My desire to visit Morocco came after talking to many previous auxiliares about their experiences in the African country. However, with that desire did come a bit of fear. It wasn’t exactly the type of fear that I feel about flying or losing family members but more a fear of the unknown. I had never stepped foot on Africa, or any country similar to Morocco. Outside of the US I had only ever been to Canada, Mexico (on a cruise) and Italy. I just really didn’t know what to expect of Morocco… and now that I’m back, I’m ready to push myself even further out of my comfort zone.
A few of my friends and myself signed up with a program called Discover Excursions which I would highly recommend if it is your first time to Morocco. Everything was pre-paid for except for drinks and any souvenirs you would buy which made it easy to save our money while we were there. The trip began on Friday in Sevilla which is an absolutely GORGEOUS city in Spain, 10/10 would go there again.
We departed from Sevilla to Tarifa which is actually the southernmost point in continental Europe. Once we arrived in Tarifa we took a ferry to cross over the Strait of Gibraltar into a coastal town known as Tanger. Then after arriving in Tanger, we still had another hour and a half bus ride into Tetouan. Considering we all took flights at 6 in the morning into Sevilla and didn’t arrive until 11 pm Spanish time we were more than ready to arrive at our hotel. We were greeted by some traditional Moroccan mint tea and a meal of couscous and chicken with chickpeas. After stuffing our faces we were eager to get to sleep. Everything instantly got better when we opened our hotel room to find a California king sized bed after having slept in a twin for the past two months. Needless to say I slept like a baby.
The next day, breakfast which included various cheeses, meats, breads and sauces was served at 8 am. Then we needed to board a bus to head to the “Blue City” known as Chefchaouen. After a long bus ride up the mountainside we could begin to see all the shades of blue in the distance. Chefchaouen is known as an older city located within a medina. It was built entirely in the mountain side but once you get closer to the top you get some pretty gorgeous views of Moroccan countryside. The first part of our excursion in the blue city was a walking tour led by one of the locals of Chefchaouen. As we walked through the city we were told about the history of the town and influence that Spain had on their culture. Many of the locals would great us with “Welcome to Morocco” or simply a kind “hello”. We finished our walking tour at a the restaurant “Aladdin” which had traditional Moroccan food in an enchanting atmosphere.
We were then sent off for 3 hours of barganing. Those who are unfarmiliar with the bargaining expericence it is definitely something you should do at least once in your lifetime. In Morocco there are many little shops with handmade goods and local products. You have to have a set price in your head of what you´re willing to pay for a certain product and try to work with the shopkeeper to negociate the price. For example, you would want to pay about 7 euros for a pashmina. The shopkeeper would start at 15-20 euros so you would need to negociate your way down to 7. I was able to bargain my way into quite a few different items!
After our shopping experience we went back to the hotel to have a dinner with rice and some moroccan chicken. We were then serenaded later that night by some local muscians while enjoying Spanish sangria.
With some much needed rest we were ready for our adventures in Tangier! Tangier is a costal city in Morocco which over a million habitants. It has influence from Spain and France which you can see in the architecture and many signs that show Arabic, Spanish, French and English! French is compulsory in the Moroccan school system so many menus and shops had French as well as the Arabic. Our day started at the Caves of Hercules after a driving tour of the city. After the caves, we headed into the city of Tangier accomodated by a local tour guide who knew about 5 different languages fluently! We were able to see how different this city was from the small town of Chefchaouen. Our tour ended at a pharmacy which was rather different from what we thought of a pharmacy. This store had all sorts of oils and lotions that would help everything from a headache and nausea to split ends!
The pharmacist showed us all the different lotions and potions and what they were good for. I ended up buying WAY more than I needed including argan oil and cactus cream but hey, it was so worth it!
After the pharmacy we had our final lunch with the group at a cute little restaurant in Tangier. This lunch included chicken skewers (yeah more chicken) and french fries. I can´t say I was thourougly impressed with the food. I think between the cost of the trip and all of the travel I´m sure there wasn’t tons of options left for food. We then headed back to the port and were bid adieu by some kind locals. After a ferry ride, bus ride, night in a hostel, flight and one final bus ride we were back in our lovely flat in Palma. Boy does traveling take quite a lot out of you!