We left Chefchaouen to drive to Tangier.  However, before we left, we just had to photo more of the beautiful sites in Chefchaouen!  Also, as we were leaving an old woman walked by.  Our guide talked with her; she said she was 100 years old.

We had another glimpse of the Mediterranean beach.  It was even foggier than the previous day!  We stopped along the road to see storks and their nests.

We saw Ceuta.  This is a 11-sq mile piece of land that belongs to Spain but is located in Africa.  We had heard about it in the 2000’s as a place which African immigrants try to enter in order to get passage to Europe.  Moroccans who live within a certain distance (40 km?) from the border of Ceuta are allowed in without visas.  These Moroccans go to buy goods cheaply to bring back to Morocco and sell.  When we stopped on a hill overlooking the area, we could see the fence built around Ceuta.  There is a Spanish garrison in Ceuta; Morocco is building one on the opposite hill.

Tangier is second largest port in Morocco.  Young boys/men wait in roundabouts to try to hitch on to a container truck and be smuggled into the port and thus into Europe.  We stopped near a roundabout and our guide talked to two young boys—one was 18 and one was 21.  It was heartbreaking to hear their stories.  They live on the streets and try to find free food.  The one had managed to hide on a container truck but the police caught him in the port.  They beat him and took him back to the entrance.  These boys feel they have no future in Morocco and all they can think about is getting to Spain.  There they would probably be hired for very little money to work in the gardens and vineyards.  However, they have no papers and could be found in Spain and sent back.  (Does this sound familiar?) Earlier in the day, our guide had asked each of us for 5 cents.  He took the money and disappeared.  Later he came back with bread, cheese, tuna.  It was this food that he gave the boys.

We visited a lovely lighthouse on Cap Spartel.  It is pictured on the 20 dirham note (Morocco money).  We visited the Hercules Caves.  The cave has two openings, one to sea and one to land. The sea opening is known as “The Map of Africa.”  According to mythology, the Roman god, Hercules, stayed and slept in the cave during his labors.  (See myth.)   According to history, it is said that Phoenicians created the sea opening.  The Berbers used part of the cave, cutting stone wheels from the walls to make millstones.  We also visited the “point” where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea.

Scenes along the streets as we traveled from the coast to our hotel.  And then the view from our hotel!

Tangier has been influenced by many civilizations and cultures since before the 5th century.  It was a strategic Berber town, a Phoenician trading center, known to the Greeks, Romans, etc. etc.   Beginning in modern history (15th century!) it was administered by Portugal, England, Morocco, Spain, International, Morocco.  During 1924-56 it was considered as having international status by colonial powers and became a destination for many European and American diplomats, spies, writers and businessmen.

In the medina we visited the former sultan palace which is now a museum of Moroccan artifacts.  The museum includes some very old items from Roman times and also many mosaics.  One fascinating display was of a map from the 14th century with a south to north orientation.  Morocco is on the right side of the map while Egypt is on the left.

From the 18th century Tangier served as Morocco’s diplomatic headquarters.  The U.S. dedicated its first consulate in the 1780’s.  In 1821, the Legation Building in Tangier became the first piece of property acquired abroad by the U. S. government.  The building is now a museum which includes items about the famous author Paul Bowles.  (We did not have time to visit the museum.)

We walked through the medina.  We stopped at a bakery and bought fresh bread.  Yum!  And more interesting scenes through the medina.

It was time to travel to Rabat.  We went by bullet train which at one point reached 220 mph.  It was a fast, smooth ride.  To go by car, takes about 4 hours.  The bullet train took just over 1 hour. The U.S. has something to learn!

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