Published: April 14th 2006March 27th 2006
There are no pedallos in Tangiers. Supposedly 7000 people try to swim to Spain every year
Click on the links for more pictures than there are in the blog
Although it might be the 'European' part of Africa.
This blog is written in some quite serious retrospect and it's really just an excuse to show you some photos and tell you where I've been. I've written my own diary, but it's mine and I don't want to type it all up now. Call me selfish...
The Crossing etc.
I went to the pretty surfing town of Tarifa
to cross over to Tangier. It was closer than Algeciras and, so I hear, a much pleasanter town. The fast ferry takes 35 minutes to cross, but unfortunately we had to wait an hour outside Tangier to get a berth. It was a seemingly calm crossing until we met a very odd topsy turvy sea right in the middle of the Straits - I must admit that I felt slightly seasick. It only lasted for a couple of minutes, but was very odd.
The first thing I saw in Tangiers was a couple of aspiring illegal immigrants
, waiting to hop on to our ferry on its return trip to Spain. Tangiers was a lot easier than I
Sea wall in Asilah
The view South towards a lookout post that a notorious pirate used to throw people off
was expecting from the Lonely Planet and what various people had said - the taxi drivers seemed to be lined up for a smiling competition. I spent a couple of hours wandering around town and found some sanctuary in the Cafe de Paris with the first of many coffees with patisserie. I tried to go to St Andrew's English Church, which has a Matisse painting inside, but it was shut, as was the American Museum, which has lots of Paul Bowles stuff inside with some supposedly iconic beat generation photos.
I caught the bus to Asilah, an hour down the coast, to find a bed for the night. Asilah was a nice place, but as I was there in early April there were not many tourist and lots of resident touts. I can only hope that things balance out a bit in the summer, when there is an art festival and it is possible to swim in the Atlantic at Paradise Beach. Asilah's medina has been expensively restored, however it still boasts some impressive walls
and the El Kamra tower
. Asilah has in the past been a Spanish fishing town.
Next a got
Road out of Asilah's medina
With lots of donkey drawn traffic
the bus down to Larache, mainly to see the Roman ruins at Lixus
. The town was a pleasant surprise, with a nice central square add this picture
. There was a decaying Portugeuse fortress
, which was impressive although decaying. One evening when I was there all the men crowded into the coffee houses to watch the Champions League matches - Moroccans are very keen on football, but not very keen on being seen around town with their women.
At Lixus there was an impressive
Roman Amphitheatre and various other ruins that were overgrown and mostly unexcavated. The empty atmosphere, with broken columns
and an abandoned fortress
, was eerily romantic. Just the place to meet an almost petrified shepherd
with his flock of goats...
I walked about three miles back from the ruins to Larache, by which time it was early evenig and a good opportunity to take a picture of the recently returned fishing boats
in the harbour from a lookout by the archaeological museum
Verdict so far
90% of Moroccans are generous, helpful and friendly; 10% (it seemed like half) are arseholes
There are more photos below