My husband and I went to Europe for 18 days and returned home late on Saturday, September 24. After being gone so long in a time zone that was 6 hours different from where we live in North Carolina, I am finally getting my being back into some sort of equilibrium. Even with the sluggishness and the angst that I have tons to do now that I am home, I would go again. I love to travel, especially when it involves visiting places that I have always wanted to see. Even with the ability of the Internet to allow us to view locales just about anywhere in the world, it just isn’t the same as being there.
On this trip we traveled from Normandy, France to Southern Spain and also spent a day in Tangier, Morocco. While there, we ate wonderful foods, drank fabulous wines, saw sites we planned on visiting and some that I didn’t even know existed. All in all, we had a wonderful time. Having said that, people keep asking me to name my favorite place. Despite the fact that my first post-vacation blog post was about European Potties, my favorite places were just about everywhere except bathrooms. However, I would change the question to ask what place was our biggest surprise – and that was the Moroccan city of Tangier.
Thanks to our excellent guide Yoseph, we spent a day in Tangier and toured just about the whole city, from the beaches on the Mediterranean to the Atlantic shores and the Rif Mountains that surround the city. Not surprisingly, the waters of the Atlantic were rougher and cloudier than the clearer and very blue Mediterranean, which was the only demarcation of waters that flowed into each other with no divider.
To get to Morocco from Southern Spain, you take a ferry from the Spanish city of Tariff and go across the Strait of Gibraltar, which takes about 45 minutes of actual travel time. From what I understand (and this happened for us both coming and going), the trip can expand to almost 2 hours with delays. After visiting, the only impression I had of Tangier before was all WRONG! It is a very progressive and culturally diverse city that seems to welcome everyone, as they have for thousands of years, whether they are Christian, Moslem or Jewish.
We went to the beautiful seaside, I rode a camel on the beach (though not really willingly), went to fruit & vegetable markets, meat and fish markets and visited a beautiful old Synagogue in the heart of the Jewish section of the city. I almost cried to know that there is such an acceptance of my people in an Arab country. Wish everywhere could be like that.
Our lunch in Tangier was fresh and delicious. We started with a bowl of olives and a salad of fresh tomatoes and onions in olive oil and vinegar. Then we ate: grilled lamb kabobs, couscous with chicken, and a Moroccan lamb stew with prunes and chickpeas that was seasoned with saffron, cumin and garlic. When ordering, we just told the waiter to bring his best offerings. YUMMM! I washed it all down with a locally made crisp and light white wine. Another positive about Morocco is that they have vineyards and produce delicious wines! I was a bit frightened after the fact that I might get some sort of traveler’s issue due to a more sensitive constitution than my husband, but all was good!!
Another point that just popped into my head is that the King of Morocco’s chief advisor is Jewish. Also, women and men, regardless of religion or culture, serve equally in all occupations as well as in the government. Gotta love a place like that.
You know you really liked a place when you want to go back – and I do!! Next time Marrakesh and Casablanca, but not for a while!