Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

So much has happened since I left Pinos del Valle, Spain.

I’ve gone from Spain to Tangier, Morrocco on the African continent to the eastern European country of Romania which at one time was behind the Iron Curtain!

I had a birthday!!! I didn’t receive a single gift! Haha, it’s ok. Everyone knows I don’t want any more stuff. The only thing I want is money, but I’d never say that because it sounds rude. Come to think of it, I haven’t given any birthday gifts either, so I’d say we’re even!

Speaking of “stuff” –  I lightened up a bit and left behind 3 books and 7 items of clothing. My suitcase zips closed more easily now without unzipping the expansion zipper.

I can’t wait to tell you all about Morocco…

(LOL, that brings back memories of diary entries from my youth.)

Our very first African adventure was a pretty tame day-trip by ferry to Tangier, Morocco from Tarifa, Spain. 

The red and green Moroccan flag on the waterfront at Tangier.

The Rick Steves guidebook advised that purchasing a 5-hour tour would cost less than the round trip ferry ticket and included a short city bus tour, a walk through the Medina (old town) and Souk (market), a visit to the Kasbah (fortress) and lunch – as well as required stops at the carpet and artisan craft shops.

There is a lot of redevelopment underway in the Tangier port. Here’s a view across the strait to the coast of Spain.

Purchasing The Tour, we were given a return ferry ticket and a sticker to display on our clothes announcing to all the good people of Tangier that we were “taken” and not needful of their their help, their taxi ride, their guide services and that a kick-back would be expected by our guide for any purchases.

We debated on whether to actually go on the tour or remove the sticker and head out on our own. Deciding to give it a try, we knew we could bale if we didn’t like it. Disembarking with our identifying sticker we were promptly claimed and led to a full size tour bus.  We were the only clients that day so it became a private tour and we were extremely pleased with it in the end.

Looking at that sweet little girl puts a smile on my face.


What Tangier wasn’t…

Tangier was not noisy. Venders were not pushy, neither beggars grabby. Tangier was not chaotic nor scary. Poor, but not filthy. We never felt unsafe. We were thankful for our guide, especially in the narrow, winding alleys of the Medina.

We toured on a Friday, the Muslim holy day, and were told the city was quieter and many shops were closed for Friday prayers.

Our guide. There’s a calm assurance being guided by a man in a billowing white robe.


What Tangier was…

Tangier air was fragrant from bread baking in communal ovens and the bouquet of a variety of spices. Tangier was melodic with the singsong reading of the Quran over a loudspeaker. Tangier was colorful – from the color of houses and riot of colorful tiles, to the displays of farm-fresh produce in the market and women wearing brightly colored caftans. Tangier was tasty. We sampled fresh goat cheese and pistachio baklava.

Tangier was colorful.

The Moroccans are known for their hospitality and refreshing mint tea. How friendly a man wearing fez and ankle-length robe looks!

We were the only diners at the restaurant. We started with soup and bread. The bread was so yummy.

The next course was chicken and a delicious serving of couscous with vegetables and some raisins.

This lucky cat is sleeping on a Berber carpet.

The throne room in the palace. I’d rather be the cat (previous photo) than have to sit in one of these.

A different point of view. A 12th century map of Europe as pictured from Africa. Tip: To us in the northern hemisphere it’s upside down.

intriguing doorways beckon one to go exploring.

 

We enjoyed our first visit to Morocco and would consider a return visit.

Presently we are currently in Romania.

Romania is a big country. We stayed 6 nights in Bucharest, 5 nights in the Transylvania towns of Brasov, Sighisoara, and Sibiu, 2 nights in Arad and arrived last night in Timisoara. We just moved into an apartment overlooking the Piata Victorei which is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. We are a little road weary and are looking forward to a week in one location to recharge our batteries!

There’s been much ado about a lad named Vlad  –   but that’s a story for next week when  –  I’ll Meet You in the Morning.

Thanks for reading. Ciao!

5 responses to “Dear Diary

  1. I’m fascinated with the ancient map of Europe. In my western mind, North is the top of the world and therefore must always be at the top of the map. So picture me trying to turn my head upside down while looking at my computer screen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand! They probably have a name for our Northern-centric issues. 😮 It took me quite a while to figure out too. It helped that the shape of Saudi Arabia was recognizable and then I looked for the Nile.

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  3. I love reading about other people’s similar experiences of places I’ve recently been. Great post! Sounds like you were more prepared than we were – Interesting to know about the sticker.

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    • I like reading and learning from other people’s travel blogs in preparation for a new place, but it takes loads of time and sometimes we are traveling “blind.” I think being prepared and informed makes for a better overall experience. We’re headed for SE Asia now and I’m not sure I’m ready! Thanks for reading!

      Like

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