Over Spring break, I spent 8 days exploring the country of Morocco. Morocco is located on the northern part of Africa with Spain to its north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
It is across the ocean from Florida, if you need an idea for climate. Morocco marks European country # 18 and Africa is my 3rd continent! My goal one day is to see all 7 continents.
I went with a group of about 25 other travelers. The coolest part is I already knew two ladies who were going. My adventures started with a late Friday night flight leaving Stuttgart at 8:10pm with a quick layover in Frankfurt and then onward to Casablanca arriving at 12:30am the next morning. When we arrived in Casablanca, we went through customs where we were assigned a number with an entry stamp. Before collecting my bag, I exchanged some money. The currency is Moroccan dirham which is 100 dirham is about $10 US. I exchanged some money at the airport, since all meals were included just needed spending money and to buy water, since it is advised not to drink the water from the faucet. After collecting my luggage and met our tour guide Farid from Moroccan Nature Trail. Then headed towards our hotel, which was about 20 minutes. We were assigned rooms and roommates and I lucked out mine was cool and we decided to stay roomies the whole trip. I finally got to bed around 3am, which didn’t give me much sleep since we were leaving the next morning at 8:30am.
Day 1: Saturday
I woke up and enjoyed a typical European breakfast but with a Moroccan twist. We boarded our bus where we found mini bottled water and an itinerary of the adventures ahead waiting for us. It is advised not to drink the water, so I bought lots of bottled water during the trip. We left Casablanca and headed towards Marrakech. As we drove, I enjoyed seeing the different landscapes Morocco has to offer. Once in the city our first stop was the Menara Gardens which are botanical gardens. The pool of water which is used to water the plants is full of carps which many visitors feed with bread, including myself. In the background you can see the Atlas Mountains.
From there we headed towards the heart of Marrakech. We walked towards our rooftop restaurant for lunch. Along the way we saw some sights and Koutoubia Mosque mosque. Our lunch was Tagine chicken and beef. Fruit which we were advised to eat only inner fruit and not the skin. Then we were served mint tea which is a Moroccan tradition meaning hospitality and friendship.
From lunch, we walked towards the souks or market. It reminded me of a flea market with different stalls selling all kinds of different stuff. It was packed, so we just walked through. From there we visited the Bahia place which is a 19th century palace whose name means palace of the beautiful, brilliant. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful ceiling and decor. The pictures don’t really do it justify.
From there we headed towards our hotel and check in early evening.
Day 2: Sunday
Today we were traveling towards the Atlas Mountains to get to Ouarzazate which is known as the gateway to the Sahara Desert. The views along the way were beautiful and made a few photo stops along the way. One of our breaks was at a little shopping area where we learned how Aragon oil is made which was pretty interesting.
From there we headed to lunch which was another rooftop restaurant but looked like a tent. I had goat cheese with honey, chicken skewers with fries, with melted chocolate cake with strawberry sorbet. Yummy! Right behind the restaurant was the Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah which is a 16th century fortified village which was on the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. In 1987 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been used in many movies. We explored one house where we met a guy who has been in 5 movies and we were given mint tea and cookies.
From there we headed towards our hotel. Along the way we passed two movie studios. I learned the middle of the roundabout were themed for the city. As drove thought the Dades Valley, the roundabouts had roses. We learned that the valley is known for its roses where an annual rose festival is held in May. Dades is where our hotel was located. We arrived late, so I skipped dinner and headed to bed.
Day 3: Monday
The next morning, I enjoyed the views the hotel provided, since we arrive in the dark the previous night.
After breakfast we headed out and along the way we saw an oasis of palm trees. We traveled through the Todgha valley and explored the gorge. Our lunch stop was in Tinjdad where I tried orange with cinnamon for dessert, super yummy. You should try it! From there we headed to Erfound which is known as the capital of fossils. We stopped at a place and was shown how they find and create piece out of fossils.
From there we stopped at a rug and scarf place. We learned about the rugs and we were given the opportunity to buy a scarf for our upcoming camel ride. I just used my scarf from home. From there we headed towards the place where we would meet our camels. I have to say riding a camel and was coolest and scariest thing I have done. I got my scarf tied so I could protect my face and hair from the blowing sand. We were assigned camels and I got the camel at the beginning of the line. The scariest part was when the camel stood up and kneeled down which was like going up and down a rollercoaster really fast. We stopped along the way for pictures and to watch the sunset. After 1.5 hours of riding we arrive at our camp. We were assigned to our tents and had dinner. After dinner was a fire and some Berber music. I listen to the music as I was getting ready for bed.
Day 4: Tuesday
A few of us woke up early to catch the sunrise over the sand dunes. From there we ate some breakfast. My back and bottom were feeling the pain of camel riding, so I took the Jeep back to the bus. From there was a long day of driving but we saw more views of the Atlas Mountains and Draa Valley, oasis full of palm trees. We checked into our hotel late evening.
Day 5: Wednesday
We left and headed towards Agadir which is on the coast. Another long bus day, but we checked into our hotel which was across the street from the ocean. I walked along the beach and boardwalk with a few friends. We decided we needed a break from Moroccan food, so we ate at an Italian restaurant, where I got pizza. Then did some shopping.
Day 6: Thursday
Today we had a full day Agadir. I woke up early and walked the beach with a few friends before the crowds came out. At breakfast, a few friends want to explore the local souk or bazaar here. So, 4 of us got a taxi which was 50 dirham which is like $5 and headed towards the souk. We visited different stalls and meet some nice people and was invited in for some tea and educated on the different spices used in Morocco. Along the way, I got some fresh squeezed orange juice, delicious! We headed back and had lunch at the hotel. I booked myself a pedi and manicure and then decided to also get a hammam which is a body scrub. Interesting experience but a must do while here, got a bargain at 100 dirham or $10. A few friends and I headed back to the Italian restaurant we ate at night prior. Then look into a few shops before heading back to the room.
Day 7: Friday
We left Adgadir and headed towards Casablanca with another long day of driving. On the way we saw goats in trees on the side of the road, so we stopped. We stopped and took some pictures. We arrived at the hotel which was the same we stayed our first night in Morocco. I relaxed by the rooftop pool before dinner.
Day 8: Saturday
Our last day/night in Morocco, we had a late check out at 11. Then we headed towards Mosque Hassan II which is the 3rd biggest mosque in the world. The building materials are local. It can hold 12,500 worshipers inside and 80,000 outside. It was built in 6 years.
From there we drove around the city, the stopped for lunch which overlooked the ocean. We had some time before we needed to do dinner, so we had time to explore the mall and walk along the beach. After that we headed to dinner where we said goodbye to our tour guide. Then we headed to the airport for our red eye flight. We received out entry stamp in our passport. We left at 1:40am arriving in Frankfurt early morning and then took a quick flight to Stuttgart arriving around 10am. Definitely a long day of traveling, but another great trip in the books!
A teacher who loves traveling the world.