I was looking forward to our stop in Tangier. The tour we had chosen was “Cap Spartel and Fantasia Horse Show.” I love horses and really like seeing good horsemanship and there is none better than Arabs and Arabians. But, sadly, this turned out to be our least favourite day of the whole cruise. The sun was coming up as we sailed into port. The show area was in large, colourful tent and we were given mint tea and some cookies while a we watched a brother/sister acrobat act, a very sad magician, a belly dancer, and a couple of other acts. They were not bad, really, just not very good. At the end of the performance we went outside to seats overlooking the horse arena. As we made our way to our seats, all the male performers and the young siblings stood by the steps with their hands out for tips. Beautiful horses.
You could pay and have your photo taken with the camel and her young one – this is a very common enticement for tourists. And, baby camels are very cute.
The ‘Horse Show” was merely two charges down a quarter-mile field. At the conclusion of the show all the men brought their horses up to the fence in front of the seats and put their hand out for tips. Not that I mind giving people a tip for a good performance or good service but I don’t just fling money around for every little thing I see.
After the show concluded we boarded the bus and were driven to Hercules Cave, where legend says that the super-strong hero died after separating Gibraltar from Africa. The cave was used as a quarry so it was considerably larger than originally, and now it contains lots of tables for vendors. There was an opening to the sea at the far end. The Cap Spartel area (the northern-most point of the African continent) has a lovely view point where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet. Another opportunity to have your photo taken with a camel, and, if you like, sit on one while it is led around for a few minutes. A very pretty area. We were taken back to town for a walk through the Medina (Old Town) to the kasbah (fort). A large community oven and a water access basin. Great doors and beautiful lanterns.
The tour ended with the requisite shopping experience and carpet demonstration. 90% of our group went upstairs, found it was a carpet demo and came back down again. The quality of goods wasn’t very high and even many of the regular shoppers just gathered near the bus and waited until it was time to head back to the ship.
As we left the bus at the port our guide counted every tip as he was given them. Subtlety is not an established societal skill in Tangiers. Despite finding much of tour to be quite cheesy we enjoyed our walk through the Medina and, all in all, we had a good day in Tangiers.