Morocco Travel Blog...the prologue

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Africa » Morocco
March 25th 2019
Published: March 25th 2019
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By all means, trust in Allah, but tie your camel first… ~ Moroccan Proverb

Ahlan people!

A while ago, the lure of tagines, mint tea and medinas led us to set our travel sights on Morocco. However, for various reasons it never eventuated. We came very very close last year, but our travel window slipped into June, by which time it was Ramadan and the heat would have been quite intense in the south of the country… so we reluctantly gave up that plan, again.

We were fixed in our focus on making the trip this year… and we are finnnally, at long last, for reals, actually going to be in Morocco next week! However, first we have a short side trip to London. 😊

London is a firm favourite of ours, and we are very excited to be visiting Ren’s sister and family, and to be doing Londony things again. The last time we were in London was 2012, so our wish list of things we’d like to see and do has grown quite long in that time. Unsurprisingly, they are mostly art and food related!

Very interestingly, we seem to have timed our visit to London at the height of Brexit anxiety, with Britain supposedly leaving the EU on 29th March if an extension isn’t granted. There is talk of the military being on standby, and of the country running out of toilet paper… Ren isn’t sure which one of these is worse. We’ll keep you informed 😄

Given this is our first trip to Morocco, our wish list of the experiences we’d like to have in this enigmatic and unique country is very long and varied! It will also be Andrew’s first time in Africa, and Ren’s first trip back since 1989 (when she used to call West Africa home)… so there are all sorts of excitements and joys about this.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the Kingdom of Morocco: It’s a constitutional monarchy under King Mohammad VI. The population is just over 33 million, the capital is Rabat, the currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD) and the main languages spoken are Moroccan Arabic (Darija), various Berber (Amazigh) dialects and French. The population is 99% Muslim and made up of Berbers, Arabs and a small group of Gnaoua (descendants of freed West African slaves who were transported through the port in Essaouira).

The country sits on the far northwestern corner of North Africa and shares borders with Algeria and Mauritania (and Spain via the Strait of Gibraltar). When a country is littered with mountain ranges, it follows that it would also be packed with gorges, canyons, mountain passes and valleys. Our travels should have us driving through or hiking in many of these impossibly picturesque areas – especially when we visit the Rif Mountains on the northern edge, and the Atlas Range in the central and south-western part of the country. The south-eastern region of the country is blanketed by the Sahara Desert (the world’s third largest desert), and on the other end of the scale, Morocco has vast stretches of Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines to the west and north. The country is also filled with UNESCO Heritage sites, vibrant medinas and souqs, old world kasbahs, majestic gardens and nature-defying palmeries.

We know very little about Moroccan culture, traditions and food, but what little we know of it, we love. And we are especially very very very excited about the food and being exposed to new local dishes. So we are venturing forth armed with big appetites, and we have ensured that stretchy pants have been packed. 😉

Packing for this trip has been a challenge. First we’ll be contending with erratic spring conditions in London, and then we’ll be trying to predict vastly different weather conditions as we traverse the entire length and width of Morocco. Morocco is popularly described as a cold country with a hot sun, and to me that means layers of clothing that can be added or taken off… while being mindful that it’s a very conservative country – so no shoulders, chest or knees on display.

If you received notification of this blog via a subscription email and no longer wish to do so – please feel free to unsubscribe (via the unsubscribe link on the email). Conversely, if you are interested in this trip and aren’t already subscribed, click here to subscribe and receive an email alert whenever we add a new blog entry. If you are a Travel Blog member, you also have the option of clicking on the ‘Follow’ button on our profile. As with our previous blogs, we will upload some photos here, but the more personal pictures will be on our Facebook pages.

Tomorrow we will be engaging in the act of ‘travelling’… that most exhilarating and addictive of feelings! 😊
Ren and Andrew

Films that set the scene for this trip...
Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz (1942);
The Sheltering Sky, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (1990);
Mille Mois (A Thousand Months), directed by Faouzi Bensaidi (2003);
Rock the Casbah, directed by Laila Marrakchi (2013).

Travel reading on this trip...
Lonely Planet Guide Morocco;
Travels, collected writings from 1953 - 93 by Paul Bowles (Andrew);
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (Ren);
Hope & Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami (Ren).


25th March 2019

I've only dipped my toes...
...into Morocco so I look forward to reading a more in-depth experience of it. =)
25th March 2019

Re: I've only dipped my toes...
Hi Per-Olof, we are beyond excited to experience a new country! Hope all is well with you :)
25th March 2019

Can't wait to relive my Morocco memories
Hi Ren and Andrew, I'm very excited to read your blog and see all your photos of Morocco. We were in Morocco last fall, and enjoyed it immensely. I'm also looking forward to hearing about places in Morocco we didn't get to on our trip. Have a great time! :)
25th March 2019

Re: Can't wait to relive my Morocco memories
Thanks Lori and Susan! We got such good feel for the place from your blogs :) I think we're going to a few places further south than you, but other than that I think it's a pretty similar trip xx
25th March 2019

Can't Wait
I can't wait to follow you on your adventure in Morocco! Have a beautiful adventure, Ren and Andrew, and keep posting. Morocco is on my list for future travel.
25th March 2019

Re: Can't Wait
Thanks Terry! We are about drop off our doggies at their holiday home - the only downside of travelling :(
25th March 2019

Morocco in June for us
Hi Ren, looking forward to reading your blog. Brian and I are heading that way in June for the Sacred Music Festival. We will be stopping over in Paris. Have a fantastic trip.
25th March 2019

Re: Morocco in June for us
Thanks Varuni! Unfortunately we will be missing the Jazz festival in Casablanca by a couple of weeks :( The Sacred Music festival in Fes sounds brilliant, as does the Gnaoua one in Essaouria (I think in June too) :)
26th March 2019

Someone has to do it
and sometimes one has to say..."that someone should be us". Morocco can do that to you...have a blast !!!
5th May 2019

Re: Someone has to do it
Thanks David! Morocco certainly did that to us :)
29th March 2019

Mysterious Morocco
Travel safe & enjoy ...... beware unregistered taxi drivers who shake hands on a low fare only to inevitably ask for more later ...... the joys of travel! And also beware pushy carpet sellers. Look forward to your adventure updates & food pics. We're off to China next mth, then Africa In October. Cheers Paul
5th May 2019

Re: Mysterious Morocco
Thanks Paul, we must have been lucky - didn't have any rip off taxi drivers or pushy carpet sellers :) Enjoy your time in China and Africa, we are very envious!
30th March 2019

Oliver and Jasper
I hope they enjoy your holiday. I can smell the aromas of the tangines cooking from here! Enjoy.
5th May 2019

Re: Oliver and Jasper
Thanks Merry... oh my goodness, those tagines!!! :)
2nd April 2019

Looking forward to your blogs
We were in Morocco a few years ago and had an experience that was mostly up but with also with an unexpected down. In all we loed Morocco though so I Think you'll have a good time. /Ake
5th May 2019

Re: Looking forward to your blogs
Thanks Ake. I had your airport story in mind when we landed :)

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