A Day in Tangiers, Morocco
From what I hear from other travelers, Morocco is a good country to travel to, see the sights and gain insight on a new culture. Quite a few of my tour mates in Spain are heading for another week tour in Morocco.
It’s me! In Morocco!
Tangiers, Morocco is probably not a place in Morocco you really need to see. I really enjoy at least 80% of what I do because I pick the destinations and the companies or companions I go with to these destinations. I did not enjoy my tour in Tangiers, not because it was a bad place but because the tour itself was so strict and very uninformative.
Tangiers, Morocco is a 35 minute fast ferry ride away from Tarifa, Spain. My other travel mates were heading to Gibraltar for the day, somewhere I visited a few years ago with my mom. I thought “Why not? I’ve never been to Morocco or even Africa for that matter.” My mom did this tour many years ago with some friends and told me how awful it was but that you had to do it. That is the perfect description for it. It was bad but you had to do it anyway.
The ferry company pretty much forces you to do a tour- it is cheaper than going down and back by yourself. Plus I was by myself- my Spanish guide Carlos didn’t really want me roaming around Tangiers by myself.
Once in Tangiers we met our guide Fatima. She was a lovely woman, so very friendly. I don’t think she gave us one bit of history, dates, current events, or trivia. It was all about pointing out hotels to us. Blah.
We were taken on a 10 minute tour of Tangiers that were supposed to take us up in the mountains for pictures. Nope- that didn’t happen. We stopped to ride some smelly camels on the side of the road though.
I did not ride the camel for 2 Euros. Mostly because they smelled.
Next was lunch in the loudest tourist restaurant ever. We had to sit next to the band. No one at the table could converse at all. Also, this restaurant was strictly for tourists. No menu, no locals. Authentic not so much.
They were showing Argo at the movie theatre near one of the main parks. I thought that was interesting.
After lunch we were taken down some random back alleys into a carpet shop to be sold some carpets. Walls and walls of carpets of all different sizes and colors. They got very grumpy at our group because no one bought a carpet. Sorry guys, not going to fit in my tiny suitcase. Two English guys and I tried to go out the front door into the street to look around but was immediately scolded and led back inside to more carpets.
This guy gave us an informative carpet sell. Probably the most I learned about Morocco all day.
Then we left out the back door to go to a pharmacy where they sell argon hair oil, saffron, other spices, Moroccan viagra, and other interesting stuff. I did buy some argon oil for me unruly hair so we will see how that pans out. Again we were led out a back door.
One of the girls in our group lives in Southern Spain but is from Sweden and had taken the same tour 3 times. Her dad was visiting so they took the tour again. She kept complaining that this was the worst tour of Tangiers she has taken. Enough complaining forced Fatima to allow us to go the main streets for 20 minutes to shop in the markets and see some views.
Our 20 minutes in the street were the best part of the whole tour by far. The people were nice- yes we were stared at but not in a bad way (one girl on the tour had bright orange curly hair that I even stared at). We shopped, bargained, talked to little kids, it was more culture than we got from the tourist restaurant and the carpet guys. If more of the tour would have been like this it would have been a whole lot better.
After learning and seeing so little we got back on the ferry back to Spain. With all the ferry rides, lunch, and “sightseeing”, it was an 8 hour tour in all. I would like to see more of Morocco, less of the creepy back alleys and carpet guys. I’m not putting it on my travel to do list yet but I’ll keep it in mind for the future.