Going back to a place you’ve lived so intensely and therefore consider very important always frightens you a little. You are afraid to spoil memories that perhaps over the years have been embellished, unconsciously, in your memory.
Morocco I have lived in this way until a few days ago, when I landed in Marrakech.
After eight years I am back in Morocco and fly directly to Marrakech, the city where the encounter / clash could be decisive in how you will live your experience, from that moment on, of what I consider a magical country.
Marrakech is beautiful, it is also the most touristic city of all, which here means “full of traps and nuisances” that can be almost unbearable to a peaceful and unsuspecting tourist.
It is often misunderstood, in my opinion, as the “non Morocco.” I believe instead that it’s the city where aspects of the country and of the Moroccans are emphasized and reach their climax.
A summary of a rowdy country and of a very peculiar population. For better or for worse (the good and the bad).
The reason why I would strongly suggest leaving it as the last city, towards the end of the trip it is possible to be ready for the grand finale.
Rowdiness and Arabic music which seem to stop only at the call of the Imam that 5 times a day invites the faithful to prayers , as long as there is still light and the sun lights up the dark, narrow streets of the souks life seems to never stop. Not a moment of peace , seldom an empty street.
People pour into the streets in the early morning , mules and scooters occupy the small labyrinthine streets where even on foot you will have to steer a course to follow a path that is never precise .
It is in fact useless to have maps in the cities of Morocco , many times it is hard to find a point of reference , the best thing , says Mohamed, one of the guys who work in the riad where we stayed , is getting lost and not in knowing where to go . And so this is how I went around Fez for 3 days . Losing myself .
Taking my time long enough to enjoy the spicy taste of Morocco and of its insistent but at the same time funny and curious people.
A trip to Morocco is made of ups and downs , you have to be strong to get out alive and to love it , to endure the continuous calls and dialectics in Italian of the vendors of the souks in Medine.
Who wants to accompany you, who wants to sell you something, those who want to “brush up” their Italian to then try to sell you something. They will not leave you alone.
They will follow you, no actually, they will precede you. They know very well that you are lost. It ‘s impossible to navigate the streets of Medine of the city, even with map in hand. You’ll have to ask sooner or later, and as soon as you do, the same scene as always will repeat itself.
Ask for directions and he will immediately tell you to follow him. He will walk a few steps ahead of you, turning round every 30 seconds to check that you are following him and indicating a point further ahead with such confidence and authority that you wouldn’t know how to tell him that you don’t want to be accompanied. They don’t seem to want to listen.
You must be ready for this when you land in Marrakech!
You must be ready to find yourself the subject of interest of strings of men who seem to have nothing to do all day if not that of waiting for the unfortunate tourist who might just want to know if the school of the Koran is to the right or to the left.
You are afraid to ask for directions, the price of a souvenir, any kind of information. Or, if you are in the mood, and it can happen, you know that you will go through long, long chats and will not get out of them empty-handed.
They are too good at not getting you to say no, very complicated not to buy anything. They always win!
Once you have dealt with Morocco keeping in mind what is written above it will be easy to go on to the next step, the beautiful (the good) that offers visitors a journey through time, leaving well-impressed images of unique and picturesque scenes of life.
The more a country, its people and its culture are different from our own the more it will impresse us. Morocco is so close to us and yet so different.
A trip to Morocco is an anachronistic journey. It ‘s a journey into the past. Here there are no McDonalds or restaurant chains. Prepacked bread and frozen food are not sold.
The fruits and vegetables are transported in carts dragged by mules.
The men wear long robes, some with hoods so pointed that make them look like elves, the women keep their heads covered, some even with the burqa. Two separate worlds, interacting so rarely in public to make it seem obvious that the male population is more numerous than that of the females.
A trip to Morocco is a journey into a culture and into traditions strong and vivid, in which the sense of hospitality, in my opinion, is still the key factor.
It doesn’t matter who harasses you in the streets because they want your money. You know that this happens so be prepared but do not believe that everyone is like that.
Just get away from the tourist centers, and I mean literally the main square or the tanneries of Fez for instance, to leave behind the bad guys (the bad) and to be able to enjoy instead the good guys(the good), of those who will accompany you home because they just want to help, those who will put double fillings in your sandwiches without raising the price, who will gift you with fish or that when they see you again will embrace you and invite you to sit down because the night before you had made them laugh.
A trip to Morocco is a journey that involves all five senses. Strong and intense. Without a doubt challenging and tiring. A real and proper journey and as such can not leave us indifferent.
For a 2 weeks travel itinerary in Morocco click here.
I travel independently taking mainly public transport. A world trip began in 2011 is not yet finished, my mission is to explore the world and write about it. Travel consultant Galapagos, Argentina, Morocco, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Namibia.