here you can read, what we experienced in morocco - it takes a bit of time but maybe you will realize why we love this country so much...

- - - hier findest du den deutschen reisebericht (by markus) - - -





two days in casablanca the perfect beginning
after 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.

rabat - meknes - fes - errachidia - merzouga
after 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 modern youth.

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 festival

todra- and dades-gorges, marrakech and tafraoute, now heading for the sea
our 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 lively streets.

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.

along the coast from sidi ifni / mirleft past essaouira back to casa

the 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 21.01.2007 . ..