After getting the train down to the port town of Algeciras we jumped on a ferry to Tangier, Morocco.
Morocco seemed like we were returning to real travel again, after the ease of Europe, the language barrier was a bit of an issue again, with everything in Arabic, which has to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all scripts, but completely different to anything we had encountered before, & the streets were back to grimy & interesting.
As soon as the ferry pulled into port, there was no mistaking where we were, the horizon was filled with the spikes & domes of Mosques & the air was filled with that familiar smog that we had gotten used to in South America.
We decided to stay a night in Tangier, to test the waters & recover some energy that we thought would definitely be needed in Marrakech, so we headed to a youth hostel in the old part of town. It was very cute & had typically Moroccan mosaics all over the place.
After settling in we headed out to brave the streets & find something to eat. Before coming to Morocco we were warned by everyone & their dogs to be careful & to expect to get hassled 24/7, but after that 1st outing it was clear that it wouldn't be as bad as we were told. Sure we were kissed at & hissed at a bit, but go to any South American country & you will experience exactly the same. The people in Tangier were very nice, one lady who ran a coffee retailer gave us free espresso & when we were noticed wandering around aimlessly trying to find a restaurant a guy on the street came to help us & it just so happened that he was the owner of the place we were looking for. He took us straight there & whipped us up a Moroccan banquet that filled us up in no time with the tastiest food around, all topped off with mint tea. What more could you want.
The next day we headed to the casbah to look around & were soon approached by one of the many "tour guides" who showed us around for what he said was "just a fraction of the cost of the real tour guides". This I doubt, but he did know a lot & we would have been completely lost without him.
After that we headed to the train station to grab an overnight train to Marrakech, where the heat & the covering up nearly killed me.
The first stop was the markets, which live up to their reputation of being a bustling & hustling maze, where you can easily get lost or spend all your cash on random shoes, bags & oh so much jewellery.
Then we were proper tourists for the first time in a while & went to see a very pretty Mosque, a palace & the Museum of Moroccan arts. In all of these attractions, the most impressive part of all was the mosaic tiling all over the place & the cool old style door handles & locks.
While doing all this sight seeing & shopping, we discovered Moroccan curry, tajine, which would be a staple for the whole time we were there & tasty little pick & mix style biscuits that I only allowed myself once, but were so delicious that I will never forget them.
While in Marrakech we encountered the funniest heckling thus far. As Al & I were walking through the main square, which was full of snake charmers, street performers & tasty food stalls, we heard the call "Hello Fish & Chips". Both thinking that we had heard wrong we stared at each other & confirmed the very funny line. Now you would think that this would be a one off, but no, it was a constant source of amusement.
After buying as much as we could possibly carry, & let me tell you it was a struggle, even with my shinny new red leather overnight bag, we headed to Fes on the train.
While on the train we meet a Moroccan guy who had a friend who used to be a history teacher who now runs tours of the maze like medina in Fez. I don't know if he really was a history teacher, but he was a great guide, who for only $30 each for the entire day drove us around town, showing us the palace & the medina, with all its many wonders. We saw a tannery, a mosaics factory, a rug store (& many other random crap stores where they tried really hard to sell us stuff) & all the different little streets where they specialise in ceramics, silk, cotton, dying, leather, copper, etc. Our guide was a bit of a character, very gay, yet as this is quite looked down upon in Morocco, he kept throwing out all these very wrong comments about girls, it was quite amusing.
After that it was back to Tangier where we would catch the next ferry back to Spain.