Tuesday

Golden Tangerines


I have been really excited to see the Roman ruins in Lixus for awhile now, or at least since I first read about them, which granted was only a couple of days ago, but still the point is, I was stoked!

Liam and I caught a bus and figured out where to get off, we got pretty lucky with guessing the timing and direction.

The ruins are just off the main road to Tangier, siting there like a road side attraction (which they are), but in a very rustic sort of way.

The ancient Roman ruins date back to 1000 BC and was part of the Roman outspread and conquest of northern Africa.
The site is fairly massive and has ruins of government buildings, an amphitheater, public baths, garum (fish paste) factories, olive presses and temples.

It has been left to nature since it was first excavated and only a quarter of the ruins have even been unearthed. The ocean, which is now 4 kilometers away from the sight, was at one point right next to the town. This provided them easy access to the fish that were salted and turned to paste, an ancient Roman delicacy.

Insects and amphibians are everywhere. Thorny weeds and dry grass stretch between the massive stacked stones that were once walls. Ancient olive trees drop its fruit to the ground and ants carry their dried pits off into the hills and holes.

According to Roman mythology, this is where Hercules was thought to have picked his famous golden apples, which may have very well been Moroccan tangerines instead.

I had never been anywhere so ancient and so unpreserved, it was an amazing thing to experience. I felt as though I had just stumbled upon some secret historic sight for the first time and it was mine to explore.
There were no other guests there and apart from the security guard, who i guess is paid to follow at a great distance behind you, we had the place to ourselves.

I wanted to spend more time there and had even packed a lunch to eat in the ruins of the temple, but the bugs were relentless. I have red bites all over the exposed parts of my skin, and most of those came from the 5 minutes I tried to sit down and meditate next to the temple to see what the roman gods felt like through ancient stone.
In a way it was nice that these bugs were doing their best to protect the ruins, so I respected their wishes and we left, after spending only a few hours there.

As we walked to the main road to catch the bus a car pulled over and offered us a ride. We hopped in, not completely sure yet if it was just a taxi that pulled a fast one on us, seeing as it was a 70's model Mercedes and was blasting female sung love ballads, but it just turned out to be a free ride.
We gave him a few dirham anyway as a thank you.

He dropped us off by the port, which was still full of empty, tiny fishing boats that were covered with seagulls looking for scraps.
Larache defiantly has a way of growing on you.
We sat and ate olive bread in the plaza in honor of the roman ruins, olives for us and fish guts for the birds.




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