The cafés of “Le Petit Socco” are buzzing as I enjoy my last glass of mint tea. I don’t want to leave Tangier, the city grabbed me from the moment I arrived! Is it its international past with its history of spies and brothels? Is it the friendliness of its inhabitants or the cosiness of my hostel? I don’t know, but the fact is: there are plenty of things to do in Tangier and it has totally won me over!
Walking up the street towards the Kasbah, there’s a little eatery called “Chez Hassan”. A few tables, no frills, no menu! Just Hassan, preparing me a lovely tajine and mint tea for a few euros! Further up the street, patisseries beautifully display their tasty-looking Moroccan delicacies.
This is all part of the old medina, a labyrinth of streets that truly comes alive late afternoon when street vendors seduce the local women with their fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. It’s a great place to wander around and get lost.
Not that the medina is that big, you’ll eventually find your way back to Tangier’s main square: “Le Grand Socco”. It’s a perfect spot for people watching, but I am even more charmed by the cinema facing the square. Cinéma Rif is one of those old-fashioned movie theatres, where movie times are still handwritten on a chalkboard. A lot more charming than the huge popcorn-chains we are used to!
The Kasbah of Tangier is walled off from the medina and was once the city’s palace and administrative district. Nowadays it’s an area of horseshoe-shaped Babs (gates), a few squares and empty little streets. The Dar El Makhzen, once the sultan’s residence, is now home to the interesting Museum of Antiquities, a good place to learn about the city’s history!
Leaving the Kasbah I head for “Café Hafa”. The most famous café of Tangier is a ramshackle affair with steep terraces overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. A few months ago, I was standing on the other side of the Med, in Tarifa, Spain, looking towards Morocco. This afternoon I’m doing the exact opposite. The circle is complete!
Have you been to Tangier?
What city do you have a love affair with?