A donkey job in Morocco
My last travel destination Finland was pretty much the opposite of Morocco. I honestly don’t really know why I ended up in Morocco. The main reason was probably that my friends and I chose a place which isn’t far away from Switzerland and offers cheap flights. We have already been to Spain, France and Italy the places right next to Switzerland. As we went on searching Morocco suddenly went through our heads. I haven’t heard much about Morocco. But what I heard was consistently positive. My older sister has been to Morocco and she liked it very much especially the versatile markets which you will find there. By the way, when I talk about „we“ I’m talking about my two best male colleagues Brian and Raphito. We went to Morocco as a group of three.
When we landed in Marrakech we picked up our rented car and drove to our first accommodation. My friends and I actually agreed that we’ll take turns driving but that came to nothing because I forgot my driving licence and Brian had to give up the licence in Switzerland because of driving too fast. So only one left (Raphito) who had to drive all the time. Driving a car in Morocco is let’s say adventurous. The streets are busy. A lot of cars, motorcycles and donkeys! In Switzerland trucks are transporting the goods and in Morocco it’s a donkey job. Honestly I was glad that I forgot my licence because the streets were messy . In general I always find it interesting how the traffic rules work abroad. Definitely not as strict as in Switzerland. A whole family sits here on a motorcycle and no one wears a helmet. Completely normal. Anyway during our trip we had neither a scratch on the car nor an accident. Lucky us!
The industrial city Casablanca
Everyone knows Casablanca from the infamous film by Michael Curtiz from the year 1942. The film gives you quite a good insight into the city. Personally, I find Casablanca nothing more than a big dirty industrial city. There is not much to see except a few nice markets, a big mosque and a cathedral. There is also a beach but you should not expect too much. Our accommodation in Casablanca was the best. We had a beautiful hostel. We even lash out on a suite. Our room was huge and even had two balconies. The garden of the hostel offered the perfect atmosphere to relax.
We didn’t spend a lot of time in Casablanca. We actually walked around town only for one day. As I said the city itself isn’t really beautiful but there are some nice spots in Casablanca like the Hassan II Mosque which is located directly by the sea. The mosque really has a unique architecture. Not only the mosque itself is an eye-catcher but also the space in front of it and also the trappings have to be seen. If you visit Casablanca you should definitely visit the Hassan II Mosque because it’s the heart of Casablanca.
If you visit the Hassan II Mosque you can also directly pass by the Casablanca Cathedral. Unfortunately, when we were in Casablanca the church was just renovated but it looked very impressive from the outside too.
A day in the capital Rabat
After we had seen enough of Casablanca we decided to go to Rabat for one day. Rabat is the capital of Morocco with the seat of government and the residence of the King. The car ride from Casablanca to Rabat takes about an hour. It’s a comfortable route because you drive on the highway and not on any side roads. After a thirty minute parking search we finally came up with the idea to simply look for a park car in our GPS and leave our car there. Little tip doesn’t try to find a free parking in this city. The car ride through it is nail-biting. After we finally found a spot and started walking through the city my second impression of Rabat was very positive. I found the city very clean compared to Casablanca. Moreover, right in the center of the city (next to the main train station), beautiful palm trees lined up, giving Rabat a distinctive look. I almost felt like I was in Los Angeles. At the latest when I saw the stray cats and the street sign written in Moroccan I realized that I was still in northwest Africa. We came up with the idea to walk from one sightseeing to the other but somehow we felt a bit lost and in the end we simply took the taxi as a companion for the whole day. Te taxi driver wanted to show us all the hotspots and sights but at some point we all had enough and broke off the whole thing. We gave the taxi driver his earned money and asked him for a good restaurant. The restaurant was a bitter disappointment. I have almost never eaten so badly. Probably the taxi driver and the restaurant owner had a agreement so in the end both of them had a benefit only we didn’t. What did we learn? Never trust a taxi driver.
A stopover in El Jadida
On the way to the fishing village Oualidia we did a stopover in the Moroccan port city El Jadida. El Jadida is on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and is a quieter village than Rabat or Casablanca. Right by the sea with many seafood restaurants, souvenir shops and of course a beautiful port has this place its own charm. Directly at the port is the Portuguese old town, which was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. The Portuguese old town has massive walls of hew stone and is the main attraction in El Jadida.
We explored the area and ejoyed the peace and quiet. We ate our lunch in the restaurant „Le Privé“ which is by the way the number one on TripAdvisor. Who likes meat and wine is at the right place. You have to keep in mind that the prices of the dishes are relatively high for Moroccan conditions. With a full stomach we went on in the direction of our next destination Oualidia.
Making new friends in Oualidia
In Oualidia we booked the apartment „Dar ezzitouna“. When we arrived we weren’t sure if we really should stay here. The problem was not the apartment moreover it was Oualidia itself. We were a bit desperate cause everything seemed so boring. We felt a bit lost and didn’t know how we should handle the whole situation. We were tired and didn’t feel like going further with our car but on the other side what the hell should we do here. It’s a waste of time to stay here. But the owner of the apartment gave us suddenly a apartment upgrade. I don’t know why but maybe he noticed that we felt a bit lost and just wanted to be nice. Namely, we had paid the room anyway, whether we spent the night here or not. Anyway the new apartment was huge and was typical Moroccan furnished. So we couldn’t say no anymore and in the end we decided to stay for one night here and hoped for the best.
Oualidia is a typical Moroccan resort and popular for the beach and the sea with the high waves that are ideal for surfing. Raphito and I were tired so we didn’t want to surf. Brian on the other hand wanted to try his luck on the board. When the son of the apartment owner took us to the beach with his car, our enthusiasm was remained very limited. The beach had many stones and the waves were not that high. Somehow Brian was not motivated to surf anymore. Nevertheless we visited the surf school maybe hoping to meet some cool young people there. Funnily it was like that. We met really nice people. In fact, we met real Moroccan surfers :P. We talked for a long time with the owner of the surf school. He was in our age and was very friendly. He invited us directly to spend an evening with him and his surf friends. He wanted to show us the area. Of course we couldn’t say no and we were happy about the invitation. Maybe this place was more exciting than expected.
Around 10 o’clock in the evening we met with the guys. We were lured to a remote location, sounds a bit scary I know. Frankly, it was too. I was not sure anymore if the invitation was a good idea. I suddenly had a queasy feeling about the whole thing. We wer here in a really remote place in Morocco with people we met today for the first time. We acted a bit naively in this situation. But hey we were neither kidnapped nor robbed. Lucky us! The surfers had no ulterior motives. They just wanted to party with us and talk to some people from a different part of the world. We were in a place where nobody could hear our loud music which we listen to the whole night. We danced, laughed, talked and watched the crystal starry sky. It was really a beautiful and unforgettable evening with really great people. Even for me the best moment of this whole trip. In the end I was glad that we stayed here and was even sad when we left Oualidia the next day. I really hope that I will run into these people once again in my lifetime. If you read this my Moroccan friends, you’re awesome!
Essaouira is a port city as well. For me Essaouira is the image of a tourist city. Here is something going on! Above all the tourists are on tour. I understand why Essaouria has a lot of people. You can do many things. Whether sport, wellness or a small shopping tour through the many souvenir shops – Essaouira offers something for everyone. Especially the water sports lovers have their money’s worth. Essaouira is very windy and unlike other places it’s relatively cold here. Thanks to the wind, the waves are perfect and the sea, despite the cold water temperature, is excellent. While Brian surfed a few times Raphito and I tried the spas. I wasn’t physically fit on the days in Essaouira so I tried to slow things down a bit. Culinary enthusiast will love Essaouira for the many good restaurants. Pizza, pasta, rice, Moroccan food or rather something sweet like a crêpe – This city offers everything. We have never had a bad meal here. I think you just have to be a little careful what you buy directly on the street. I think Raphito has eaten almost every day two crêpes. The guy is really never full. Incidentally, here in Essaouira you can make your dream of a horse back riding on the beach true. It has always been my dream and finally it came true. Although I was physically not quite fit I couldn’t miss the chance. And one thing I can say, I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful ride. We rode gallop on a deserted beach even Raphito who sat on a horse for the first time. Our guide was really nice and spoke well English. On our ride we have seen wild donkeys, dromedary and a lot of dogs which followed us for a while. It was a breathtaking trip through the nature of Morocco. Who wants to go riding in Essaouira, I can really recommend the horse ranch „Equi Evasion“. After three days in Essaouira we left it for our last destination Morocco.
You would like to see my pictures from Morocco? Continue here.