This week, for Travel Tip Tuesday, Cherrye and I are focusing on destinations. As you might have figured out by now, my two favorite destinations are France and Italy. But, believe or not, I know there are other great places on this planet of ours and I would love to visit them all!!
It is hard to pick just one, but this week I am going to focus on my top pick.
Morocco. Stunning Morocco. Why Morocco, you ask?
Well, first of all, it does have a French influence. Maybe that has something to do with it, non?
Secondly, I think it has a bit of a mysterious feel to it. It's a bit different. It is not at the top of everyone's must-see list. In fact, I bet most would not think to go there and many will never make it there in their lifetime. Morocco seems to fly under the radar, virtually unnoticed.
You know the movie Casablanca? Well, Casablanca is in Morocco. And for most, that is all they know about Morocco. Well, you may have also Rocked the Casbah, to the Clash, back in the day. But seriously, that's it!
But there is so much more, let me show you…
Morocco has beautiful deserts. Deep terracotta colored sand dunes, like this one. So beautiful.
And since it is on the coast of Africa, it has beautifully clear aquamarine water and red jagged cliffs. Breathtaking.
And then there is the eye-popping architecture. Bright bold colors like azure blue, burnt orange and mint greens set against pure white and clay colored structures.
The arches that I love so much in France and Italy, are similar, yet distinctively different here. They have a round shape, but come to more of a point at the tip. It is very unique. And the mosaic tile-work is just exquisite.
Though in the desert, it is also home to tropical foliage and lush gardens, like the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh.
Souk's are a dream come true for a flea market queen like me. These markets are filled with everything from handmade Moroccan wooden carved furniture, lanterns, slippers, rugs, pottery, food and spices. A trip to a souk would be a must for me!
And speaking of food, the cuisine is also intriguing and sounds deliciously different. Of course, I am familiar with couscous, which is a Moroccan dish, but I would love to sample a Tagine. This is a traditional North African dish named after the pot used to cook it. It is like a slow cooked stew, containing a meat, vegetables and many different spices native to the area. I'd also sample some Harira, a traditional Moroccan soup, as well as the ubiquitous mint tea.
I have never been on vacation to an area where camels roam or better yet, are used as transportation. And that also intrigues me. Now, I have seen camels up close and personal at petting zoo's, but that's the extent of my contact. They aren't necessarily pretty creatures, but I think it might be fun to go for a camel ride, don't you?
And after said camel ride would be the perfect time to partake in a spa-like experience…local style! How about a visit to a hammam? These are tiled bathhouses with steam rooms, baths, scrubs and some even have massages. I'd love to experience this. The goal is to wash yourself off, open your pores with hot steam, scrub yourself down 'till you're baby smooth and then rub in some aromatic oil.
And now for some practical info:
The most well-known area's in Morocco are Casablanca, Marrakesh, Tangier and Fès.
The currency is called the Dirham. Currently one Dirham is equal to approx .14 USD, which makes it an excellent spot to visit in the current economy!
Morocco is very close to Europe, so ferries are available from Spain, France and Italy. Check here for schedules and rates. It is also very easy to fly from Europe to Morocco. Flights are available from the US as well. Royal Air Maroc is Morocco's airline.
Once in Morocco, trains seem to be the best way to get around.
To read more about Morocco, check the following links to these articles or blogs that offer a wealth of information.
So, I hope you have enjoyed this armchair tour of Morocco. After writing this and posting these fabulous photos of the area, it makes me even more determined to get there…someday. But, once I get the bug…it's hard to think of anything else until I can make it happen!
Morocco waits for you….will you go? If you have been, what was your impression? What is one of your dream destinations?
And, don't forget to pop on over to Cherrye's blog to see which destination she is highlighting today!!