It took me a while to start writing about our Morocco journey, because I do not know from where I could start writing. We would never forget our Morocco trip. Morocco is so close but so different to Spain or France. We have French friends who have been living in Morocco, we have Moroccans friends living in Morocco and we have friends with Morocco ancestors. All of them gave us valuable tips for the trip that made us to have a wonderful Morocco tour.
In Rabat, we all were very happy to meet again with Ventus crew and to make new sailors friends in the Marina. We organised some play dates and we even had a girl-hammam date. We went to a public hamman, where a 60 years old Moroccan woman scrub every inch of our skin off and it was a great experience. A couple of weeks later, I took Lucía on mother-and-daughter date to the hamman and she also loved it.
From Rabat we took the train to Marrakech, where we spent a night in a riad and we visited the medina. Riad are typical Moroccans houses (much like in roman houses, you can find a “patio” with rooms distributed around it). In Andalusia, you can find the same type of constructions, my grandparents house was like a riad too 🙂 We really enjoyed the medina ambiance (Ventus describes it perfectly in their article) and getting lost there.
In Marrakech, following our friends recommendations we took a Morocco South tour with a guide and a driver. The tour was worth it even if we spent a lot of hours in the van. We all appreciated the beauty of the desert, and the Moroccan landscapes. We had the chance to have a very knowledgeable guide, who shared with us his passion about agriculture and his country history and he told us a bit about Muslim religion and culture. He tuned the tour to our needs and we found the tour price to be very fair. We are looking forward to come back to Morocco again and to have one of the hiking tours. If you want to know more about south tour you can check out Ventus desert article.
On our way back to Rabat, we stopped in Casablanca for a night, where we met one of Pierre’s study mate Anas and his family. To welcome us to his country, Anas invited us for diner and we spent a great evening all together around Moroccan tasty food. In Casablanca, we also visited the 3rd biggest mosques in the world: we were all impressed by the beauty of the Hassan II Mosque.
Back in Rabat, we spent some days resting and discovering the city and then we went to Fez. Moroccans said that Fez is the intellectual and cooking capital. To certify it, all family took a cooking lesson and a guided tour of the medina, did you know that the first university in the world was created in Fez by a woman (Fatima al-Fihri)? did you know that in a couscous you add 12 different spices?
Moroccans are very strong at negotiation, it is a cultural thing to negotiate. It is even a way to have fun for some of them: they try to negotiate for the sport of it. If you go to Morocco, you have to give it a try; with a bit of practise, you will feel when they are trying to make you pay more and it is not that difficult to detect (hint: by default, they will ask for more money if you’re a foreigner.) Play the game and decide if you get into negotiations or not, follow the law of demand (they are many shop selling the same items after all). You’ll get hooked 🙂
It is a very religious country, in most places (all?), you can hear the call for prayer, 5 times a day (and night). During the day, you see how people stopping and gathering into the mosque for a 5 minutes prayer.
I would say that Morocco is still a developing country, we could see the effort and progress that the are doing in:
I was specially surprised by the unfair women role in Morocco. Women are the family pillars and they are all time working at home, you see them at the market with the kids and you do not see them in the cafés. Most of the time you see men in the terraces having discussions or watching TV around a mint tea. I do believe that women and men have the same rights, they can both work at home or outside, enjoy a discussion around a mint tea in a bar and take care of the family. I have been discussing about that with several women, they all said that Morocco is making a lot of progress. Women are taking more responsibility jobs and marriage and divorce laws have recently changed to protect women. One year ago, I had the chance to see “We are the XX” Ted talk “Time to remember”. Today more than ever the activist inside me is shouting “it is absolutely the time for women to be remembered!”
Most of the Moroccans that we met have a very good foreign language skills. They speak good English and French. They learn when working with tourists, they are a good example of learning by doing. Moroccans have a deep knowledge of their history and culture.
Even if there is a lot of work to do on waste management and recycling we have to congratulate Morocco to ban the usage of plastic bags.
Culturally, people throw away things (wastes) in the street waiting the cleaning workers to pass and clean. The problem is that there is a risk that the stuff flies into nature in the mean time. We could see wastes in the sea, in the desert and in the mountains. We prefer to put our wastes in the trash, even if we have to carry them with us for some time.
We are looking forward to come back to Morocco some day in the future to keep discovering the beauty of the country!