I have been rather critical in my assessment of Morocco, and in particular Marrakech. It wouldn’t be fair of me, therefore, not to mention that, once you get out of the chaos inside and around Marrakech, Morocco is also a beautiful country. And I don’t want to imply here that Marrakech is ugly. It certainly has character. Let’s say that busy, crowded cities are not my favourite ambience.
Here, I will let the pictures do most of the talking, starting with our first excursion, covered in a previous blog post, to a Berber village at the foot of the Atlas mountains, guided by a ‘shy introvert’ named Mohammed…
The following day, we visited a fascinating spot with a spectacular waterfall: Ouzoud.
“It’s almost as if we were in Africa and not in Europe,” before realising, half a second later, that this was actually the case.
You can descend along a path on one side of the gorge.
Ten dirhams (one euro) get you to the other side. The oarsman also offers to take your picture. Not just one, but at least six. Among my many defects, I’m obsessed with not wasting phone memory, so when we were back on terra firma I immediately proceeded to choose the best picture and delete all the rest…
… well, not entirely this time, as I have just found out.
Two species of ape make a profit from tourism at Ouzoud. It’s a partnership between macaques and humans. The former amuse visitors simply by acting like monkeys. Some local humans latch on to the monkey behaviour, acting as de facto ‘agents’ for the macaques, thereby both partners earning titbits in either nutritional or financial form.
Our final sortie was to a lovely fishing port called Essaouira.
They have an extensive sandy beach, much sought by surfers, a seaside citadel, a harbour for fishing boats, and a scaled down and much more peaceful medina. AND NO MOTOR SCOOTERS!
I totally liked Essaouira, and it’s a pity that we couldn’t have stayed a while longer. Our visit there helped us reach some important conclusions, a classic case of hindsight wisdom:
- Morocco is a beautiful country (but this, we already knew).
- If you go to Morocco, don’t choose a city medina for your main accommodation.
- It’s a big country, and you can save half your travelling time to interesting places by remaining in those places and avoiding having to go all the way back to base, and therefore…
- … you should best plan an itinerary and book your accommodation accordingly.
I also came to appreciate even more how much I love Europe, the euro, the Schengen area of border control free travel, zero roaming charges and the European way of life in general.