Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Alice. One day talking to her sister while sitting on a riverbank, she saw a talking rabbit looking at his pocket-watch and muttering and hurrying away through the long grass… Alice follows her to a rabbit hole but somehow the rabbit has disappeared and Alice fell down the rabbit hole. There she saw a hall with a lot of doors and only a key on the table…
Well, I’m no Alice, neither are you.
But I do feel like her sometimes when I decided to travel places unknown to me and yet still so much heard of.
Travelling is a true spirit one can never resist. Why should you resist it? It may help you to become the best version of yourself like falling down the rabbit hole was for Alice.
I’m relating my traveling experience to Alice’s because that’s how random and absurd sometimes it all feels and yet everything is true in reality.
Planning my next stop, as a solo traveler, was not an easy talk. The novel inspired me to go someplace unique and distinct on its own. And that’s how I chose to go to Morocco this year.
The beautiful African homeland home to many diverse groups has become quite popular in tourism. well, the country has a lot to offer too.
When it comes to solo travelling you have to keep lots of thing in mind and foremost is the security. Being the female traveler you might face a different door as compared to male travelers but every day of our lives we tackle with this debate too.
Anyhow choosing Morocco had its own advantage. But first, let’s take a brief look at what to prepare for visiting the country.
When travelling, I prefer to travel via means of international airports because of their regular flights from Europe, as many airlines are prone to this choice automatically.
I decided today to start my tour to Morocco from Marrakesh (or Marrakech). Landing on the Marrakesh Menara Airport, I felt at ease a bit seeing the cool atmosphere and like any other airports in Europe, it was busy with flocks of flights coming through at regular intervals. Morocco tourism offers cheap flights intake, and in my opinion, is the most basic reason why people don’t hesitate to come to this place often. It has an iconic history reaching back to WWII and it’s been displayed as well as some corner (though I don’t remember in the maze of crowds) consists of 3 terminals altogether.
Coming out of the airport you may see a long line of a taxi ride. And it’s quite common to see them but what you won’t be prepared for is the hassling of taxi drivers! If it were up to those taxi drivers, I would have been torn apart (seeing a single traveler has its peril too obviously) each will offer great services and all of the buttering qualities of “riding” in their taxi.
You have to learn to say no, it’s not rude when travelling its survival instinct 101.
Finally, I got a ride that I wanted, at a fair price to my already booked hotel.
Walk of Confidence
Remember this point, always be confident when travelling. I know from the inside you are crumbling like a baby but it is good not to have a look of nervousness around you, it acts as a magnet for con artists and scammers in public areas.
While taking a tour of the souk in Marrakesh I could easily pinpoint the scammers right away. Their technique is simple and identifiable. They surround you like bees and try to convince you as much as possible and sometimes even may hand you goods forcefully so that you become a guilty tourist who has to pay at any cost.
Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds, trusts me, but you really need to have some core skills! And then there’s the wonderland of Moroccan goods. Remember the feeling falling down the rabbit hole? That sounds about right. That’s how it looks like. Everywhere you look you will see goods dangling from the rooftops (self-made) down to the winding path in the souks. It’s a world in itself. Good bargaining is all you need to save some good money. Seeing a tourist, the price skyrockets and if you are on a camera they make a good bargain in hopes of getting shot too. sounds weird? Well, that’s how tourism in Morocco works.
Eat, Pray, Love
Coming out of the old medina walls can be chaotic. It’s easy to get lost in souks. I had to ask for direction thrice (after taking the same turn twice wrong!) and you really can’t rely on Google maps here. It’s all distorted. And coming out I felt hungry as a grizzly.
I was so ready to eat and have something to drink. On the main market square, you will observe stalls of fresh juice. And you will see some terrace based restaurants delivering some exciting menus off the hook. It was mainly traditional so went for a chicken tagine with vegetables. And the taste was simply delicious. The spices and the cooking method is what makes food cooked in a tagine (clay pots) makes it so unique and tasty. You get a true earthly flavor bombing in your mouth. And I had a cool orange juice and a mint Kahwah to wash it down.
While enjoying my late lunch I heard Azaan (prayer) and the more days I spent I noticed that the prayer calls 5 times a day (one way too early before dawn). And local shops closed down and every man goes to the mosque to offer the prayers while Muslim women pray at their homes r their own workplace.
Heritage, Garden and Me
Marrakesh is a wonderful city but it can become bristling hot if you visit it during summer. Best time I would suggest is from October – February when seasonal change is often welcome. The winters are tolerable but the temperature drops at night. Once travelling to souks, my second day was spent sightseeing the heritage – architectural landmarks I had so much heard about.
Ait Benhaddou represents a classic example of Kasbahs just outside of Marrakesh, resembling medieval times lineage of building styles, these were homes to Berbers and some, In fact, is still being lived in.
Next stop was in a 10th CE built Bahia Palace capturing the essence of Morocco in its time still building. Sculpted and wood workings are a prime item used in the ceiling of this palace, designed geometrically and becoming an instant point of attraction for tourists. It’s only this there are other mosques, tombs and especially museums that are a must visit.
Next, I went to Kutubiyya Mosque, although non-Muslims are not allowed for tourism, they open some areas. And yes it was unlike any other architectural structure in Marrakesh.
Botanical Gardens are famous sightseeing for some peace of mind after a busy day it was a welcome change.
Spending a day in Marrakesh as a solo traveler gave me the perks of easily getting rides from one place to another. My taxi driver Hameed was generous enough to give me rides from one place to another, and little did I know he was a really good tour guide too encasing all the details of the places that I visited. You should remember this not all taxi drivers are as friendly without a reason. I did pay Hameed a fair amount in exchange for the tour he gave me.
Coming back to my hotel, I was blessed with a spa schedule and the Berber massage took me directly to a comfortable sleep I was in desperate need of after a tiring day.
My two days spent in Marrakesh taught me a lot about cultural diversity and traditions and norms. Once you travel here you will get to know what I’m talking about. Doesn’t matter whether you want to travel cheap or enjoy a luxury holiday package. Morocco offers it all. Morocco is for everyone; you can have the best experience here even at a cheap holiday packages. The choice is all yours.
A travel blogger from UK. Writing is her ultimate passion and nowadays, she is into the mission of providing creative and unique blogs on Morocco’s lively culture and traditions. She can help people in planning their journey by sharing her amazing experience to Morocco.
IF YOU LOVE MARIA’S STORY IN MOROCCO, ‘PIN IT’ NOW!