I have always had my fascination for the great Sahara Desert. I am not sure where that fascination comes from considering that I had spent years living in the desert city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I really don’t have much desire to go back. I think the image of a veiled female silhouette walking on top of an enormous orange sand dune of Sahara is somehow associated with a thread of romance in my mind. It is unfortunate and ironic what a veiled female is often associated with in our current political environment. There is not much romance left in that imagery, it seems. Still, I wanted to visit this North African country. I wanted to immerse in their culture, to witness how they live, to try their food, to listen to people speaking in a public square, and to just breath their air. I am just curious.
So I did my research. I figured out how much time I want to spend there, where I want to go during that time, how to get to places and where to stay in each places. It was an adventure worth taking in the end. Let’s start with some overviews of my experience here.
- When did I go: 3/28- 4/7/17
- Pre-trip Purchases: I booked a few nights of hostels and airbnb. I also booked a three days two nights Marrakesh to Mezouga round trip with a travel agency which turned out to be an adventure in itself.
- What you may want to know before you go?
- Unlike my experience in Turkey, you are not allowed to go into Mosques unless you are a Muslim. I obviously learned it the hard way when I confused a Mosque with a museum. It was not a museum.
- Tajine is everywhere and couscous is only served on Fridays (traditionally).
- Mint tea is incredibly tasty.
- It is MUCH easier to travel as a single male tourist than a single female tourist in this country. I learned this from my research prior to my trip but did not know it could get that bad for some people. I will talk about it more.
- Would you have done anything differently?
- I would have done the desert trip differently. It was a long trip for three days. We spent two days to get to the desert and the entire third day was spent driving back to Marrakech. We stopped here and there on the way but it was too long a drive.
- Learned a little more French before my trip. I always wish I can communicate with local people better when I travel.
Day 1: Flight from Madrid to Fez (2 nights in Fez)
Day 2: Day in Fez
Day 3: Train to Casablanca (1 night in Casablanca)
Day 4: Train from Casablanca to Marrakesh (2 night in Marrakesh)
Day 5: Day in Marrakesh
Day 6: Bus to Essaouira (1 night in Essaouira)
Day 7: Bus back to Marrakesh (1 night in Marrakesh)
Day 8 -10: Desert trip with a travel agency
Day 11: Flight back to Madrid
Details to follow in Part 2.