Moroccan Adventure Part V: Tangier

Me at the rooftop of our Airbnb, overlooking the Medina.

We arrived Tangier sometime in the evening. We had great difficulty reaching our Airbnb accommodation. It’s located in the Medina, particular on top of the hill. Traffic was atrocious. Of all the cities that I have visited by car, Tangier was probably the worst. The difficulty lies in understanding local road signs and determining whether the road can be accessed or not. This is particularly difficult in the Medina. The streets inside were narrow, full of pedestrians and road signs highly vague. What seemed like a road for motorists to enter, turned out to be a road blocked and just for pedestrians instead. There did not seem to be any rules on whether the road was closed or open. Often times, we had to find alternative routes by circling to the same spot again and again, only to find our journey thwarted.

In the end, we managed to drive onto a narrow uphill road that led to a carpark close to our accommodation. It was hell. Pedestrians everywhere and the uphill slope did not make driving any smoother for a manually driven car. The only way for me was to go slow and steady, which I did, which led to us reaching our accommodation much later than usual.

Port Mosque, close to the marina. A very elegant mosque that we passed by as we walked toward the marina.

Our accommodation was an Airbnb apartment. Owned by a European, he dropped by upon our arrival to show us the place and to teach us how to lock our doors and where things generally are. It was a nice cosy home. Three floors with a roof, and an incredibly narrow staircase connecting all the floors. The living room is on the second floor. There are bedrooms on the second and third. There were no doors to the toilets, just a curtain, which made showering incredibly uncomfortable. But overall, it was a unique experience. The only thing I didn’t like about the house was the narrow staircase. Carrying the luggage up those flights of stairs was extremely difficult. The staircase was so narrow that you have room for a unidirectional flow, meaning only on may climb up or down the stairs, but not at the same time.

I like the roof, because it overlooks an entire section of the Medina with sweeping views of the Straits of Gibraltar. On a good day, you can see neighbouring Spain.

Because it was already evening, we walked downhill and to the marina, seeking food to eat. The marina, newly constructed, hosted a number of upscale restaurants, bars and cafes. We entered one that was pretty quiet, since it sold alcohol. Alcohol is frowned upon in Morocco, since its citizens are mostly Muslims. You can still find alcohol, but in more discreet places and in places where tourists like us like to hangout. This means hotel lounges and bars, upscale restaurants and places like the Marina, where tourists like to hangout after dark.

Tangier in the evening. Enjoying the sunset while drinking beer.

We had dinner, as well as several rounds of beers and shisha. Shisha is banned in Singapore. So the last time I did it, was when I was in Tunisia. To shisha once again, was an amazing experience. It reminded me of the good old days. With shisha and beer, we stayed for hours in the restaurant. I believe this was the first time we had beer and alcohol since the start of the trip (apart from arrival to London). We had a great evening. As for me, all the day’s stresses from driving slowly went away as the night grew deeper.

We only had an overnight stay in Tangier before we needed to drive to Chefchaouen, and so, we did not have time to explore Tangier. We did walked around the Medina, which was interesting. And before departing, we chilled at a coffee shop to have breakfast and coffee and so we observed the daily life of the residents of Tangier in the morning. We left for Chefchaouen just before noon, which gave us the better part of the morning to soak up the Medina atmosphere in Tangier before departing.

And old cinema in Tangier. Just chilling and observing daily life in Tangier.
Like most medinas, we often times encounter interesting alleyways in the Medina.

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