Magical Morocco 2011
May 6th – 16th, 2011
 


Sunday, May 8th, Casablanca – Tangier

After breakfast, we leave early to head to Tangier. Visit Cape Spartel which is the exact point where the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Palaces and princely homes line the fourteen kilometres separating Tangiers from Cape Spartel between pine forests and giant hibiscus beds. This extreme north-westerly tip of Africa offers a marvelous and enchanting setting. Between sandy beaches and oak and mastic tree (mastic resin is a relatively expensive kind of spice, that has been used, principally, as a chewing gum, for at least 2,400 years) covered hills, this road is not far from the Perdicaris belvedere, a unique observatory over the ocean. The foot of the lighthouse at Cape Spartel, built in 1864, also offers a magnificent view of the ocean.

Then visit the Caves of Hercules (dating from the Neolithic era). A stop to take pictures of the camels and some of our group even ventured a ride on them. This was a blast, they so enjoyed it. Legend has it that after having dug out the straits between Europe and Africa with his club, Hercules rested in caves next to Tangiers. The legendary place in fact exists just five kilometres south of the lighthouse on Cape Spartel. Dug into the cliff, the Hercules caves were shelter to Neolithic man. They were then used for a long time as quarries, their stone being used to make millstones. Closer to the present day, during the wild nights of Tangiers in the international period, the Hercules caves were the setting for sumptuous parties, especially those organized by photographer, Sir Cecil Beaton. The caves still offer a splendid view of the ocean through their openings in the cliff face.

After this experience it was time for lunch at L’Ocean, again, another delicious meal that left us all wanting to take a nap!

The Mendoubia building and Gardens (The international administration when Tangier was under-control of 8 powerful countries) . The Mendoubia Gardens flank the Grand Socco. These luxurious gardens offer a welcome shade from the midday afternoon sun and boast a fascinating banyan tree that’s over 800 years old brought in by a Swedish fellow from India! There is also a memorial for the former offices of the Sultan’s Representative – called Mendoub – during the International years in Tangier. We continue to visit St. Andrew's Church where the Lord's Prayer is written in arabic over the chancel. In 1880, Hassan I of Morocco donated a terrain in order to build a small Anglican church in Tangier. After the church was built, it was found that was not sufficient for the increasing number of worshippers. A new foundation was built in 1894 which became the Church of Saint Andrew. Among the people buried in the church is Emily Kean, the first woman to introduce vaccination to Morocco. If architecture or religious journeys excite your sense of adventure, then a visit to St. Andrews church, will contrast the traditional architecture of Tangiers with notable Anglican architecture. St. Andrews church has lasted over 100 years in a primarily non-Christian setting. The American journalist Walter Harris is buried in its cemetery alongside many other foreigners who made the city their home, including the British eccentric David Herbert whose tombstone, in contrast to his flamboyant lifestyle, reads simply ‘He Loved Morocco’.

Our hotel while here in Tangier was The El Minzah. The views from the El Minzah Hotel Tangier are stunning. One can survey the Bay of Tangiers, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Rif Mountains against which backdrop is set the old medina and Cap Malabata. Nestled in the luxuriant gardens are beds of roses and giant geraniums, lilies, hibiscus and countless exotic plants. The immaculate lawns are shaded by palm, orange and eucalyptus trees.

Our dinner this evening was at Relais De Paris Tanger and I must tell you the most common complaint I got on the whole trip was there was just too much food. I apologize for that, sort of….

We learn a lot from our guide at we travel the highway…such as….

There are 10 different varieties of eucalyptus and it makes great honey

33 million people live in Morocco, the Berbers were the first inhabitants and all speak the Arab language

We saw a lot of stork nests on our travels and Omari said that it was as sign of good luck to have them. What we could not believe it seeing 3 or 4 nests on the same tower…that was incredible.

The Berbers, or blue men, used indigo dye to cover their skin to protect them from bugs like mosquitoes. There are 400 families still living that still do this in the Atlas Mountains.

We see field after field of wildflowers this time of year…you want to nap but it is so hard to do as the scenery is just so wonderful to look at. Prickly pear everywhere – it makes a great fence and the fruit is very useful and demands a high price.

That the olive trees were introduced by the Phoenicians

The oldest site in Morocco is the Lixus site http://www.atlantisquest.com/Archeology.html#lixus

There are many flowers including the bluet that will only grow when you rest the soil

 

 

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row