We see lots of advertising for ‘exotic Morocco’, and it’s true. Every day, Cathy and I were amazed by the people we saw and met, the food, the shopping, and the street scene. Here are some favourite pictures taken in the old city centres (medinas) and marketplaces (souks) in the Imperial Cities of Fez, Menkes and Marrakesh. By the way, the rug in the title picture is now in our bedroom.
At every stop and at every meal, we ate ‘farm to table’. Often our main course was a Tajine, a Berber stew with chicken or lamb, and always served with fresh baked bread. I don’t think we had camel, however it is sold in the local market. We watched the bread being baked in the community ovens that also heat the communal bath houses. And everywhere we saw an amazing varieties of dried dates and other fruit.
The Souks –
We spent hours walking through the souks. The souks are divided into areas dedicated to food, flowers, leather, pottery, jewelry, and on and on. Crafts people abound and are happy to show you their craft. One picture I did not get is of the snake charmers’ cobras. I was doing a hasty retreat, as the comatose cobras lept up and attacked me. They smell fear. Later I had a good laugh about how the snake charmers ran after their cobras and grabbed them by the tail to stop the attack.
The Medina –
In the Imperial Cities, a local guide joined us. This is a really good idea – our local guides grew up in the medina and have an intimate knowledge of the web of narrow alleys, squares and markets within this ancient walled part of the city. The medina is eclectic and hectic, however everyone is very friendly. And if you are wondering, the pink camel is just a cool thing to see out in the desert.
Background – Morocco Private Tour –
Our 10 day Morocco Private Tour took Cathy and I from Casablanca east and then south across the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert at the border with Algeria, and then back west to Marrakesh.
Our Tour Logistics –
Cathy and I engaged with Trips to Morocco, a Berber family company, for our private tour of Morocco. I gave them 5 stars on Trip Advisor. We traveled as a group of 4 – Cathy, me, our driver and our guide. In the major cities, we also had a local guide take us through the markets and see the sights. Our vehicle was a Toyota Landcruiser which was very competent and comfortable. This allowed us maximum flexibility to get off the beaten path. The price point was about the same as other companies’ group tours.
To get to Morocco, we took a direct Royal Air Maroc flight from Montreal to Casablanca. For our return, we flew to Lisbon, Portugal, and then spent a leisurely 12 day trans Atlantic crossing to Miami on the Crystal Serenity Crystal Cruises