Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
December 3, 2006
There is one thing a tour/travel agent will be sure to tell you when planning a trip to Morocco. With a stern look, he/she will say, "Please be advised to travel in large groups of men and women. Going solo is not recommended". Despite the heeded warning, my boyfriend David and I decided to brave the trip alone. I had been living in Europe for over three months and needed an adventure - something off the beaten path. Our journey began in the port city of Algeciras, Spain, which in itself plays a very important role in international trade. Algeciras is located along the Gilbraltar Straight, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. The town caters to the transient lifestyles of those who pass thru; convenience and service monopolize a town once rich with rivaling culture and history.
Despite our time limitations, we had an hour to peruse the cobblestone streets of Algeciras' city center. Suprisingly, the town itself was manicured, tastefully decorated with minimal art sculptures. The street signs read both Arabic and Spanish. I hoped to see more of a Moorish infuence in Algeciras; but the town serves its purpose as one of the busiest international seaports in the world. We arrived by Car to the Port Authority of Algeciras, and bought two tickets for the 9am Transmediterranea ferry to Tangier, Morocco. As the ferry left European soil into the open waterway, we had three hours to spare before reaching Tangier. The Western tourists primarily stayed on the decks of the boat, leisurely enjoying the rolling mountainscapes of Andalucia. The lower levels of the ferry were mostly occupied by Arab men and women, traditionally clad in Jelabahs. Jelabahs are long hooded robes that hide the body form and provide comfort in intense temperatures.
We also visited the Hotel Minzah for an Authentic Moroccan Lunch and founded Aziz, a wonderful private tour guide under US$ 30 per person recommended by the reception. we had the most wonderful time here. To me, the most memorable moments were just walking through the streets of this lovely city, looking around at all the local faces, the buildings, the clothes they wore. Shoppind at the Berber Souks. Everything was just amazing! And I would recommend it for any adventurous or not-so-adventurous soul out there. it is a fantastic introduction to a mystically enchanting ancient world.
From journal A Guide in Tangier/Morocco/Africa
Warner Robins, Georgia
May 25, 2004
Rumor has it that Morocco has some beautiful places but I don't think that Tangiers is high on the list. Go if you want to say you had the experience, go for the cheap rugs, go for the walk and just to see it. . . My husband will never go again.
From the time you get off the bus you are inundated with people pushing things in your face and telling you how much they are (the first price out of their mouth is usually 10 times more than you should pay, but they will make you work for paying less).
On the first stop I wanted to get a picture and left my hubby to take a picture a few feet from the camel rides. When I turned around he had a Fez on his head and a guy asking him to pay for it. My husband being the extremely polite southern guy that he is was trying to tell the guy no thank you, but wasn't doing a good job of being convincing. He looked at me with that "help" look and I just smiled at him. I showed him some pity after about five more minutes and saved him... When we got on the bus later guess what was in his hands?? Yep the Fez, when I asked him why he had a fez, his answer was "you left me alone too long".
By the end of the tour, he was really tired of these guys. I have to admit I was a bit tired of them by the end also but the prices were really getting good by then so I stayed in there till the end. $5 for a full length embroidered kaftan and other goodies.
OK, it isn't all bad; you do get to see the biggies. . . They take you to the Kasbah (it isn't as romantic as it sounds in the movies), through a market (really fresh meat), to a spice dealer, a rug factory, A nice Moroccan meal, a ride through the country side and it also includes the "Fast Ferry".
A lot of the men were ready to turn back after about 30 minutes, but the women were in there fighting for bargains. I got a kick out of it, but I'm sure my husband's dissertation on the subject would be different.
I wouldn't take kids that stray. . . I wouldn't take an adult that strayed from the tour. I wouldn't stray from the tour.
From journal South Coast of Spain, Malaga
March 29, 2004
The old city of Tangiers was amazing to see. Unfortunately, the tour seems overly commercial at times because they take you to a rug and spice store and you listen to them try and sell you their wares. More time walking or seeing Tangiers would have been fun.
From journal Club Marbella
March 16, 2004
From journal Southern Spain in the Spring
by Jose Kevo
September 17, 2001
Once clearing a strenuous customs check, our group was whisked away by van to southern outskirts of Tangiers with inspiring views back towards Spain...and foretaste of what was to come from impoverished vendors trying to hawk goods and camel rides. I was suprised at how lush and greent these surrounding areas were on this, my first visit to Africa.
The ride back included stopping at a former Mosque-turned-palace surrounded by sheer poverty EVERYWHERE! Hordes of agressive children followed us begging for money, candy. Heavily armed military guards were abundant no matter where you looked. I'm still not sure if the van driver got lost or purposefully wanted us to see the nature of things in his country as we continued to ride through the back street communities that looked like war zones.
We were next given a whirlwind tour of the Kasbah (covered seperately) and a tour of the city market (photos appear in the Dining In General entry). We had a late Moroccan lunch as part of the excursion which consisted of meat kabobs, cous cous and vegetables. A tantilizing belly dancer provided entertainemt...of course, for tips.
A small period was given to look around and "shop" with only enough time to quickly snag some postcards; Spanish pesetas are accepted. And that was it! I remember fighting a nap on the boat ride back simply trying to process all I'd just taken in during this bonanza of adventure. Most of me was wishing I could've seen and done more, but somehow all but relieved I didn't. To this day, there's still a mixed bag of emotions towards an opporuntiy I took advantage of yet still missed out on.
As a potential future traveler of this excursion, don't take these writings as potential warnings not to go. Simply mentally prepare yourself...and don't go without an escort! Other than Tangiers, there's also an excursion offered to Cueta; a city on the northern African coast that Spain still claims. I look forward to checking here out when I next return.
From journal The Costa del Sol - My Mediterranean Favorite