Africa was always one of those places I wanted to visit, and I’m so happy I got to seeing Morocco ticked of my Bucket List.
If 10-year old me was handed a sheet of paper and told to write up a Bucket List, New York and Africa would be guaranteed to be there. My inner 10 year-old is mostly satisfied with the fact that I’ve done a few before I die things. This is one of those occasions where I can write about somewhere I’ve been instead of bucket lists of places I want to go.
I do realise that Africa is a large and very diverse continent, but 10 -year old me didn’t. When I was a child I envisioned it as somewhat like the savanna in The Lion King paints it to be. I would still love to go on a real Safari, but there are so many countries and sights worth seeing in Africa beyond what you see on nature channels.
I went to Tanger in Morocco last June, which is at the very north of the continent, and a short journey from Spain. This was during a family holiday to Torremolinos. We were initially hesitant to go after some reviews on TripAdvisor implied that Tanger is all slums. There is a part of me that suspects that whoever wrote that drinks Fiji water. Tanger was beautiful.
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We had to get up at about 5am to get a bus through the whole Costa del Sol, to pick up other tourists, to take us to a port where we would get a ferry to Tanger. We were the first stop and it was early so I can’t provide any humorous anecdotes about it, but I did spent it trying to catch glimpses of the sunrise between the passing apartment blocks. I did see sporadic moments of a beautiful sunrise.
The port was tiny and packed, and the ferry was uneventful. The view was beautiful, and being too obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean had to refrain from dropping references. We were picked up by a bus and given a driving tour of the city, stopped briefly for a photo opportunity with camels, and then back on to see more of Tanger. We departed the bus in the town and followed our guides who showed us various landmarks.
Spectare was being filmed in Morcocco at the time. There was a few areas cut off for filming. Seeing a black van with “Cast & Crew” wrote on it drive though the middle of a snake charmers performance sure was something.
There was camel riding opportinites on our tour, which I wouldn’t recommend for animal rights reasons. You’d have just as good a time seeing the sights, the music, and food without needing to ride a camel. If you’re on a tour like this, you can sit out for that part, or ideally, find one that doens’t do this at all. Seeing Morocco is more about the sights and culture, not camel riding.
Authentic Moroccan Mint Tea & Food
The tour group was treated to lunch in a restaurant, with the liveliest band I have ever seen. I had feared that I wouldn’t like the food but it was divine. I’m not even sure what was in most of what I ate. The starter was a soup which tasted mildly of cinnamon, then we had beef skewers, followed a main of couscous and chicken. I’ve couscous before but I’ve actually incorporated it as a regular part of my diet now because I fell in love.
I couldn’t get enough of the mint tea. I know it was just a leaf in a glass, but it was perfectly minty and sweet. It was in a small shot-like glass, which wasn’t enough for me. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. It was by far the best tea I have ever drank, and I am no stranger to herbal teas.
Peppermint is my favourite herbal tea, but even just plain mint never replicates authenitc Moroccan mint tea. I think the climate has a huge effect of the flavour. Mint leaves here are pretty bland in comparrison!
[Note that I was not vegan at the time, which is why I ate beef!]
We saw the Palace Petit Socco, which is basically the town’s square in the Medina Area, and the District Urbain de Tanger-Medina, which is the most aestitically pleasing government building I’ve ever seen.
We didn’t get to see inside anything as this was basically a speed tour for visitors from Spain. However, if you’re visiting for more than a few hours, I would have loved to have seen the Caves of Hercules.
Feeling refreshed after lunch, we got to see what most people were looking forward to the most: carpet shops. This is one of those things Morocco is known for. It was fascinating to see the people talk about how carpets are made. They showed us various rugs with different patterns and weaving styles.
I took home a yellow handmade scarf, it’s too delicate to wear everyday, but I absolutely love it. We also got authentic Argan oil and locally grown saffron. You can see Tanger on my Postcard Wall, and it also earned a spot in my Adventure Book.
This wasn’t just exciting because I was visiting another country, while already in another, but a whole new continent! This means I’ve been to 3 of the world’s 7 continents. The others are Europe by defualt of living here, but I’ve seen other parts of Europe like Paris and London. I’ve also been the the US, but mostly New York.
Overall, Morocco was one of my favourite places to have visited, and I’m glad to have got this off my Bucket List. I’d have liked to see more and spend more time there, however, for a short tour, I feel like we did a lot without feeling overwhelmed or rushed.
Have you ever been to Morocco? Where would you love to visit?