Rockin’ the Kasbah
ROCK the Kasbah!
Go on!….sing it!…we know, you know the tune!
We got lost A LOT! Perhaps we should have done more research! A road map would have been handy, or Tom-Tom GPS map and maybe even a guide book or two?
On our first day we got lost within ½ of arriving as we took the wrong turn out of the ferry terminal. We did however drove on the beautiful Rif Mountains, dodged a rock fall on the motorway and saw our first ‘Merlin’.
Then whilst trying to find a campsite we got lost in the little town of Larache and ended up having a local guy hold up for 4 lanes of traffic so we could do a 20 point turn in our 8.5m motorhome, with trailer still attached, in total darkness.
Merlin is the name we gave when we saw a local dressed in their traditional robe, which for men generally consisted of a brown ankle length coat, with a pointed hood. Donkey was generally the chosen mode of transport & often with a full load of fire kindling, twigs or straw. It was like something out of the biblical times or Wizard movie and felt like the 21st century hadn’t really found Morocco yet.
The ladies don’t really get out of their PJ’s! If they need to leave the house, they wear a joyous silky robe over the top of their PJ’s, fancy shoes over their socks and head to the souk. I initially intended on doing a montage called ‘the united colors of Morocco Merlin’s’ but found it hard to get good pics without being noticed. You kind of stand out like sore thumbs when you wear normal clothes and carry a camera. Anyway, bright multi-color animal print was the favorite mix…..just lovely!!
We started on the North Atlantic Coast of Morocco in a town called Larache, then travelled south along the coast to Agadir, stopping at Rabat, Casablanca, Oualidia & Essaouira. Then from Agadir we turned inland to Taliouine (Safron growing country), Ouarzazate and over the amazing High Atlas mountains via the unforgettable Tiza-n-Ticka pass to Marrakech, Cascade d’Ouzoud, the roman ruins of Valubolis & ended in Chefchaouen, which is famous for its whitewashed houses and blue Kasbah.
The Medina’s, Souk’s and Kasbah’s are really interesting and are the heartbeat of every city of town. It’s where all the action can be found at any given time and you name it, you can buy it within the Medina walls at one of the souk’s, from live chickens to satellite dishes. The locals are proud of their Medina’s and Kasbah’s and they all profess to have something special that the other’s don’t, but ‘dare I say it’ that after a while they all start to look and smell the same!
The drives we have done over the mountain ranges are breathtaking! It’s like being on another planet. It’s bizarre feeling driving through the dry Arad red dessert plains with snowcapped mountains in the background. Then in another 30mins down the road coming across green fields with palm trees lining a valley or waterway, dry moonlike/lunar landscapes, massive lakes with pine tree forest’s and then just sand, sand and more sand!
The remote areas of Morocco remain the highlights for us, oh along with the food! Parts of the Atlantic Coast where amazing too. The coastline around Oulida was our favorite and the town of Tagzhout is really famous with surfers due to the strong Atlantic winds & rocky coastline that create some amazing waves.
Close to Ouarzazate is a Medina village called Ait Ben Heddou where Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Jewel on the Nile was filmed & the Medina in Ouarzazate they filmed some of the latest Star Wars movies.
The people are really friendly, love talking to tourists and have a passion for languages. Most Moroccans know at least 4. Arabic and French are the 2 languages used by most Moroccan’s, Berber the traditional language is generally used by the elderly and in the rural areas. English is not as widely spoken but anyone under 40 generally knows a little and we could get by.
Moroccons as a whole are extremely friendly and welcoming and we met some truly lovely people who will be some of our fondest memories of Morocco.
They are totally ‘nuts’ when it comes to driving. They love to drive fast, overtake on corners and blind spots and love using the horn! After a while you get use to it, laugh, take your foot off the pedal to slow down and hope they all work it out with enough time.
Morocco was a last minute decision, it’s a ‘full on’ country & we had some interesting & stressful moments. It’s not our favorite destination in the world but worth the visit and we are glad we did it.
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