Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day Trip {Tangier, Morocco #2}

So I went back to Tangier -- and it was just as amazing as the first time around!  My mom came to visit and another friend had her niece visiting so the four of us ladies took a day trip to Morocco.  And oh man was it an adventure -- and I think the best way to describe our day is to do a little time line, so here it goes!

6:00am -- my mom and I are up and out the door to go pick up my friend (C) and her niece (L) and it is POURING rain, like can barely see, step outside for one second and get soaking wet -- pouring rain.  But we haven't heard anything about the ferries not running, so off we head towards Tarifa.

8:00am(ish) -- we make it to Tarifa in one piece but it was a slow drive with all the rain and wind.  We are shocked to find out our ferry is actually crossing but we are happy and figure we can handle a little rain!
A little note: so the crossing between Tarifa and Tangier is only 8 miles, but because of where these two countries are -- between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the winds and crossing can get pretty bad.... (remember this) 

9:00am -- our ferry leaves and the ride is pretty smooth, but in true Spanish fashion we left late.  We were all talking and having fun so I don't have any idea what time we actually left!
Always remember to get your passport stamped ON THE FERRY or you won't be allowed into Morocco and it'll create a big mess!

10:00am(ish) -- Morocco is a hour behind Spain so once we finally made it to Tangier, we met with our guide, Jamal (who we used last time too and again, he was amazing).  The first part of the day is the driving tour so off we went as we made our way out of the harbor area and through the city.  We saw the Grand Mosque and went up into the hills where all the government officials and those wealthy enough to afford massive mansions live.... we then drove towards the lighthouse where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic (and on a clear day you can see Spain and Gibraltar).  There is also a lighthouse, but you can't access it so it just makes for some fun pictures!
tiles on the Grand Mosque (gorgeous)

11:00am(ish) -- At the lighthouse lookout area there is a restaurant and so we had a traditional Moroccan snack -- mint tea and some thicker crepe thing covered in almonds.... so I enjoyed my mint tea!
Thus far we had been super lucky with the rain -- the only time it seemed to rain was when we were in the van, but we did have a few thunder crashes while we were driving towards the lighthouse so we were happy to take a snack break and wait out the rain!

12:00pm -- we headed to the Hercules caves -- the wind created some cool waves and sounds within the caves, but made for dark pictures of the rock formation that looks like Africa (so go to my first post on Tangier to see better pictures).  The rain finally let up so it was now.....
from above the Hercules Caves
12:30pm -- time for our camel ride!  Once again we completely lucked out and it was not raining at all for our ride -- but ALL of our camels decided that they needed to take their weekly pee the minute we got up on them.  It was hilarious as one camel after another just started peeing and well, they sure pee for a long, long time.  We also went on a much longer ride than last time and all we did was laugh and laugh some more!

1:00pm(ish) -- we drove back into the main part of Tangier for the walking tour.  We managed to be in the main square when the call to prayer occurred and it was quite the cultural sight to see... almost every single person moving in one direction towards the nearest church.  People were putting out large carpets outside the church, removing their shoes and dropping to pray.  It was obviously not appropriate to take pictures or even stare, but it was such an experience to witness and so very different from my own culture that all I wanted to do was sit and stare in awe.

1:45pm -- after purchasing my massive (but extremely inexpensive) quantities of spices, we made our way to an insanely yummy lunch where we were served SEVEN courses (not counting more mint tea)!  We started with the most amazing farm bread dipped in various things (lentils, eggplant, harissa (amazing red pepper paste)), then we had soup, then pastilla (without almonds for me), a couscous/vegetable dish, chicken kababs, fruit and then finally dessert -- we were all so stuffed and practically had to be rolled out of the restaurant!  

3:15pm(ish) -- we continued our walking tour, walking through the area where people live (the medina and kasbah areas), seeing all the gorgeous doors and tile work.  We got to peek into a communal bakery which people use if they don't have a place in their own homes to bake -- it smelled so so good!  And I got to practice my French with the people baking their bread that day!  We continued to explore and shop -- making our way back to the market.
I love this part of Tangier, the small winding streets and very maze-like layout but man is it easy to get lost!  I was so happy to have a guide.  But once again, we never felt unsafe or in any danger.  Everyone was extremely nice and welcoming -- we didn't feel like we got harassed to buy things, but we sure had fun bartering for things we did want to buy!
view of the bay from a restaurant in town

5:00pm -- we made our way to the ferry after a long and fun day.  We were all so happy to sit in the terminal area before we loaded the boat -- we had so much fun laughing, reminiscing about the day and looking at all of our pictures!

So here is where things get REALLY interesting....

6:00pm -- our ferry was supposed to leave at 6:00, but it most certainly did not.  It soon became almost seven before we finally asked someone when we were actually leaving -- we left probably about 7/7:15-ish.

7:30pm(ish) -- we are all having a blast on the boat, laughing and talking (drinking wine -- no alcohol in Morocco) when the boat started rocking pretty good.  Big, huge, gentle rocking like a roller coaster so we were joking and putting our hands up and laughing -- I am pretty sure half the boat was videoing us acting like idiots.... when things quickly went sour.  All of a sudden the rocking was much more violent and fierce, waves were crashing up over the boat and people were screaming (us included).... and then EVERYONE started getting sea sick.  And I mean just about everyone -- a good 75% of the boat was sick and miraculously no one in our group of four got sick, which was good because we went into help-mode.  Right next to us was a mom and her two young sons, all of whom were sea sick.  I ended up with one of the boys on my lap while the mom and the other boy went to the bathroom to throw up.  My mom started handing out cold, wet paper towels to people who were sick.  L started helping clean up some of the mess created by all the sick people -- because when some of the workers are also throwing up, you know its bad.  C held down all of our stuff making sure nothing went flying or got broken, while I was still with the one little boy (who eventually fell asleep).  Everywhere you looked, someone was getting sick.... the bathrooms were full of people throwing up.  One poor mom was nursing her baby and throwing up at the same time.  It was insane.  It took us over an hour and a half just to go the 8 miles across the water.... we finally docked, we helped the mom and her sons off the ferry while our group of four were literally the last ones off the boat and through customs.
There are pictures and videos of this insanity but you don't want to see them :)

10:00pm -- we finally are back in Spain and made it to my car.  We still have a two hour drive home, again in the rain and dark... and thankfully everyone stayed awake!

12:00am(ish) -- my mom and I finally pull into our driveway after dropping off C and L -- we touch nothing as we walk into the house, and immediately jump into the shower!  Then fall into bed, still in awe of our crazy, insane, amazing and wonderful day!

Once again I had a wonderful time in Morocco and seriously need to go back for more -- but this time to a different area and for more days!

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