Saturday, June 2, 2012

Morocco. An Overload of the Senses

Yet another adventure.

Morocco was an undiscovered place in the world to me before a few weeks ago. Ever since my brothers had embarked on a month-long surf trip down the Western coast of Morocco in 2008, I had dreamed of going. The photos I saw were so colourful, vibrant and full of life that one could only dream of the cultural richness in that particular African country.

I was not disappointed one bit. In fact, my 10 day taster trip has left me longing for more. A friendly and welcoming nation where you receive an abundant supply of sunshine.

Make sure you develop a bottomless stomach before traveling to Morocco as the food is to die for you seem to get so much of it! Favourites were the chicken tajines with olives and lemon and the tapas style salad starters (so many variations of vegetables prepared with beautiful spices).

Different to most people traveling to Morocco, the aim of my trip was to learn how to kitesurf. Dakhla, a town located far south in the Western Sahara of Morocco, happens to offer one of the best spots for kitesurfing in the world! A huge lagoon with an in-exhausting amount of wind. One stays in cool, little bungalows and gets to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner…in between which you play in the sand, water and wind for many hours. For any kitesurfers (beginners or advanced), I definitely recommend a trip down to Dakhla. A kitesurfing mecca where the atmosphere is young, fresh and energizing!

As I am not one to only travel for the purpose of sport, I made sure to squeeze in some cultural exploring as well. I chose Fes out of all Moroccan cities as it is the country’s ancient capital with over 4000 years of history! Its ancient medina is world famous and allows you to get a snapshot of what life was like many many years ago. The ancient medina is a maze of narrow, winding streets filled with stalls, shops, mosques, schools, homes, craft factories, bakeries, hammam baths, people, donkeys, chickens and more. A compact, ancient city where life appears not to have changed too much over the past hundreds of years. An overload on your senses in every way. What a ride!

Below are a few more tips on Fes. You will love it…

Tips on Fes:
  •           Stay at Riam Ahlam – A home away from home. Peaceful, welcoming and so generous. The location is right next to the ancient medina and their breakfasts are absolutely amazing. I can only recommend it.
  •           Hire a local guide for an afternoon to explore the Ancient Medina – Ask at your hotel. You will learn so much about the history of Fes, the local religion, Moroccan crafts and everyday life (approx. 20Euro for 4 hours)
  •      Buy ceramics – Ceramics (bowls, plates, etc.) are typical of Fes (especially in the blue design as blue is the colour of Fes). They make beautiful gifts and memories.
  •       Haggle down prices always – Be fair but know that every seller will try to charge you at least double of what you could buy it for. And remember to have fun!
  •     Try the local Moroccan juices – Activate your sweet tooth and try either an almond, avocado or dried grape ‘juice’. YOu'll be bouncing of the walls for a little while.
  •      Taste Moroccan pancakes/flatbreads (Msemen)  - You generally eat them at breakfast. The texture is in-between a naan bread and pancake, and the taste is amazing.
  •      Treat yourself to a Hammam – Scrubs, mud masks, massages…who can resist?



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