Adventure Is Out There: Moroccan Addition

Welcome world travelers, either you're curious enough about this mysterious northern African country to click on this link, or you might just be gearing up to go yourself. Either way, welcome. I spend 5 days in Morocco over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I am pleased to say that it is a wonderful place for those with adventure in their hearts. From Casablanca and the coastal regions, to the dry Sahara Desert, Morocco has a little bit of everything, for everyone  craving an adventure.

All Photos are from Tristyn Page

Casablanca

I spent roughly two days within Casablanca, with its white walled Medina, and soaring Hassan ll Mosque. Casablanca is not for the faint of heart; there were very little laws when it came to driving, as well as there many pedestrians milling around in the road trying to sell you just about anything. Once your through the throng of the main drag you can, somewhat, safely make it to your hotel or riad. I personally stayed at the Hotel Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche, which overlooked the entire Medina and the Hassan ll Mosque. On my first real day in Casablanca, I spent over two hours rug shopping, which I implore you to do. The shopkeepers are kind and gracious, offering you Moroccan mint tea as they pull down every that they have in stock for you to look at, even if you have already chosen one.

Key tip: Don’t receive the tea with your left hand, it is considered rude in Arabic culture.

Following spending 16,000 Dirhams (or roughly $1,600 USD) we visited the famed Hassan ll Mosque, which overlooks the Medina as well as the ocean. Finished in 1993 by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues, Hassan ll is the largest mosque in Morocco, second largest in Africa, and fifth largest in the world. Combining French architecture with Arabic design, the mosque boasts the most beautiful of mosaics that I have ever seen. Tours are offered (I did not take one) every hour other than times of prayer, for around $30 USD. Even if a tour is not in the books for you, take the time to explore the outside of the mosque and bask in the beauty.

Marrakech

I spent roughly two and a half days in the capital of Morocco, Marrakech. This city is quite different from Casablanca’s French new age feel, Marrakech has the look of an old Arabic city lost in time. Enclosed in a pinkish sandstone wall, the Medina of Marrakech is one to explore. Through the winding alleyways and the Jemaa el-Fnaa, you will find souks, or stalls, of merchandise from rugs and lamps, to beautiful scarves and kaftans. Be prepared though to haggle, because the souk keepers will see a foreigner and send the price far above what the trinket is worth. Also take a walk through the La Jardin Majorelle Gardens for the most instagramable pictures in all of Morocco. Created by Jacques Majorelle in 1923 as a studio for his art and rescued by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé in the 1980’s the two and a half acre gardens are full of wondrous plants from across the world as well as true indigo walls for the perfect photo. After your long day of exploring Marrakech, try a traditional Moroccan Hammam to relax. A woman will scrub your skin clean with a black sand exfoliant and then throw buckets of hot water over you until you are as pink as a baby. Good times, am I right?

Future Goals

While I was only able to explore a small part of Morocco, I had an an adventure of a lifetime. In the future I plan to return to Marrakech to dive deeper into the Medina, as well as travel to new places such as Fez, Tangir, Chefchaouen, and Melgoza to see the endless sands of the Sahara Desert. I hope that this small article of my time in Morocco will push you to move beyond you boundaries, and set out for a new adventure in Morocco.