We were very excited and keen to see Africa. We figured that it wouldn’t
be so hard to cross over to Morocco; I mean we could see it from where we
sat in Gib. So Bill did some investigation and we found a ferry leaving
the next day for Tangiers, and an overnight train from Tangiers to
Marrakech. We found ourselves a Riad in Marrakech and we were set.
We hadn’t booked ferry tickets so we were stung at the terminal for 120
Euros one way (I expect the captain and staff were beneficiaries). Not to
dampen our mood we quickly walked on via the car dock with all the other,
erm, people cars (stringent rules and regs)! As we waited in dock we
watched a plane take off from the run way next to us (Gibraltar uses its
limited space imaginatively).
We arrived in Tangiers ‘fresh off the boat’. All the passengers grouped at
the large doors, with all the cars, and we waited for the gun.... And we
were off, being shoved left to right, bags used to batter, shoes to tread
on bare toes, a huge wave of bobbing heads, we just had to get off quickly
before they mowed us down.
We were then pounced on by over enthusiastic taxi drivers. We had hours to
kill before our train departed so we accepted our new friend Abdul’s offer
to tour Tangiers. He took us to his ‘friends’ shop, full of beautiful
carpets and artefacts, it was very hard to say no and the store itself was
like a ‘tardis’. We dined on delicious cous cous and kefta tagine, and
were very satisfied. Good job as we had a long journey ahead.
The old trains in the new train station looked quite romantic. We noticed
some people had sleeping cabins so we crossed fingers that we had our own
too. They weren’t up to much, and I did have problems with the hygiene of
the pillow cases but we did get a cabin to ourselves, phew! Slept all the
way through to dawn, awoke to a brand new scene, Moroccan country side.
Cacti as hedgerows, Sheppard’s walking barren hills, goats roaming fields,
lush irrigated areas surrounded by dusty dry land, we soaked it in as we
sped by and the landscape unfurled.
Once again we were hassled for a taxi, taxi, TAXI! Poor driver got lost,
not surprisingly, in the medina’s narrow alleyway-like streets. He even
had to get out and use a phone shop to call for directions at one point.
Our little oasis, once we found it, was just that, a beautiful and
peaceful riad in the centre of the medina. We practised our Arabic and
French with the riad manager before we embarked on our first outing.
We tentatively picked our way through the dusty streets gradually getting
used to the aroma! The market was bustling; donkey driven carts hurtled
through the tiny alleys, motorcycles bumping into stalls, colourful
clothes strung up high, leather goods galore, and sticky sweet pastries
tempting Bill all the time! A fantastic experience that kept you on your
toes because the donkeys round here don’t mess about! The boys bought
dresses and I bought a kaftan. Bill and I entertained snakes around our
necks, and I even kissed one on its head, Yuk!!!
Our relaxing riad had a hammam and a masseur, so we were very happy
customers. They also prepared us a fantastic meal that was home cooking at
its best. We would recommend Riad Faviola to anyone.
We had to get back so we booked our overnight train to return to Tangiers,
avoiding expensive taxis and not getting ourselves ripped off in the
process, oh yes we were pro’s in the end. It was a fabulous trip in all,
one that opens your eyes even wider.