Melting in Morocco

Arriving in my 4th/5th continent (depends which model you use) I was attacked by a brutal heat. Marrakech is intense. Very hot, clay coloured, snaking streets where you will be shouted at by every retailer trying to get you to purchase their goods. As with most markets I can’t actually indulge firstly because of money and secondly because of space in my rucksack etc so I found a good way around the constant barrage of invitations. Wear headphones. Now plenty of people will say don’t wear headphones as you should be aware of your surroundings and I understand that, but you can wear them and not play any music, or at least play it very quietly. You definitely need to pay attention though as there are plenty of bikes and trolleys weaving their way through the already cramped streets.

My general day in Marrakech consisted of going for walks around all the markets and searching for stuff in the early morning, returning around midday until the early afternoon (to escape the stifling heat) and then heading out in the evening for some food. I must say I was rather unimpressed with the majority of my food here which came out rather bland considering the Moroccan penchant for spices.

Following Marrakech I went to Essaouira on the coast. The temperature was a lot more accommodating to my constitution and that encouraged me to walk around a lot more, although it’s a very small place. I went here mainly because I read it was calmer and more relaxed, this was terribly inaccurate. Due to the high concentration of tourists in regards to size of the place the hawkers are even more aggressive and the streets even more busy. As I have had enough of most markets now I didn’t find this particularly interesting but it still was very nice to walk along the coastline. Apparently some of Game of Thrones was filmed here and you definitely get this other worldly feeling from the place (if not Morocco as a whole). My hostel was run by an incredibly friendly group of guys who were so welcoming and lovely. On my second night in Essaouira they were providing dinner for around 50 people and we all sat down and ate a 3 course meal which was honestly the best food I had in Morocco in terms of flavour and what I expected.

Next stop was Fez after 12 hours of travelling on bus and train. I arrived very late in the evening but even so I was already enchanted by the architecture and atmosphere of the city. These high walls make the place look like one entire fortress. Once again my hostel was lovely and the host when I arrived offered me some tea and biscuits and made me feel very welcome in his home. I really enjoyed relaxing on the terrace of the hostel as it gave you a great view of the old medina. I can imagine people trying to invade places like Marrakech and Fez to little avail due to the winding streets which can be very confusing. The high walls that enclose you within the streets provide a much needed shade but also a vantage point for people defending the city. Admittedly all of this is based on observation rather than reading any history about the cities but they looks like formidable places.

On to Casablanca and I again was wandering around the medina trying to find my hostel (I spent every first night in a city doing this due to those windy alleys and roads). I spent very little time in Casablanca so didn’t see too much other than a few mosques and of course a walk past Rick’s Cafe (which has a dress-code not accommodating to my current wardrobe.

Overall Morocco was an interesting place. As I said I was a little disappointed with the food but maybe I was looking in the wrong places. It all seems rather old (except Casablanca) like something of a bygone era (probably why it’s so suited to Game go Thrones filming) something from the pages of history books. It is an assault on the senses walking through the medinas. Spices with the occasional waft of fresh mint being delivered to a cafe of restaurant. Leather workers and a pungency created from the treatment they use in the tanneries. The constant shouting and pitching amidst the intense heat. It’s a peculiar place but very entertaining.

Arriving in my 4th/5th continent (depends which model you use) I was attacked by a brutal heat. Marrakech is intense. Very hot, clay coloured, snaking streets where you will be shouted at by every retailer trying to get you to purchase their goods. As with most markets I can’t actually indulge firstly because of money and secondly because of space in my rucksack etc so I found a good way around the constant barrage of invitations. Wear headphones. Now plenty of people will say don’t wear headphones as you should be aware of your surroundings and I understand that, but you can wear them and not play any music, or at least play it very quietly. You definitely need to pay attention though as there are plenty of bikes and trolleys weaving their way through the already cramped streets.

My general day in Marrakech consisted of going for walks around all the markets and searching for stuff in the early morning, returning around midday until the early afternoon (to escape the stifling heat) and then heading out in the evening for some food. I must say I was rather unimpressed with the majority of my food here which came out rather bland considering the Moroccan penchant for spices.

Following Marrakech I went to Essaouira on the coast. The temperature was a lot more accommodating to my constitution and that encouraged me to walk around a lot more, although it’s a very small place. I went here mainly because I read it was calmer and more relaxed, this was terribly inaccurate. Due to the high concentration of tourists in regards to size of the place the hawkers are even more aggressive and the streets even more busy. As I have had enough of most markets now I didn’t find this particularly interesting but it still was very nice to walk along the coastline. Apparently some of Game of Thrones was filmed here and you definitely get this other worldly feeling from the place (if not Morocco as a whole). My hostel was run by an incredibly friendly group of guys who were so welcoming and lovely. On my second night in Essaouira they were providing dinner for around 50 people and we all sat down and ate a 3 course meal which was honestly the best food I had in Morocco in terms of flavour and what I expected.

Next stop was Fez after 12 hours of travelling on bus and train. I arrived very late in the evening but even so I was already enchanted by the architecture and atmosphere of the city. These high walls make the place look like one entire fortress. Once again my hostel was lovely and the host when I arrived offered me some tea and biscuits and made me feel very welcome in his home. I really enjoyed relaxing on the terrace of the hostel as it gave you a great view of the old medina. I can imagine people trying to invade places like Marrakech and Fez to little avail due to the winding streets which can be very confusing. The high walls that enclose you within the streets provide a much needed shade but also a vantage point for people defending the city. Admittedly all of this is based on observation rather than reading any history about the cities but they looks like formidable places.

On to Casablanca and I again was wandering around the medina trying to find my hostel (I spent every first night in a city doing this due to those windy alleys and roads). I spent very little time in Casablanca so didn’t see too much other than a few mosques and of course a walk past Rick’s Cafe (which has a dress-code not accommodating to my current wardrobe.

Overall Morocco was an interesting place. As I said I was a little disappointed with the food but maybe I was looking in the wrong places. It all seems rather old (except Casablanca) like something of a bygone era (probably why it’s so suited to Game go Thrones filming) something from the pages of history books. It is an assault on the senses walking through the medinas. Spices with the occasional waft of fresh mint being delivered to a cafe of restaurant. Leather workers and a pungency created from the treatment they use in the tanneries. The constant shouting and pitching amidst the intense heat. It’s a peculiar place but very entertaining.

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