Morocco - an adventure beyond the ordinary is written by Sarah-Ann Hunt.
Welcome to the wonderland of Morocco
Do you miss an adventure in the best 'Thousand and One Nights' style? Do you want to experience snow-capped mountains and at the same time stand on ski in the sands of the Sahara? Then take a trip to the land of magic Morocco.
It's a travel experience you will not forget for the time being. Not many countries have as much variety to offer as Morocco has.
Morocco is more
Maybe you've only briefly heard about the magic land in North Africa, whose reddish soil and plains border against the Mediterranean in the north, Atlantic in the west and the huge Sahara Desert in East? The country is one more Europeanized Part of Africa and a modern crucible in between earlier Spanish, French and Arab invasions, as well as the indigenous people the Berbers and their Berber traditions, culture and language.
The slogan of the modern kingdom is "Morocco is more" and for good reason, because here both brain and heart are bombarded with cultural and sensory impressions. The open country is covered with alternating oases, villages and bazaars with citrus trees, olive groves, date palms, orange groves and rose valleys, where everything from sheep, goats and camel hordes roam free.
In the countryside and near the desert, nomadic families and Berber tribes still live in small camps or larger tent towns, traveling on foot or in long caravans on horseback and dromedary ridges around Morocco.
Welcome to Medina
In the larger and old royal cities such as Meknes, Fez, Casablanca and Rabat you can walk among the ancient fortresses, citadels and defensive walls - called kasbahs, while checking everyday life, shops, small souk and colorful markets out. Here you can beat both a good deal and nonsense and experience the traditional working methods of the local textile craftsmen, woodcarvers and potters.
Prayer calls from the many miners call for a visit to some of Morocco's prestigious projects in the form of giant mosques, which in itself is an experience - just remember to wear respectful clothing and put your sandals outside.
In the middle of the day it is recommended to take a walk in one of the exotic and lush riads, which is Morocco's answer to the courtyard or the local park. These are inspired by especially Andalusian and Persian house and palace architecture mixed with the distinctive Moroccan mosaic patterns and colors; blue, white and turquoise.
The gardens function as lush and peaceful breathing holes filled with small fountains, fountains and a special bird and plant life. Most famous are the Majorelle Garden and the 'Blue City' Chefchaouen.
If you instead want to test your sense of place and ability to politely say no, a walk in the medina is a fun experience. The medina is characterized by its many narrow and labyrinthine city walls and streets - 9000 alleys in total.
Here the shops are door to door, and you are invited / insisted inside by street vendors and merchants who like to offer mint tea and exchange your dirhams - the local currency - for all kinds of leather goods, trunk shoes, costumes, Berber rugs and of course the classic Moroccan pillows.
YOLO In Marocco
Morocco can easily be experienced in a shorter time round trip of 7-9 days, but if you really want to experience, then you also have to be challenged a bit along the way.
There are actually plenty of challenges in Morocco, especially if you go for it YOLOthe motto - You Only Live Once - and for example attack the local delicacies in the form of boiled sheep's heads, raw sheep's brain, snail kebab, sardine sandwich or duet pie.
Fortunately, Moroccan cuisine also offers traditional and perhaps more digestible dishes in the form of; couscous, harira soup, flatbread, long-fried lamb and vegetables in closed clay pots called tagines or sweet things in the form of Moroccan delights and donuts.
For drinks, the well-known mint tea with stacks of sugar lumps is offered to cool the body down in the setting Sahara sun. True to tradition, the steaming hot is served in specially designed silver teapots and colorful glasses poured as high as possible. You can easily learn and try pouring from a height of 1 or 2 meters, if the ceiling or tent height allows it.
If you are a better mixer than bartender, you should perhaps try your hand at the slightly stronger drinks and the local alcohol mahia, which is allowed to be consumed despite the Muslim influence. The mahia is distilled on figs or dates, gives hair on the chest and is typically enjoyed in a well shaken 'Marokkotini' or 'Marokkopolitan'.
Streaking in the Sahara
Do you want a slightly bigger challenge in Morocco, then the 4000 meter high and beautiful Atlas Mountains can be recommended. Hiking to the occasionally snow-capped Mount Toubkal is especially a popular attraction. Another distinctive experience is when the many snake tamers cross the market square in Marrakech and hospitably sling a cobra or a black mamba around your neck.
By far the most recommendable experience, however, is an overnight stay and sunrise in the fabled sands of the Sahara. Most people have probably tried to stand on ski, but few have tried skiing on sand. And if you are used to counting sheep to fall asleep, then you should try counting grains of sand! If you have time to sleep at all, because it is difficult in such a fascinating environment.
A classic Sahara tour often takes 24 hours, takes place on camelback, and it's just about holding on when the caravan winds its way up and down the endless sandbanks and mountains. The camel tames act as guides, tell desert stories and make stops in the sand, where you can try the special sport of 'standing on sand' or sledding down the huge sand hills.
The full experience involves spending the night in a tent or at a clay hotel with an evening bonfire, and instead of snobrød, pieces of camel meat are served with a good red wine. If you get enough red wine and feel the adventurous tingle, you can sneak out into the desert at night on your own - and at your own risk; most sand grains are similar.
Our group was in hopla and offered the world's largest sandbox for dancing, so we held both sand castle building competition, guess a footprint, stop dance and nude running…
"What happens in the desert - stays in the desert", as they say on the edges, but the good memories you take with you everywhere. Morocco is more - much more.
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