By the time I got to Tangier and the Marrakech, I was starting to feel like most Moroccan towns were the same. They have their Kasbah and Medina, pretty mosques, interesting markets and so on. Despite this feeling I did best to keep my eyes open to interesting experiences..
Tangier is on the north coast of Morocco. From certain points you can see where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea, and you can see the Strait of Gibraltar. While these are three separate ‘bodies’ of water, I honestly think if you get to the top of Morocco, you have seen all three!
If you make it to the kasbah and then ignore the wharf developments, you get a decent view across the water to Spain. Many people travel from Spain to Morocco or vice versa via the ferries which operate reasonably frequently. I was surprised by how small the distance is between Spain and Morocco! So it is certainly an option I would recommend taking!
Within the kasbah walls is a super cute cafe called Salon Bleu, being several stories high and having rooftop sofas, it is a brilliant spot to stop for a cuppa and slice of cake and just take in the view of the city and the water.
Our visit to Tangier was only a short one, as we only went there in order to catch an overnight train to Marrakech. So after a half day wandering the streets we were off again to the final destination of the North Morocco Adventure.
While the town of Chefchaouen is predominantly blue, the city of Marrakech is all red, well red-brown. Supposedly it has earned the nickname the “red city”. The reason for the colour, according to our tour guide, is that the people who settled in the area and built it up as a city came from the desert, the Berbers. As a desert people they created Marrakech to be the colour of the desert so it wouldn’t hurt their eyes. My guess is that it would have been more about what resources they had access to, but everyone likes to hear random stories right?
Marrakech is a very busy and very popular city and was a bit like all the other cities on steroids. More noise, more colour, more smells and more aggressive touts. The thing that I saw more of, that thoroughly appalled me, was more animal cruelty. Walking through the main square Jemaa El-Fna were many horse and carts, snake charmers and monkeys with metal collars being pulled around by chains who were clearly terrified, hurt and angered by being yanked around by men. This was painful to see, so honestly I walked straight through the square quickly so I didn’t have to witness the cruelty going on. During the day the square isn’t overly exciting, but I heard that I really comes to life at night time and is a great place to eat. With only one day in Marrakech, this wasn’t something I personally experienced.
I can’t say I saw a great deal of Marrakech, but I generally enjoyed what I saw. I wandered through the medina and souks. Checked out all the colourful things for sale. Some friends tried their hand at bargaining for jewellery. Navigating the narrow alleyways remains fun, you never know what interesting things, sights, smells or street art you will see in your adventures. The Marrakech Museum was worth a visit, the building itself is gorgeous and a rabbit warren of fascinating rooms. Also while it is on the pricey side, the Majorelle Gardens were quite spectacular. I would have liked to visit the palace and the mosque but as I said I had very limited time in Marrakech.
Our tour ended with a visit to a dinner and belly dancing show in some random street in the medina. Which was a fabulous way to end the tour and to say “goodbye and thanks for the fun times” to all the members of the group.