You can get to Dakar two ways — one requires a world-class rally car in which you live in horrible discomfort and danger for two weeks as you race there from Paris. Or you can step off your cruise ship. Assuming you don't run the Paris-Dakar Rally to arrive here, you'll be clean, refreshed, and ready to explore. And Dakar is worth exploring, for its modernity, its antiquity, and its thoroughly African flavor. The port, especially Gorée Island in the lee of the harbor, has been historically important for centuries. The city proper, however, is only about a hundred and fifty years old, and is therefore quite modern in appearance, albeit with attractive areas of colonial architecture. The thing you'll want to do in Dakar proper is go to markets. There are many, they all have names, and each is more colorful, more energetic, and more appealing than the next. You'll want to visit some of the best: the Kermel, with crafts, food, and flowers; Marche de la Gare, at the railroad station, offering more variety, with fabrics, beads, incense, and food from Mali; and the Soumbedouine, combining crafts with a lively fish market that opens in the evening. The largest and most diverse market, the Sandaga, is packed with fresh food, crafts, spices, clothes, shoes, cosmetics, electronics … the selection goes on and on. The crafts that you can buy are as colorful and fascinating as the city itself. Hand-woven fabrics, precious gold and silver jewelry, and glass and sand painting are on display alongside leatherwork, pottery, woodcarving, and batik. You can load yourself down in a grand manner at any of these markets. The smell of roasting peanuts permeates the air (the city was founded on the peanut trade). The aroma will surely bring to mind memories of baseball games, an incongruous image for this setting. While such simple, satisfying fare is available everywhere, Dakar offers world-class restaurants too. Perhaps you would expect that from a place colonized by the French. Senegalese food incorporates many influences besides French, including some from other parts of Africa. Seafood is a mainstay, with lesser amounts of meat eaten, and almost no pork (it's largely a Muslim country). A delicious regional specialty, Thebouidienne, a whole fish stewed with vegetables and potatoes, is served over huge mounds of white rice. Yassa, originating from northern Senegal, is a chicken dish with lemon and onion, a zesty combination you won't want to miss. Thiou a la Wande, a meat stew, is served with couscous (the second most common starch in the Senegalese diet). In a restaurant, order liberally from the appetizer menu for a satisfying and adventurous meal. Or simply try some grilled street food, which is sold everywhere in the city. One sight that you should not miss is the former slave terminus on Gorée, a quick ferry ride into the harbor. It was an active hub in the slave trade for three hundred and fifty years, until slavery was outlawed in Senegal. The Slave House, an exhibition center made from a slave mansion, has moving displays of slave artifacts, and the old fortress looms over all, offering a hint what it might have felt like waiting there to be shipped away. Several other museums on the island are worth looking at: the African Art Museum, the Museum of the Sea, and the Musee de la Femme Henriette Bathily, or the museum of Senegalese women. There are plenty of options if you prefer a more active vacation. Rental bikes wait for you to take them on a tour of the town. Fishing boats beckon from the harbor for a spot of deep-sea angling. You can even golf, if the links are always to calling you. This curiously modern, curiously ancient city is waiting for you - just a two-week race car drive from Paris!