days in casablanca – the perfect beginning
a smooth flight with only 30 passengers on board
we arrived in casablanca in the middle of the night.
the hotel i found on the internet was the cheapest
in the lonely planet - and probably the best choice:
friendly, clean and in the middle of the pedestrian
zone. casa is a great city even though there are
not many sight-seeing-spots. the population is extremely
young: 70% of the inhabitants are under 30 years
old! and this is what makes the city so modern and
easy going. you see lots of beautiful women with
open hair, dressed as modern as any woman in europe.
in casablanca we went to all the interesting spots which brought it to an average
walking distance of about 15km per day. in between we sat by the roadside and
enjoyed watching the interesting people. the moroccans are so nice and friendly,
always smiling. everywhere you hear words like: welcome to morocco, bienvenue
mon ami, nice to see you, comment allez-vous, enjoy the day,... of course some
also want to sell you something but then we just say la shukran (no thank you
in arab) and they smile and let you go.
we visited the largest mosque, the hassan 2, just next to the sea. so we watched
the body-boarders in the high waves. at the market we had delicious fresh mint
tea, fresh mandarines and loved the atmosphere. in the quartier habous, the nouvelle
medina, we strolled along the market and had some yoghurt and croissants. yes,
the food is amazing here! back at the beach we walk for hours to the marabout
of sidi abderrahman, a rocky outcrop with a mausoleum. in the old market-streets
we had some poulet roti and were amazed by the lively streets at night.
- meknes - fes - errachidia - merzouga
casa we picked up 'our' peugot 206 and drove to rabat,
the capital of morocco. as the camping was closed
we got a good deal in a beach-hotel. in rabat we
strolled through the kashbah der qudaias, white-blue
houses, could be greece... and then through the medina
(old town) where we met lots of interesting people
to talk to. we looked at a few sights like the mausoleum
and the sun was our constant follower...
in meknes the sun left us and rain-clouds filled the sky. with no rain jackets
or umbrellas we fought our way through the labyrinth of meknes medina and got
soaking wet and cold. the eve we spent in the grotte, a chill-out-place for the
close to meknes there is a roman historical site - volubilis - built by the romans
in 40 ad. there we met a school-class and had lots of fun with their teachers.
we walked around the ruins and the neighboured village of moulay idriss where
the local market was really impressive. driving back we took some students hitching
and got some great info about fes from them. in fes we followed the colored
signs and amazingly didn't get lost in the old town. a nice old guy showed us
the tannery where they color the leather. really a great town and we hardly saw
any other tourists.
morocco is really a brilliant country but - as every country - it has its odd
points... for example there are policemen on every corner of a road. they check
speed and other details. once we got stopped as they thought marcus was talking
on his mobile phone. we explained that its too expensive to call with a swiss
mobile phone so the policeman started consulting us how to phone the cheapest
from morocco to switzerland. then there are about 5 pharmacies for every 100
inhabitants. so no worries about health for us, but for the locals medicine is
often too expensive. another thing where the moroccains seem to be champions
is in the amount of sugar they can dissolve in tea. sometimes i wonder if its
sirup or tea. but its nice!
from meknes we continued our trip to the south where we hoped to find better
weather. close to azrou we saw some barbary apes playing in the ceadre forests.
the road from there passes over the atlas mountain range and in our case there
was snow falling all the way. palmtrees covered in snow... so we ignored midelt
and carried on to er-rachidia. good job we did, the road was closed after us
for a few days. in this place we had a 'friend' (larbi) following us all the
time. ok, he was in the sahara-movie with tom cruise and told us lots about the
berbers and the region.
after filling up with petrol and water we drove down to the desert and dunes
in merzouga. it was raining like mad and we were freezing. yes, it was the desert...
at the hotel nasser palace we got invited for tea and a wonderful room. the dinner
was so delicious so with the sun shining the next morning we felt like in paradise.
people here are so incredibly friendly and make us feel being part of the family.
what a life!
we spent a few days in the dunes with the nomads, amou the crazy chemalier and
his dromedaires. it was an incredible experience to be in the middle of nowhere
and relax le max - as they like to say. the life of the berber nomads is so simple
but on the other side so rich! they live a life full of values that you cant
buy with money. the happiness they spread is worth more than gold. after those
precious days we returned to the loving family of nasser palace link
to nasser palace website , where we got treated as part of the family and
enjoyed the most delicious food in morocco, soaked up some desert sun and tam-tam-sounds,
boarded down the dunes with the snowboard, went on a 4x4-drive with assu over
the erg-chebbi-dunes and especially experienced the most spectacular festival
of jean michel jarre and unesco - water for life - in merzouga with our berber
friends. link to merzouga
and dades-gorges, marrakech and tafraoute, now heading
for the sea
next aim after the week in the desert was the todra-gorge.
there we met david and letticia from new zealand
and ali from midelt. with our new friends we hiked
the 4h loop around the stunning gorge and were invited
to a local family for tea after helping them carrying
some stuff up the hill. The next day we spent with
the kiwis in the gorges de dades and the night at
aissas lovely house.
after a few days of tranquility out in the nature we were ready for marrakech.
on our way there we passed the village of ait benhaddou where movies like gladiators
and jesus of nazareth were filmed. after crossing some passes with snow we arrived
in the over-touristic marrakech. our entry began with two police-men, both stopping
us with no reason, wanting us to pay a fine which was bargainable from 400 down
to 50dh (5euros). we took an extremely cheap hotel, enjoyed fresh orange-juice,
had our camera repaired that was broken for a few days and hung around in the
after the last huge breakfast (orange juice, coffee, croissants, crepes with
honey,...) for 1.50euros we drove on a 'long and winding road' through the toubkal
national park over the tizi-n'test pass to taliouine. now we are in tafraoute
where there is not much going on... so our christmas was pretty quiet: watching
tv aljazeera, eating tajine while freezing in the restaurant and calling home.
the coast from sidi ifni / mirleft past essaouira back
sea is huge and open to be explored... so when
i see it i feel like really free and wanting
to stay travelling forever. well, this is not
possible, so make the best of what you can -
and this is what we did:
we got the address of a dream-hostel just on the
beach in mirleft. but unfortunately the "chant
des chamoux" in aglou plage was full. so we
continued to mirleft - the one we wanted to go
next was full again - what a hassle. the first
time that hotels were fully booked in the whole
month. the third one had one room left and my belief
was right again - there is a reason for everything,
even if it's not visible in the beginning... the
third hotel - hotel
atlas - was so great and just perfect for
chilling out and meeting people! just what we needed. the
souk where the hotel is situated was so relaxed
- with no hectic vendors trying to sell - just
great moroccain people talking to you and having
fun. we also went to the natural stone-arches of
legzira, took photos, wrote postcards, read and
relaxed by the sea. we met berris from england
and essa & jasper from holland with whom we spent
hours talking, laughing, drinking tea and going
to sidi ifni - a town with two faces: the place
where nobody is alive and nothing is to be seen
in the early afternoon - and the lively town with
people and shops in every street in the eve.
after living the "relax-le-max" motto
we drove north along the coast towards essaouira.
jasper and essa joined us as they picked up a car
in agadir. arriving late in a town is never really
a good feeling, but as essa knew a hotel that shouldn't
be so expensive we risked to go there and it was
great. situated in the middle of town it was perfect
for a good meal and a night out - having beer and
all you'd wish for. the next day we sat at the
harbour talking and talking and preparing to say
good bye - to the dutch and morocco. they were
continueing up the mountains and us on our way
to casa - where we got the flight home.
our last night we spent just south of el jalida
- in sidi bouzid - a great seaside resort in summer
but nomansland in winter. the rest all went so
easy - by motorway up to casa in an hour, then
checking in, good flight, ben could put our flight
on high priority so that we landed straight away
in zuerich and were picked up by natalie with my
loving godson nanouk and his sister maleh - and
gaby, ben's girlfriend. ben came to say hi and
we all went to wil, where we celebrated new year's
eve at nat and matt's house and had lots of fun
with fireworks, good food, games and a great m-budget-tischbombe...
am going back to work tomorrow and lucky markus
has another 2 weeks of holidays - maybe skiing
- if there is snow - inchallah.
jennifer milsom 2006 - last update