Waking up in Tangier

Waking up in Tangier




My bed is hard as a rock. I went to bed hungry, and shivered through the night under a thin blanket, wearing long johns, a shirt, a sweater, and socks. My arms are bruised from wrestling with my luggage for the last two days.

But I woke up in Tangier, and that makes it all worthwhile!

Bruises: Badges of warrior womanhood?


Traveling on a budget involves hardship at times, for sure. I had originally planned on staying in South America until my budget eased, but that didn’t happen, so now I’m struggling a bit. Which means hard beds, cold rooms, slow travel and, at times, only one meal a day.

Oh, but it’s sooooo worth it. Here’s a quick visual recount of my trip from Spain to Tangier. I wish I’d gotten photos of the incredible views from the train through the mountains of Southern Spain.

The ferry is big enough to hold a dozen 18-wheelers and hundreds of cars. The line between Europe and Africa reminds me of my brother’s Battleship game. You can actually see the African continent from Spain at this point.
It was too windy to spend much time above decks, but the sun and views were glorious.
Approaching Morocco, I have that exquisite mingling of trepidation and anticipation. I don’t have any language skills in this country. What if I can’t find the right bus from the port? What if I can’t find my hostel? I have to reassure myself that I’m a competent person and I won’t let myself down. If worse comes to worst, I will find someplace else to stay. No worries.
After just a little confusion, I found the bus from the new port to the city of Tangier. The view from the bus windows is delicious.
Right away, I found a driver who spoke English and knew the place where I’m staying – or should I say, he found me. I paid a little more than I would have for a regular taxi, but when you’re exhausted from two days of travel and overwhelmed by a new place, it’s sometimes worth it. (on occasion, I have indulged in a pre-arranged car to pick me up at the airport in these cases, but that is way outside the budget now.) This is the lobby of my lodging, the Dar Bargach.
The rock-hard bed in my cold but sweet room at Dar Bargach. I have privacy here, and the place has a lot of charm. I was excited to put my load down and unpack after four days of living out of  — and hauling! — my pack.
My very own personal, private bathroom. No more sharing a mirror with 6 girls, or waiting my turn to use the toilet! And my room may be lacking in heat, but there’s plenty of wonderful hot water in the shower. Aaaaah.
Teh hallway outside my room. Traditional Moroccan homes are built around a central courtyard or, in this case, an atrium with a skylight in the center.
I didn’t go far my first day. Just down the street to the Restaurant Rif Kerabadni, where my new best friend Ismael gave me complimentary mint tea. No street harassment, unless you count the pack of preteen boys who followed me around. I’d tell them to go away, and they’d say “No problem, Madame,” but they wouldn’t leave.  They tried to convince Ismael that they ‘brought’ me to his restaurant and deserved a kickback. They’re actually adorable, but I hope they find someone else to bother tomorrow.
I’d forgotten how delicious Moroccan bread really is! And the olives and herbed butter… yummmm.
Lamb tagine. A little overly sweet, but still delicious. This meal cost me about $6.

I don’t usually complain about hardships in this blog, but I want to paint a realistic picture for anyone who thinks about traveling solo. When I traveled with Craig, money was much more relaxed. Sharing lodging expenses meant much nicer lodging for both of us, and he was very indulgent when it came to restaurants and luxuries. Living alone on the income I can eke out as a freelancer is NOT AT ALL like the luxury of a vacation (which I think is what some people picture when they hear that I travel full-time). My budget of less than $1500 a month has to cover insurance, plane and train tickets, lodging, food, and incidentals. It’s tough!

But, for me, adventure and novelty is worth the sacrifice of luxury, security, and comfort. And it’s only for a short time. I have a lead on another client that may ease my financial crisis quite a bit. Plus, I have plans to stay with friends and to exchange volunteer work for lodging in the coming months. And if things don’t loosen up, I can always find a way back to South America, or go deeper into Africa or Asia where my dollar will go much further!

UPDATE: This morning I asked “My-name-is-too-difficult-so-just-call-me-Katy” at the front desk for another blanket and she gave me a superthick, giant one! And I found some oranges, dates and bananas at the market so I won’t go hungry any more. See, I really CAN take care of myself. I was only hungry, cold and battered for a short time. 😉

Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • Alia

    March 5, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Fantastic voyage, journey to the center of the earth! Love your honesty and the pix are wonderful. Rock on!

  • Cookie Shaw

    March 5, 2014 at 8:28 am

    WOW!!! Beautiful pictures and I just love your comments. I would love to travel to a few of the places you have been but for now I will continue to travel through your blogs .LOL


  • Lauren

    March 5, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Glad you enjoyed!

  • Lauren

    March 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I hope you get to see them all, Cookie!

  • mIrja Hynninen

    March 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Love reading your posts Lauren. I have an Australian friend (Sue) who run’s a B&B in Tangier called Dar Nakhla Naciria it’s at 12w Rue Naciria.
    If you feel the need to speak English and get a local’s take on things.

    Mim x

  • Lauren

    March 6, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Glad you’re enjoying! Moving from Australia to Tangier to run a B&B must be quite an adventure.