In Norway, June of 2022.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Gravenhurst, Ontario. Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Greenwich, Nova Scotia, Canada on October 3rd.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I'll bet not many Americans know about this...

We had planned to do a couple of day trips during our four full days here in Tangier. But so far, we haven't got any ambition to sit on a bus for any length of time. One of the day trips we had planned is to the popular "blue town" of Chefchaouen, or simply "Chaouen" as the locals call it. But it's 3 hours each way by bus! Apparently it's slightly quicker in a collectivo van, but we're still not ambitious.

Another is to the beach town of Asilah. It's only an hour bus ride away, so we may still do that.

Anyhow, yesterday we just wandered around Tangier. There are a few interesting things to see here, and we managed to (almost) match up a couple of my dad's photos from his visit here in 1954.

I had forgot to mention that the price we are paying here in Tangier includes breakfast. Our host Faiza is very cognizant of the fact that we eat gluten free. She even went to great lengths to try to find gluten free bread, but with no success.

Eggs, mashed olives, dates, cheese, mint tea, and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Late morning, we set off to explore, intent on finding two of my dad's photo spots. And, there were a couple of attractions we wanted to see along the way, one of special interest to our American readers.

And on that note, our first stop was the Tangier American Legation.

What's a "legation"? We had never heard that term. Well, a legation is a diplomatic office, one step below that of an embassy.

It turns out that Tangier, Morocco was the site of an American Legation. That site is the very first American public property outside of the United States, because Morocco was the first country in the world to officially recognize the United States as a country back in 1780! It is also the only U.S. National Historic Landmark located in a foreign country.

I bet not many of you knew that. We sure didn't! Interesting stuff.

And so we paid the 20 dirhams ($2.80 CAD, $2.20 USD) each to tour the property and museum.

It was in 1777, that Sultan Sidi Mohammed includes "The Americans", who were at the time fighting their revolution, among Morocco's trading partners. He was the first foreign head of state to officially recognize American independence.

In 1821, Sultan Moulay Suleiman gave the United States it's first diplomatic property, the site of this American Legation. 

The property is still owned by the U.S. State Department, however the current U.S. Embassy is located in the capital city of Rabat.

 Ruth, and an interesting grandfather clock.

This is Zohra... The Moroccan Mona Lisa.

This painting was done in 1952 by James McBey. Zohra was a 15 year old girl at the time who was friends with McBey's two nieces who spent the summer in Tangier. In 2013, thanks to the magic of the internet, Zohra was able to reunite with the nieces in North Carolina, where two of Zohra's sons live.

Interesting history.

From there, we walked down to a viewpoint over the water, and then to the Sultan's Palace.

Near the ferry port.

It's looking pretty rough out there!

There are two big marinas under construction.

In the medina, near the Sultan's Palace.

As evidenced by the one single photo he took, my dad was at the Sultan's Palace in Tangier in 1954. So we paid the 20 dirhams ($2.80 CAD, $2.20 USD) each to enter the palace. There's not really a lot to see there, but here are the highlights...

The wood carvings on the ceilings are amazing.

Look up!

The floor contains "The Voyage of Venus", a mostly intact Roman mosaic.

They have a mirror, in case your neck gets sore from looking up!

My dad's pic from 1954.


The other photograph he took was going to be more difficult. It's a view of the huge waterfront beach here in Morocco, but we had no idea where it was taken from. We walked down to the beach itself to try and get a better idea.

The new marina at the beachfront. Not open yet.

The huge beach at Tangier.

We figured out that Dad's photo must have been taken from somewhere in the Medina. This made it difficult, because the medina is a maze of narrow streets, most of which don't offer any sort of view unless you are on top of at least a three story building.

We found a hostel that allowed us to their rooftop, but the view was blocked by another building, and we don't think it was even close to where Dad had been. On the street outside the hostel, I asked a group of young guys who happened to speak English. One of them suggested the Dar Chams Tanja Hotel, one of the best boutique hotels in Tangier

Fortunately, the owners of this posh private hotel were there to talk to, and they also guided us to their rooftop for the view. What a beautiful hotel! But, we weren't there to see the hotel...we were there to see the view...

Dad's photo, Tangier 1954.

Tangier 2017!

It's not from the same location. But it's sort of close! Many thanks to the Dar Chams Tanja Hotel for helping us out!

The understated entrance to a beautiful hotel.

And then we walked back home. We were beat! No idea how far we walked, but it was enough to ensure a very good sleep last night!

Coleman's instant shade canopy is on deal of the day... great for camping, and easy to set up. Plus, it's never been this cheap!


  1. Nice that you were able to duplicate your father's photos.

    1. Yes, we always feel good after finding another on of his locations.

  2. Nope...never heard about the U.S. National Historic Landmark .
    I think the Sultan's Palace is lovely.
    Love the then and now photos. Great job.

    1. We learn something new each day! :-)

      The Sultan's Palace was lovely but not as big as we thought it was going to be.

  3. Wow amazing history and no I didn't know about it. I notice birds in the court yard at the Sultan's Palace in your dad's picture. I think your picture is a real picture of where your dad might have taken the photo....the mountains in the back ground match up. Maybe it was taken from the same hotel but from a different window. I see telephone wires? in your dad's photo to the right. So the place you are staying is actually a bed and breakfast place which are usually a tad pricier...not bad at all for $32 a night. Thank you for the tour of Tangier!

    1. Well now you do know it! :-)

      Kevin tried really hard to get those pigeons to sit in the same place but they didn't listen to him at all. No, the second picture is definitely not the same place as his dad's but it is very close. If you notice in Kevin's dad's picture we are missing that very last hill to the right of the photo behind the wires. No wires anymore, I guess they have them at ground level now.

      No, our place is not a Bed and Breakfast, it is an AirBnB place but Faiza likes to make breakfast for us. Please don't forget that when you say $32 a night that is US dollars, for us Canadians that is $40 Canadian for a room in a private house.

  4. Being so close to Spain, are there a lot of Spaniards in Tangiers - maybe for day trips?
    That looked like a breakfast I would like!

    1. Yes, there are some but to be totally honest we haven't seen many tourists, I guess we just haven't been hanging out at the touristy area.

      It was a delicious breakfast!

  5. The then and now Photos have really added to this trip..

  6. You did a good job in trying to duplicate your Dad's picture; I really don't think you could have done it any better because so much has changed since 1954. In 1954 the beach area looks like it was more in its natural state with some dune-like material at the top of the beach and no major avenue running along the beach. In the "new" picture, the beach area has been transformed and developed by dredging or natural erosion to provide for boat slips, high rises in the background, and a major street parallel to the beach. I hate to say this, but it is true; exactly the same thing has happened to the environment of Hilton Head Island, SC today. The island of my childhood was a paradise in its natural state before a bridge was built to the island.

    1. Thank you Dee, I don't think we could have gotten it much closer either. We know we were in quite the right spot for the second one but it was close enough.

      The beach area has totally changed, not natural looking at all anymore!

  7. You almost matched the time of day (judging by shadows) and a bird flying in the distance on that first photo!

    1. Funny, we had mentioned about the shadows as well when Kevin was taking the picture. Definitely quite close to the same time of day.

  8. I've really been enjoying the photos you've gotten in the same (or very close to) spots as your Dad's, Kevin. What a special thing. I am sure he would be so touched!

    1. Thank you Emily! We have enjoyed doing this little project. We need to go back to Europe to get some more of his shots but that will have to wait for another trip. It has meant a lot to Kevin as well.

  9. Great job on matching up your Dad's photos.

  10. Looking at the pictures of the beach is like trying to do a crossword puzzle. I think you were up a little too high and needed to move to the left about a half block. Just my observation. Great job on recreating them. Will be a great project for one of your kids to go back in 50 years and find the same spots again.

    1. Yes, I think we may have needed to be just a little further to the left but at that point we wouldn't have been able to get the picture because it would have been a private house. Trust us, if you have near been to Morocco and in the "souk" you have no idea how hard it is to try and find the building that you want. This was the best that we could do after trying two other places before this one and we realized at the time that it wasn't the exact location but it was close enough. I think if our kids want to duplicate the same photos, we are going to have to go back and put in the GPS co-ordinates to help them out a little more. ;-)


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