Why me, a lonely traveller and a girl, with blue eyes, chose to go to Morocco?
I think I did it to prove myself that a girl can survive in a Muslim country while travelling on her own.
I did so, anyway I have paid a bit of a price as well.
I spent one week in Morocco beginning of December. The weather was just perfect for sightseeing. Nice and sunny, not too hot. I am not a person who stays only by a beach while travelling as I prefer to see more of a country. During that week I managed to visit Agadir, Marrakesh, and Casablanca. When it comes to transportation between the cities it is totally fine. From Agadir to Marrakesh it was around four hours by bus, bearable for me, especially that the views were totally amazing! Anyway there was no other way to get there, unless you rent a car.
My impression about Agadir, city I started my travel from, is that there is nothing special there. It is becoming more touristic and you can see that from the moment you enter it. Agadir has a good beach and I assume people usually come there to rest. What is good that I noticed is the fact the city is developing. That means more workplaces and more money. Good for them. 🙂 There are also some places, especially by the beach, where even alcohol is served. In many restaurants or bars it is not, however there are some exceptions. I do not really need alcohol when I travel, because holiday for me is not about drinking, anyway living in Europe and having alcohol available on every corner 24 hours a day I easily noticed it is not at all served in Morocco in many places. Anyway I didn’t miss it that much. Just an observation to share.
I spent only one night in Agadir and the next day I took a bus to Marrakesh. That was the only way to get there because there are no trains from Agadir. In the red city, as Marrakesh is called that way, I overall spent three nights. During the first two I was hosted by a Moroccan family and the third one I spent in a riad. I heard a lot about such an accommodation and wanted to try it. Totally recommended 🙂
I can’t say I liked Medina that much. Medina is the city center where you can find lots of different markets with many different products to buy. Unfortunately you get scammed there too as well as you need to bargain each product’s price. And it happened to me I got cheated, well I paid much more for earrings I bought that these were worth it. A disadvantage of being a tourist It was not like overpaying twice, I would say it was paying 50 times more Still I did not pay a fortune, just for a pair of earring worth about 1 euro I paid 50. Stupid me I only found it out when the family that hosted me told me the real value of these earings Good these are beautiful at least 🙂 I can only suggest other travelers not to buy anything in the Medina part. It may occur to be a hard task as everything is so colourful there and markets are right next to each other.
The Medina stinks Another tourist observation. Men are driving their motorcycles in between so many narrow streets, that the fumes are unbearable and were making me throw up in some parts. It was only December, I cannot imagine how terrible it might be during the hottest months!
What I also did not like were the market people. So annoying and wanting tips for everything – even giving you direction. Good I had Internet, google maps and did not need anything from them. I need to mention the Internet works perfectly in Morocco 🙂
In the center, however, you can’t walk peacefully without being disturbed and without being asked to buy something. At the beginning I was trying to be polite, even smiling while saying “thank you” and walking away, but I quickly noticed that it is a big mistake. I learnt how to neglect or ignore people in the market part easily. So I stopped saying anything, as for them it was an invitation to a conversation. When I got out from the Medina it got a bit better. There are some travelers who like to be in such crowded places. If you are one of them, you’ll be very happy being disturbed on every corner. I didn’t like it at all. What I really liked and truly enjoyed was the trip I took to the desert that was beginning in Marrakesh. This was just amazing and I can only recommend it! Even though I started it very early, at seven in the morning, with other 16 people in a van, and arrived to the desert only at 6pm, the views I had during this whole trip were incredible!
Sleeping on a desert was a completely new experience for me. I expected it to be full of sand and thought the wind would be blowing it so heavily I would not be able to move around, not even mentioning riding a camel. It appeared to be totally calm and relaxing with a breathtaking sunrise that was worth waking up at six in the morning just to see it.
I also took the van back very early the next morning and thought I would probably sleep a bit there what I didn’t do, because I quickly realised there’s no point sleeping when there are so amazing views outside the window! Who know when I will be able to admire again such landscapes?!
As usual there had to be adventure 🙂 There are always adventures happening to me when I travel 🙂 What happened this time was the driver forgetting to let me out with the group I was supposed to ride a camel to the camp. So when climbing the camel for the first time in my life, I had to climb it down 5 minutes later and try to guess what was going on. Of course I did not understand their Arabic. Anyway the Berber leaders of the group allowed me to go with them to a certain point and then someone else came and picked me up to continue my way to the right camp. That means climbing a camel for me for the first time happened twice 🙂 I realized some time ago, that when I travel and there are some misunderstandings or other strange things happening, they usually concern me. So the camel&camp situation was not a big surprise. Well, I just was forgotten to be put to the proper camp group. Not a big deal 🙂 They could have left me alone on a desert 😉
The camel I got was just perfect! It made me laugh while it was walking. Being tied to others, it just couldn’t stay in the line! It was supposed to walk straight, with others, but it was still following its own path. As much as the rope allowed it 🙂 I do the same, I always walk my own path, do not care that much about others yet I still feel a bit tied… We created just a perfect team!
The trip to the desert, apart from being cheap, was really great. I think it cost me 60 euros for 2 full days, including sleeping on a desert, dinner included. What was not included were the tips for the Berbers and lunches both ways. I was surprised by the condition of the tent we had. The running water, the availability of western style toilets as well as showers. Imagine the Internet worked there!!! 🙂 The tent I was staying in was suitable for four people and the one we had dinner in could gather around 60. The Berbers took great care of us, spoke very good English and other languages too, to my surprise. By talking to them I found out they learn everything from tourists and by their own experience. I was amazed by the way they speak foreign languages and behave toward tourists. I know it’s their job, I know they do that every day, however only there I really felt treated with respect. Great memories! The trip was the best I could do in Marrakesh and if I could I would visit the desert again.
When I came back from the trip to the city I chose to stay in riad as I wanted to see how it looks like. I need to say it made a big impression on me – a really typically Arabic place with many colourful carpets in the middle of Medina. The area was calm, to my surprise. The market finishes its working day in the evening and everybody goes to sleep then, so the place that was full of people just a few hours before becomes deserted during the night.
After Marrakesh I took a train to Casablanca where I spent one night only. I did not do a lot of sightseeing first of all because I did not have a lot of time to do so, and second of all because I didn’t feel that safe there. When I travel I like walking a lot and my experience in Morocco is that for a woman, and a lonely traveller it was not such a good idea. I was being disturbed and bothered by guys and unfortunately it also happened that one of them grabbed my ass on a street. Out of the blue. It was early evening, around 9pm. That was too much for me. I know I’m European, I know I am a girl, and I also know I have right to be respected. The guy approached me from behind and allowed himself to enter my territory without asking for permission! I was in Morocco beginning of December, I did a research before going there, I knew I was going to a totally different culture, so I wanted to respect the country and its citizens. I cannot say I was wearing provocative clothes. I had long trousers and a pullover. Yet the guy allowed himself to treat me like an object. Well, that was how I felt that day. It was shocking too. I live in Europe where men will never treat me like that. I know it could’ve been worse, I could have been raped, so it’s good all ended up only with touching my butt. Unfortunately he ruined a bit my trip memories, because I still remember how shocked and shaking I was after this incident. Apart from that nothing worse happened to me, so in fact I can say I did prove to myself that a girl, a European, can travel alone around Morocco.
In Casablanca I met an amazing couchsurfing couple from Brasil that hosted me for one night. I wish I could stay longer with them as meeting Brazilians that are living and working in Morocco and getting to know their life story was a thing 🙂
I cannot say a lot about Casablanca as a city, because I didn’t really see it. I arrived at four in the afternoon, had some dinner and then I went to the hosts’ house where we spent the evening talking till late. The next morning I took a bus back to Agadir and then flew back home. What I can say about Casablanca is that it is called a white city and it really is.
Overall my impression about Morocco is that I don’t want to come back there very soon, probably not at all, and I don’t even want to visit any other Arabic country for the time being. The culture is not the one I like, admire or want to stick to. I was so happy coming back to Europe and I realised I’m incredibly lucky living here, feeling safe on the streets, not being disturbed by anyone and not being treated with disrespect. When it comes to the country itself, its landscapes and what it has to offer is amazing! It has great views, beautiful mountains, good weather, nice beaches, just some people suck. Couchsurfing people were of course incredible! In Marrakesh I was staying with a typical Moroccan family that were lovely and hospitable, and gave me so much love and attention that it makes me smile when I think of them. 🙂 With the mother of the family I could talk for hours as we were exchanging our life experience as well as I learnt a lot about their life in Marrakesh. I know that those who do couchsurfing have a different state of mind than those who only live in one country and are surrounded by one culture. I wanted to see myself how Morocco really is. Looks like reading the blogs and getting prepared for the trip and for the Muslim culture, did not prevent me from meeting an idiot on a street that felt the right to take advantage of me, just because I was a tourist. Before my trip I read so many good things about the country and about its people, that I wanted to have my own opinion. And it is a mixed one. There were good and bad things. Do I recommend it? I only recommend the country, people not that much. I know it is always best to learn yourself. I do not really like southerners that much. Even when it comes to Europe I’m not that keen on Spanish or Italians, as for me they seem to be too loud and too expressing. I like well-balanced people. And I sure I can find them everywhere. So by going to Morocco I only proved myself that visiting southern countries is not my style and I’d better visit Asia. I feel safe there. Gaining such an experience was still great, as now I know I will not travel to a country where I would not feel good. On the other hand I survived, I had an amazing trip to the desert, I saw incredible Atlas mountains and meet lovely international people. What struck me a bit was Moroccans’ French level that is not that good. I speak English and French and thought that because the country was colonised by the French, they would be fluent in it. To my surprise sometimes it was easier to communicate in English.
Last thing about Morocco – not a very surprising one, is that everybody wants money from you. I know in developing countries it is very common. I also found the country quite cheap. I didn’t spend a lot of money on the transportation, hotels, food and the overall trip for seven days, visiting three cities and the flight cost included was around 500 euros. I don’t consider that expensive at all. However I know I overpaid for taxis and souvenirs.
The most important for me was gaining the experience and my own opinion about one of a Muslim country. Now I know how people behave there, how men treat women and with my observations I was coming back to Europe feeling incredibly grateful I am Polish! As a woman I feel free here, I can do whatever I want, nobody grabs my ass on a street, and no men treat me like a sexual object. That’s also the reason why I travel alone. I do appreciate my life in Poland more! I’m happy I was born in Poland. I’m happy I’m European. I’m happy I am free. I am happy I am such an independent woman 🙂 Who knows who would I be if I was born in Morocco? To that question I do not want to know the answer.