Column: The ticket to Tangier
© Tim Möller-Kaya

The ticket to Tangier


 When the path becomes the goal, you know you’ve done it right. Traveling to Tangier, for instance, I like to combine air, road and sea routes. First I fly to Malaga in southern Spain, a roughly two-hour flight from almost anywhere in Germany on which I enjoy breakfast, a good newspaper or a short nap. In the subtropical heat outside the airport, hourly buses wait to whisk visitors past palm trees and  glittering bays to Algeciras. We stop twice along the way for a café au lait and a croissant, once in Torremolinos, once in Marbella, and before anyone gets tired of riding the bus, we reach the harbor in Algeciras, where ferries cross over to Morocco every hour as well. The high-speed ferry to Tangier takes only about 45 minutes; regular ferries, an hour or even an hour and a half. I far prefer short ferries rides to long once, so the high-speed version is just my style. Plus, the atmosphere on board is already quite Moroccan. This is assimilation, Maghreb style: Sipping a glass of thé à la menthe, I begin to leave Europe behind as I look forward to stepping onto the African coast rapidly taking shape before my eyes. I’ve made this trip six or seven times before, and every time, I’ve seen dolphins ride the bow waves like a family at a water park. The last stretch of the journey can be easily done on foot because the Hôtel Continental is close to the waterfront, just a few steep, narrow alleys higher up. From its balconies and terraces, I can look back at the sea. And if the goal soon appeals to me as much as the path, so much the better, of course.

Our columnist, Helge Timmerberg, an irrepressible globetrotter since 1969, writes travel books and contributes monthly to our magazine.