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Hey everyone! I decided to split up my Moroccan travel into more posts because there are loads of things I wanna share with you. I will write to you everything you need to know before starting a journey like this, but don't forget that everyone's experience is different!
So, what most people don't know about Morocco is that even though you see all the fancy pictures on Instagram from Marrakesh, it is still located in Africa. It's a totally different place, and if you've never been to an Arab or at least a Muslim country, there will be a big cultural shock. Also, it's debatable weather it is a third world country or not. I think that it depends on where you go, and how much money you have. If you fly in to Marrakesh, live in a fancy riad (the moroccan version of a fancy hotel with palm trees inside and pools) then you will definitely think this place doesn't belong in the third world category. But for someone who has limited resources and travels with local buses and wants to visit other places as well, I think I am not exaggerating by saying that it is totally a third world country. I saw a post on 9gag showing fancy places around Morocco, but I think you can never measure the wealth of a country by how the richest people live. Sure, Morocco has the most fashionable queen, but she is one of the 33 million people who live there.
So, we knew we wouldn't have enough time for Marrakesh, but we still wanted to have a real moroccan experience. We knew we want to visit Chefchaouen and Fez, but even the night before we left, still weren't sure if we could make it to the desert. But that is gonna be for later on! Now let's talk about how to get to Tangier from Malaga!
I flew to Malaga from Budapest with Ryanair (bought the tickets in advance, it cost me around 120€), I arrived there on a Wednesday evening. We didn't plan anything ahead. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical weather we could make it or not, but I decided to just go with the flow, and listen to my own instinct, which most of the times kept me out of trouble. We booked our ferry tickets that night and two hotels, slept two hours, and off we were to out big adventure!
We took a bus from Malaga to Algeciras from 5 o'clock in the morning, it costs around 17€ per person. We arrived there at 7:45. We didn't buy our tickets in advance, but if you want to, you can check out this site. From Algeciras we took the ferry to Tangier Med at around 11. We bought our tickets on the aferry site, and tried to find the cheapest alternative, which for us was the Transmediterranea, we payed 20€/person one way. When searching on this site, don't forget to change the method of travel from car to foot passenger. If you bought your ticket online, you still have to go to the office and ask for your ticket. Find the office of your ferry, they will help you further. The ferry goes for about one and a half hour, it is really comfortable, you can find food and drinks on board. The other amazing thing is, that they will stamp your passport on board, so when you arrive to Morocco, you don't have to wait in line for control. Before they stamp your passport, you have to fill out an entry form, which they will give you as soon as you are on board.
The interesting part of our journey, which I was nervous about was how to get from Tangier Med to Tangier. So, the ferry takes you to Tangier Med which is situated approx. 45 km from the city called Tangier. I read a lot of blogposts and articles on google about this, most people said there has to be a free bus that takes you to Tangier. THAT IS NOT TRUE, or at least not anymore. There is a bus, that takes you from where the ferry leaves you to the exit (imagine it like in the airport) which is free. But from there, you have to wait either for a local bus which goes maybe once in an hour and costs 7 dirhams, or you find more people and go with a taxi. We were still hoping that this free taxi exists and were just searching for it, when we met a Polish guy and later on a men from Venezuela. We went to the nearest bus stop (which is on the main road), and two Arabs stopped saying that they have a tourism company and they will take us for 1 euro each in the city center. Since we were all in our early 20's, the middle aged man from Venezuela asked them at least three times in French if they are correct, and after a few minutes, we were in the car. To be honest, I was scared as hell. I downloaded maps.me application, probably the only one that works offline in Morocco, and I was looking at it if they are taking us in the right direction. Even though I respect every culture and try not to stereotype people by how they look, let's be honest. Two Arabs wearing kaftans and those typical Arab scarves on their head, who didn't even speak French, were kind of intimidating and making me feel unsafe. But because we were with two men, we felt a bit better. Those 30 minutes passed by soooo slowly. But we arrived to Tangier safe and sound, and ready to conquer our next obstacle.
On the internet we saw only one bus from Tangier to Chefchaouen, which of course we missed. We knew we didn't wanted to stay for long in Tangier, so we asked the taxi to drop us off at the local bus station, where we hoped there would be a local bus company. There was and we got a bit screwed over, but in the end we managed to find tickets for later that day to go to the blue city, because we had hotel reservations there.
I could go on and on about our experiences in Algeciras and Tangier as well, but instead I will leave a link to my vlog, where I talked more about these cities, also showed you a bit around. We visited the old city of Algeciras which was such a surprise, decorated with amazing colorful ceramics. We also walked around Tangier a bit, but decided to stay close to the bus station and chill under some trees like everyone else does.
If you read through this enormous post, I will leave you with some tips on how to dress and behave in an Arab country.
- Try to cover up. Not necessarily your head, but wear long, loose trousers and cover your bust and shoulders. Trust me, it's not because they will say something to you, or do anything with you on the street it's just you will feel safer. No one is going to talk to you on the street if you don't provoke them, but they will stare. If you don't like that, always have a scarf with you.
- Don't take pictures of people only if you ask them. This is the hardest one for me because I love photography. If I took some pictures, I tried to take them from distance, without showing their faces. Just imagine how it must feel being photographed all the time just because you look different. I remember once I was in Turkey, a guy on the bus took a photo of me. I felt terrible, because I wasn't prepared and I felt like it was a invasion of my privacy. If he would have asked I would definitely say yes because I am always on social media, but not everyone is comfortable with that.
- If you travel with your special someone, don't kiss and cuddle in public.
- Don't forget, as a non-muslim, you are not allowed in mosques in Morocco.
Hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new about Morocco! I will get back next week with my experiences from Chefchaouen, the blue pearl and maybe Fez, one of the royal cities from Morocco!