Morocco, the land that ‘heals the soul’, is a place with a reputation that transcends cultural barriers. Having been there, it’s not difficult to see why. Of course, there’s the weather; gloriously hot by day and mercifully cold by night. When driving along the winding rural roads, you will be engulfed by beauty. To illustrate, picture yourself on this road. You’re driving with a towering mountain cliff to your left as your companion– the sun diagonally cascading onto it, the few crystals left in the imposing face of the cliff twinkling the sun’s reflection. To your right, the ground level drops dramatically. At its base sits a river not dissimilar in shape and length to your snaking road, its surface competing with the mountain cliff for the title of “most enchanting glimmering”. In the distance – and you’re not quite sure – are figures of cultivators, harvesting their source of nutrition for the day, week or even month.
Moroccan cuisine is as vibrant and splendid as its landscape. In short, there is nothing quite like freshly sourced, newly prepared food. There are stews, curries and all kinds of salads to gorge on. There is no such thing as a ‘small portion’. It’s not rude to have seconds.
The locals are lovely, particularly in rural parts. They smile readily and are always keen to converse. Their hospitality is second-to-none, largely due to a considerable fact: the teas they offer are something to be admired. Trekking in the Moroccan landscape is not for the average vacationer. That is unless they enjoy sun burn, a sore body and a great sense of achievement. Generally speaking of rural Morocco, the golden landscape is vast to the tiny human eyes, consisting of a random assortment of goat-herding farmers, rivers and tufts of greenery. The bustling city awakens at the earliest of dawn, the atmosphere almost immediately communal and friendly. It is a clamour of merchants, motorists, sociable youths and curious tourists. The adhān, or call to prayer, occurs at prescribed times throughout the course of the day, intended to evoke the subject matter of thought (the Islamic belief) to both believers and non-believers. This method of announcement ensures those who have to pray to God – which, it turns out, would be most of people around you – find an accessible and fitting way to do so. Beautifully decorated Mosques are spread out throughout the city.
Lovers of the ancient world can visit the Old City, but those with a love of music may want to open their minds to new sounds. There are souks, big ones, that are well-loved by travelling shopaholics and locals alike. Walking through a Moroccan Souk takes an open-minded approach. Travellers will be overwhelmed by an onslaught of sounds, smells and vibrant colours. The shopping is wonderful; affordable and made more affordable still by the beautiful art of haggling. Learn it, it’ll come in handy.