The first city in Morocco that we experienced was Casablanca. This was our first time back on African soil since we left as children. As cheesy as it may sound, I felt kind of emotional and really excited. The people were friendly, the food was great, and the traffic was chaotic. Casablanca provides an interesting blend of Moroccan, Spanish, and French cultures. The restaurants we went to were trendy and somehow always turned into a dance party with hookah and/or live performances. It’s a very busy city at anytime of the day or night.
The highlight of Casablanca was visiting the Hassan II Mosque. It's always exciting for me when visiting beautiful mosques in Muslim counties, because so much hard work and effort goes into creating them. This mosque is located right on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. It has gorgeous detailed designs on the inside and outside. It is covered in colourful Moroccan tiles, crystal chandeliers, and rich detailed wood carvings on the walls and doors. It was also great experiencing the rich culture and the sense of community on the outdoor grounds before and after prayers. There was not one spot that wasn’t picture perfect.
In Marrekesh, we stayed at a charming little family owned bed and breakfast right in the heart of the medina which was where all of the action takes place. We loved exploring the main square (aka: Djemaa el-Fna). There was a lot of street vendors so there were tons of good authentic Moroccan street food to try. At this square, you can find tons of merchants, freshly squeezed juice venders, snake charmers, magicians, and a lot of other interesting things.
We visited our fair share of Morocco’s different sooqs (marketplace). By far the best one was the sooq in Marrakesh. You can spend an entire day walking through it because there was so much to see. There is an endless variety of little shops that sell pretty much anything you could think of, such as Moroccan clothes, shoes, spices, furniture and home decor. I went crazy knowing that there was a limit to the amount of things I could take home with me. I am obsessed with anything Moroccan, so this was a treat for me. I managed to bring back a small carpet, a lamp, some candles, and a couple of white sequin embellished Moroccan wedding blankets for my sister and I.
The highlight of Marrekesh was exploring Ben Youssef Madrasa. It is a historical islamic school which was built in the 14th century. I was fascinated by the intricate details of the architecture. Every inch of the property was covered in beautiful tile work and detailed handmade carvings of islamic scriptures. We took a tour of the property, and learned about it’s rich history.
Morocco has a really organized and safe train system, so it was really easy to travel around the country. After we were done exploring Marrakesh, we made our way to Tangier. We than took a two hour drive to Chefchaouen the following day. I was always mesmerized by the infamous blue photos on instagram. I, of course had to go see it with my own eyes. Chefchaouen is a small town in the Rif mountains, with its buildings and streets covered in a beautiful variety of blue shades. We spent an entire day touring this charming little town, and had a great time taking amazing photos and meeting some really cool locals. It was raining really hard when we got there but it didn’t take much time until the sun came out and greeted us with a rainbow.
Agadir was the last stop of our Moroccan tour. This worked out perfectly because we were exhausted after exploring all of the previous cities. Agadir is a laid back city which is located along the shore of the Southern part of the Atlantic ocean. We stayed at a beautiful beach house that we found on airbnb. It was just steps away from the beach; which is where we spent most of our time relaxing before heading back to our busy lives in North America. We went on an excursion to a village outside of the city near the desert. We got to ride ATVs through the desert and and we got to see locals create pure argan oil from scratch. The process of how it’s made from start to finish was really interesting to see. I wish I had brought a lot more pure argan oil back with me. It’s so healthy for hair and skin.
The highlight of Agadir was driving up to the Agadir Oufella ruins. We experienced a spectacular sunset view of the entire city. We also learned about the Oufella ruins, and about the original city that was once present before the historic earthquake that devastated Morocco in the 1960’s.