I’m going to call my day trip to Morocco a ‘planning trip’ so I know what I might do next time. And I would love to go back.
There are ferries that go from Tarifa (another post) to Tangier every hour. It’s a 35 minute trip but by the time you add on getting your ticket, going through Customs, and the boat being late leaving – it added another hour.
You can book a return ticket (about $90) or get on a group trip for about the same money. Rick Steeve’s guide books have been very helpful so far with practical advice, so I took his recommendation to skip the groups that are herded through shops for the kickbacks, and hire a private guide. I asked my hotel for a recommendation, and they booked with with Aziz Saint Laurent (one of the top on Trip Advisor).
It was so much fun to get off the ferry, walk past the gauntlet of wannabe guides, and have him standing there with a sign ‘Leslia Maze’. I just let him plan the day, which was so much fun after constantly trying to figure out what to see, where I was, etc.
We walked out to a waiting driver who took us to the top of the Medina (old town). We stopped and enjoyed a coffee while watching the people walk by, had my shoes shined. Now that was a treat as I’ve put a lot of miles on them so far! And Aziz just paid for everything all day until we got to lunch. More about that later!
Then we walked down through the Medina, the souks (markets), the Kasbah (fortress), the Medina museum. We stopped for mint tea at the little local place overlooking the ocean. We went to a ‘cooperative’ where artists that provide quality products have their stuff for sale. There was the obligatory rug education of different techniques with some high pressure but amusing salespeople in fezs. (I did end up buying a little woven rug to use as a wall hanging. Really wasn’t going to buy, but the more I was willing to walk away, the lower the price got!) And it included shipping to Canada so I didn’t have to figure out how it was going to fit in my backpack.
We walked a fair bit through the streets, but then hopped in another little cab and zipped through through the completely modern, multi-high rise new town, to a restaurant that was absolutely amazing. On a little street in the old town, no menu. They just kept bringing food, and it was the best fish I have ever had. I couldn’t eat another bite, and I still want to cry about what was left!
Then it was time for them to drive me to the ferry, and Aziz came in to make sure I was in the right line etc.
Ariz has been doing tours for years, and was very good at providing interesting history. He also knew everyone! And because he was with me, I wasn’t pestered by the million people selling stuff on the street (well, not much). It was definitely a fun day. Ferry was an hour late leaving, so I was pretty nackered by the time I got back.