Marrakech Streets

Final Stop

“…the train had been like a sauna that it was difficult to sleep. Nevertheless it was my last day in Morocco and I was determined to make the most of it!”

Marrakech, Morocco


I felt a little jaded as the train pulled into Marrakech station – the train had been like a sauna that it was difficult to sleep. Nevertheless it was my last day in Morocco and I was determined to make the most of it!

After a quick shower and breakfast, it was off to explore. Unfortunately due to the circumstances the day before with the bomb in the square we were warned to stay away from the square which meant our sightseeing was a bit limited, which was disappointing as I was looking forward to seeing all the spice markets .

We made the most of the day by exploring the small shops near Mohammad V avenue, along with a number of art galleries which are always great to visit. When we got tired of walking we opted to have a sweet mint tea and sat at a very nice looking cafe. They went out of there way to buy us some fresh mint for our tea and only when we left and peered inside that we realised we had unknowingly sat down at a betting house solely for men it seemed…we were also wisely warned not to use the facilities ( thanks Jane!)

Taking a horse and carriage we were dropped at the Koutoubia Mosque just in time for the call to prayer. It was very interesting watching all the people descend like ants to the entrance of the mosque.

My trip ended with a lovely evening with all my fellow intrepid travellers over dinner and drinks at the bar with some new friends.

I caught my plane feeling like there was so much more to see and I hope to be back soon to visit all those places I missed – Inshallah!

Accommodation: Hotel le Caspien Р12 Rue Lobnane, Marrakech, Morocco
Good location  easy to walk to main attractions.

 

 

Atlantic views

Ocean views, beers and tapas

“What I was looking for was a nice quite place to sit looking at the ocean and enjoying some fresh seafood.”

Tangier, Morocco


Within four hours we had left the beautiful town of Chefchaouen and the Rif mountains. As the local bus pulled into the bus station..Tangier did not give me a feeling of wanting to be explored. It was busy in a typical modern way with people rushing everywhere – a typical port town that has seen huge developments in the last few years. What I was looking for was a nice quite place to sit looking at the ocean and enjoying some fresh seafood.

Well I got the seafood…After a delicious lunch of calamari and chips we eventually managed to find some taxis and headed off for a panoramic view over the straight of Gibraltar. While sipping on a sweet mint tea we all admired the views.

It was here that we heard about the horrible bombing in the square at Marrakesh. It was quite a shock as we were heading there the next day and because we were also advised that we were to stay away from busy tourist places. How busier could Tangier be? Our group leader, Moha, handled the situation really well and gave everyone a sense of calm as we really did not have the full picture. The best solution was for us to hire a mini bus and head out of Tangier.

What a great decision! We headed out towards Cap Spartel, which takes you through a wealthy suburb of villas and royal palaces. After exploring Hercules Grotto and attempting to take a picture of the famous view that looks like the map of Africa, it was off to the terraces to watch the views, the people fishing and the young boys playing in the sea…very brave as this was the Atlantic.

After a relaxing day, we headed back into Tangier to a Tapas Bar so we could have a few relaxing drinks before catching our overnight train to Marrakesh. The atmosphere was really lively and I am sure they picked all the English classics to play just for us tourists. The hospitality was fantastic and instead of just a few tapas for the table they kept bringing out more and more…which made everyone buy more drinks to compensate for all the food and the vicious cycle began.

The festivities of the evening continued on our overnight train as we all piled into one of the carriages, drank warm wine, laughed at jokes and enjoyed some excellent singing entertainment.

Thanks to new found friends for a great time that will be fondly remembered!

Capital of sights

The Medina is filled with splashes of colour whether it be the array of fresh vegetables or the inviting patterned tiles (mosaics) that surround doorways.

Rabat, Morocco


In just 1 hour on the train it was amazing you could leave the hustle and bustle of Casablanca and reach quite, palm-tree lined boulevards of Rabat, Morocco’s administrative and political capital. The quietness of the city was welcome as my senses were on overload as we entered my first Medina (the old city) of my trip. I expected it to be a lot busier but was happy to slowly wander around the small alleyways as we passed food and spice shops. The Medina is filled with splashes of colour whether it be the array of fresh vegetables or the inviting patterned tiles (mosaics) that surround doorways.

It was while wandering though the Medina that we received a small tip on how to ignore the men that lean against the wall one foot raised, waiting to attract the attention of the next tourist, always saying hello and telling you about their brother or cousins wonderful carpet shop just around the corner. Our leader aptly named the concept ‘Wallism’ and it was a constant form of amusement through out the trip. The best thing was that no one fell prey to the tactics – thanks Moha!

Having wondered around the Medina we made our way up to the Kabash (fort) at the top of the hill. Unassuming with its sandy coloured walls I did not expect that when I entered the impressive gate that the streets would be so picturesque with their white washed walls and an array of blue hues – I thought my camera was going to seize up when every turn seemed more eye catching than the next. You will be pleased to see that I only attached a sample of the photos – hoping to give you a glimpse of the roads, the sturdy doors with unique details and door knockers. The reason all the streets are painted this way is apparently to keep the flies away — well I did not see any, so maybe it is true?

Leaving the streets behind you enter the other side of the Kabash onto a viewing platform that looks over the Atlantic and the town of Sale – impressive! For a different view when exiting the Kabash I would suggest you walk along boardwalk that lines the Estuary. If I was not short of time I would have loved to have enjoyed a sweet mint tea while watching the reflections of the colourful fishing boats that were scattered around.

My last stop before catching the train to Fes was to visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V complex (where King Hassan II is laid to rest), built in traditional Moroccan style, the marble finishing, high ceilings and patterned floor make this a peaceful place to visit.

And this was all before lunch…

Arriving in Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco


Arrived in Casablanca after a short 3.5 hour flight in a very uncomfortable plane – I felt like I was hunched over the whole way and could not wait to uncurl when disembarking. I had plenty of time to stretch as we seemed to queue for hours at immigration — all I could think was ‘ Only in Africa’

The airport was about a 45 minute transfer to the town and not a very scenic route into town that it left me slightly disappointed. However I was still looking forward to my trip in Morocco and what it will bring. So once I sampled my first authentic Moroccan Tagine of Lamb, Prunes and Almonds along with my fellow intrepid travellers, I went to bed over excited about the next day and the next.

Accommodation: Hotel Guynemer – 2 Rue Mohamed Belloul (Ex.Pegoud), Casablanca, Morocco
I just stayed the one night but accommodation clean and staff friendly. Close to a number of restaurants in the new city.