I wanted to visit Morocco for more than a year and finally I arrived in September.I chosen the services of an association because it was cheaper plus I had the chance to go with a group that proved to be really awesome.
So , we arrived here after having a stop in Milan.At airport we were taken by our guide ( wasn’t really a guide but a person that organize trips in Morocco) who took us to the riad where we had the accommodation. The riad was based in the biggest market in Marrakesh Jamaa el Fna.Riad is a sort of hostel ,more like a family business.They live there, they cook there and I know this because in the middle of the living room they used to cook so even if we wanted or not we smelled what they were cooking ahaha.The living room it s different than a European one ( I ll put pictures I promise) but their way of living reminds me of old times in Romania .I can t say if it s bad or not if it s kich or not it depends how open minded you are and if you can respect and accept their way of living. They are big families and use to live in the same house with parents,grandparents,brothers and sisters of course they have independent rooms and sometimes independent floors. The living rooms are huge because they take lunch,dinner together and this is a thing that we Europeans I think we miss ,to have all family together and communicate more. Those carpets and heavy pillows remind me of the old house from the countryside so I had a lot of flash backs from my childhood that”s why I can t say I was surprised of this :nothing new for me.
Next stop for us was of course the market.A very noisy place with guys that yell to come and buy a fresh juice ( very good and only 4 dirham=40 euro cents),with men that struggle some monkeys to take some pictures with them ,charmer snakes and water seller.Well this is nothing compared with what is this place transformed in the evenings.If you are here during weekends you will think it s at least New Year:)). During evenings like from nowhere improvised stalls with food appear .You can eat good and cheap here 4-5 euros per person.
Personally I loved this place.I like noisy and crowed places and markets ahaha i said it:)).You have to negotiate for everything and because you are tourist you have money so you will have a special price whether you want or not.Well in case you are with a local you will be surprised to see that if you have paid 10 dirham on a Cola you will pay now 2 parampam :)).In Marrakesh everyone will try to sell you something.Pay attention who you are asking for indications because they can ask you money for this. What I din t liked was the fact that they won t tell you which place is the best to visit for example the nicest trip in Sahara is in Merzouga but if you say you are going there they will say no no in Zagora is better and viceversa.
I read a lot of reviews about Morocco before coming and mainly were negative ones .I was surprised to discover something else here.It s true that they have a lot of beggars ( much more than in Romania or any other country that I visited) but if you ignore them or say no they will go quickly ( this happen because it seems police started to do their job finally).
How to dress:Well it s a Muslim country so if you don t want to be watched like a piece of meat it s better to wear decent cloths ,cover your shoulders and don t wear short pants ,dressed,skirts.Here in Marrakesh people are more conservators and you will see the majority of woman wearing higeab,burka. I know we Europeans have some preconceived ideas about the way women dress and we think it s a bad thing.Well it s not like that .They just respect what Coran says ,we have these things in the Bible just that we don t respect it .The decision to wear these kind of cloths or Europeans belongs to the woman.Of course it also depends of the way she was raised too .I always say all depends of the way we perceive the things.What for me may seem natural and normal for another person may seem the opposite.Same thing as in what is about what it s beautiful or ugly .
They wear this type of cloths because they don t like to attract the attention of them.In this way their husbands will be attracted of they personality not of their bodies .I saw a lot of beautiful women wearing make up or wearing this type of cloths with style and i love it.Personally i dressed like them and I will do it again without thinking twice.It s a great feeling to go on the street and don t feel how man looks at you as you are a piece of meat or whistle after.
TO BE CONTINUED
Good,what else to do in Marrakesh? Well you can go and visit Yves Saint Laurent gardens for 50 dirham.It s a nice place but not extraordinary.Also you can visit Bahia Palace for 10 dirham but I don t recommend it s a waste of time.
The next day we went in Sahara trip in Merzouga.It s a 2 days trip that costs 75 euros and you will do aprox 600 km per day.The road is thru Atlas Mountains, Dades Gorge area ,Ouarzazate and finally Merzouga.
The first night is spent at a hotel in the mountains a really nice place, clean and with nice rooms.Second day in the afternoon is the arrival to the desert.Here we went on dromedary for about 1 hour until the place where the camps were located. We cached the sunset and I have to say it s one of the best things I ever saw. The Berbers prepared some tajine and we ate all together with hand ( if you want to eat in the traditional way) or not:). After this they sang us some traditional songs and danced .Before going to bed we climbed the sand dunes ( I have to say that it s not easy to climb it and have to have some physical strength to do it). Again for me it was a great experience and i really recommend this.Next time I will take the 4 days trip. I slept outside as It was very hot .If you don t like this you can sleep inside tent but again I recommend to stay outside.And to answer to some questions no there are not scorpions or insects, you will not die of thirst because you can take bottles of water with you and during night it s not very cold you can have long pants and a long blouse but not very thick.
Pay attention as there is a big difference of temperature between Marrakesh and Casablanca or Rabat.In September-October in Marrakesh are 35-37 degrees while in Casablanca are 25- 27.
The fourth and fifth day we choose to go in Rabat, Casablanca and Essaouira. You can take train also and here you can find the prices but if you are a big group i don t recomment to take train as you are going to spend more on taxis.
Rabat and Casablanca are more European so to say.People are not dressed so conservator like in Marrakesh.
I came prepared for beach ….and I managed to take 0 baths:(((. For me Rabat seemed a normal city nothing special.We went to see the ocean but no one was on the beach :(,after this stop we went to a sort of garden nothing interesting either .
Casablanca.Well here you can see the mosque.The price to enter is 120 dirham and you can enter every day except Fridays only at this hours 9,10,11,12 and 15. And no you can t enter inside even if you are dressed like a Muslim.Been there done that ….doesn t work .Stupid thing anyway as in catholic or orthodox churches anyone can enter.
Well In Casablanca I returned for another week so I m happy I did this as I meet some cool locals that showed me the other face of Morocco and made me understand better this beautiful country and it s traditions.
Don t expect to have comfort or something in the taxi.Are the worst taxis I ve ever seen ( except the ones from Izmir-Turkey but I think here were a bit better ). The traffic it s terrible and they really don t know how to drive there ARE NO RULES IN DRIVING here. Thanks God I m still living and I m not kidding when I m saying this.
In Casablanca you definitely have to visit the port area called AIN DIAB,the center Maarif place and the old Medina.I was asked why tourists like Medina ( old city part with it s souks) well it s simple because we don t have this.Yes it s true it s not a clean place ,it s noisy but for me this is all the fun so you can either like it or no.
My only bad experience with Casablanca was caused my the pollution and the water that irritated my skin soooo bad that even after 2 weeks I still have some marks.
Next Essaouira on the list.It s a great city .Cheaper than Marrakesh.Here you have the chance to go on the beach as there aren t waves like in Casablanca but still the beach is not so clean and the water …same.What else to do here: well Medina again it s different from the others and you can get lost on the small streets .Well it s not rocket science if you go 2-3 times on the streets you are going to know them so no need to ask the locals for indications unless you are in a hurry.Remember to ask people from stores otherwise others can show you but ask for money after:).
Definitely you need to go in the fish market and try the goodies from there.Are fresh and prepared instantly on the grill.
And now the answer at the question how much you spent?
Morocco:11-26 sept 2012
accommodation+ flights:295 euro +135 euro=430 euro
trips:Sahara and cities:125 euro
tickets ,taxi +food: 180 dirham +117 euro