Quick note: I only had one day of rest before I went back to work after returning from Morocco. So this post and the photos are not what I had hoped. Hopefully, it will give you a quick overview. More to come!
Casablanca: this city is the economic capital of Morocco. It is growing by leaps and bounds. Walking around the city was such a treat as some of the older buildings are Art Deco which gave this city a unique charm. The Hassan II Mosque was breathtaking. As the waves from the Atlantic pounded on the shore, this mosque, built over the ocean created a peaceful vibe in a vibrant city. And the Hotel Imperial was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. The. Most. Comfortable. Ever.
Chefchaouen: Chill vibe with the best mint tea in all of the world. The blues painted throughout the houses created an atmosphere of calm and charm. But there was also a spiritual feel that I can’t explain. This little pocket of blues made this city truly memorable. And I bought the cutest hat ever in the city square. Also, met the most genuine soul in an artist named Nourrdine. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
Fes: would have liked to have extended my stay to see all of the artisans. Did you know that Morocco has a Minister of Handicrafts to make sure the talent and arts stays alive and well? There is so much talent in this country… I wish I could have explored this more. We went to see where some textiles were made and I could have stayed there all day and textile geeked out. I would have taken my book and paid the guy to show me how it all works. Heaven. Two thumbs up.
Middle Atlas Range: getting to the Sahara after Fes is a long drive but the stunning beauty of the Moroccan landscape made the time pass quickly. The diverse geological regions throughout this country are breathtaking. We passed through snow covered mountains (did you know Moroccans in general love to sled but not ski?) along with giant cedar and pine forests. You just can’t imagine it. Two thumbs up.
The Sahara: Stunning. Immense. Magnificent.
The stars lit up the night like a blanket of white. The quiet was so quiet it was loud… If that makes sense. The colors of the sand changed with the light of the day. It doesn’t feel real. But then you hear the breeze in the trees and it brings you down to Earth again. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Oh. One side note. Camels are still not sexy.
Mgoun Valley/Souss-Massa-Draa: this region is known for the Moroccan Rose (major cosmetics companies buy this roses essential oils) but this place rivals the American Southwest. And if you know me in any way, I do not say this lightly. In the small village we stayed in, they just got electricity a few years ago. Please let that sink in. They just got electricity a few years ago. With the lights out early and no wifi, I slept like I have not slept in weeks. So quiet. We went for a hike right before dinner and I witnessed the reddest earth mixed with yellow, gold, greens, and blacks. Fantastic. Two thumbs up.
Marrakech: As I have written about before, my stomach and I have a colorful history. But lately, we have been getting along. However I haven’t been eating anywhere too risky. For instance, eating street food is like rolling the dice for me, it’s a risk. Most of the time, my dodgy tummy has held its own but in Marrakech, the House caught up with my gambling ways. Let’s just say that a 300 year old Hammam is not a place to pay your debts but that is where I found myself. Funny now; not so funny at the time. Marrakech… not so much. Half a thumb up.
Essaouira: Hotel room overlooking with Atlantic Ocean? Check. Quaint Medina with meandering streets? Check? Photo opportunities galore? Check. Check. This city was a great mix of old, relaxed, but still has the charm and business of a median. A walk along the Atlantic Ocean next to a bustling port is a great way to spend a couple of hours in this small but busy historical region. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.