Morocco – a time travel
- March 13, 2016
- Milica Radović
Morocco is officially a Kingdom in North Africa. The shortest distance between Morocco and Europe is only 13 kilometers (the width of Gibraltar). Official language is Arabic, but people also speak in French. The most common religion is Islam. An interesting fact is that in Morocco there is one dentist per 800 000 people.
Morocco is one of many countries that I haven’t visited at the time and the fact that the tickets were very cheap forced me to buy tickets with my friend Nemanja (who I met in Tokyo) and start our Moroccan adventure.
We decided to do the following route:
Belgrade → Timisoara → Milan → Marrakesh → Casablanca → Rabat → Fes → Milan → Timisoara → Belgrade
Morocco’s capital is Rabat. The largest city is Casablanca with the population of four and a half million, but the most beautiful city is Marrakesh and Fes is the most authentic one. So that the route was more than perfect.
Belgrade – Timisoara, van, Gea Tours – 40 EUR round trip
Timisoara – Milan, airplane, Wizz Air – 35 EUR round trip
Milan – Marrakesh, airplane, Ryanair – 30 EUR one way
Fez – Milan, airplane, Ryanair – 70 EUR round trip
So, 4 flights were 135 EUR and 40 EUR van. In total: 175 euros for transport. Between cities in Morocco we traveled by train that was very cheep, max 8 EUR per ticket.
In Marrakesh, we stayed in Riad (a guesthouse, a traditional house that has 6 rooms at most). Riad was located in the medina. Every city has its medina , the old town surrounded by walls.
Accommodation, which was authentic, contributed to the overall impression. Click the image to enlarge it :
Pictures were taken from the link.
One big difference between the old town in Europe and the old city in Morocco is that Moroccan ancient cities are still active, people still live in them.
Marrakesh is the most beautiful city that we visited. The streets are narrow so that cars cannot pass. When you walk through the city, you get distracted by the shops that are everywhere in these narrow alleys. It is interesting that there are a few types of shops and all sell similar goods. Everything becomes the same after a while and the only thing you see are authentic colorful patterns and Arabic culture. On several occasions, medina reminded me of Turkish bazaars in Istanbul.
Given the fact that most women wear burqa, they are covered from head to toe, it’s good to walk around with covered legs and chest. In Marrakesh, I bought a kaftan, a traditional Moroccan dress. I was walking the streets wearing it with my the pink sunglasses. I do not have to tell you, you already know that I was the main attraction. 🙂
The biggest disappointment was Casablanca. This town has a widely trumpeted name and that’s it. It’s very dirty. After Marrakesh, I could not wait to get out of Casablanca, which had a bad vibe about it. Nevertheless, it is the most expensive city we visited on our adventure. We paid 40 EUR a night which is twice as expensive compared to other cities.
The seventh largest mosque in the world is located in Casablanca. It is one of the most beautiful mosques I’ve ever seen. It is located on the coast, one part of it has been built above the sea. When this mosque was being built, all residents had to donate couple of euros, by the king’s order.
The capital Rabat is a mixture of old and new, very nicely balanced. Above Rabat, there is city called Sale separated from Rabat with the river and the bridge. In the city of Sale there is a huge medina, which is much dirtier and more terrifying than the one in Marrakesh. There are almost no paved roads, mud everywhere. Hygiene is at a very low level. Local sellers were selling food on the ground on nylon. Meat is sold on the wooden boards beneath which walks a bunch of cats.
On several occasions, we have seen people selling meat removed from the hooves. It looked awful. Also, we often encountered vendors selling various parts of animals such as the head, stomach, etc.
In Fes, we also stayed in raid, in the medina. For this medina you need a guide if you do not have the best space orientation. Medina has about 3 000 street and 80 % were not drawn in Google Maps because they are too narrow and there are no crowds. We got lost several times. This is the scariest medina we visited. There are guys on every corner gathering and giving you some dirty looks. And they all want only one thing from you: money. Everyone knows how difficult it is to get around medina so they all offer to be your guide, of course, for money. A bunch of local kids from five to ten years old start earning money in this way. Until recently, most houses did not have a water system but they were supplied from the nearby fountain.
The food is very monotonous. In each city, you can find the same old menu you get anywhere in Europe: sandwich, pizza, French fries, etc. We did not find a fast food chain selling couscous, since it is only eaten on Fridays. We tried it in the house of my friend Amin in Rabat. It was the tastiest thing we have eaten on this trip.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I felt like I was in a medieval movie. On several occasions, I wondered, how is it possible that something like this exists parallely with the rest of the world. It is simply incredible. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see so many differences and that part of them remains with me.
More pictures you can see in my FB album.