Tangier, The Europe of Morocco
I headed to Tangier after staying for three days in Meknes. My purpose to visit Tangier was more less because this city is located at the most northern part of Morocco, and shared its channel with Spain. In that time, out of Istanbul, I still had never had chance to visit Europe. So, by putting in mind that seeing Europe from the far could represent my curiousity for the moment.
The journey took three hours by train. I wouldn’t stay long in this city, only one night. Therefore I booked one single room at Ibis Hotel which just is few steps from Tangier train station. when I arrived, it was afternoon late. Nonetheless, I still had some times to walk in the beach and sit at the corniche to enjoy the breeze of Mediterranean Sea.
Unlike other cities in Morocco, Tangier is more like European city. When I sat in the caffe, for example, I heard many people talking in French and Spanish instead of Arabic. I could hear Spanish songs in almost every caffe I pass. And the buildings in the city, its architecture is influenced with Baroque architecture as many found in Paris.
The next day, I decided to leave the hotel early since I just had one day to explore the city. My first visit was casbah, located in medina of Tangier. I took taxi to bring me there. And the taxi dropped me at the last alley that could be entered by car. I walked out the car, tried to find some clues about where the casbah was. A young teenager followed me, asked me where I want to go. I told him that I wanted to go to the casbah, and he pointed me a building. Apparently I was standing in front of the casbah. There were not so many visitors when I was there, and the collection was also limited. Some maps show the colonization realms of French and Spanish in Morocco. In addition, some artifacts are also in displays. Camera was not permitted in this room. At the other part of building, there was a park, decorated with pergola with plants surrounding it. I met one guide named Mohammed with his two British tourists. He offered me some helps to look for another guide for me. I told him that I’m not so interested to explore medina of Tangier, I had enough in Fes, yet I was interested to see the other part of Tangier. When he listened to this, Mohamed became so excited, then he promoted one of his friends named Abdul.
“I guarantee, you must like him,” he convinced me. “He’s a good guy, very nice, indeed. You just need to pay your taxi fee, and he will take you passing many interesting places in Tangier,”
“Does he speak English?” I asked.
‘Well, he speaks some few words. I believe that you can manage it,” Mohamed answered.
Well, I agreed. I would meet Abdul at the Hotel Intercontinental, as explained by Mohamed. When I went to this hotel, I met the teenager who pointed the Casbah for me. When he saw me, he tried to be nice to show me the way to the hotel. I refused, since I got all information from Mohamed. Seeing that I was not interested, this boy lost his patience.
“Madam. I showed you casbah. Give me your euro,” he tried me.
I told him that I don’t have any euro and that boy went away while swore at me.
Abdul came punctually. He spoke English little. Oh no, he just could say ,” how are you,” thank you,” “I don’t understand,”
Okay. Calm down. I probably could manage with my poor French.
“Parlez-vouz Française, Monsieur?” I asked with a doubt.
“NOOO,” he replied fast. “NO English…. No Française. Arabic, Yes.. Español, Yes… ” Oh Dear. And I don’t know one single word of those language.
Along the way, Abdul kept talking in Arabic and Spanish, which didn’t bring any different to me. And I was doubt as well whether Abdul understood or not what I said when I told him “I don’t understand” or “Je ne comprend pas” . However, this guy tried to do his best to ensure that I enjoyed the trip. Anytime we passed nice spots for some photos, he stopped immediately, took camera from my hand and took my photo.
“Good, Amiga” he said anytime he finished to shoot me with my camera.
We had smooth journey from Tangier to Hercules Cave. I was also spoiled by beautiful scenery and small forest along the way. Abdul took me to Cape Spartel (I didn’t even do research about this place before). According to him, this place is enter spot to Morocco through Gibraltar channel and the most north west part of Africa. In addition, this is the place where we could find where Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet.
We just spent 15 minutes at that place, only to capture some moments before continuing our trip to Hercules Cave. Apparently, there was nothing really special from this place, but the myths that Hercules once spent his night here. The accurate of this myth is still questioned. Inside the cave, there’s a big hole resembling the figure of African map. This hole was not naturally shaped, instead it was a man-made. The only history taken from this cave is concert of Def Leppard that was held here couple of years ago.
I returned to Tangier at 3 pm. I asked Abdul to drop me at Pasteur Avenue which is a meeting point between old and new cities. I’m more interested to see the new city since Fes has everything for its Medina.