Location: Tangier, Morocco. Today we took a high speed ferry from Tarifa to Tangier, Morocco. This wasn’t our first choice way to see Africa, but we ended up not having the time for a longer trip down to Marrakesh. We figured the one day continent hop was better than nothing. The ferry trip across in the morning was pretty rough. The straight was still pretty rocky from recent storms and everyone spent the hour long boat ride looking like they were going to lose their breakfast. We made it across and once on solid ground again everyone seemed o.k. We paid for a packaged tour, which is cheaper than just taking the ferry by yourself. The reason, we discovered later, is because they drag you around to shops and try to sell you overpriced souvenirs. We kind of figured this was the case, but it was less stressful than getting off the boat and figuring out what to do on our own. The first part of the tour was by bus and highlighted panoramic views of the city. This was followed by a stop for camel rides. I don’t love the idea of animals enslaved for human entertainment but I still let my kids ride a camel. Afterwards the bus drove us down to the Kasbah (we rocked it) and we got out and walked through some pretty, labyrinth-like streets. We then had a traditional Moroccan lunch. It was by far the best part of the tour. They served us several courses including a delicious veggie soup and Moroccan mint tea. The whole time we were serenaded by some lively Moroccan musicians. After lunch we were dragged around to a rug store, a Moroccan pharmacy (ladies & gentleman please, rose cream, argon oil, and saffron), and some small souvenir shops. Basically the rest of the afternoon was spent trying to convince salesmen that we were not interested in spending money on their clearly over priced items. Of course, I did buy a few things. I guess their tactics work, which is why they use them. I ended up with a cool decorative bowl and some argon oil body cream. The girls each got a bracelet. The boat trip back was much smoother and we arrived in the Tarifa port and headed off to our next destination of the day; Gibraltar. I wish we had time to make Tangier and Gibraltar 2 separate days. I would prefer to do a separate post for Gibraltar. But we are trying to make the most of our travel time.
We arrived in Gib (as the locals call it) late in the day and stood on the other side of the border wondering what our best course of action was. Before we could discuss it, a tour guide drove up and asked if we wanted to go to the top of the rock. He said he would charge us the same price as it would cost to take the tram up and the tram was closing so it would be impossible to choose that option anyways. He seemed cool so we agreed and off we went up the rock. This turned out to be the best decision we could have made. Adrian, is a Gib native, has grown up on the rock and with the monkeys, and has been doing professional tours for 8 years. He drove us up and found the monkeys (Barbary Macaques) and then it got even better than we expected. He was able to get one of the smaller monkeys to jump up on his arms and then we each got to take a turn holding it. I won’t lie. It was a little bit scary being that close to wild monkeys that could clearly mess you up if they wanted to. We spent a good amount of time up there with the monkeys, watching them play and wrestle. Once we were done with the monkeys, Adrian drove us to a few other scenic spots on the rock and took some group photos for us. He had agreed to give us a one hour tour but it turned into well over 2 hours. He told us everything one could possibly want to know about the history, geology, and politics of the rock. If anyone reading this blog plans to go to Gib, please comment so I can give you Adrian’s contact information. We highly recommend him.
After Adrian left us, we spent the rest of the evening tracking down dinner and then driving our over sized van back to Sevilla. It was an incredibly long and exhausting day but it couldn’t possibly have gone any better.
Photography Credit: Brandon