In 2008 I had some spare time to go travelling, but didn’t have a specific destination in mind; so I went online to see where the deals were to be had, and voila! The mystical land of Morocco was first and foremost in the offerings. I had absolutely zero knowledge of the country, and certainly no idea of what to expect from it, but since one tour was offering a night sleeping under the stars in the Sahara I knew I’d found my trip. I quickly booked it, and two months later I landed at Casablanca Airport where I met my fellow backpackers, with whom I’d spend he next 14 days touring all over this amazing country seeing things we’d only ever heard of, or had seen in the movies – snake charmer, anyone? Travelling to Morocco turned out to be a great decision, as the country is an amazing mix of the ancient infused with a wee bit of Western flavour here and there; I saw some incredible sights including century old buildings, the Sahara Desert, the winding roads of the Atlas Mountains, many, many Kasbahs and Medina’s, (old towns with high walls) incredible spice markets, countryside galore and the Marrakech Market, located on the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square, which is one of the top centres of trade on the whole African continent! Wow! It was a busy couple of weeks!
Morocco is often called the “Gateway to Africa”: That’s because only a scant 14.3 km of the Strait of Gibralter separates Tanger (Morocco) from the city of Tarifa in Spain- a 35 minute ferry ride for anyone wanting to make the journey from the European side. From the moment you land on African soil, you definitely feel a firm cultural shift to the ancient Arabic, but with traces of Western civilization (including Roman ruins!) appearing here and there. Morocco boasts an old world charm, and (mostly) wonderful people who want to help out; in fact, other than the snake charmers (who are legendary con artists) the only asshole I met in the whole country was the guy from Calgary whom I got stuck rooming with – but that’s another blog post entirely!
Okay, that’s enough of my yakking; time for the gorgeous visuals. I’m going to spread the photos over 3 posts, beginning with “The Cities and Medina’s” in order to show the beautiful architecture and incredible mosaic work that can be found all throughout Morocco; post 2 will be “The Deserts and Countryside”, and post 3 will cover “The Markets and Food”; my goal here is for you to get a taste or idea of what an incredible country Morocco is, and maybe – just maybe – get you thinking about making your own trek there one day. Regardless, I hope you like the pictures!
**ONE VERY IMPORTANT NOTE** The only reason I’m able to share these incredible pictures is because my friend (and travelling companion on this trip) Wolfi from Austria sent me his photos; so he gets all photo credits, but I’ve made sure that I’m in a few pictures so you don’t think I made the whole story up. Thanks Wolfi!
The Cities and Medina’s
So that’s a little taste of what some of Morocco’s cities and Medina’s have to offer; and when I say taste, I mean like, a quarter of one percent! The cities are vibrant, colourful, busy and will assault each and every one of your senses, but in a very good way.
So I hope you enjoyed these photos (Thanks again, Wolfi!) and next post we’ll travel by camel out to the Sahara desert for some peace and quiet, plus check out a Fortress Style Kasbah Ben Haddou… so cool! Until then, sweet dreams of Marrakech!
Readers: What are your thoughts on the culture we got to see in Morocco? Anything in particular catch your eye, or that you’d like to try yourself? Let us know in the comments below!