June 24, 2008

After Chefchaouen I headed west to the small coastal city of Larache to meet up with two friends who lived with the same host family as me in Fez. I arrived in the afternoon, and by the evening we had wandered around most of the small port city. Larache has an interesting history though, as it was controlled by the Spanish in the 17th century, and became the main Spanish port city in Morocco in 1911. The city still has a Spanish consulate here, and a distinct Spanish flavour (which includes churros being sold in the main square, and a crumbling Spanish fort at the mouth of the harbour).

Larache still has a minor port, and lots of fish to go around. Not to mention a beach, Phoenician/Roman ruins, and a relaxed atmosphere. There are few tourists who come here, so it's a nice place to escape all the tourist touts of the bigger cities like Casa, Marrakech, and Fez. I've decided to eat well here, since food is less expensive than in the bigger cities. I've had my fill of some amazing pastries, pizza on the sea, an incredible fish, potato and tomato tajine (one of the top 3 tajines I've had in Morocco so far), and a bowl snails eaten with a safety pin from a dirt street vendor at dusk.
Near to Larache is the ancient city of Lixus, which was founded by the Phoenicians and expanded by the Romans. It's not a huge city and hasn't been fully excavated, but it's cool in that you can wander through the ruins yourself without paying an admission. There's an amphitheatre, temple, baths, houses, ramparts and lots of stones strewn about.

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