"" Writer's Wanderings: Tangiers, Morocco - The Kasba

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tangiers, Morocco - The Kasba

The “still-emerging” tourist industry in Tangiers is interesting to say the least. As our tour continued, we stopped near the entrance to the Kasba. Nearby was a hotel/restaurant. I’m not sure exactly what it’s status was but we were to enjoy a bit of refreshment there in the way of cookies and apple juice—at least I think it was apple juice. I never tasted it.

The place was also the only rest stop along the way and needless to say the facilities were a bit primitive. Luckily one of the ship’s escorts had tucked a roll of toilet paper in her backpack and portioned it out.

While the restroom might not have been elaborate, the rest of the place was intricately designed with all sorts of painted ceramic tiles. Ornate doesn’t begin to describe it. In the middle of the large room where we were seated for refreshment, was a group of musicians entertaining us with a sampling of their music.

There was no time to linger however as our tour was only a half-day and we still had the Kasba to see as well as the shopping opportunities the Medina would offer.

The Kasba is the old fortified area of the city where the original palace is. Walking through the narrow streets was as interesting as I thought it would be. All the old movie themes played in my head. At any moment I was sure Humphrey Bogart or Peter Lorrie would appear.

The palace was a mix of the ornate and the historical. There was not a lot of explanation and we mostly explored the palace courtyard area on our own. Ah, but we needed to move on as we still had places to go and things—well to buy, of course.

On our way out of the Kasba and into the Medina, there was an opportunity to visit a craft bazaar which just happened to have a rug dealer on the second floor who wanted to explain how intricately made his rugs were. They were beautiful but none would have fit into a suitcase and I wasn’t sure we could afford the rug and shipping as well.

The Medina is the shopping area of Tangiers and is made up of hundreds, maybe thousands, of little shops some of which aren’t much more than a 6 foot wide space between buildings. As soon as shopkeepers realized a tour group was coming through, they would gather a sampling of their products in their arms and follow us down the street a bit tantalizing as best they could. Given more time, it might have been fun to bargain a bit but there wasn’t much that we were interested in.

All in all, it was nice introduction to Tangiers and now that we know what to expect, it might be fun to return and see how much more their tourist industry has emerged in a few years.

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