Weekly Update #3
Just as a little disclaimer, for anyone worrying about me and my roommates going to Africa by ourselves, we were careful enough to go with a big group. We went with City Life Madrid, a company that specializes in organizing tours, activities, and Spanish classes for international students.
Our journey began long before we arrived in Africa when we left Madrid late Thursday night for our ferry in Tarifa. After a short 45 min ride sailing through the Mediterranean, we finally made it to Tangier. We were so exhausted once we got to our hotel, but we were way too excited to nap. After lunch, we went straight to the beach to ride camels!
It was actually kind of scary because they’re taller than horses!
Then, we went to see Hercules' cave, which is where "Hercules separated Spain and Africa" and if you look closely you can see a map of Africa.
At this point, there wasn't much of a culture shock. We only saw the more urban parts of Tanger, but this was my first time going to a third world country and I really didn't know what to expect.
It didn't hit me until we were taken into town how different Morocco was from Western culture.
We were guided through small streets where everyone came outside to see our large, loud and primarily American group. I never felt unsafe, but I felt very out of place.
The first stop our guide took us to was a spices shop where we were told all about local spices, herbs, oils and how they use them in their foods and for natural remedies.
Right outside the small halway leading to the shop, hoards of vendors had dresses, blankets, scarfs, and jewelry piled on their arms yelling "student price!" "souvenirs!" "beautiful!" trying to entice us to buy their products.
This made me quite upset, middle-aged men were lined up for tourists to just feed their family at night. Growing up in America, a very wealthy part of America, it's easy to forget how privileged I am. It was a very humbling experience, to say the least.
After the spices shop, we were taken to a fabric store where the owner showed us how they use the loom to make beautiful scarves, blankets, and more.
After a little shopping, they took us to a traditional Moroccan restaurant complete with live folk music.
Our day began at 8:30 when we left for Chefchaouen Aka "The Blue City" it was a little bit of a drive from Tangier but our guide Rashid aka John Travolta made the journey there very entertaining!
Finally, we made it to the beautiful city of Chefchaouen.
The city was surreal, I haven’t been to Greece yet but it felt like a blue version of Santorini.
Once we came down from the hike we were set free to do some shopping. However, we had to barter because prices are not final! For my first time bargaining, I think I did pretty well. I took home 3 leather purses for €20 and 3 bottles of Moroccan oil for €12 (which I usually pay $5 for a bottle half the size back home)!
We were supposed to wake up and leave Tangier early Sunday morning, but our ferries kept getting canceled.
So we had a short detour to a lighthouse where we could see the shores of Morocco on one side
and the silhouette of Spain on the other.
After that we had a long journey home, we didn’t make it into Madrid till 4 am and we had to run home in the pouring rain!
But I made it home safely!
Til’ next time,
Where will we go next?