6 DAYS IN MAROCCO

 

While I was working in Iceland during the summer, I decided to treat myself with tickets to some country where the sun shines and everybody is happy. It happened that “Easy Jet” had tickets to Morocco on sale, and in 20 minutes I had them in my Email box.

A cheap tickets led me to my second country in Africa and also it is my 22 country visited so far. Beginning to plan a trip was a huge mess because 6 days is definitely too short to see all the diversity of Morocco. But I took my friend with me and we decided not to plan anything very precisely and just try to survive as we are.

We did a bit of the research on what this country is all about, and we found few friends with a very good advice on what we should see and how we should travel.  These advices and readings became a wonderful trip around the country where everything is so magical and different from anything I’ve seen before.

The trip started with one 10 kg backpack and night bus ride to London airport. It happened that my friend Karolis, who I was travelling with, bought a flight ticket to Rabat, and I landed into Marrakesh, so we needed to meet at some point to start our trip. So I tooke the train.

From the beginning we decided that we want to experience the real beauty of the country and local life, we agreed not to book any hostels and do Couchsurfing and meet some Moroccans to hear their stories and to experience daily life with them. And the decision was really good, because it turned out to be the best adventure of all with the amazing people we met on the way.

So here is a trip summary as it went:

1st day:

I took a 4-hour train ride from Marrakesh to Rabat and arrived in the amazing alley of lively people and kids running around. In Rabat I met my first host from Couchsurfing – Zico.

Zico was kind enough to take us home by his car and introduce us to his friends. We spent our first evening in his huge flat chatting with him and his friends about life and laughing lots. Tasting Lithuanian food and playing with his amazing dog Yorga made time even better.

The coziness of the evening continued next day when we all went to explore medina of Rabat, and had some tea in the amazing panorama terrace. Rabat is very nice city with a lot of life inside it. Medina is quite calm compared to other cities we visited, where nobody offers you to come inside if you don’t show interest and everyone is doing their own stuff.

 

The coast-line of Rabat while enjoying the tea.

In the midday we had to leave Rabat to get going to the small city called Chefchaouen. We said goodbye to our lovely host Zico and took a bus that drove us to the city that is famous for its blue colour everywhere. We have spent a night in the shed on the highest point in the city, and just in the morning we saw the whole city from the top of the mountain we climbed when we arrived.

After hiking down we went to explore the city and its beautiful small streets that seem not to have an ending. Going from one turn to another, everywhere we went we found more and more beauty. This is a few shots of our wonders:

 

After being surrounded with a blue half of the day we decided that is time to leave for more adventure and we took a day bus to Fez. As soon as we arrived in the city we felt like this is the city of life boiling everywhere. People are running around, cars avoiding everyone in the busy streets, and a lot of tourists trying to find their way in and out. As soon as we arrived the most friendly host came to pick us up and took us for a dinner and quick wonder in the medina, explaining what to see and how to explore it correctly.

Karolis, Me and our host Alaa.

 

After this warm welcome and dinner in a rooftop terrace we went to Alaa’s flat where I felt like home. Some Lithuanian snacks, watching videos about Moroccan culture and long night chats about our experiences and lots and lots of good time.

In the morning we took our time to rest a bit and then went to see the magnificent medina. We were told that to get lost in the streets of medina is a good thing, and it is very true, because it does not matter where we go everything is indulging and new. There is some streets where people make souvenirs and you can see how it is made from the begging, other streets are filled with food and Moroccan sweets. The interesting part of the medina is leather tannery where locals are making leather products and besides the smell the place is very nice to see.

Without leather there is also the oldest university and magnificent Medersa el- Attarine one of the places you can come to see amazing architecture and design and also experience calmness after the rush and sounds in the old town streets.

There is a lot to see in this city and it is not for one day of wondering, but we saw a lot. Experienced speedy life in the streets and people trying to guide you and sell you things. Smells and sounds, is in the spirit of the city, and any kind of calmness and nothingness is a strange thing in the city of constant moving.

After all day of wondering we sat down in a cosy ‘Cafe Clock’ restaurant to have some Moroccan Tagine and decide where are we heading next. Moroccan food and tea are one of the things that are necessary to try. Good quality meat and vegetables cooked with amazing spices and couscous is worth to try.

After that we felt happy and prepared to leave for another adventure, which happened to be trip to the desert and riding camels in the sand dunes. We left Fez in the evening and took night bus to Hassi Labied village near the main touristic village Merzouga. We decided not to go to the touristic city and rather spend some time with local Berbers and experience living in the village where the desert is a few steps away. We arrived at 5 o’clock in the morning and had a nice morning welcome by our host that we found on couchsurfing on a way to the desert. After having some sleep in his guest house we went to see the gardens and sand dunes. And since that was my first time in the desert it was very calm and magnificent experience. Just sitting on the dune watching to the horizon and enjoying the silence.

   After getting familiar with the place we ate Moroccan pizza made by the family who hosted us and then we went to take camels and get going deeper in the desert. We took 1-hour ride and reached our tents where we were staying for one night. We decided to rent a snowboard to go sand boarding after we arrive to our tents. Sand boarding was one of the things in my bucket list, and I can proudly say that I’ve done it. Diving into the dunes and getting sand everywhere and sliding with the board on untouched sand is definitely a nice experience.

After the sunset we went to have Tagine prepared by our host and listen to some traditional drum music and finally went to watch shooting starts in the wonderful sky full of stars.

Morning tea by locals and breakfast before we leave to our final destination – Marrakesh.

On the way to Marrakesh there is a nice scenery of landscapes and valleys of Atlas mountains. Driving through curved roads of Todra Gorge and with few stops to eat in at the road ‘restaurants’ we reached our final destination!

We decided to rest and book a cheap hostel for a few nights before I leave, and since our friends were already staying in one of the hostels we followed them and finally had time to catch up and share what we saw. In the night Marrakesh is a scary place, where everybody tries to sell you things and offers some kinds of riad or hostel to stay. Everyone you pass speaks to you and calls you a friends. The style of locals approaching as ‘my friend’ is a common thing here, and it was the most annoying city of all for me in a way of locals never leaving you and always calling you to come in and buy something.

Besides that in a daytime Marrakesh has to offer a lot of nice sight-seeing and beautiful nature. There are just a few things we went to see during the day. The must-see is central square “Jemma el Fna” filled with horses with carriages, live music, locals with snakes and small souvenir shops. More of the sight – “Koutoubia mosque”, “Medersa Ben Youssef”, “Manera Gardens” and “Dar si Said” (Museum with beautiful garden).

For the end of this summary I would like to say thank you to all of you who helped us travel without any worries and stress. This is the first trip where I did not have stress or bad situations. We started and ended up relaxed and much more inspired than we were before arrival.

The hosts that let us sleep in their place and where kind to us – we thank you and value your generosity a lot. Sharing and exchanging experiences made our time in this country amazing and we were so surprised that we managed everything we planned and much more after all.

Meeting new people and getting to know the country from the inside was the best decision.

This country is a must see, and experience the life of Moroccans and Berbers.With their culture and traditions. And all the colours of this place.

Special thank you to my travel partner Karolis – who survived with me all week, and agreed to travel with me first of all! I hope your adventure in Morocco without me will be as good as it was last week.

Shukran, this is an old Silly story from 2016 and bad English. pardon.

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