I don’t feel ready to leave Chefchaouen, it is a lovely little town with narrow alleyways, lots of color, friendly people and the mountains that rise right up behind the houses, it is a beautiful setting. Alas, today we are moving on to Tanger on Morocco’s northern coast but first a couple of parting shots from Chefchaouen.
We pass through Tétouan important in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, and a main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia.
Driving north form Tétouan, along the sea, we pass through the beach resort area of M’diq with lovely hotels, seaside walkways and upscale homes.
Nearing the peninsula where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic we turn away from the sea into the mountains to drive around Ceuta still part of the province of Cádiz, Spain. The government of Morocco has repeatedly called for Spain to transfer sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla but Spain maintains that these two cities have been an integral part of Spain since the 16th century. Morocco denies these claims believing Spanish presence is part of the colonial past and should be ended; the vast majority of the city’s population, both Christian and Muslim, are opposed to being ruled by Morocco so Ceuta and Melilla continue to be ruled by Spain and so . . . we skirt the borders.
Long before entering the city proper we pass the enormous new Tanger-Med Port, 3rd largest port in Africa, accommodating commercial ships and vessels with a capacity of 3.5 million containers and a small passenger port.
People have been living in Tanger since colonists from Carthage settled there in the fifth century BC, and over the years it has traded hands between several kingdoms and empires, and served as refuge for an intoxicating mix of cultures. The city has drawn such varied artists as Tennessee Williams, the Rolling Stones, and Henri Matisse, located on the Straits of Gibraltar it is a major link between Europe and Africa.
The Port of Tangier, in town, also swarms with passengers, guides and taxi drivers.
We drove through town passing a nice waterfront park area with a broad walkway, nice place to stroll.
After lunch near the waterfront we made our way to the kasbah that sits atop old Tanger with its lovely homes, palace, mosque and a spectacular view.
We explored the kasbah and the old town (medina) encircled by a medieval wall and filled with markets, twisty, hilly streets, grabby salesmen and lots of day-trippers who have taken the 35-minute ferry ride from Spain.
Tangier was interesting and has a rich history, today it is full of day-trippers from Spain and sadly this is the only place that many of them may ever see in Morocco; there is so much more.