I write this sitting on the rooftop balcony of our hostel, overlooking a zigzagging conglomeration of rooftops and balconies, decorated by laundry waving in the wind and scattered satellite dishes. And beyond the rooftops, I can see a boat making its way across the Strait of Gibraltar, headed to Spain. The weather is temperate – sunny and 81 but a bit windy. The breeze carries the smell of wood being burned and of foods that I don’t yet recognize being cooked. And the mosques are currently calling people to the midday prayer with a beautiful song-like Arabic echoing over the city.
It’s beautiful and I am thrilled to be here.
We encountered a bit of a snafu on the way here: our 2nd flight was delayed due to weather conditions in London, which caused us to miss our 3rd flight, from Barcelona to Tangier. And because we were flying two separate budget airlines, it was not easy to get moved to another flight.
So we ended up spending a night in Barcelona, which was quite lovely! I have never had much interest in Europe, but the evening spent walking around Barcelona did help me understand the magic of Europe. We spent our time drinking amazing coffee, taking in the beautiful architecture, the balconies with Catalan flags flying everywhere (they are having a referendum for possible independence from Spain in a couple days), and and finished the evening with tapas and wine on a patio facing a gorgeous old church while a musician played quietly in the background.
Unfortunately, our search for a hostel or even an inexpensive hotel for our unexpected night in Barcelona was unsuccessful – we learned that the Rolling Stones were performing in Barcelona that night and everything was booked by people coming to see the concert. So we ended up spending the night in the airport, draped over our bags. Not the most glamorous part of traveling! Our planned 15ish hours of travel stretched into more than 48 hours of travel by the time we got to Tangier, but after a good night of sleep here, it doesn’t seem so bad.
So far, Tangier seems like a pleasant city, not as aggressive or scary as its reputation prepared me to believe. It is so close to Spain that more people seem to speak Spanish than French, which has thrilled Daniel, who spent the last year or so working on his Spanish. Other travelers at the hostel said my French will be far more useful in other Moroccan cities, so he can have this one.
We’re off to do some exploring. I’ll update you all again soon! Much love from Tangier!