The New Tanja Marina Bay

The new Tanja Marina Bay opened in early June when the King came to inaugurate the property. It’s magnificent! Although only a handful of restaurants, bars and shops are currently, open. There is work ongoing to open even more.

Tanja Marina Bay
Tanja Marina Bay

Tanja Marina Bay
Tanja Marina Bay

Tanja Marina Bay
Tanja Marina Bay

It’s a nice walk out over the water. Luxury boats line the pier on one side, behind them rises the old medina. From the other side there is a fabulous view of the beach and modern Tangier.

We went early one morning for a walk and breakfast. Venezia Ice has a large restaurant at the very end. We found a table outside by the water and had a fantastic breakfast for less than $10. People were already staking out there spots at the beach and by the time we left, it was getting full.

There are 1400 berths for boats and a yacht club. The marina will cater to professionals and amateur of yachting as well as all types of vacationers and locals. The marina will provide numerous relaxation areas with cafés, cinemas, a convention centre and numerous public spaces distributed throughout the area.

Along the beach side there is the Port de Plaiseur that is teaming with people at all times of the day. Underneath are more shops, bars and clubs, although many of them have not opened yet.

There seems to be something for everyone here and I can’t wait to see how it develops. It’s a beautiful entryway into a beautiful city and country. I can see myself spending a lot of time here year round.

Swimming at Camping Miramonte, Tangier

When we lived in Italy, we had access to public swimming pools as well as private ones. We could go there for a day to cool off and relax. Now that it’s getting warmer in Tangier, we wanted to see what was available. Our first discovery was a huge success.

Camping Miramonte is located in Marshan, not too far from Café Hafa and the Palais Marshan. We took a petit taxi from Centreville for a cost of about $1.50 for both of us. It did take a little while to find someone willing to go there. The hill up is quite steep, scarily so. It’s definitely not walkable for me.

When we arrived at the gate, we paid 100 dhm per person for an entrance ticket That’s equivalent to about $10.20. We arrive at 11:00 a.m. The posted opening time is 10 a.m. It’s a short walk to the pool entrance. There are no changing rooms. This motel and campground pool is simply open to the paying public. You can change in the bathroom, but I recommend putting your suit on under your clothes.

There are tables and chairs around the three different pools, which are free seating. If you want a lounger, you have to see one of the attendants and pay 50 dhm for the chair. They bring out a nice padded cover for it. Believe me; it’s worth the extra expense.

There are three pools. The first round one has a variety of depths starting shallow at the edge and getting deeper towards the fountain in the center. There is a baby pool attached to it. When we arrived, there was a group of children, which I thought might be some type of day camp. There were young adults doing games and organizing them.

The second pool has a diving board and is very deep. The third one is deep and small with a wonderful view of the ocean.
You can’t bring food into the pool area from the outside but they have two restaurants on the premises. One is poolside dining and has pizzas and sandwiches at very reasonable prices.

The other is a nice dining room overlooking the sea. They serve the pizzas and sandwiches, but also fish and tajines and meat. These are a little more costly but still very reasonable. We ordered a fried fish plate for two, a Moroccan salad, two bottles of water and coffee and it was less than 300 dhm ($30). There was a lot of food and it was delicious ad a great value.

Camping Miramonte Pool
Camping Miramonte Pool

The day cost about 600 dhm or $30 each. This is a little pricey for Morocco. However, it is a great relaxing day and a clean, beautiful, and calm atmosphere. We will definitely go back!

El Tangerino-Spanish Restaurant in Tangier

El Tangerino is a Spanish restaurant located right on the main drag near the new Port at 186 Avenue Mohamed VI, Tanger 90000. They are opened everyday continuously from 12 noon until 2 a.m., but on Sunday, they close at midnight.

If you are a late diner (after 9 p.m. as most Spanish are) you should make a reservation. The restaurant has a lovely main dining room decorated like the inside of a boat. It is warm and inviting.

The menu is full of Spanish tapas, which could be a meal themselves and tons of fresh fish. They also cook Paella for a minimum of two people. They also have a list of meats including steaks and lamb.

This restaurant serves alcohol and has a nice wine list of Moroccan wines, beer and some mixed drinks. They have a wonderful grappa that we always enjoy at the end of every meal.

We have eaten here many times and always bring our visitors to El Tangerino. The prices are higher than usual for Moroccan restaurants. With an appetizer, two entrees, one dessert to share, a bottle of wine, and two glasses of grappa we spend less than $80, so it really is still a great value.

Tonight’s menu is a tomato and onion salad with tuna, red tuna steak grilled with a sesame seed crust and grilled calamari. Both entrees were served with some mixed sauteed vegetables and a shmear of mashed potatoes. The baguette bread is sliced thin and served with a black olive tapenade and creamy butter. We had a molten lava cake which we ate before I even thought about taking a picture. A bottle of Sarahi Reserve was the perfect accompaniment and afterward, grappa!

The service here is excellent and it’s nice to take a walk along the sea before or after your meal. The smell of the salty sea air fits perfectly with the ambience of the restaurant.

There are dining rooms upstairs, which are more modern, and often there is live music there. We prefer the more intimate setting downstairs, but the view upstairs is nice also.

There is a bar/lounge attached to the side of the restaurant, so you might want to go a little early for a cocktail. You can find the menu by clicking here, and their website here. Don’t miss it when you come to Tangier!

Ksar Sghir Archeological Site

I have seen archeological sites all over the world now and I never tire of them. Morocco offers me even more opportunities to learn about these early civilizations. My imagination goes wild at the site of them. Often I wonder if we really have come so far.

Ksar Sghir is located on the Mediterranean Sea at the Strait of Gibraltar just about one hour Northwest of Tangier. It is twelve kilometers from the new Tangier Medport. It is a small town now of about 11,000 inhabitants and the ruins of the fort built around 700 A.D. stands at the edge of the sea.

F ounded first by the Phoenicians., Ksar Sghir means “small castle”. Its primary attraction at the time was a salting mine. The 15th-century fortress whose remains stand there now was built by the Portuguese. Many Moors arrived at this port after they were expelled from Spain during the Christian reconquest.

We traveled there and back by bus and it was a nice little day trip. The beach is nice and there is a small café with tables in the sand. We were there in early May, so not quite tourist or beach season yet.

On the main road, there are many cafés offering charcoal grilled chicken and meats. Choose the type and quantity of meat that you want and they will cook it up for you. That along with a Moroccan salad and some fries make a great meal. Most of the places have tables and chairs outside and the place we ate had a small terrace about the kitchen.

Unfortunately, the day we went the archeological site was already closed. It seems to be open in the mornings only, so we will definitely try again. It’s a nice little break from the city.

Rif Kebdani Restaurant, Tangier Medina

Rif Kebdani Restaurant is the first restaurant I ate in the first time I visited Tangier. It has a special place in my heart and in my stomach. It’s the kind of place that you can go back to over and over, bring friends and enjoy lunch or dinner with great food, great service, and low prices.

They serve a strictly traditional Moroccan menu and no alcohol. It is very small with a dining room downstairs as well. There are only about ten tables in the main dining room. You get that family owned experience along with the good food and service.

The servings are generous and it’s easy to over order because this menu, as well as most Moroccan menu’s, don’t explain what all comes with the main entrée. If you are with a group of people, I suggest ordering a couple of appetizers or salads to share and then a main dish each.

On their menu, you will find Pastilla, Grilled Fish, Couscous, Beef with Prunes Tagine, Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives, and more. We’ve eaten almost everything on the menu and have never been disappointed. The fish is always fresh and varies depending on what came off the boats that day.

Seafood Soup
Seafood Soup
Moroccan salad
Moroccan salad

Grilled fish
Grilled fish

Rif Kebdani is in the medina at Rue Dar Baroud. It is near the Hotel Continental. It’s open every day of the week for both lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

This restaurant is very popular and highly rated. It is usually not too busy at lunchtime, but around 9 p.m., it can get full. Ramadan begins May 16, but the restaurant will be open during the normal posted hours.

Museum of the Resistance-Tanger

Just inside the Grand Socco lies a little-known museum called Espace de la Memoire Historique de la Resistance et de la Liberation a Tanger. When you arrive in the Grand Socco, face the medina and you will see the keyhole entry door in white and green to your left.
Through the door, you will see a large Banyan Tree whose branches take root several times on the surrounding earth. There are a large square and a house facing you. The exhibit is in the house.

Grand Socco
Grand Socco

Banyan Tree
Banyan Tree

On the day we were there, there was a celebration of the liberation, which took place on April 9, 1947. The Grand Socco’s real name is Place du Avril 9 to commemorate this day and the activities that happened in this square on that day. King Mohammed V, the current King’s father made a famous speech on that day.

Portraits of rulers of the past were brought outside for those in the area to enjoy. Inside the museum, there are more portraits, uniforms, and memorabilia from the time. Entrance to the museum is free.

The back of the museum runs against the beautiful hillside garden of Mendoubia. It’s a great place to take a picnic or to just sit and relax above rue de Italie, which is one of the most beautiful streets with the lovely architectural details. The strucutre of this palace is almost as interesting and beautiful as the exhibits contained within it. Pay particular attention to all of the beautiful mosiac details in each room, as well as the lighting.

Seven Things I Love About Tangier

There’s a lot to love about Tangier.  The longer I’m here, the more I discover.  After only seven months, here is my list.

The weather-The Mediterranean climate here is wonderful, so far.  We arrived in October and it’s only May now, so we still have the summer months to go.  There are four seasons, but the changes are subtle.  When we arrived in early October, it was still warm with the most wonderful sea breezes.  The temperatures never went above 80 degrees.  It was very dry which I loved, but then the mosques started doing rain prayers because there was a drought so I guess that’s not normal.  The temperatures got cooler in November and December and at night dropped into the fifties but during the day hovered around sixty-five. We had a rainy January and February and the temperatures in February got into the low forties for a couple of weeks.  With the humidity here, it was cold.  Now spring is here and it is chilly at night and lovely during the day.

The food-I’ve never lived in a place where farm to table was so close. Morocco is an agricultural country.  Fresh produce, meat, and fish come into the markets every day and we shop almost every day.  When the weather was rainy in January, we didn’t have fish because the boats couldn’t go out.  The fruits and vegetables are like nothing I have ever tasted.  Yummy!

Restaurants offer Moroccan food, pasta and pizzas, and some French-inspired dishes.  The spices are abundant and oh so fragrant.  Fresh mint and cilantro sent the market air.  It’s heavenly.

The “international” vibe-Tangier has a complicated history full of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabs, Berbers, Romans and more. That mix is still here today.  In Tangier, you will hear French, Spanish, Darija and sometimes English spoken on the streets.  Sometimes you will hear it in the same sentence!

There is often music in a variety of venues ranging from Andalusian, Moroccan traditional, Moroccan contemporary, classical, and jazz.  Movies offered from all over the world are usually in the original language with French or English subtitles.

Green Spaces and Nature-There is a lot of green in Tangier and parks are everywhere, well used, and lovely. There are many trees, even in the city, where palms line the streets.  From many points throughout the city, you can catch glimpses of the sea.  Seagulls and other seafaring birds fill the sky with their calls.

Perdicaris Park
Perdicaris Park

The sounds-Tangier has almost two million people and we live in the heart of the city.  Moroccans love to use their horns and believe me if you’ve seen them drive, they need to!  The traffic, horns, sirens, call to prayer, drumbeats and chanting when there is a wedding, and seagulls cawing all combine to make a cacophony of sound that I absolutely love.

The people-Tangier is full of warm, generous, accepting people. They have been welcoming, friendly to me, and very helpful.  Every day I enter some store trying to buy something that I don’t know how to pronounce.  I’ve usually prepared a few words in Darija or French to get started.  It’s clear early on that I’m not fluent in the language.  I’ve had shop owners run down to another shop to get someone who speaks English to come back and translate. I’ve had shop owners tell me they don’t have what I’m looking for, but take me down to another shop and explain to the owner who has the item what it is I’m looking for.  Then there are those who just bear with me and through trial and error, gestures, pantomimes and charades, we are able to understand each other.  It’s all scary, exhausting and so rewarding thanks to the patience, tolerance, and desire to help, of the people who live here.

Women on the Beach, Tangier, Morocco
Women on the Beach-Tangier, Morocco

Mystery, exoticism, and allure-Tangier has been the home to Phoenicians, Romans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Arabs, Berbers, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and more. Jews found protection here, spies sat in the cafes sipping tea and eavesdropping, artists, musicians, and writers walked the streets and were inspired.  For fifty years, Tangier was an international zone by the governments of France, Spain and Great Britain.  It returned to Morocco in 1956.  These combinations feed my bohemian side.

Medina of Tangier

The Medina of Tangier with its labyrinth of alleyways is definitely a sight to see when visiting. I love exploring the winding streets and discovering new things. I like to get off the beaten path where the locals live and walk the cool, quiet passageways.

The Portuguese built the Tangier medina in the 15th century, although some of it is much older. The original walls are being restored and many repairs are being made as a part of the renewal and restoration of Tangier.

The medina is on a hill and as you wind your way up to the Kasbah it can get quite steep. It is worth every step to see the sweeping views at the top.

Visit one of the rooftop terraces or cafes.  While away the hours in the sun with the sea breeze keeping you cool.

The medina is small and you can still lose yourself in the maze. Don’t worry, make your way downhill or use the sea as your guide to return to your starting point.

Gran Teatro Cervantes-Tangier

The very sad and dilapidated Gran Teatro Cervantes stands in all its faded glory just below the park that lays beneath the Terrasse des Paresseux, or the “Lazy Wall”. It is well known for its art deco façade that still stands hopefully while the walls fall down around it.

Don Manuel Pena and his wife Esperanza Orellana decided to build a theater in Tangier in 1911. They were both prominent members of Tangier society. They wanted to build the theater near the Grand Socco.

The architect Diego Jimenez Armstrong, who was responsible for a number of important structures in the city, was chosen. The theater opened in 1913 and seated 1400 people. It was the most famous theater in Africa and many famous and renowned performers entertained on the stage.

The interior décor was elaborate and the materials brought from Spain.

In 1929, the theater became the property of the Spanish government and in 1974, it became the property of the city of Tangier. It was sold by Spain for a symbolic price of 1 dirham. In the 1990’s ownership was returned to the Spanish.

Ownership again was planned for transfer to Morocco in 2015 along with an agreement for restoration of the theater at a cost of 5 million euro.

In June 2016, plans were announced to convert the building into a cultural center.
Disagreements and controversy between Spain and the city leaders have halted all restoration work to the theater and the transfer of ownership remains unresolved.

We passed by the site, which is fenced, and desolate. No one was working. The theater was abandoned as well as the work that had been going on. A man from the Spanish embassy who has the keys to the property stopped to talk to us and told us we could make an appointment to see the interior.

I’m keeping an eye on this project in hopes that during my lifetime in Tangier that I will see it fully restored and be able to attend cultural events there.

The Gran Cafe de Paris-Tangier, Morocco

The Gran Café de Paris stands on a busy roundabout looking a little forlorn.  It’s a place that I frequent often and a piece of Tangier’s bohemian history.  You can’t beat the outside tables for people watching.

It is located across from the elegant French Consulate facing the Place de France.  The cafe opened in 1927.  It was one of the first buildings outside the old Medina.  It also has a part in the film, The Bourne Ultimatum.

French Consulate, Tangier
French Consulate, Tangier

French Consulate Tangier
French Consulate Tangier

In the past, Tangier’s famous literati such as Paul Bowles and William Burroughs hung out here.  Secret agents and spies listened to conversations around the room in the colorful past of Tangier’s International period, which started in 1923 and lasted until 1952.  I sit there often and inhale the genius of the past, along with the cigarette smoke.  It is okay to smoke in the café as in most places in Tangier.

The inside of the café has leather and wooden chairs and wood-paneled walls.  There are lots of mirrors, astrological signs, and clocks with times from around the world.  It’s very reminiscent of the “boys clubs” but a bit of wear and tear to make it interesting.  The waiters are dressed in red jackets and are cordial, stately, speak several languages, and always welcoming.

The Gran Café de Paris opens at 6:30 a.m. every morning and closes at 11 p.m.  They have wonderful Moroccan Mint tea, Café au lait, and some simple food items at reasonable prices.  Don’t be surprised at the number of men occupying the tables.  The café culture in Morocco is full of men, but they won’t mind a woman’s presence at all.

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