When I said for the first time that I would like to visit Morocco, after reading about its wonderful places in a book, they all took me for crazy! I don't know why? do people react this way when you name certain countries but can then tell them what? Was it a wonderful trip, to a place enchanted by a thousand and one nights? it was a great satisfaction!
Ten DIY days between cities? imperial, from Casablanca to Marrakech, from Ouarzazate to the Sahara desert with the Bedouins, from Fes to Meknes, from Rabat to Sal? always accompanied by the scent of tea? Mint flavoured.
Backpacking with just the plane ticket and my Marco Polo guide for my first trip outside Europe.
Cagliari - Rome
Rome - Casablanca
Departure from Rome for Casablanca with a happiness that not even a child before unwrapping the Christmas gifts can? to have!
The arrival ? expected in the afternoon and we decide to take the train immediately (the Voyageurs station is located under the airport, indication given by a kind Moroccan lady who speaks a little bit of Italian) that will take us? to Marrakech in about two hours. We arrive what? now dark at the entrance of the city? old where the door welcomes us more? beautiful city, so we take a taxi to get to our Riad (typical Moroccan house for tourist use) and we immediately understand what to do as a taxi driver? the work pi? in vogue in Morocco! Hundreds of yellow cars surround us as soon as they understand that we need a ride and we start bargaining to get the best price. low, activity what can I do? a great time at Samuele for our entire vacation.
Our Riad "Le rose du Desert, in a very central position, is a typical Moroccan house with a very kind staff who welcomes us with a unique but unforgettable simplicity. Our first night in Marrakech. We are awakened at dawn by the typical Muslim prayer mentioned above. from the loudspeakers of the city but also this is Morocco and in the following days it becomes a ritual of our holiday.
Today, after touring some state, I can say that Moroccan breakfast? it was the best breakfast of my life, a way to start the day with a different spirit! All strictly homemade with unforgettable aromas and flavors.
From our riad it takes about 10 minutes on foot to get to the main square, "Djemaa el Fna" and in those few minutes we are catapulted into a city? crazy, lively, exaggerated, modern and ancient at the same time. Do we want to absorb all of this famous city? imperial then our day will be? entirely dedicated to her. The traders of the medina stay up late in the evening so in the morning we don't find the market completely open and so we wander aimlessly around the square and the central streets, discovering Moroccan traditions and visiting all the spice bazaars that happen to us! a carriage and do a typical sightseeing tour and the guy who drives us? a bedouin from the Sahara, nice and helpful. Then with the inevitable yellow taxi we visit the Saudi tombs. The first Moroccan style lunch? in a central restaurant (Le rose du sud) with of course cous cous and typical tagine.
In the afternoon we throw ourselves back into the square where there are now thousands of people, stalls, street vendors, snake charmers, music, dances, tourists, Bedouins with donkeys, horse carriages, skilled pourers of mint tea, spices and perfumes that will never be able? forget. And it will be? all a bargain and discover that each stall has something you want to buy.
We decide to have dinner on the street, yes, on the street why? the Moroccan cooks begin to turn on the grills and make us sit at a long table set in the square and from there? a whole culinary discovery where we will be super satisfied. Return to the riad with a wide smile on my face!
Second wonderful Moroccan breakfast.
We ask the manager of the Riad if he can? organize a tour in the desert, and offers us a night in a tent in the Sahara with the typical Berber inhabitants and a visit to Ouarzazate with departure from Marrakech and return but we will then decide from the desert to continue alone.
Twenty taxi drivers do their utmost to accompany us to the Jardine Majorelle and only one will win.
The famous Majorelle gardens are a real charm with that blue called "majorelle blue", a small place in the city? where are you? just silence, unlike the rest of the city. We visit the mosque and stroll through the streets of the city.
Back to the center, do we walk through the bazaar where I decide to get a henn tattoo done? that I would have liked to remain forever imprinted on my skin. We buy spices, dresses, turbans, incense and souvenirs to take home. We decide to have lunch in the same place as the day before having been an excellent lunch with a magical view of the square.
In the evening we marvel again at how the piazza el fna comes alive why? illuminated ? even more? beautiful. From a restaurant on a terrace we enjoy the last evening in Marrakech.
Departure for Ouarzazate with a group mini bus, unfortunately for us very touristy and little do-it-yourself but it was the only way to reach the destination in a short time and with a low budget. The journey for us travelers accustomed to solitary? heavy: a group of 15 people, each with their own needs to stop or need, makes the journey interminable.
The bus hours finally end with the first stop in Ait Ben Haddou along the Ouarzazate river and we are welcomed by a fortification famous for being the place where various scenes of films such as the Gladiator were shot.
Arrival in Ouarzazate. Upon arrival of the city? a Berber guide welcomes us and begins the visit to the typical Kashba, a hand-woven carpet factory and various local sites. We have lunch in a small kiosk ap? lost where are you? no type of internet connection but better this way ?.
We continue with the visit along the river bank where women wash clothes by hand and children ask you for sweets and does it all seem surreal to you? but they are always smiling so maybe we would also have all the comforts? of the world but not? this is true happiness.
We leave and stop for the first night in a hotel on the road to Merzouga, we eat cous cous and strangely we die of cold.
Everyone on the mini bus early in the morning, direction Merzouga. We arrive at a Berber camp where we are equipped with turbans (then useful for the desert sand) and from there a few steps away begins our much desired step in the sands of the Sahara desert. The Berbers are all busy teaching us how to get on a dromedary (a very fun experience) and then we leave with a long caravan and a unique scenery on the high and sandy dunes illuminated by the sun. Place where I believe I took most of the photos in Morocco!
We arrive at the camp at sunset and it still does not seem true to us that we are in front of that panorama seen only in the many images of the desert, but today we are there too!
The darkness falls quickly and inside the tent we begin to set the table: in the center of the table a single large plate of vegetable couscous, a fork each and 8 hungry people who have forgotten for a moment their good manners and none of us ? it went through my head to be picky especially with the last few pieces of potatoes. Obviously all of this? candlelight. The Sahara dream continues around the fire where you sing and admire the infinite stars. The dromedaries are at rest and the desert bids you goodnight with its silence. The night in the tent can not? be comparable to any luxury hotel: you sleep on a pile of carpets (we sleep in clothes, give it to us!) with our momentary travel companions, with a dusty blanket, tight in an embrace until dawn and happy as ever.
The first slight glimmer of light? the alarm clock of the Berbers and with their footsteps on the sand around the tents wake us up why? the rising sun is just waiting for us and we absolutely must see the show. Everyone's request at the exit of the tent? was "where is the bathroom ??", b? the answer could only be "everywhere"! So let's choose a dune ap? sheltered and embarrassed we head towards the "bathroom" (do not abandon wipes or handkerchiefs, especially not biodegradable). To enjoy a wonderful sunrise we go up to the pi? high of the dunes and there it is, the sun kissing the desert and travelers can only sit in silence. The photos do not give an idea of how magical a sunrise in the Sahara desert really is, telling it would not make sense, we can only remember.
All on the dromedary and return to the starting point in Merzouga where a nice breakfast awaits us, a face wash in the public toilets and backpack on our shoulders we let the driver of the mini bus leave us in a remote village on the edge of the desert where we decide to continue our journey alone. Here in a small bus station we are waiting for the vehicle that will take us? in Fes. Travel time 8 hours with the reckless guide of the driver, maybe it would have been about 10/11, who knows! During the whole journey we see a lot of change in the scenario of a Morocco that is not expected: for kilometers we see mud houses, donkeys instead of cars, the inevitable women washing clothes in rivers, no shops, nothing to indicate a city. Then before arriving in Fes out the window we see modern houses, flower gardens, beautiful cars, shops and even some casinos. This is to understand how much diversity? c '? between the poor and the rich and that divides them only a handful of kilometers. The bus stops for lunch and we order from a man who prepares sandwiches and fried potatoes on the street, all strictly dirty and indecent but we remember it as the most popular meal. good of our holiday, maybe why? done with simplicity ?, why? when you see certain things then you don't pay attention anymore? to our habits but to those of the place and perhaps why? real Moroccan food? done on the street. We continue our journey and arrive in Fes in the evening, take a taxi and head to our riad "Riad Malak" where the owner? a charismatic man and immediately offers us a hot tea? green. We ask him how we can visit Fes and he explains that the city? it has about 9000 alleys and we recommend a guide for at least half a day, cos? to understand how to orient ourselves. Tired and with the desire to take a nice hot shower, we head to the room and collapse.
Another super breakfast to better face the day. Our guide comes to pick us up at the riad and we discover that he speaks excellent Italian and? of an unimaginable culture. Does it make us discover a city? wonderful, very different from Marrakech but that has nothing to envy them. Fez? a real labyrinth and thank you for taking the guide. Here the women make bread in the street, the bazaars sell dromedary and goat skins, the stalls offer all kinds of colorful fruit and vegetables and at the end of each alley another begins. The first step ? the first university? built to the world that was founded by a woman. We visit a mosque and the guide explains us a nice anecdote of why? women are bent over behind men during prayer: man? man and? tempted to look up even while praying so to avoid any temptation c '? this subdivision that has nothing discriminatory. Finally we arrive at the famous tanneries where there are large tanks full of colored water (the colors used are natural colors, saffron is used for yellow and so on) and each tank has its specific task to treat the leathers that are then hung in the sun. In front of the tanneries c '? the pi? large leather bazaar where many accessories are handmade, from bags to shoes, backpacks, diaries, all objects different from each other and therefore typical of "handmade". The art of Fes? colorful and lively and many bags hanging on the wall almost create a picturesque picture. For lunch we accept the guide's advice and we stop in a place with the typical cuisine of Fes and we decide to also taste a dish of dromedary, widely used here. After lunch we visit a textile factory where hundreds of meters of fabric with the most colors? several are created by hand and a worker shows us how? It is possible to make fabric from the leaf of a cactus. Here we indulge in buying pashminas. We say goodbye to our guide and venture into the labyrinth of the city? where if you pay attention above your heads you will find colored signs, a different color for each group of alleys, cos? to be able to choose the area and stay around. Typical dinner on the street and walk to the riad for our second night in Fes.
Shall we say goodbye to another city? imperial and we decide to take the train that will take us? in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. We first stop to visit Meknes, the most? small town imperial but with the pi? beautiful town gate of the country. We continue towards Rabat and arrive in the evening after the city? ? been hit by a violent storm so we find the traffic blocked and our train tarder? to arrive. Finally arrived at the station we take a petit taxi to go to our riad "Riad Yanis" and given the weather conditions the owner kindly offers to take us dinner to our room to avoid letting us go out.
In Rabat the next day the sun shines and we can easily see all our stops planned for this city? located on the sea.
We take a first walk towards the beaches and head towards the citadel with white and blue alleys that frame it.
We visit the Hassan tower and its mausoleum. During a walk we find ourselves in front of a large wooden boat, "Le Dhow", where we decide to have lunch. The boat? suggestive and very particular, with attention to every detail, a luxury that you absolutely must allow yourself, in fact the price has nothing to do with the prices of food on the road but it is worth the experience.
We spend the afternoon walking slowly through the bazaar in the medina where we make our last purchases.
Start ap? of sadness at the approach of the end of our vacation.
In the morning we decide to visit the other side of Rabat, the old city? by Sal? and to take the day calmly, with a last typical Moroccan lunch rigorously cooked on the street, a walk in the medina until taking the train back to Casablanca.
Arrived in the city? we book at the Ibis hotel, a chain of hotels close to the airport and therefore very comfortable and cheap.
We stroll around the area and have a seafood paella dinner in a very nice restaurant trying to enjoy the last moments remembering a phrase I read in the book that convinced me to visit Morocco, "In Europe you have clocks, in Morocco we have time" and? was it really so? for these 10 days fully immersed in Moroccan culture.
The next morning is the plane that will bring us back? at home but our heart for half? ? remained in this country of North Africa so dreamed of and that many will never be able to understand without visiting it.