In November, I was fortunate to do a tour that included Spain, Portugal and Morocco and I’m excited to share some of my stops in Morocco. I spent six days in the major cities and enjoyed learning about this beautiful country that is transitioning from traditional to a more modern way of life.
Many people think of Morocco as a primarily Arabic country, however the majority are actually Berbers who have their own culture and language separate from the smaller Arabic population.
I was also surprised to see that women’s rights are improving. This includes the ability to dress as they wish. I saw many Moroccan ladies in modern dress with hijabs or without. And, others were dressed in full Burqa. As a woman, I felt very safe walking around on my own during the day in Chefchaouen and Marrakesh.
Chefchaouen is the Blue City that you might have seen pictures of. The city is very small and is easy to navigate alone. I started my day here with an early morning walk to take in the amazing shades of blue. Later in the day vendors open their doors complimenting the blue and white hues of the city.
The Jewish believed that blue was a lucky colour and this is why the town became known as the blue city. It is actually law that all buildings and homes are blue and white. It’s stunning!
To understand Fes, it’s important to know what a Medina is. The literal meaning of Medina is ‘the old Arab or non-European quarter of a North African town.’ Fes has a bustling and intricate Medina and the Medina is not a place to try and tackle by yourself. This Medina consists of over 9,000 streets crammed into an area that is 540 acres.
The streets are so narrow that if you live in one of the houses it is imperative to be friendly to your neighbours! If you make larger purchases for your home, there isn’t room to fit them through the streets so you’ll have to transfer them from rooftop to rooftop through your neighbours homes.
I also visited the bustling market that is divided into various sections – fruit, vegetables, electronics, meats, seafood, and tannery. One unique sight was the designated stall for Camel meat with a camel head decorating the front so you knew exactly what they sold.
Marrakech is another extremely popular tourist attraction in Morocco. It is most famous for its exotic and luxurious retreats and being the entrance to the Saharan Desert. If you are wanting some R&R before heading into the dessert this is the place to visit!
Upon arriving we visited a local grocery store. It was huge – bigger than a Walmart Super Centre. The fresh produce had to be taken to a special register before going to the front to weigh and price out. I thought my very large pomegranate that was about $1CAD was a great deal!d
There is a famous square in Marrakech named Djemaa el Fna Square where tourists are able to see snake charmers, street acts and much more. Be careful though because if you even point your camera towards them they will come asking for money. This is how they make their living. Knowing this, enjoy the area as it is a great way to spend an afternoon people watching and taking in the sights.
The challenge with travelling is the list of places to see only grows as you visit new spots. I found this during my tour of Morocco as there are many other amazing places that I didn’t have the chance to visit or felt I didn’t have enough time. The main reason for me to return is to visit the Sahara Desert and one afternoon visiting the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca just wasn’t enough of that famous city.
Morocco is starting to trend as a top place to visit and I would definitely recommend anyone visit. I felt safe the entire time and enjoyed learning about the Moroccan cultures and visiting the amazing cities.
~Brooklynn Gathercole, Inspired Vacations