Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Travel of the week - Tetouan - Morocco

My wife and I were traveling in the south of Spain when she had an idea. "We could go to Morocco? We are so close. We have never been to Africa or to an Arab country." Well, why not? I replied.

The next day we found a one day tour to Tetuan, The tour started by crossing the Strait of Gibraltar and I thought: "Wow, Africa really is close to Europe". Those obvious things we realize when we have the real experience. On the other side of the Strait it is still Spain, the city of Ceuta, where we went through the immigration procedures to enter Morocco. There was a thrilling (scary) moment when the tour guide asked for our passports to do our immigration himself and disappeared  for awhile. We found that very strange and while waiting the two of us were afraid and started making plans about how to get back home without our documents. Fortunately he came back and we finally were in an Arab country.

City walls

Like most of these one day tours, there's no moments (time)  for big surprises or adventures during the day. The stop to take pictures with the camel, the stores they "suggested" we visit, the restaurant where we had lunch. everything is already set up, you have no choices... It`s a script and you have to follow it. And it`s better to. If you get lost in the Medina, probably you`ll be in great trouble. It`s like a labyrinth of narrow streets, lots of people and most of them only speak Arab. There would be no way you would get back home soon.

An annoying thing during the city walk is that you can't stare at anybody that offers you something in the street (and believe me, there`s a lot of them). When they see a minimum chance of success in selling you something, they start walking along with you insisting that you should buy their products, lowering the price when you say no. In the end, they almost give it to you. It`s a pain... The Arabs love to negotiate. In a store, we decided to buy a rug. The first price for the rug we liked was 800 euros but after a long negotiation we bought it for 180 euros... in two installments...

Tuareg

If you have gone already to other cities in Morocco or have already spent time in an Arab country, I don`t recommend this kind of visit. We liked it because it was our first time and in the end we had stories to tell and photos to show, only that.





Medina commerce

Market

Street seller

The camel, of course

Government palace

rugs