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.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

We had a very successful day!

We planned an afternoon trip from Tangier to Tetouan, a small city near the east coast here in northern Morocco. But first, we had to figure out how to get there. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a whole lot of detail online, so I'm going to include those details here for the benefit of future travelers.

Unless you hire an expensive guide and private driver, there are only two choices of transportation... the bus, or what they call a "grand" taxi"!

It's only about 64 kms (40 miles) distance...

64 kms (40 miles) from Tangier to Tetouan.

The CMT bus can be taken from the main Gare (station). It only leaves four times per day, and costs 25 dirham ($3.50 CAD, $2.70 USD). But, you have to take a free shuttle from there to CMT's station on the outskirts of town and then transfer. So it takes about an hour and a half. Or, there are several smaller bus companies in the station, but none have schedules posted and you have to ask around to find out details. Not easy unless you have strong French or Arabic language skills, which we do not!

And so we chose the (slightly) more expensive "grand" taxi. There are two types of taxis in Morocco...the "petit" taxi...a small vehicle that is regulated to stay in town and is used for mostly short rides which are shared with other people (although you can pay more to be private), or the "grand" taxi...a larger vehicle where you pay by the seat...although you can purchase all the seats and have a private ride if you wish! Grand taxis often travel between towns.

Fancy cruise ship in Tangier port.

We found the grand taxis waiting at GPS 35.771962, -5.801852. It's a bit of a busy area, with many taxis waiting and people coming and going. You just have to ask the guy who looks to be in charge of loading the taxis, and you only need to mention your destination and they point you in the right direction! 

Most of the grand taxis are older four door Mercedes cars from the 1970's and 1980's! Diesel engines, so they keep on ticking. They probably have a million miles on them! These cars are designed to have two people in the front, and three people in the back. But here in Morocco, they pack you in to keep costs down. Three in the front, and four in the back!

So we paid 30 dirhams ($4.25 CAD, $3.30 USD) each and squeezed in the back beside a younger woman and an older man. Not sure what happens if a few "larger" people all wanted in the same vehicle. It was a tight squeeze...but it's only for 45 minutes or so.

We got under way, and the younger woman asked in Spanish if we were from Spain. No, we replied, Canada. She also spoke quite good English. We had a good conversation with Sara, and she was very helpful. One of the reasons we were heading to Tetouan was to try and match up two more of my dad's pictures. I had transferred them to the phone. She had a look at them, but couldn't quite place them. Then, she suggested that I email one of them to her and she would post it to a group of her friends who live in Tetouan and maybe one of them could pinpoint the location. Ha! The magic of cellular technology!

Sure enough, one of her friends knew where it was! Wow! The other photo was of a market scene and we thought it was going to be impossible to find.

Also, I was curious about getting to Tangier airport early on Friday morning. I though maybe Sara might know the best way to get there. The airport is located about 15 kms out of Tangier and believe it or not, there is no public transportation. Sara spoke to the driver in Arabic, and he said that you need to take a taxi, and it will cost about 120 dirhams ($17 CAD, $13 USD) for the two of us and our bags.

When we arrived at the Tetouan bus station (GPS 35.561445, -5.371937), Sara and the driver got to talking, and he offered to pick us up at 6:30am Friday morning and do the run to the airport for 100 dirhams ($14.00 CAD, $11 USD). We agreed on a meeting place, and hopefully it will all go according to plan. He only speaks Arabic, and we only know two or three words!

So there's that done. Thanks again to Sara. What a nice girl. We said our goodbyes, and set off to explore the town.

Tetouan, Morocco.

Tetouan has some nearby mountains.

Most people don't stop in Tetouan because it is more popular to go another hour further south to Chefchaouen. So Tetouan isn't much of a tourist town, although it's certainly worth visiting. The entire medina (ancient walled part of town) is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it's quite a scenic town.

Sara had said that the first photo of our search was located across from the old El Jadida gate. But when we got there, it was just an old building, but the front doors were open wide. So we went in, and it was some kind of museum. We showed the photo to the guard, and he went to get someone who spoke English. Sure enough, the photo was here but it was in the courtyard so there was no way we would have found it without Sara's help!

Dad's photo, 1954.

Taken yesterday...2017!

It's really tough to duplicate the focal length of the lens. Especially when you're just viewing the original on a tiny smartphone screen in less than ideal lighting. I should have been standing further back, with the camera much lower, and zoomed in a little more. Oh least we were there and that is amazing to us.

We're not even sure what the building was. Some kind of museum, and we had to pay 10 dirhams ($1.40 CAD, $1.10 USD) to get in to access the courtyard. And there really wasn't much else to see, except the main room was really well done.

The main room.

The next project was going to be really hard to match up. It was simply a street scene in the market, and it was marked "Arab Quarter, Tetouan". That was all we had to go by. We assumed it had to be in the medina, which is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways... and of course it was 63 years later... a lot would have changed. Or so we thought.

As we were wandering through the medina, I spotted three police officers. I figured, what the heck, maybe I'll show them the old picture and maybe they would recognize it. I asked if they spoke English, and one guy replied "yes, a little". And all three of them smiled and said "Welcome to Morocco!" Nice guys.

I explained to him what we were looking for, and why. He said "63 years ago?" I said "yes"...

I showed him the photo, and he smiled again "Yes, I know this place".

What? Seriously? We figured this was going to be difficult. He told us to walk a little further up and then turn right. Sure enough, we had been only steps away!

And it had hardly changed at all. We can't believe how similar it was after 63 years! There was some stuff in the way to try and get in what might have been the same spot my father had stood...but we did our best. Then, we moved a little to get the same view, but at a bit of a different angle...

Dad's photo from 1954.

Taken yesterday from about the same spot. 

There was too much stuff in the way, so I took another photo from a different spot, but without the stuff. 

Wow. How little it has changed!

As we were standing there, an older guy came by and asked in English if we were okay. Yes, and we told him what we were doing. He was amazed. Wow...63 years later!

It was so satisfying to find that same market scene when we had though it was going to be one of the more difficult match ups.

With that done, we wandered some more of the medina. It was market day in Tetouan, and the whole area was like a giant garage sale!

The plumbing guy!

The pastry guy!

We splurged on a couple of big pieces of flan. 
Only 3 dirhams ($0.42 CAD, $0.33 USD) each!

From there, we went outside the medina to see some of the modern city...

Tetouan, Morocco.

Plaza in Tetouan.

Want to sell something? Anything? 
Just lay out a blanket and you're in business.

The entire day we didn't get hassled by anybody and everybody was friendly. A refreshing change from places like Marrakech! Even in the medina, you could look at things and nobody bothered you. We liked Tetouan! It was the real Morocco, not the tourist Morocco.

Other than a couple of snacks, we had skipped lunch. It was now about 4:00pm and we were getting hungry. I googled "best tajine in Tetouan", and the answer was the #1 rated hotel in Tetouan, the Blanco Riad Hotel and Restaurant. And, reader "X" has said... "don't be so cheap!" So we went for it.

When you're not in the tourist area, even nice places are reasonably priced.

Snacks and fresh lemonade.

Beef tajine.

The meal was delicious and tender. Total bill for the two of us including tip was 210 dirham ($29.60 CAD, $22.50 USD). To put things in perspective, it was the same price as that ripoff streetfood meal we had in Marrakech!

Wonderful little hotel and restaurant.

We could easily return to this area. Non touristy, and very close to the mountains and lots of hiking. 

We walked back to the bus station, and found the stand for the grand taxis going to Tangier. Sure enough, it was another 30 dirhams each and we crowded into the back seat with two other people. Longer ride back because of some traffic problems, and it sure was good to get out and stretch when we arrived. The two big guys sitting together in the one front passenger seat sure did stretch as well. We looked at each other and smiled and laughed. Life in Morocco!

We sure did have a good day. 

For a comfy bed...

And in Canada...


  1. Another interesting travelling day, and nice to find the 2 photo spots of your dad's after so many years.

    1. Yep, if was another fun day and we were surprised that we found the two locations fairly easily.

  2. Great, great post, and the perfect depiction of why we travel. The unexpected surprises, the small acts of kindness, the brief, but meaningful connections as we stretch to bridge cultural differences. Bravo!

    And reader X is right - sometimes frugality can cause one to miss out on some pretty wonderful stuff. ☺

    1. Thanks Tamara, we love days like this, they are the ones we always look fondly back on.

      Sometimes being "cheap" isn't always good! ;-)

  3. In the 1954 market photo there are at least 5 men wearing the red fez. According to Wikipedia, it used to be worn as a symbol of wisdom and learning but is now used mostly by staff in tourist establishments.

    Ruth, you look right at home in that nice restaurant.

    1. Very interesting! Not sure we have even seen any many men wearing a red fez, even staff in tourists establishments, mind you we don't go to many tourist establishments.

      Thank you, Elaine.

  4. I love your before and after pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  5. What an amazing day - everything fell into place perfectly!

  6. This is the Morocco I would enjoy as well. So glad you toured Tetouan AND discovered the same places your father visited 63 years ago. Super visit. Love the now than then photos!

    1. We are glad that we did the day trip to Tetouan, just wish we had booked a place there rather than Tangier. It was so pretty with the mountains and so much more relaxing.

      We have had fun trying to match up Kevin's dad's pictures. We will need to make another trip or two to Europe to match up some more of them.

  7. I am totally in awe that you found both scenes so easily. One with the help of modern technology, and the other through just old fashioned asking the right person. In a totally foreign land no less.

    1. So are we! I am not so sure that we would have found the first one so easily if it hadn't been for Sara and her friends.

  8. That looks like the kind of Morocco I would like! That looks like a neat city and fabulous market. Those pastries.......remember, I am on a bit of a diet :(

    1. Yes, we really loved this little city. If and when we head back to Morocco, we will definitely go back to this city and spend more time there.

      There are times that I am glad that I am gluten free because otherwise I think I might weigh a ton, especially with all those pastries!

  9. What a great post - as Tamara R captured perfectly with her comments above. Gives the reader a taste of everything the two of you experience and cherish during your travels.
    Thank you for the 'shout out' (as the kids say) and so thrilled that you enjoyed your dinner out. Ruth - you look positively radiant sitting at that table and the photo captures a bit of timeless glamour and bohoemian chic that will never go out of style. And Kevin - good to see that you removed your California baseball cap in the presence of such a marvelous dinner guest!
    The gent next to you seems to be shielding his face from further scrutiny. Perhaps a spy? Your photos remind me of the TinTin books of my youth....

    1. Glad that you enjoyed it X.

      Thanks for the wonderful compliment too! Yes, it does look like he is shielding his face, not sure if he was or if it was just a coincidence with the timing. We know that some Moroccans don't like having there picture taken, although they are always taking pictures of themselves.

  10. Might change my mind on going to Morocco with your visit to Tetouan.

    1. We highly recommend a visit to Morocco, it is definitely a different kind of place. I think that most of the smaller cities would be much like Tetouan rather than Marrakesh, which we still think people so see just because it is such an experience. Your just have to do some research and go with an open mind. Even in Tangier we weren't bothered nearly so much by people trying to lure our money away. There is a lot to see in Morocco and much of it is outside the big cities.

  11. Oh my gosh. You are right. The first two photos are just about identical. Pretty amazing.
    Oh wow how I love that pastry guy! Yummmmmmy!
    Tetouan is another lovely place. I would enjoy walking and seeing all the vendors.

    1. Yep, hardly anything has changed in those photos, we were so totally surprised about that, especially after all those years.

      Those pastries looked amazing, too bad we couldn't try any of them.

      That market had to have been the biggest market that we have ever seen in our lives, it was spread out everywhere.

  12. Great final day in Morocco! Good for Elaine noticing the men with the fez and lucky with the 2 pictures.

    1. Well not quite our final day because we still had the full day on Thursday as well but we didn't do too much yesterday. It was a nice way to end our trip here in Morocco.

      We can't believe that we were able to match up those two photos and the fact that they haven't changed very much over the last 63 years.

  13. With those photos, you have gone back in time and visited past experiences with your Dad. Where else could that be so closely possible but Morocco. It should almost be a religious experience!

    1. P.S. Regarding those two cedars in the courtyard pictures, if they are the same two cedars which were in your Dad's picture, can you imagine how old those cedars must be?

    2. The juniper trees where I grew up are still standing and were there when my mother, and grandma were born...the juniper must be hundreds of years old if not thousands. Junipers and cedar trees I believe might be in the same family.

    3. We have had fun matching up quite a number of Kevin's dad's pictures over the last 3 months and yes, it has been an incredible feeling to know that we have stood where he had so many years ago. We are looking forward to coming back to Europe some time in the near future to find some more of these photos. It is a neat kind of project for Kevin.

      We expect that they probably are the same cedars and it sure looks like they have grown over the years.

      Rita, I think you are right that they live to be old trees. My dad has some cedars in his back yard that were there when we moved into the house and they are still there and they are still going strong, and that was about 50 years ago.

  14. Wow! I love, love, love this post. Amusing taxi ride but very fruitful in meeting Sara. I love the 'Welcome to Morocco.' from the policemen...awesome! I loved everything about Tetouan. The market place is what I imagined and white washed buildings. Although Marrakesh and Tetouan are different...I enjoyed reading and touring both. I agree with reader X...bohemian style is timeless. I have a closet full of loose, airy boho clothing I love to wear. I'm done with suits, high heels, briefcases from my youth. Thank you for a wonderful tour.

    1. We always love taking public transportation because that is when you meet the real people of the country and so many times we have had such neat experiences because of it, just like meeting Sara on this trip.

      It wasn't just the police that we got this greeting but from a number of other locals just walking along the street.

      We really enjoyed Tetouan and because it was market it day it was even that much better. We loved it even more than the souk in Marrakesh, mostly because it was just us and the locals.

      Glad you enjoyed the post Rita!

  15. Replies
    1. Thank you, too bad they are pretty much done though! :-(

  16. Great job on duplicating your father's photos. Well done.

    1. Thank you Contessa! Looking forward to going back to Europe in the future and finding some more of his photo spots.

  17. Now there's the Morocco I would like to visit! The food is amazing... Good job on the photo match exercize!

    1. Morocco is definitely worth a visit but you do have to prepare yourself for the a totally different culture especially in the big touristy areas but these smaller cities and towns are so much nicer and more relaxing.

      There's lots of good food in Morocco!

  18. What a delightful day & I am so amazed at your "re-creation" photos! Amazing & so special to be standing in the exact same spot as your father so many years before. You have really had a wonderful adventure this winter and I've enjoyed following along! Safe travels home.

    1. It was a wonderful day that we totally enjoyed.

      We enjoyed this little project of recreating Kevin's dad's photos over the last 3 months. It was a fun thing to do. Can't wait to go back to Europe on another visit and find some more of his photo spots.

      We have had a wonderful winter. We have mixed feelings about it being over, in one way we are looking forward to settling down in one spot for a while and in another way sad that we won't be out exploring again for 5 months.

  19. The question you have about the anchors, see your header picture of the Cruise ship tied to the dock about a quarter of a mile to the right is a yacht marina
    They call it
    Med Mooring (Mediterranean mooring)(you can type that in YouTube for video)
    During the summertime they tie up stern first to the dock each vessel will have two anchors about 100 feet off The port and starboard side of the bow
    Even so they may be 15 20 30 or 40 feet wide they pay for the total length of the yacht not the width, that translate into big bucks for dockage fees
    Hope that helps

    1. We totally understand the Med Mooring but it doesn't really answer the question of why a truck is full of anchors! Unless these are anchors that have been lost from ships/boats that haven't been able to retrieve their anchors after they have been dropped.

      Also from our understanding, any big marina charges for slips by the length of the vessel, no matter what way they are moored.


There are more comments on our facebook page at