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Meet me in Tangier, Morocco

Maybe I watched one too many James Bond movies or my mind got stuck in a 1940s spy thriller but I always wanted to visit this mysterious city located just 31 km (19 miles) across the Andalusian coast. Anthony Bourdain whose Tangier episode fascinated me was another reason I wanted to come here.

Getting to Tangier is easy, there are multiple ferries from Tarifa, Spain. First thing I noticed: it’s clean, a lot cleaner than any of the other North African cities I’ve visited. An entire fleet of sweepers is constantly on the move. No plastic floating around and plenty of bins to dispose garbage. Tanjawa (citizens of Tangier) are also a lot more relaxed compared to their counterparts in Cairo or Marrakesh. Store owners in the Medina sit in front of their businesses smiling and wishing you a great day, no unwanted soliciting. Once you walk inside a store to glance at a leather bag or souvenir, all bets are off and the haggling begins. Interesting to know that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as a sovereign nation and Tangier houses the first American mission abroad.

An absolute highlight is the culinary variety. Tanjin (a meal cooked in a small clay pot) dominates in all varieties with veggies, seafood, chicken or beef. Cafe Baba or Saveur de Poisson serve some of the best Moroccan cuisine. 

Sipping mint tea at the Grand Cafe Central on Petit Socco is priceless. Back in the days, politics was discussed, business conducted and spies exchanged information at this historic place. 

Another highlight is the market where the smell of spices, flowers, veggies and freshly caught fish provides a rollercoaster for your senses. 

Tangier was built on seven hills, comfortable shoes are advisable when exploring the tiny alleys of the Kasbah and Medina. November temperatures are a perfect 25C/80s during the day, it gets nippy at night but a sweater will do.

In this day and age of overpriced tourism, Tangier is a bargain. 100 dollars will get you a fantastic room in a Riad (traditional house in the Kasbah), clean, unique and a sumptuous breakfast included. Meals at restaurants are anywhere from two to five dollars and a local guide is about 30 dollars for half a day. 

Two thumbs up for Tangier 👍🏽👍🏽