Train to Tangier
Big walk around Tangier
Another combined few days. But seriously, how much can you write about towns in the rain? On the 22nd, we took the train to Tangier. This is quite a long ride, and again through lush farmland. At times it looked similar to New Zealand, or east of the great divide. Patchwork fields of lush green grass half turned into swamps. The cows were sinking into the mud up to their knees. The shepherds were not faring much better. At least we had a nice humidity controlled carriage, and could look out at the miserable weather and be glad we were not in it. There were only a few people on the train,, and we expected it to start to fill up at Meknes or some of the other towns we stopped at, but even by the end it was still fairly empty.
The train station is a few kilometres from down town,and there was no way we were lugging our bags around in the rain, so we ditched the touts (they were not that bad, and nothing on the scale that we had expected) and grabbed a taxi. Picking a hotel out of our book for a change, we got the taxi to take us directly there. This was extravagant for us, but worth it. The hotel was fine, and if it wasn’t we would have been spoilt for choice, but it was not the time to be dragging our bags through the flowing streets from hotel to hotel looking to save a few dollars.
Checked in, the rain decided to ease up. Taking advantage of this, we went for a look around town. Up the hill, where the road was more of a river, and into the fancy section of town. We looked around for some food, and thought we may starve at the prices, but found a small hamburger shop that did a decent hamburger and chips for 20Dh. A walk through town took us to an old cathedral, and from here we made it to the coast. Walking past all the bars and nightclubs that would open up in the next few hours. There were more than we could count. The mix of architecture was a sight, from Colonial buildings done up superbly into elite hotels, or crumbling into ruins or 60’s style buildings. Most needing a lick of paint at best and then “traditional” Moroccan buildings or a mix between them (an interesting look in one building!)
Hoping that the rain will eventually finish, we called it a night. Tangier for us today has a bit of a dreary feel to it, but that is probably the weather, and the fact that everything we own is now slightly damp after more than a week of rain.
The next morning on the 23rd, the sun was out! we couldn’t believe our eyes. This was great. The rain had finally broken. As it has basically been raining or overcast since Melillia, we were enjoying the sunshine. Back up the hill and into the Medina. The city today has a completely different feel to it, and although the streets are still wet, they are not overflowing.
The Medina twists and winds around the old fort. Eventually we make it up to the top, after we had tried a few of the coffee shops and patisseries. The buildings up here are either national monuments or foreign owned hotels, but it is good to see they are being preserved. On the far side, you are up above the ocean with a view out over the port and ocean, where you can see the container ships off in the distance, and the ferries loading/unloading. If you look out over the water, Spain is clearly visible, and it does not look too far. You can understand why so many people try to cross in small leaky dingies to get into Europe.
Winding back through, we pass the fortifications. There are many cannons scattered about. These come from various origins from Spanish and French to English howitzers on their own small railway tracks, although now days they are welded in place and corroding happily. Following the fortifications, we still managed to wander into an area falling into ruin. This has been surrounded by buildings, with new construction going on below. With a bit of work it would be a perfect path up the hill from near the port. It just needs a good clean! Preferably with a flame thrower.
This is not the town we had been lead to expect, and town itself has a very pleasant feel to it, when not raining!