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Morocco Road-trip: 5 days, 4 cities, and 2 girls

Estefania's travel.


Hey everyone! My name is Estefanía Navarro. I’m 21 years old, I’m a university student, and my main hobby is to travel around the world taking pictures and sharing my experience on my Instagram site @Fefitravels. Now, with the situation concerning the COVID-19 I miss travelling so much that I decided to do a little throwback to one of my favourite trips of these past two years: Morocco!

I went with my sister Nieves for five days to do a road trip around morocco and see as many places as possible in 5 days! It was intense.

A few days before arriving in Morocco we booked all our Riads (traditional Moroccan houses to stay at) through Booking.com. We booked all of them with Breakfast included so we could save the most and have dinner later on in traditional Moroccan restaurants.

As soon as we arrived at Marrakesh airport, we rented a car. Best idea ever! The best you can do if you are a driver and are travelling with other people is to rent a car as it is the cheapest and easiest way to move around Morocco. (you also get a little bit of freedom to do whatever you want, something you don’t really have when going with a travel agency itinerary).

To tell you about my experience in Morocco I'm going to use some of my favourite pictures of this trip and tell you the story behind each of them. For the pictures, we used our camera which is a Canon 60D and our IPhone for others. For the record, we did not really edit our pictures. The only editing we did was through the use of two IPhone apps: VCSO and Snapseed. These are free apps anyone can download in their phones and are great to intensify colours in your pictures! Totally recommend them. Now, let’s get to it!


Marrakesh

This picture was taken the first day of our trip, probably a few hours after arriving to Marrakesh. I am looking at the Kasbah Mosque, situated in the Méchouar Kasba, a few streets from our Ryad the Ryad Alkarim Mamoun, 100% recommendable!, and in the heart of the old Kasbah of Marrakesh. It is one of the most important historical mosques in Marrakesh. it is a Friday mosque, and was originally built by the Almohad caliph Yaqub al Mansour.

As you can see, and will see in most of my pictures, I am wearing a long skirt, and normal t-shirt. We tried to respect their religion and traditions where women don’t show their skin as much as possible. Of course, they respect tourism, and therefore foreign cultures, but it has to be done both ways.


After visiting the Medina, and having lunch at the Jemma el Fna central Market, we walked to our next destination:


The Majorelle Garden

It was created by the French artist Jacques Majorelle in 1923 during the colonial period in which Morocco was administrated by France. In 1980 this place was bought by the French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, saving it from falling victim to a real state project and becoming a hotel complex.

It is a place that you cannot miss because is full of exotic plants such as huge cacti, palm trees, bamboo plants that surrounded this beautiful blue house, that is hosting a museum dedicated to the Berber culture, where the objects of their everyday life are displayed, as well as ornaments, jewellery, and a textile collection designed by Yves Saint Laurent. In addition, there is a boutique, a cafe, and the Gallery Love to see a collection of posters designed by Yves Saint Laurent.

In the gardens you can find a lovely fountain, as well as little ponds with lilies and aquatic plants. It was very pleasant to walk under these leafy trees. I recommend this place because I don’t think there is anything similar in the world. Beautiful to walk around, and enjoy the shade from the burning sun.


We went there walking from the Medina of Marrakesh in the afternoon just after we had lunch at the central market Jemma el Fna. It took us around 30 minutes, although I would recommend you guys take some type of transport as the weather makes it difficult to walk around for such a long time. We got there in the afternoon and it was quite nice as it was not as crowded as we expected. We had to pay 14€ for both of us as students. Totally worth it!

The Jemma el Fnaa.

It is a square and market place of the old city, used by locals and tourists. It was founded in the XI century, and it was declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. During the day you can find orange juice stalls, buy the traditional water-bags, taste the the traditional local food, have a cup of tea, and taste its delicious sweets. This place is know for its active concentration of traditional activities by storytellers, snake charmers, musicians and performers, and you can even get the typical henna tattoos.


The square is surrounded by restaurants, hotels, shops and public buildings. It is great to come here for the sunset. We decided to go around 6 as the sunset was set at 6:55 that day to be able to choose a good spot to see the sun drop, and take some shots. We sat in a terrace restaurant, and ordered some drinks so we could sit down. Something you might find useful is that as these restaurants are for tourists they are way more expensive to eat at, so if you only want to sit to watch the sunset you are allowed to only buy some drinks, don’t feel pressured to buy a full meal for this. It is way better to eat in the food market as you get to try the real local Moroccan food. Tastier and cheaper!

This picture was taken with the camera 60D and we did not need to edit it at all. It was beautiful to watch the sunset which was accompanied of some local Moroccan music and noise of the people at the market.


Ksar of Ait Ben-Haddou.

In our second day trip in Marroco, we decided to drive to the south to this amazing place. We had driven 6h to get there. We left Marrakech at 4 am that morning, and the lovely host of our Riad woke up as well to serve us breakfast so, we wouldn’t leave without eating. So cute. We arrived there at 9 am of the next day.

Ksar is the North African term for "fortified village”. This is a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls. A village made of clay, where their villagers are proud to say that several series such as Game of Thrones, and some movies have been filmed in. The site was also one of the many trading posts on the commercial route linking ancient Sudan to Marrakesh by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n'Telouet Pass. The community areas of the ksar include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts, a fortification, and two cemeteries: Muslim and Jewish.


Despite the interestingness of the place, we could not find the entrance to the city, something quite curious. So, we decided to go around looking for the best spot to take this picture.


Merzouga, The Sahara Desert.

We stayed one night, and slept in tents in the middle of the desert. It was the best experience ever! This was booked in advance, and was probably the most expensive experience of the whole trip. However, I recommend 100% to book a proper tent hotel for this as you will enjoy the experience much more. Ours was called Desert Heart Luxury Camp. It comes with different services: you get to choose if you want to get to the camp by a 4x4 or by camels. We chose the car as we are against the use of animals for tourism.


We had dinner outside, and after dinner we got to chill in an area set with carpets, cushions and a fire in the middle while drinking tea, and watching the stars while they play traditional Moroccan musical instruments. I personally stayed there till 3 am in the morning just to look at the sky because I have never seen something so beautiful before.


This picture was taken the following day, where my sister and I stopped to take some more pictures as the other people staying in the camp with us rushed us to leave which didn’t leave us much time to take pictures. It was quite funny because our car got stuck on the sand, and a group of locals came to help us, then they offered us to take us to the middle of the Sahara for a quick photoshoot et voila! The picture was taken with an Iphone 7 plus and edited with Snapseed.


Fez

This is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat. And I have to say this is the most chaotic city in Morocco that we went to. It has a very busy Medina where its likely you’ll get lost at some point, and locals knew how to take advantage of that even when you didn’t want help. We felt a little bit followed on occasion, however we got to enjoy getting lost in the Medina, and immersing ourselves with the Moroccan culture. The tanneries are one of the famous places to visit in Morocco. It is the most traditional and characteristic artisan activity in the city.


This picture is taken form a roof, don’t ask me which one… we don’t really know how we got there. A local showed us around, and we ended up here. It was so interesting to see each step they take to carry out the tannery, from cleaning the skins to discolouring them. In each circular space they place the different natural dyes, the water for the baths, rinses and everything they need. People use camel, lamb, ox and goat skins that end up turning into leather for clothing, shoes, bags, and even cushions. I must say it is really awesome! When you step inside, they give you Mint leaves to hide the odour as people can't take it. If you ask me it wasn’t as bad as they say.


In Fez you have a huge variety of stores to buy souvenirs. There is also a lot of lamp stores that when you go in take you to the set of Aladdin, and make you feel like Jasmine. No Jokes!

This was one of them. I decided to put this picture here because it shows the talent these locals have in making these lamps. I’d love the have one, but our budget was tight, and our backpacks weren’t big enough to bring one back home. If you do have a large budget, and fancy one of these lamps , I would suggest you buy it in Fez as the prices are quite cheap compared to other cities.

We took this picture when the owner was distracted as you are not allowed to take pictures inside so be careful!



Chefchaouen

After spending two days in Fez we took the car again, and drove 9h to Chefchaouen, in the north of Morocco. Here we came to see the blue pearl of Morocco as locals call it, the city of Chefchaouen. The most beautiful village we visited so far. Everything was blue, all the walls of every corner of this village followed that aesthetic. Villagers take care of it as they know it is a gem, and that people love to come and see it. We stayed in a Riad called Där Akout, very happy with it, the breakfast was delicious, views are so relaxing although don’t forget to wake up early for it.


In Chefchaouen the main thing everyone does is take pictures, of course. It is probably one of the most Instagramable cities in the world. The place where we took this picture is not on the streets, it’s actually the front garden of a house. You must pay 5€ to enter and take the picture. Although if you are lucky like us, and go early you can stay longer and take loads of pictures. Recommendable if you want to get one of the most wanted backgrounds of Instagram. This was taken with the Canon 60D camera.


Chefchaouen was the last city we visited in our trip, after this we drove 10h back to Marrakech where we spent our last night before coming back home.

I wanted to leave this picture of me and my sister, my travel buddy, as without her this trip would have not been possible, literally, as she was the one driving the whole time (Plot Twist: I don’t drive!)


To end this mini blog about my trip in Morocco I wanted to say that if you are thinking to travel to Morocco (once coronavirus eases of course) Do it! 100%. Some people don’t like it or feel unsafe, but I'd say that when you travel to another country you need to go with an open mind, and immerse yourself in their culture as much as possible. Because travelling is that for me, getting to know other cultures and meet people from everywhere in the world. Of course, it can be scary sometimes, I have had unpleasant situations while travelling but it is all part of the experience, and it’s cool to have these memories, so always take it with positivity! Morocco is an amazing country, and I'd love to go back one day and visit the coast side.


If you ask people what photography means for them most people will tell you it means: capturing moments. I completely agree with that but for me it goes to a next level, it’s a way to express myself through pictures, creating content that says something about me. It’s an art and a legacy. A way to create memories and capture them. That is why I enjoy photography so much specially when travelling around the world, a way of bringing a piece of that country back with me.

Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

By Estefanía Navarro Fuentes.

Follow me in Instagram: @fefitravels

English correction: Rebecca Brown

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