Friday, May 31, 2019
Tanger is an edge city, caught between worlds. Located at the border between east and west, between north and south.
Standing at the top of the Medina you are at the northernmost tip of Africa. You can overlook both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and can see the hazy silhouette of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The city has always been a crossroad of cultures and this mix has drawn a notable collection of artists. French painter Henri Matisse is probably the most well known. In search of a new direction and surrounded by bright light and vivid colors, the French master found inspiration for some of his greatest works.
As a 'photographer', I strive to capture color and light, and I have always been enticed by Morocco's rich hues and variegated sunshine.
I came to Tanger because I wanted to seek out the creative spark down alleyways.
Cafe Hafa, founded in 1921, is located along the cliff top overlooking the Bay of Tangier. Opened in 1921, the cafe has retained the 1920s style of decor and through the years has been visited by famous writers, singers, painters and designers, from Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs, Matisse, to The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Yves Saint Laurent.
The legendary cafe is known for its mint tea with a view.
The pure simplicity and dominance over the Strait of Gibraltar, the multicolored and plastic chairs, mosaic tables, blue walls, trees that grow without concern to none and with charm to which no one can resist.
So on the first afternoon in Tanger we walked to the cafe on the coast (elatedly) and found it completely empty...
Not a single soul on the terrace. Only empty tables, piles of plastic chairs and a few cats.
We were a little disappointed and wondered if the abandoned sight was due to Ramadan or maybe because the cafe no longer existed.
A neighbor told us that we had to come back in the evening to see what it's like during sunset.
After wandering around on the 'holy ground' where Yves & Pierre once enjoyed the view, we did the same and decided to return in the evening.
As we approached the sunset on the way to Cafe Hafa, hordes of locals walked in the same direction.
Once arrived at the place, the terrace was packed with people, with their home-cooked meals installed on the tables for iftar, waiting for sunset.
Very special and moving to experience the gathering and as soon as the sun went down in the ocean, everyone started eating and drinking quietly.
We had a glass of mint tea and enjoyed this impressive moment.
Thursday, May 30, 2019
I've always been very curious about Tanger. It was one of the destinations in Morocco I wanted to visit for a long time.
We stayed in Dar Nour, the oldest guesthouse in the historical Kasbah.
My expectations were quite high, but everything exceeded my imagination about this trip.
The cinematic Arabic atmosphere, the exuberant colors, the narrow streets in the Kasbah, they inspired so many famous writers, painters, musicians, designers and artists... and now I understand why.