Sites I’ve Seen, So Far

Wow, have I been busy? I have so much to tell you around move preparations, our voyage from Genoa to Tangier, our temporary apartment, the food we’ve eaten, finding our permanent apartment, sites we’ve seen, and the list goes on and on. The problem is, while internet in Morocco is very, very good….my temporary apartment does not have it. It was supposed to, but because this is the offseason, and it is a vacation rental, it is disconnected. I can go to any restaurant, bar, or cafe, but it’s not always convenient.

So, please bear with me in these next few weeks while we get our footing and get settled.

I, of course, have taken photos of many things already so thought I would share a few of those with you for now. I hope you enjoy them!

First of all, Flowers, flowers, flowers. Everywhere. Hibiscus, bougainvillea, and others that I don’t know the names of. Lovely!

Flowers of Morocco
Flowers of Morocco

Flowers of Morocco
Flowers of Morocco
Flowers of Morocco
Flowers of Morocco
Flowers of Morocco
Flowers of Morocco

Hafa Cafe and a wonderful meal there of fava bean soup, bread, olives, and tea. This is a famous historic cafe built on the side of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean.

Grand Socco
Grand Socco
Roman Tomb
Roman Tomb

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Hafa Cafe
A meal at Hafa Cafe

Hafa Cafe
Hafa Cafe

The boat we sailed on and a sunset one evening from the boat.

Camels walking down the beach each morning and evening as they go to “work”. You can ride them or take pictures.

A fantastic “typical” Moroccan breakfast.

The Grand Socco, a Roman tomb, and a view of the city.

Grand Socco
Grand Socco

Roman Tomb
Roman Tomb

We’ve Been Happy Here-Moving

Packing everything up for moving is a bittersweet task. This is my third transcontinental move. Each time, I sort through my belongings, which have become less each time, to evaluate their value. The value usually has nothing to do with money, but more with memories, replaceability, and sentiment. Furniture, kitchenware, and linens never make the cut.

Instead, I chose books that I bought at museums and art exhibits, or places that I have traveled. Art that spoke to me on a sidewalk in Rome, Florence, Paris, or Bruges I carefully wrapped with no thought of leaving it. All of the framed photographs of friends and family that will personalize my new home I place into boxes. Pottery we bought on our honeymoon, glasses that were a wedding gift, an afghan that my grandmother made are all making the move.

I look around this tiny apartment with three rooms of about 600 square feet and think how happy we’ve been here. It was our first home together and five years of our lives have passed here. It’s a drop in the bucket and a lifetime at the same time.

We’ve had countless dinner parties with friends, played cards together night after night, watched movies, hung out the windows to watch the parades down Borgo Ognissanti, become friends with neighbors, and know the owners of most of the shops along our street. One of my cats who was eighteen years old died here, and we took in another kitten as an addition to our family. We celebrated several Christmases with my sons. Friends slept on our couch.

As I pack, the rooms start to look empty and lose their personality. The thought of leaving it and this city is heartbreaking. The thought of my new exotic home is exciting and intoxicating. Starting over again is intriguing and frightening. So many conflicting emotions. I pack those away in one of my internal boxes as well. I will take them out and look them over once I arrive in my new home.

Essaouira-A Fishing Village

Essaouira is a coastal town a two hour bus ride from Marrakech. Blue and white and as picturesque as a post card, it was a definite highlight of the trip. We left Marrakech on Friday a.m. with our luggage to spend a night in Essaouira. After being there, we both agreed that it would have been nice to spend more time in this quaint beautiful village by the sea.

Essaouira was the most important port of the North African coast in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is surrounded by ramparts that are wonderful to walk on and catch the sea breezes and see the surrounding sea and fishing boats. While we were here, the water was a deep chocolate brown, which I understand is not normal. There had been some storms earlier in the day so perhaps the sand churn caused the color change. Fish plays an important role in this small town and the fish stalls near the port offer great food, freshly caught and grilled at very low prices. Walk around and find what you want and they will cook it up for you. We ate all of this for only 100 dirhams (about $12) total!!!!

There are fewer people here and there is a strong artistic presence in the town. The souks have some of the usual souvenirs, but seem to be more “upscale” than many we saw in Marrakech. The prices however were good. There are a couple of large plazas with cafes and bars and places to sit for drinks along the seaside. The beach is wide, but at this time of year it wasn’t widely occupied.

We stayed at a 5 star hotel which I found on for 89 euro ($115) called Le Medina. It was exceptional. Located on the seaside, it was elegant and sophisticated. We didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the amenities, but I would definitely stay there again!

In the evening, we ate at a seaside restaurant called Chalet de la Plage, a short walk from the hotel. We had fresh oysters, and calamari stuffed with rice and shrimp, along with a nice bottle of wine. It was a lovely ending to our week in Morocco!

Quarzazate, Morocco and the Tiki-n-Tichka Pass

The Tizi-n-Tichka pass winds its way across the Atlas Mountains to arrive at Quarzazate. It is filled with wonderful scenery and amazing views.

This was a long day trip! We started at 7 a.m. from our hotel on a group tour this time. The bus seated about 15 people, but as it turned out there were only 5 of us, making a very comfortable and relaxing “group tour”. There was one other American with us, and two French speaking people. The guide unfortunately only spoke French. This wasn’t a huge problem as along the trail there were many photo opportunities but not a lot of things to see that required a long narrative of facts.

The road is good, but treacherous in some spots as it winds its way up the Atlas Mountains. This highway N9 runs from Marrakech, south crossing the country’s highest pass. Over the mountain, the road descends into Quarzazate. The ride one way is about 4 hours including stops.

We made many stops for photos and a couple of breaks and also stopped at a store which made and sold textiles such as blankets and embroidered tablecloths. The embroidery was beautiful with both sides of the stitched fabric looking exactly alike. Not an easy feat! The blankets and fabrics were hand loomed at the store.

Quarzazate is the “Hollywood of the Sahara” with a couple of film studios there, and many films shot in the area.

The highlight of the trip after a wonderful lunch was the visit to Ait Benhaddou. We had an English speaking Berber tour guide for this portion and he was wonderful. This Kasbah is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and is one of the best preserved of all the Kasbahs in the Atlas Mountains. There are only 8 families left living in the Kasbah.

This site has been in many movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Mummy, Gladiator and Alexander. They were building a gate for a new movie, Prince of Persia II.

This trip cost 350 dirham or about $50 each plus a great lunch for an additional $10. Primarily the cost is for the transportation, but it is a trip well worth taking. The scenery is stunning!

Ait Bennadhou

Ourika Valley, Morocco

After a couple of days in Marrakech, we decided to explore some of the areas outside the city. We took a day trip to the Ourika Valley. We booked a private tour guide for 1000 dirhams or about 120 USD.

The Ourika Valley lies at the foot of the Atlas Mountains which on a clear day are visible from Marrakech. There was already snow on some of the mountain tops! It is only about 42 miles Southeast of Marrakech and it was a great change of scenery from the chaotic city. Pretty soon outside the city limits, the land becomes rich with agricultural products. Olives, corn, fruit trees such as lemons and oranges, and the famous Argan trees.

The terrain becomes hilly and there are many of the Berber villages made of the clay in the area that look like they have grown out of the hillside. We stopped along the way at the home of a Berber family to see what it was like. The setting was really lovely along a stream.
They use the power from the water flow to grind wheat and to wash and cook. The home was primitive but much larger than I had expected.

We also stopped at a cooperative which makes the famous Argan oil. We took a walk with a guide through the garden and he explained many of the plants and herbs and their medicinal qualities. We sampled the argan oil used in cooking and for cosmetic purposes.

At the end of the road through the Ourika Valley lies the small town of Setti Fatma. It is a bustling little village with the river running through it making for some very picturesque cafes and restaurants. The guide explained that in the summer it is a crowded tourist spot because it is so much cooler than the surrounding area.

It was green and lush and they had some tables and chairs set up in the shallow running water. I could see that it would be the place to be on a hot summer day! This day was cloudy and drizzling rain, so we decided to skip the hike up to the waterfalls.

The guidebooks indicate there are 7 waterfalls to hike to and the first one is said to be a relatively easy 15-minute walk. However, Tripadvisor and some other sources indicate it is more strenuous than that, and so with the rain and the uncertainty, we chose not to take the hike to the waterfall.

There are many local guides waiting when you arrive to guide you through the trail to the waterfalls.

The guide stopped at a restaurant on the way back and we ate a wonderful meal of fried eggplant, Moroccan salad, tagines, and wine. The trip was about 6 ½ hours long. A very nice day and good break from the city!

Marrakech, Morocco

I visited Marrakech in October of 2012 with my son. After living in Italy for two years I did not have a clue at the time that my path would eventually lead me back to Morocco. We made such fond memories during that trip and reading the blog that I wrote about it is so thrilling! When I thought of living in Morocco, Marrakech was a place that I didn’t think I could live. It is larger than life, aggressive, exotic, and for me, overwhelming. That being said. I can’t wait to visit again. Read on to discover my impressions during that trip.

Colorful, charismatic, and chaotic Marrakech lures you into its cacophony of sounds, smells, and sights and wraps you in a dream like trance. Spices in piles, glass and metal lamps, colorful leather shoes, snake charmers and fruit vendors all vie for your attention. Surprisingly diverse, but predictably male dominated it is a battery to the senses.

I arrived in Marrakech late on a Saturday evening, a few hours after my son who I was meeting. He had sent the shuttle from the hotel; so thankfully, I didn’t have to think much when I got off the plane.

The Moroccan currency is not available outside of the country, so I had planned to exchange some money at the airport but found the booth closed for the evening. When I asked the shuttle driver where I could exchange money, he told me at the hotel. This turned out to be a hassle that I will caution against. The hotel didn’t have any money for 3 days. My advice is always to use the ATM’s when traveling and I will stick to my own advice in the future!

We stayed at the El Meridian, N’Fis, which my son secured with his frequent flyer points. Located just outside the city walls, it was a welcome “oasis” at the end of the day away from the “hustle and bustle” which is Marrakech. Hustle is a word I don’t use lightly in this case, and it is what Marrakech is all about.

I wasn’t prepared for the battery of techniques to secure money. Not only does everyone want to sell you something from their wonderful assortment of goods, which you absolutely must barter for, but they also expect you to give them money for providing directions, taking photos, hailing a cab, and many other menial things that you might take for granted. I have been in atmospheres like this before (Mexico comes to mind), but not to this level of intensity. That being said, staying outside of the Medina (city walls) provided some relief. It was a 30 dirham (3 euro/$5) cab ride into town. It was walkable and we did that also some days depending on our itinerary, and how tired we were.

Late September, the weather was still pretty hot and the sun intense. I know they say it is a “dry heat”, but it was hot. The night times were pleasantly cool, and in the shade of the souks, it was pleasant. We had a couple of days of light rain, but nothing that interfered with our plans.

Marrakech provided a great base for seeing some other cities in the area as day trips. It felt very safe in terms of crime, but you must watch where you walk on these narrow streets inside the medina where donkeys, people, motorcycles, cars, and cats all share the space! I didn’t see any accidents, but I am still surprised!

Although we were in Morocco a week and used Marrakech as our base, we actually spent 3 days viewing the sites of Marrakech, which felt about right. There is more to experience in Marrakech than there are things to see, but the intensity of the city is a lot to take in. We divided these 3 days up with day trips in between.

Jemaa El Fna is Marrakech’s main square within the medina which the city life revolves around. During the day there are vendors selling oils, lanterns, henna tattoos, hats, etc. and at night it becomes a Night Market which is unbelievable. This market is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site and has games, tarot card readers, snake charmers, food vendors, etc. It will take your breath away!

It seems that every city has its landmark monument, and Marrakech’s is the Koutoubia Mosque which you can see from all directions. It is closed to non-Muslims but it is an impressive site surrounded by beautiful gardens.

The souks are small alleyways of tented shops that sell an array of goods from lanterns, slippers, carpets, spices, sweets, and clothing. Be ready to bargain if you want to buy something. My advice is to not ask a price unless you are ready to buy!

Marrakech is surrounded by a wall and 20 gates. We didn’t see them all, but the ones that we did see are amazing. The Saadian Tombs are in a tranquil garden and were hidden from the world until 1920 when they were revealed. The tombs were here since the 16th century and are decorated in the beautiful Alhambra style. This was one of my favorite places.

Another of my favorites was the mosque of Medersa Ben Youssef. This is a very impressive building which allows non-Muslims to enter. It was originally built in 1565 and rebuilt in the 16th century.

The Badii Palace which took 25 years to build and was said to be the most magnificent palace ever constructed was a disappointment because it is in ruins. All that remains is the outline of what the palace might have been, and you must have a good imagination! It is open and exposed to the sun with concrete flooring, so it is HOT here. One of the most interesting things was the stork nests that are on top of the crumbled walls.

We visited the beautiful Majorelle Gardens which was originally owned by French painter Jacques Majorelle. The property fell into disrepair after his death and was bought and rescued by the fashion designer Yves Saint-Lauren and an artist friend. The gardens were lovely, cool, and small, but the experience was ruined by the number of people that were inside. You could hardly enjoy or take photos. Maybe later in the afternoon once all of the tour groups are gone would be a better time to visit.

Marrakech is a travel experience you won’t want to miss but you should do your homework and be prepared for this “different world” when visiting. The people are friendly and while everyone doesn’t speak English, communication was not really an issue. French is the language used with tourists and most things are written in French with some English. Marrakech is exotic…and that’s an understatement!

Eat Well in Tangier

Food in Tangier is delicious! The diet is full of an abundance of fresh fish pulled from the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It the perfect place for seafood lovers like me. Beef is the most eaten meat, although chicken comes close behind. Lamb is also popular, but for religious reasons, pork is not. Since there are many cities along the shore of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, fish is also widely used throughout the country. The tajine is the official dish of Morocco. It is the name of the conically shaped pottery dish that the food is served in as well as the dish itself.

Moroccan cuisine, influenced by its rich history, interactions, and culture with other countries over the years is really tasty and interesting. Touches of African, Andalusia, Mediterranean, Arabic, and Berber cultures all combine. The cuisine is influenced by its condiments of pickled lemons, argan oil, olives and unfiltered olive oil, and dried fruits such as raisins and dates. The herbs and spices add even more interest to an already fascinating cuisine! Cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, saffron, coriander, cloves, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, mint, and sage garnish the dishes. One of the most famous and popular is Ras El Hanout, a fabulous blend of 27 spices.

Couscous is a very popular grain dish, and uses mixes of meats, fruits, and vegetables. Many Moroccan dishes are eaten with bread instead of utensils. Bread is a very important part of every meal. A typical meal consists of starting with fresh salads, then the main dish. Desert is usually fruit although they have some lovely little bite-size pastries. Hot mint tea, with lots of sugar, is usually served after a meal.

Because of Tangier’s proximity to Spain, you can find really good Spanish food here as well. I was surprised at the number of other types of restaurants I saw there. It’s very international!

I had fabulous meals in Tangier with the average cost being about 7 euro. It is very cheap to eat a really good meal! The servings are very generous, so after a huge lunch, I was usually happy with something very light for dinner. Happily, I am married to a Moroccan who is a great cook, so I don’t have to wait to return to Morocco to eat their fabulous cuisine!

Warning! As in Southern Europe, dinner time is very late here. Restaurants will usually open for dinner around 7:30, but it won’t start filling up until around 9 p.m.
mnt tea
Traditionally, food is served in the home on one large plate. Family members eat with their hands or bread to scoop up the food that is in front of them. Only the right hand is used for eating. The left hand may be used to break bread or pass things on the table. Never refuse food in a Moroccan household. It is considered extremely rude.

Don’t forget the delicious Moroccan mint tea! It is fantastic at any time of the day, but especially after a meal with a sweet.

I’m looking forward to learning a new kitchen and also eating the fabulous spicy foods of Tangier!

Tangier-Outside the Medina

The call to prayer woke me every morning before six. It was incredibly haunting and exotic. It seemed to go on for a long time and I whispered a little thank you that I didn’t have to get up to go pray or for anything else for that matter. A thoughful start to another day in Tangier.

Yesterday, I walked along the new port and sat for a long while in the sun. There were families and couples walking along the new pier, which was corded off where they were working on a new fountain. The fountain is about a city block long and water shoots straight up from the ground. It’s the kind of place that kids will run through, and probably adults too in the hot summer months.

There is construction all around this new port and it is expected to be completed in 2018. King Mohammad IV has a vision for Tangier to be the gateway to Africa. I learned that on my private tour. Hannan offered a private tour with a taxi, which lasted 2 ½ hours and cost 40 euro. Siad, my driver, was born in Tangier and has lived here most of his life. He lived in London for seven years where he learned to speak perfect English.

He took me along the coast road with the Mediterranean on one side and the medina and Kasbah on the other. He pointed out Malcolm Forbes former home, which was converted to a museum, but now houses guests of the King. Further along is the mansion of the Mayor of Tangier, and further still surrounded by armed guards and beautifully scrolled wrought iron gates is the summer home of King Mohammad VI. The villas surrounding this area are other summer homes of a variety of people, many whom live in other countries. And so it goes all along the upper part past the old medina.

We arrived at one of the most luxurious hotels in Tangier, the Villa Josephine. I strolled around the grounds, which are incredibly beautiful. The gardens surrounding it are lush and tropical and the inside of the Villa stunning.

Afterward, we traveled to Parc Perdicaris, a national park of Morocco. At Cap Spartel, you can see where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean. It is a truly beautiful place.

Not far from there is the Grotto of Hercules.

We drove back a different way than we came so that Siad could show me the poor section of Tangier. We passed lots of villas and new apartments on the way and groups of women looking for taxis. Local city public transportation seems to be non-existent, although there is a bus terminal and train station for longer travel. In the city and all around people use petit taxis for short jaunts, which are very inexpensive (1 or 2 euro for most places around town), or for longer trips grand taxis.
The poor section of town has electricity and running water. The homes were built without licenses but the government looks the other way so that the people can have a higher standard of living than they could provide them. Siad says there is a lot of work in Tangier, but the wages are low, as in all of Morocco.

At the end of the tour, Siad left me near the door into the medina, which leads to the American Legation. The American Legation was the first American consulate in the world and Morocco was the first country to recognize America’s independence after the Revolutionary War. Today the Legation is a museum and learning center.

Back at the hotel, I enjoyed the hammam. The hammam room is all marble and steam. The benches and floor of the room are heated and there is a fountain with running water in the corner. It is quite decadent and exotic. If you go to Morocco, I highly recommend you take advantage of this ancient cultural experience.

At the Café de Paris in another part of town, Ville Nouvelle, I sat feeling as though I had entered yet another world. And in fact, it could be called that. Outside the Medina, but only a 5-minute walk away, there is a modern, international city. The Grand Socco, which separates old from new, is bustling and lively.

Relatively modern, you can find everything you want or need here. The French consulate was across the street from the Café de Paris and I had a lovely time people watching in this busy area. It is a “downtown” area like you would find in most cities, but the signs are in French and Arabic. The waiters at Café de Paris speak perfect English and this is a historic and lovely café.

Nearby are historic monuments with views of the sea, St. Andrews, the Anglican Church, a synagogue, and an Italian Catholic Church. This time of year, Tangier is relatively quiet, with temperatures in the mid 60’s, and only a few tourists. In the summer, I am told it is much different. Cruise ships stop here and let their passengers out for the day. The beaches are brimming with sunbathers, and music concerts abound. I can’t wait to return!

Upcoming blogs will include Food in Tangier, a past vacation to Marrakesh and Surrounding areas, and some of my recent trials and tribulations as we prepare for our pemanent move to Tangier with our two cats. Stay tuned to enjoy the journey.

Visiting Tangier, Morocco

I wrote this blog on an exploratory trip to Tangier last January. It was my first time in Tangier and an important trip because I was trying to see if this city was a place I could live. I fell in love with it. Read on to find out why.

I traveled to Tangier from a flight that originated in Bologna and connected in Madrid. The Madrid airport is huge, so if you are traveling through there you should have a minimum of one and a half hours to make your connection. I had two hours, which only allowed me to sit and catch my breath before boarding the connecting flight.

The Tangier airport is tiny (about the size of the Florence airport) and brand new. The passport process went quickly and they didn’t ask any questions. They have an interesting security procedure of scanning luggage before it leaves the airport. Of course, I wasn’t aware of that and tried to whiz by, but the guards stopped me quickly and I put my bag on the belt.

Getting a taxi was easy and they had signs everywhere with what I was to pay which was about $15. My taxi driver spoke a little English, but I gave him the address of the hotel, and we had a quiet 15-20 minute ride to the Medina.

The surroundings between the airport and the Medina were “suburban” with a real mix of housing. Lots of new construction and some buildings that looked like a war zone were visible, but people were still living there. New wide roads were nicely paved and clean. They have built a new soccer stadium for an upcoming world tournament that they plan to hold here. We passed some shopping districts that had store names that I recognized like Brico and Carrefour. Road signs were in Arabic and French so I could “sort of” read them.
The weather was sunny and warm and there was lots of green grass, fields, and trees. Then we reached the sea and it was breathtakingly blue!

The real adventure started when we tried to turn onto the road leading into the medina. It was under construction and closed. We could not pass. Three of four men quickly descended upon the taxi to “help” me with my luggage. They begin to argue with each other about who would be helping me. In the midst of it all, the taxi driver gave me directions to my hotel. It wasn’t too far, but it was uphill. I had a relatively small roller bag, my purse and a backpack with my computer. Thankfully, I was traveling light! I started up the hill with all of the men in tow and all of the yelling at each other and in between saying, “I’lllp you, lady. This way lady.” Another man who spoke English well yelled to me. “Do not trust them. They want to make some money. Do not trust any of them.” I told him thank you, and the other men directed their anger towards him. A couple of them turned to him and left me to wander off while the other two continued to follow me but continued yelling at him as well. It was quite the spectacle and I just continued walking up the hill. Eventually, after I had said “no thank you” at least two dozen times, they lost interest and I was alone.

Thankfully, there were some signs with arrows pointing to the hotel for which I was very grateful. The roads and alleyways in the medina are small and cars can’t pass in most of them. It is very easy to get lost, I have already discovered.

Anyway, I found my way to the hotel, Dar Souran, without getting lost and once inside the riad, it was beautiful and calm. A Moroccan woman named Hannan was at the front desk, checked me in, and took me to my room.
The room was very lovely and exotic with a beautifully tiled bathroom. I am always aware I am in Morocco when I am in it. It is very classically decorated. The lobby areas are elegant and in the mornings, I had breakfast on the rooftop terrace that has a lovely view.

The breakfast each day was fried eggs, a pancake-like bread, with honey and jam, some other breads with cheese, coffee, and fresh squeezed orange juice.

After getting settled in, I settled out to get some lunch and explore. The food in Morocco is amazing and I will cover it in a blog dedicated exclusively to food.

When I walked out the door of the restaurant, there were several men waiting to take me on a “tour”. It is nice to have someone point out the sites, and it helps to ward off others who want to be of service. At the end of the “tour”, you can just give them what you feel is justified for the amount of time and information that you receive.

There was one boy about 12 years old and he ended up dragging me all over the medina. The medina is on a hill and there are many small alleyways and stairs. He held my hand as we went up and down and pointed out different sites. He pushed away other men who spoke to me or offered their tour guide services. He was patient when I took photos and offered to take some photos for me. He is learning English, French, and Arabic in school and I was happy to be with him. He took me into a pharmacy filled with spices, teas, and cosmetics made from argan. The man there gave me an explanation of their products, which was fascinating. Adil, the young boy, returned me to my hotel and I gave him 10 euro. He was thrilled. We had spent about 2 hours together.

After taking a rest I went back out to explore. While I was on the terrace sipping mint tea, that Morocco is famous for, the evening started and everyone was out. The nighttime is very lively. In the medina, during the day you see mostly men. At night the women come out to do errands. Most of the women in the medina wear a hijab. I was definitely identifiable as “not from these parts”! Most everyone speaks a little English, but everyone speaks French, Darija, and even Spanish. Everyone was friendly, helpful, and kind.

After the first day, I had familiarized myself with the medina and was ready to explore the surrounding area. The hotel arranged a private tour for me by taxi. Stay tuned to hear more about my exploration of Tangier in upcoming blogs!

True Story-Small World

Sometimes the world seems big and scary. Especially when you are going to a new place. Especially when you are going to another country where you don’t know anyone and you don’t speak the language.

Modern technology really does help a lot in these situations. The minute I knew we were considering a move to Tangier, I got online. I researched and looked at forums of people who already live there. I joined Facebook pages and looked for Meet=up groups.

When I visited Tangier in January, I put out offers to meet for lunch or drinks to anyone who could share some information and tips on the area. Three wonderful women took me up on the offer. Two were British and one was American. We met at different times during my visit and they were so generous with their time and information. They were honest and forthcoming with questions I asked and that I didn’t ask. I hope we can become friends once I get there.

Anyway, the other day, a friend who I met in Florence who is from Boston and lives in Florence now, wrote me to say that a musician friend of hers from Boston has a sister in Tangier and I should look her up. She said that she was friendly and gregarious and would be a great person to show me the ropes. She gave me her name and email address. As I looked at it I was stunned. It was the American woman I had already met when I visited Tangier!

I don’t know about you but that seems a strange and happy coincidence to me! The world isn’t as big and scary as it sometimes seems, and the six degrees of separation are maybe only three or four! You only have to reach out to find someone.