect its inhabitants. There are many Muslim neighborhoods within the medina each having five things in common: mosque, Khoranic school, community bakery, public fountain and public bath. The community bakery is wood-burning and all the women make their breads and pastries at home then bring them to the bakery. There the baker bakes each woman’s goods where she will pick them up later. The baker has to remember who each baker is.
The doors through the medina were painted in bright colors with mosaic tiles on many.
On the tour we visited the spice market, where a medically-trained pharmacist explained to our group several of the most popular spices and their benefits. It was very enjoyable and interesting. He spoke very good English. As we were leaving a group came in that spoke Spanish, and he immediately switched languages.
Next we passed by the thread shop, where thread is woven in all colors. The seamstress will bring her fabric to the thread shop to match the colors.
To end our day, we enjoyed a four-course Moroccan meal consisting of
harrifa soup, pastilla, couscous with chicken kebabs and dessert.
On our way back to our hotel we passed by the cafe that was shown in the movie Bourne Supremacy, which was shot in Tangier.

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