Crowds and Empires

We are lucky to reach Azrou on a Tuesday, which is the day when the weekly berber market takes place. The experience is quite intense, it´s a bit like travelling to the middle ages or so, just that now there’s also plastic. Everything is for sale in that market, from livestock to lightbulbs, including fruits and vegetables, furniture and second hand clothes. The smoke of the barbecues wraps the ambiance and the voices of the merchants advertising their goods provides the soundtrack.

We definitively have the same feeling of travelling back in time when we set foot in the Fez medina, with its very narrow and crowded alleys, where the merchants sell camel meat, snails, olives, fruits and veggies, pastries, etc. We also have the chance to admire delicate filigree metal works in copper and brass lamps as well as an amazing array of fine pottery.

The walls around the medina have also quite some interesting spots.

When in Fez, a stop at the tanneries is obliged, since they have been declared Unesco World Heritage, and history says that the finest leather in the country is produced right here. We are also happy to admire the surrounding buildings from the terrace that provides views to the tanneries. It is also in one of these terraces that we have the dubious honour of eating the most expensive cookie of the whole trip (not only in Morocco, but since we started our journey with Polaris back last May 🙂 In it’s defence it’s a very good cookie.

Meknes is the smallest of the imperial cities, but like the others, it has some pretty walls and a lively souk.

Short after we get to the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, that despite the fact of being almost 2000 years old, it has kept many of its charms, including impressive mosaics.

Our trip continues to Chefchaouen, the blue city. The name comes from the fact that in the old city 90% are painted in that colour. We stroll along the steep alleys and find that there’s probably a tad too many tourists, but the city still has its merits.

Our trip across Morocco concludes in Tangier. Where the western mix is more present and we hear Spanish spoken in many corners. It is still a very pleasant city. And here, with a warm feeling in our hearts, we say goodbye to our good times in Morocco, this surprising and multifaceted country. So long.


Morocco’s Top 3

Morocco is a fascinating country that has left an impression on both of us. Here are the top 3 from each of us.

Top 3 Isabel

  • Oasis. I had read about them in the ancient tales from the Middle East. Mostly described as islands of fertility in the middle of the desert, romantic places where the travellers could cure their bodies and souls from the hunger, thirst and loneliness of the desert. Well, this is exactly what they are. Incredible green extensions covered with palm trees, grass and water that, like miracles emerge from the desert. They are beautiful, romantic and full of life
  • Markets. Markets in Morocco are a beautiful chaos of stuff, all kind of stuff, from jewellery to oranges, from antiques to camel meat, from livestock to clothes, from handicrafts to spices. And people, lots of people, buying and selling, negotiating
  • Entrepreneurial. This is for me the word that seems to describe the character of Moroccan people. Great traders face to face, in the small distance. In every corner of the country, no matter how remote, you can always find somebody trying to make a living with a small stall or a shop, improvised or permanent. Families trying to sell their little crop or argan oil next to the road, young people selling fossils or minerals in the desert, agricultores selling their mandarin crop from the back of a pick up truck, bakers delivering bread to the door of the camper. Each of them putting in the effort and trying to move forward

Top 3 Christian

  • Landscape. Entering the country via Tangier as we did was kind of a disappointment at the beginning – Morocco was much greener than I would have been expecting. The rolling hills dotted with cows and sheep could have been anywhere else in Europe as well. The further we drove south and later land inwards the more the I was amazed by the variety of the landscape the country has to offer. From high and snow capped mountains to green oasis – from monotone stone dessert to the sand  dunes of the pre Sahara. A true wide spectrum
  • Night Sky. Not only that we have been in the one or the other remote corner in Morocco, in general the light pollution is quite minimal, apart from the bigger cities, of course. I can’t recall that I have seen the Milky way so clear on many of my other recent travels
  • Smell. Well, what can I say. Not everyone will agree, but Morocco has a lot to offer when it comes to the sense of smell. Not all smells are favourable for the nose but when entering a souk, there is nothing better than following your nose. All the spices, the fruits and vegetables, the incenses and all the little food stalls offering their selection – hmmm. Of course there are also the fish and meat sections – but hey, overall a really nice kaleidoscope of smells 🙂

2 thoughts on “Crowds and Empires

  1. Nice webblog!
    Thanks for helping us in Cáceres.
    Our motorhome did the trip we had planned today and the battery is full again:we hope he’l start tomorrow!
    You make great pictures ,i will enjoy them from now on!
    Many greetings from Ad and Christine.


    • Hi Ad, good to hear that your motorhome worked well for the rest of the journey today and hope the rest of your trip will be enjoyable and uneventful in this respect.
      It was very nice to meet you and we are glad you like the blog and the photos.
      Isabel & Christian


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