Travelled from 19/06/2014 to 27/06/2014 – Facebook Photo Gallery
Morocco will give you a good taste of the Arab culture with it’s vibrant markets, oriental cities and landscapes. I spent eight relaxing days in the country after three weeks of strenuous hiking in Greenland, using Airbnb for the first time and ending up in a great Moroccan riad in Marrakesh through it. Joined by my friend Reem, we explored Marrakesh, Tanger, Chefchaouen and Rabat together.
My journey started in what is probably the best known tourist destination of Morocco. Being neither the capital nor the biggest city of the country, it still draws a lot of people in due to it’s proximity to the desert and the Atlas mountains. Squeezing my legs into the tiny RyanAir seats, I tried to enjoy what is probably the airlines’ longest route (nearly four hours). Meeting two German couples on the flight turned out to be a great coincidence, as they kindly accepted me to their group and offered me to stay in their Riad. Upon arrival, we were stuck for about one hour at the passport control, which only had five officials working at it for about 350 people coming in on two flights. Off to a good start!
We took a bus straight to Africa’s busiest square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, and made our way through all the snake charmers, monkey guys and women offering Henna tattoos for the girls in our group. All of them are set to get your money, but our first priority was to find the Riad and check in. Getting there eventually costed us some money as well, since we were not able to find the Riad Marrakech Rouge – a highly rated Riad/Hostel for budget travelers – and had to pay some boys to point us in the right direction. I did not have a reservation for that place but since we were out of season, I could manage to squeeze into their room for about 10€.
Heading back to the Jemaa el-Fnaa, we witnessed what seems to be the craziest transition of market places I have ever seen. The square turned into a huge open air food market, offering everything from amazing freshly pressed orange juice, traditional Moroccan dishes to extremely cheap (2MAD) harira soup, which was mostly consumed by locals (and myself). We separated after our mutual dinner and I spent the evening in the Riad, watching England drop out of the World Cup with German commentary as apparently the German channels ARD and ZDF can be shown for free compared to the local pay TV sport channel.
On the next morning, I met up with Reem in our Airbnb accommodation, Riad Bamileke. Spending 50€ for the room, it turned out to be a great choice staying in this remarkable Riad, which was a complete contrast to the Hostel styled Riad of the last night and would have been much more expensive without Airbnb. The two Italian guys working there were very friendly and also great cooks, providing the six of us with a superb three course Italian dinner and nice wine. Earlier on that 35°C hot day, we went for a walk from the Medina (the old part of the town) to the train station in the new city to purchase tickets for an overnight train to Tanger.
Marrakesh has been a great introduction to the country and the Moroccan culture and I especially enjoyed getting lost in the Medina and Souks, bundled areas to sell specific products, combined with the busy Jemaa el-Fnaa and relaxing Riats, which function as an Oasis of tranquility as well. Overall, I would not advice to spent more than two or three days here though, unless you also plan excursions into the Desert or Mountains, which we have not done.
Sleeping in over night trains can be a frustrating thing. This time however, it was great due to pretty comfy beds and the people sharing our little 4-person cabin. We arrived in Tanger around 9AM and walked from the train station to the beach with fabulous named clubs such as “Discotheque Snob” and then made our way up the hills to the next (remote) Airbnb place. Run by a few french people, we did not get the view that we were hoping for but it was still nice there with a swimming pool, hammock and a very cute baby kitten.
The down town beach is very dirty, so we had to made a call between driving east or west to find a better spot. We decided for west, checking out Cap Spartel first. Advertised as the point where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean connect, it was just a nice view on the Light tower and a lunch served in a touristic place with bad service for us. Not wasting a lot of time, we took our beach gear and walked down the road to look for the beach. Getting there was a bit of a bummer, because the complete beach was occupied by young beach boys and there was no space to just even lay in the sun without getting too annoyed from all the fuzz around us.
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