Yes, you read the title correctly.
How you may ask? Well it was during my holiday to the South of Spain last Christmas.
A trip within a trip. Trip inception.
I was giddy at the prospect of being able to travel across to another country and with the help of express ferries – we did just that. A ferry service which sets of from Tarfia (Andalusia) – Tangier (Morocco)
The ferry sets off from Tarifa and is around 35-45mins. Ours was a little longer due a departure delay but not by much. We bought return tickets on the day for around €55pp.
Stepping off the port was a stark difference to when I had been on holiday to Marrakech a few years ago. It was heaving with locals and Spanish people scurrying around. There was a definite culture and attitude change. My friend and I stayed close the whole time, feeling slightly intimidated which altered as the day went on.
We walked up and through Tangier up to the Medina (around 15 mins, after going around in circles for the first 5). The hustle and bustle of local souk owners selling anything from dried fruit and nuts, to spices and knock off sunglasses were very real. I couldn’t remember the last time I had got so much attention and shouting ‘lady’ to engage with people. Ah right, yes I do. It was Egypt.
But hey, aside the slight hassle from locals to engage in some business. It was exciting, just to wander the winding streets soaking up the culture. It was December and 20 degrees and very warm. I wasn’t going to start complaining. The attention to detail on the doors and design tiles are something to be admired.
So after walking around for several hours and wanting to try every Moroccan sweet available, we shuffled around trying to find somewhere good to eat. We came to Cafe Hafa, a little big cafe, sea-facing. It was pretty busy and spaced out across several floors. We could see a lot of locals came here, so that was the main driver to popping in. We had some mint tea and lamb-tagine. Super-tasty. Great views of the sea. 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!