Category Travel North Africa

Travel in Morocco…of a Time Past

Looking outside the moving car window one day during our journey in Morocco, I couldn’t help but feel like being transported back to another age, that of decades ago when digital wasn’t even a concept yet.  As the sun was setting and turning a mellow pink and purple, teenage children were coming out of schools like sheep out of a cage, some of them in groups and most of them looking happily content and talking to each other.  It made me realize how different kids are here in another world, where gadgets are in closer proximity to their faces than real human interactions.

Though there certainly were mobile carriers and data connectivity almost everywhere we went in Morocco, I did not find the urge to look at my phone either, even probably spending the entire day outside without needing to check my phone.  There was a certain peacefulness to the place, even in Marrakech in the midst of the chaotic souk.  Or perhaps it’s because the country is brimming with so much art and color that the people didn’t need to distract themselves from the otherwise gray drudgeries of our familiar world.  I would like to believe that rather than think that the country’s technology has been lagging compared to other first world countries.

If you ask me what I think of Morocco, I would never deny that it is beautiful.  It’s natural rustic beauty is so inviting that I would not mind staying there for a few months just to explore the towns and absorb the culture.  With it’s expansive farms sprawling with olives and sweet oranges, you can tell that nature has been kind to the locals in giving them great harvests, never having to withstand severe winters that take away dear life out of plants.

If you scroll down below, you’ll see some of the photos I had taken from our route from Marrakech to Essaouira.  And if you pass through the goats picture, it’s true – they do climb trees to get some of their favorite olive skins.

The Journey to Ouarzazate

The journey from Marrakech to Ouarzazate is one that I think I will remember for the rest of my life.  If not, it is one of the most scenic routes I have ever taken, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that.

From the city of Marrakech, we joined a group on a tour and all of us went together on a shuttle.  It came as no surprise later on when we noticed that no big buses ever came along this route.  You know why? Because as we climbed up through the Atlas Mountains and onto the side of Ouarzazate, we faced narrow winding roads which can cause you to get car sick even if you normally don’t.

So what’s so great about the journey?  It’s the changing landscapes, from dry arid deserts to cold snow capped mountain peaks, to Berber villages on the side of the road and huge rock formations that seem like pebbles that have been thrown by giants down the hills.

Not only that but you get to see a great deal of Moroccan art in the villages too, and in the market places.  We saw natural crystals being sold on the side of the road, local women making argan oil, artists making water color art with tea and saffron, weaved carpets, colorful tagines, pottery, and so much more.

Scroll down below to see some of the things we saw on our journey, and see why I fell in love with the landscape. 

Opulence and Grandeur of Moroccan Architecture

Over the Christmas holidays I had the chance to bond with my mom and my brother, and visit Morocco for the first time.  I came without any expectations, and left with awe at how beautiful it was.

We flew in to Casablanca, the financial capital, and then proceeded on our journey to Marrakech, Ouarzazate, and Essaouira.  The weather was quite cold at night at 8 deg C on the average, and in the daytime perhaps around 12, so coming in December was not such a bad idea.  It was perfect – much better than coming during the scorching summer.

Most of the Casablanca that we saw was a little dusty, except for the Hassan II mosque that the locals take great pride in, and the Royal Palace.  These two monuments that we came to visit were impeccable, with ornately designed architecture that screams opulence and wealth.  You’ll see their photos below.

Among all of Casablanca’s sights, my favorite must have been the old medina at sunrise, just as the mist was rising.  Being a gated neighborhood, it’s almost empty except for a few older men or women who start their days early.  If you’ve ever seen Casablanca, you’ll probably remember Rick’s Cafe, the cafe made famous by the classic film.  We saw the actual cafe, although according to our guide they never really shot the film in Casablanca…so the cafe now is just an imitation from the film.

New Year, New Resolutions.

2017. What resolutions do you have in mind? Mine, aside from the continuous struggle to be better in all aspects of life, want to accomplish some personal goals I’d rather not say at the beginning of the year. It’s like a jinx the moment you blurt it out to the world. Everyone knows what you desire, and the special bond between you and your secret is lost.

I’d just come back from Morocco, a first for me, and I have tons of pictures on my roll.  Here’s a few black and whites that I love from exploring souks in Marrakech and Essaouira.