Moroccan Mint Tea in Tangier

In a semi-spontaneous turn of events, we ended up in Morocco because Chris’s dad randomly mentioned it over Skype one day and we thought hey, let’s go there. So we did!

We arrived in Tangier early in the morning and were greeted by the hotel transfer we had booked. We had been (correctly) told that medinas in Morocco are mazes full of people wanting to “help” you for a fee, so we were trying to be proactive. Unfortunately it only sort of worked, because as soon as we pulled up at our riad (a type of Moroccan house with an interior courtyard) a man appeared insisting that we needed him to show us around. He kept telling Chris that without him people would try to “mess with his girl” or something and Chris ended up having to tell him off rather firmly to get rid of him.

View of the Tangier medina from above.

Anyways, on the plus side the riad was very cute, and (despite the insistent man’s claims) we spent the rest of the day wandering around the medina incident-free. A medina is a walled city district common in North African cities. Streets are small and winding, so there are usually no cars, just pedestrians and donkeys. As medinas are often the historical centre of cities, they contain things like mosques, palaces, and lots of markets and shops.

In the medina.

The winding streets are very cute, frequented by a lot of cats, and often with buildings painted bright colors. We found a little market that was both neat and slightly horrifying (as meat storage often is in less developed countries) and ended up whiling the rest of the afternoon at a cafe having mint tea. Mint tea is the big thing in Morocco; it’s super sugary (thus delicious) and they serve it to you literally everywhere.

Mint tea!
Shops and things.

The next morning we had breakfast at our riad (from what I can tell a Moroccon breakfast consists of mint tea and a whole bunch of different kinds of bread with various spreads) before heading out for some more exploring.

Medina streets.
Medina cats!

Our first stop was the Kasbah Museum. Kasbahs are a kind of small fortress where rich or important people would live. There wasn’t a ton of stuff in the museum, just some small exhibits of historical artifacts. The architecture was really nice though, which is the main attraction I guess.

Inside the Kasbah Museu.
Fun ceilings.

After that we wandered out into the newer part of the city (called the ville nouvelle by non-locals), where all the more modern, European-style buildings are. Tangier seems like it’s trying to transition into a luxury resort destination, as there was a bunch of construction going on along the coast, including a huge new beach-side pedestrian boulevard. There were also some camels on the beach, which was exciting.

Beach camels!

We stopped for lunch at a cute little cafe which seemed to be where the more liberal urban people hang out (judging by the number of girls in there wearing jeans and no head scarf) before heading back to the riad for a nap.

Tangier lookout.

We walked out of the medina in the other direction in search of dinner and ended up at this lookout where all the youths hang out. They were actually just hanging out and chatting though, not like with western youths where hanging out at a lookout would for sure mean making out. Anyways, there were some nice views of the coast, and I ended up chatting with some curious kids as we were the only non-locals up there.

Seaside cafe.

A bit further up was a hillside cafe full of young folks drinking mint tea. We stopped in to have some sandwiches and tea as the sun set. From there, it was on to Chefchaouen!

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