Once stepping off of the plane in Marrakesh Morocco I knew right away this was going to be an adventurous and magical trip. Myself and 35 others ventured out for 10 days with EF Ultimate Break exploring the highlights and wonders of Morocco.
Morocco is a feast for the senses with a lovely amount of culture shock and comfort. From stuffing my face with delicious couscous and chicken tagine (cooked with meat, dates, nuts, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and/or saffron in a clay pot) to drinking my body weight in mint tea while absorbing the sights and sounds of each different city we visited. Morocco definitely exceeded my expectations. Of all the moments, these were some of favorite experiences from the trip.
When you hear people talking about Morocco what you’ll hear is Marrakech IS Morocco. In different languages the name Morocco is just Marrakech which is known as the red city because of its buildings and ramparts of beaten clay.
Marrakech is a chaotic place filled with so much life. The famous medina Jemaa el-fnaa square is how everyone describes it. Tons of people at night shopping, eating, getting Henna tattoos, listening to live performers, snake charmers, and so much more. Its so crazy hectic but so fascinating for people watching at this place. We got to visit the Koutoubia Mosque which is the largest in Marrakech and it is over 800 years old! We also ended up soaking in a lot of architecture porn from the Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs, which left me starstruck.
Ouarzazte Via Ait Benhaddoa
On our bus ride we drove through the atlas mountain. What a beauty they were! We saw the deep rich red and brown rock formations, I felt like it was very similar to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I have such a love for mountain views that these Atlas Mountains made my heart grow bigger. We got to Ait-Ben-Haddoa which are a series of Saharan mud huts built into a hill side. This town is known as the Hollywood of Morocco and has been featured in the Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and many more. The town is so picturesque, which really makes you understand why many shows and movies like to film here.
Now, when I found that Mint tea is Morocco’s official drink, the tea lover inside me was over the moon in awe. The tea is a combination of green tea and mint leaves, it is a form of welcome and respect. There is even an art to pouring it. The higher the teapot, the better. You can get it with or without sugar, but this stuff was so addicting even in the 100 degree weather.
While en route to the city of Fez, we stopped in Ifrane which is a Euro-inspired city built by the French in the high oil Pine Forest Plateaus of the Atlas Mountains, it very much felt like I wasn’t in Morocco anymore. Everything was very modern and the apartment buildings looked like they were from New York. They even had waffle and crepe stands where I very much enjoyed a waffle with Nutella drizzled all over it. My taste buds were in heaven.
A stop at Cedar Forest in Ifrane brought me face to face with the Barbary Monkeys who roam freely. They were so cute and so sweet.
Fez is home to over 1 million people and 1,200 years old. It is the oldest Imperial city and referred to as the country’s cultural capital. We went into the well known Fez El Bali Walled medina which had an old world atmosphere. You saw donkeys carrying loads of cargo and fresh cuts of meat, fish, and produce for sale. While in the Medina we stopped at Tanneric Chauara which is one of the largest and most famous tannery in the Medina of Fez. Once inside, you are given a handful of mint leaves to combat the smell of the different leathers. The tanners use various products to clean the animal skins from lime, salt and even pigeon droppings! The work conditions are hard and only the strongest will last.
Morocco was an incredible travel destination. It is a country where I definitely fell out of my comfort zone and truly was something new and different for me. It was a feeling that I very much loved and a feeling that everyone should experience the next time they travel.