My trip to Morocco was not the best one and I left this country earlier than planned. Even though I had some unfortunate situations, and met with aggression, I see the great potential of this otherwise beautiful land.
I always try to expand my mind, stay open even if I don’t understand some foreign traditions, and respect other cultures. Morocco gave me a tough test in that matter.
One of the challenges I came across, were men following me for a long time to invite me to their shops. I find it more unsettling than inviting. Therefore, sightseeing was not relaxing for me as I felt anxious.
Shops with magical bottles, herbs, oils, cosmetics with ambra scent in the air are really fascinating though. Morocco is especially known for argan oil that has become very popular years ago on the whole world, and demand in the cosmetic industry for it still grows. The tree Argania Spinosa is endemic to Morocco, healthy and used for centuries in the food & beauty industry.
It is a common practise for the shop owners to invite you inside for a tea. They say it’s a tradition and you cannot say “no” 😉 Of course the tea is very hot so in the meantime you have a perfect opportunity to admire what’s inside, try some samples and get “the best price” for everything because you are “tea friends” now 🙂
I always wanted to see the Moroccan architecture and booked a stay in a traditional riad in the old town, which is called “medina”. It is build like a maze, and when you are there for the first time, it is easy to get lost (GPS are not precise there). We were trying to find our hotel with my boyfriend for a long time, asking many people for help, and eventually some young man gave as the answer. It cost as a lot of Euro… yet we were glad to pay because the situation (yeah, actually what situation?) escalated, the man started yelling and threatening us (for no reason) so it was the best solution in that frightening moment.
At some point of this mess another man came to listen what’s going on, and started smoking marihuana, and I remember it was too much for me. I’m not a fan of this stuff, and I’m scared to even stand next to it in a country like this…
Our riad was beautiful and I had a lot of delicious Moroccan mint tea to calm down 😉
Berber tea or “berber whiskey” is a special mix of herbs like wild thyme, mint, verbena, lemongrass, geranium, sage, wormwood and many more depending on the season. It’s delicious! And people drink it during the hot days as well. There’s a special tradition of preparing it, pouring water, but I haven’t seen anyone doing this. Anyway, drinking tea many times a day is a distinctive feature of Morocco. Another one is the crazy amount of sugar in a tea 😉 Whenever I forgot to ask for not adding a sugar, I had a shock. Another surprise was sugar in a sweet fruit juice.
The most famous Moroccan dish is tagin, which is a meal prepared in a call pot. There are many kinds of olives, colourful herbs and spices. One of my favourite soups called harira is also classic in this part of the world.
Riad is a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or swimming pool in the middle of the building, where rooms and stairs are all around. There’s no windows outside, they are only in the inner side of the building. Interior design include tiny, geometric, colourful tiles, many pillows on the floor to have place to drink tea in the heavy, engraved metal pots.
After the trip to Agadir, Marrakech, Rabat, Fez and the blue city Chefchaouen, we decided to leave earlier. There was no convenient flights so we took a night train, where the entrances were chained and it made us feel a bit nervous… Then we headed to Tangier to take a ferry to Cadiz in Spain. The ferry trip was also challenging because waves were huge, many people got see sick, which made me feel sick, but after a moment I had to focus on not falling down or jumping up in my seat. We haven’t planned visiting Gibraltar but it was on the way to Malaga so we decided to see this tiny country as well.
Like I mentioned before, this was a challenging journey in many ways for me, but I saw beautiful places like the unique blue city, tried Berber tea, bought oils in mysterious bottles and I don’t regret a bit. I hope the next time will be better 😉 The habit of drinking mint tea Moroccan style has stayed with me (just without the sugar).
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