a ferry ride to Africa- Tangier in Morocco
Tangier Travel Blog› entry 20 of 42 › view all entries
After a leisurely breakfast of bread, ham, salami, tea and coffee at the hotel´s location downtown in Tarifa, we went to the port to take the FRS ferry with the dolphin on its side claiming 35 minutes from Tarifa to Tanger to go to Africa! A round trip ticket is 66 euros. It´s a large catamaran with room for cars, and a couple of decks for passengers. The seatings are quite comfortable, more like train and tour bus seats, and some seats around small tables. They also have a business class, but nobody was in there. When we got onboard, there was a line of people, we found out that was for getting the entry stamp for Morocco. We waited a while til the ferry departed and the line became short to get our stamp on our passports. They gave us a form to fill out for the exit stamp, which we kept with our passports until we left Tangier later in the day.
Africa is really not that far away from Tarifa. Although Tangier is not the closest point across from Tarifa, it is only 14.5km away. As we got off the ferry, we were the last people. Most seemed to be in tour groups, and we were on our own. Some tour guide tried to talk us into a tour, however, he was a little confused about what timezone he was in or Spain was in, so I decided he was not to be our guide. A little later, another tour guide approached us, and he had his facts correct. Spain was now on daylight saving time, and was 2 hours later than Tangier.
We walked to the grand socco, a square outside the walls of the old town, and there was the court house, where lawyers and people were standing around waiting for their court time. A hugh banyan tree stood in the courtyard. Uphill were 3 marble enscripted tablets which were something like Morocco´s declaration of independence.
There were these very interesting, colorfull thread stores, and we found men stringing threads along the walls down the street like 50 feet away, tying one end on a point on the wall.
Along the way, Abdul would greet or talk to people, it would seem like they knew him, probably because he walks this way every day or so. Sounded like he was telling them these were Americans. A couple of the men he met would tell us, ¨good man¨, pointing to Abdul! He did take us to a kraft store and upstairs we were greeted by a rug sales pitch along with some mint tea. I sorted want to check out if rug salesman in Morocco were the same as in Turkey, in India, or in China.
We also were taken to a store which sells herbs, medicine etc, and we got a small bottle of massage oil. We should have paid the local currency, but weren´t thinking at the time. Kevin changed a $20, so we did have some money to buy local stuff, but the herb store took Euroes.
We walked all the way up to the Kasbah, and went through a broken wall to the lookout point, where we could see the port below, which didn´t look very far! There was an old prison there, and another home was built into the old wall. On the way down, we stopped to get some almond cookies. They were pretty tasty, and I hope they were not visited too much by the flies! (no, we didn´t get sick, so they were probably OK)
The guide fee was 15 euroes each, and he asked for a tip! hmm, and I thought 15 euroes were a good pay for the guide.
The return ferry was also a bit bumpy and I tried to sleep my way through it. On both sides they had x ray machines to scan luggage as people LEAVE, which was kind of weird and useless, it was more of a formality and habit I think, not for the safety of the ferry.
Anyway, I would recommend this short hop to Africa if you are in this part of Spain and have not been to Africa. Now Kevin can mark off his last continent. If only travbuddy had an award for that...