Hello sweet peas,
Since being home in gloomy England, I am seriously having trouble with battling my travel bug. Apart from small holidays, the Moroccan roadtrip was my first independent holiday and I just want to be abroad again exploring. I could of easily taken a gap year to travel to my heart’s content however I knew I would probably never go to university and stay in the deep jungles of Borneo or something crazy. Anyhow I’ll just have to continue to fitting in travelling inbetween the rest of my life. For anyone inspired or planning to visit Morocco, I thought I would share with you what I noticed about the country because there was plenty of stop and stare moments.
1. The watermelons looked like they were on steroids.
I am being completely serious, probably bigger and heavier than a 5 year old. They were also delicious, we ate plenty whilst we were out there.
2. One thing Morocco exceeds in is fancy street lighting.
Especially in cities; Ouzazate, Chef Chaouen and Rabat were stunning cities and the obscure and intricate street lighting added to the charm.
3. If you speak more than one language, speak a different one instead of your mother tongue.
Whenever a local found out that I was a languages student, they were impressed and began blabbering at me in Spanish and Italian. Not only did it give me a chance to practise and improve my langauge skills, it also eased langauge barriers in difficult situations. Most Moroccans know at least 4 langauges: Arabic, Berber, French/Spanish (depending on North/South of the country) and English. They are such clever people, it makes me want to learn more languages.
4. The road is your friend and foe.
The only rule taken very seriously by Moroccan drivers is the speed limit however that is due to the numerous police stops on the road. The speed limit in general is quite slow, on average being 50-100km/h, with constant change. Due to all the police stops, many cars flash at you warning you to slow your speed as police are waiting around the corner. No one wants a speeding ticket. What I noticed also was the fact they let tourists off very lightly which is always a bonus. Apart from this, the roads are chaotic with cars, bikes and donkeys all racing along in no real order or fashion, so good luck.
5. The amount of litter in Morocco is astonishing.
On the beach, desert, in the medina and in the mountains- there is always some litter. It is such a shame the beautiful environment is a victim to plastic packaging, broken glass and bin bags of rubbish, but dont let that deter you from visiting Morocco because the overall beauty outweighs the waste. It would be a good idea if the government enforced more efficent waste and dumping laws in order to look after the planet but also to look after the country.
6. They love their king.
Or at least that’s what it is meant to look like. Pictures of King Mohamed V are everywhere; hanging up on the walls of restaurants and homes, on billboards by the road and everywhere else for that matter. In some of the pictures he looks particularly suave and in the Marrakesh Medina there is a specific entrance dedicated to the king himself. It was beautifully decorated with photos, lights and paintings, and just something Jordan and I randomly came across- definitely try and find it!
7. Be respectable by covering up.
Being a Muslim country, it is important to respect their traditions and customs. Both men and women, as tourists, should cover their shoulders and knees just out of politeness and to avoid hassle. Whilst I was out there, I wore a lot of strappy tops with shawls to battle the heat as well as dressing accordingly. I found the men gave me little hassle in comparison to other female tourists in short shorts plus baggy harem pants are cooler. Also by having shoulders, cleavage, legs etc. on show, the local women do not welcome you with ease, almost in the sense they are embarrassed for presenting yourself ‘naked’. You shouldn’t worry too much about what to wear, just be sensible. You can still look fashionable and respectful at the same time.
8. Travelling during Ramadan has its bonuses.
Although many tourists are put off by Ramadan because many shops and restaurants are closed during the day, I found it to be really nice not bumping into other tourists 24/7. It meant we could really experience the country without any foreign distractions and get to know the locals. Also everyone is very tired during Ramadan due to fasting therefore there is less street hassling and more day-to-day life.
I cannot emphasise how much I enjoyed travelling around Morocco and I am so excited to begin planning 2016 adventures. At this moment island hopping in South East Asia looks appealing but we shall see.
Love Poppy x