Monday, April 29, 2013

International Day Trips From Spain: Tangier and Gibraltar

By now, more than halfway through our epic tour of Southern Spain, most of our group was feeling like this:

On the ferry to Tangier, Morocco

The ironic part is that I was probably the most energetic of the bunch, and I was 7 months pregnant! My poor family. They didn't know what hit them. But, when in Rome Spain, right? I figured we only had a week in the region and I really wanted to make the most of it. After seeing Malaga, Sevilla, the White Towns, and Granada, we decided to look internationally for a couple of day trips. Tangier, Morocco was at the top of the list.

We had fantastic weather and spend the day wandering through the crowded souks (markets); exploring the lively fish, meat and vegetable stalls; and drinking plenty of hot mint tea.

Fresh tuna 




We also stumbled upon the American Legation. Do you know what a Legation is? I didn't. According to Wikipedia, it is a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy. After World War II, legations fell out of use and were generally converted to embassies, but not the legation in Tangier. This little house in the middle of the Medina was the first national historic landmark outside of America. Displayed inside is a hand-written letter dated 1865 that announces the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Fascinating!

American Legation in Tangier

Dan and I had been to Morocco before, but this was a very different experience. I have to say that I liked Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains way more than Tangier. We were hassled endlessly by unscrupulous people who were hoping to be our tour guides for the day. Turning them down only led to more fevered pitches. The best way to deal with it was by completely ignoring them. The city was also pretty touristy, but there wasn't much to see. I am glad we went because it is definitely a different experience than Europe. And for someone who has never been to a Muslim nation, or to Africa, this is a cool day trip from Spain. But I certainly wouldn't make a special effort to go to Tangier on its own.

What I would recommend though, is a day trip to Gibraltar. This was our second international day trip, since Gibraltar is part of the United Kingdom. The peninsula is most famous for its rock and the monkeys that live on it.





I really loved Gibraltar. The town itself is small, but cute. I was shocked to find out there is a fairly large Jewish community. We even found a kosher bakery and a kosher-for-passover store! There are four different synagogues for a population of 700 Jews. Amazing!


It was a great way to end our time in Southern Spain. Even though it was a very fast-paced trip, it was so nice to spend time with my family. It's crazy to think that this is the last family trip with just the five of us. So much is going to change, but I hope we can keep traveling together in the future.

Read about our other stops in Spain:

3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful trip it was. What Calli leaves out is that it poured almost every day.
    Calli is the finest travel planner (and oldest daughter) that I have ever used, with the exception of the one that I sleep with, honey. Without Calli chronicling everything we did I do not think that I could remember which gelatto was different from the pastries. Morocco, that was about it.I look forward to baby Levin joining us on a trip in the near future.
    Love,
    Dad

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