Day 10 |
May 04, 2012

 Tangiers, Morocco

By Gordon Corrigan, Military Historian

Co-ordinates: N 35.47.28, W 5.47.54
Weather: Sunny occasionally overcast
Air Temperature: 18ºC at 2.00 pm
Pressure: 1013 hPa at 2pm
Wind: 33 knots at 2pm

After an overnight voyage across a flat calm sea, the Silver Explorer docked in Tangiers at 7.15 a.m. After breakfast our guests disembarked for one of the two tours that were on offer, one to Tetouan and the other to the Caves of Hercules.

The approach to Tetouan took us through the foothills of the Rif Mountains, where there is a plethora of wind farms along the escarpments, and into what was Spanish Morocco. The town itself stands on a rocky plateau in an area rich in fields of oranges, pomegranates and almonds, and combines the modern supermarkets, petrol stations and internet cafes with the old town and its souk, medina and warren of narrow streets crammed with leather workers, metal smiths, carpet weavers and assorted artisans whose methods have changed little since medieval times.

After seeing some of these trainee craftsmen at work we paused for a glass of mint tea and a sticky bun before walking through the old Medina and Souk, much less tourist contaminated than was Marrakesh. We completed our walk at the royal palace (presumably one of the royal palaces, as the capital is Rabat)where the impression was rather spoiled by the royal guards, scruffy soldiers with hands in pockets leaning against the side of their sentry box with rifles propped against the wall.

The second tour was to the Caves of Hercules, where the Grecian hero rested after his twelve labours. (It should be noted that some modern historians believe that the story of the Labours of Hercules may not be entirely accurate.) Both tours finished back at the Silver Explorer in time for lunch, leaving guests free to explore Tangiers in their own time during the afternoon.

The Silver Explorer sailed at 6.30 pm and we held our normal briefing and recapitulation at 6.45 pm, followed by dinner as we continued towards Cadiz.