Travel Diary: Morocco

“It’s my love for travel that fuels my spirit and 
what influences my work and style.”

 

Notes From The Road: Morocco 2018

Morocco is a gateway to Africa, and a country of dizzying diversity. It is a large country and easy to travel although, the distances can be quite long. Therefore, creating the perfect Morocco route can be difficult. Our 10-day route through Morocco was an incredible journey which gave us the opportunity to see the highlights this country.

Morocco Palace Gate

We started in Fes, one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world, Fez’s old town is a labyrinth of narrow streets & alleyways lined with little shops selling everything from dried fruit to handmade shoes to silver teapots. Practice your bargaining skills before you go. I highly recommend the experience of a Riad vs a Hotel. We stayed at Jardin Des Biehn a Pasha’s summer palace in the heart of the Fez Medina in Morocco. 

Fes Must do List: 

  • Bab Boujloud (blue gate) – tiles entrance to the medina
  • Zaouia Moulay Idriss II – medina’s holy shrines
  • Weavers at work
  • Kairouine Mosque – non-Muslims can’t enter!
  • Tanners Quarter
  • Royal Palace of Fez (Dar el Makhzen) – can’t go inside.
  • Madrasa Boulnania
  • Restaurant Numero 7
  • Markets of Fez Medina
  • Merenid Tombs – on a hill above Fez, provide sweeping views of the city and countryside.

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Our next stop was in Chefchaouen (an approx. 3.5 hr car drive from Fes). It is the one place you shouldn’t skip while creating your Morocco route. It’s a mountain village painted in 100 shades of blue. Every corner has its own kind of blue. (A piece of advice for all you instagram photographers – wear yellow! It’s the perfect color to wear and contrast against the various shades of blue).

 Chefchaouen Must do List: 

  • Ras El maa
  • Kasbah
  • Bab El Sor
  • Medina – Unlike the medina of Marrakech or the Kasbahs of Tangier and Rabat, foreigners haven’t really been able to purchase old houses and convert them to upscale riads so many of the local populace still actually lives in the Medina.

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From Chefchaouen, we drove to Tangier, a city that has apparently always carried a slightly seedy allure, in part because of its time as a semi-independent international zone that attracted eccentric foreigners, artists and spies. I couldn’t agree more! It had such a different vibe.

This cosmopolitan Moroccan city used to be a louche interzone where writers and artists ran wild. We stayed at Mimi Calpe built in the 1860s by French and British architects. Mimi Calpe was a vacation home of an influential Jewish family from Tangier, who lived in the residential district of Marshan. The house was the scene of remarkable receptions for the elite of Europe and Morocco. 

Tangier Must do List: 

  • Kasbah – located on a hilltop offering views of the city. Exit through Bab Bhar gate.
  • Cave of Hercules & Cape Spartel
  • American Legation
  • Café Hafa – Located along the cliff top overlooking the Bay of Tangier. Opened in 1921, the cafe has been visited by numerous writers and singers, from Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs, to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Only serve mint tea..so drink tea and enjoy the view. Must go.
  • Hotel Nord Pinus – Have a glass of wine or mint tea and watch the sunset from their terrace 
  • Restaurant Dar Lidam- Apparently a scene of the movie James Bond Spectre was shot here. The view was stunning as well as the food. 

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Our final stop was in Marrakech is a great city to end your trip through Morocco. Wander around through the Medina, buy some souvenirs at the Souk, stay in the most beautiful riads (guesthouses) and visit all the beautiful buildings. We stayed at Riad Be Marrakech.

Marrakech Must do List: 

  • Djemaa El Fna (street theatre) at Jemaa el-Fnaa (courtyard & marketplace) 
  • Jardin Majorelle Gardens – YSL gardens 
  • Bahia Palace
  • Visit a Hammam
  • Ben Youssef Madrasa

Where to Eat: 

  • Le Salama – Loved the food and ambience. Went there literally everyday!! Must go.
  • Cafe Des Epices – Overlooks the medina. Walking distance from the square. Go before sunset.
  • Nomad – Chic terrace restaurant. Good for both Lunch & Dinner. Make reservations as it is a very popular spot. 
  • Cafe Arabe 
  • Dar Moha
  • Al Fassia 
  • Food stalls of Djemma El Fna 
  • La Mammounia – Beautiful hotel! We went there for cocktails and dinner
  • Royal Mansour – Stunning ! If budget is no issue then stay here otherwise go for a drink or meal! 

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Given a picture is worth a million words (not a thousand), feast your eyes to the visual journey Ruku & I lived (& continue to live).

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