Me and my friend Zane already for a long time were planing to go to Morocco, as it is so close to Portugal. And finally, thanks to cheap flights we had this opportunity. With backpacks, small amount of money and smart tips we read in internet four of us were meeting up in Oporto airport at rainy and cold morning. A bit of stress and not so much of a sleep, but that did not matter, we all were excited and curious – first time going to Africa.
After not so long flight we landed in Marrakesh airport, air smells different, colours are warmer and its WARM! After 30 minutes of passport checks etc. we were out on the street, taxis are all around , but I suggest to take a bus, as I read it is much cheaper. According to internet the cheapest price to get taxi to center is 150 Dh ( Around 14 Eu). Me and Zane are already in the bus stop, but our boys are eager to ”make some business ” and they seem very good at it, but of course not better than Moroccans as we learned during the trip. After ten minutes and exchanging of phrases we later hear a lot, like ”my friend, the best price for you”, ” no, no you are not serious” and ” whats Ur last price” we are in the cab. 100 Dh and we are on the way to Medina, the center. On the way to center we are amazed by the traffic, humongous amounts of motorbikes, even barbarian woman, all covered on bikes, some guy holding little baby with one hand on his knee, with another trying to maneuver trough crazy traffic and roundabouts.
The taxi lets us out near main square of Marrakesh, now we have a plan to find a hostel or riad ( hostel kind of houses) near square , but still low price. Locals here are all about business, they see that we just arrived as we have bags and we still are pale, so everyone tries to get our attention offer hotels, hostels and riads, but me being a smart ass, answers that ”we booked one already”. Though after few hundred meters we start a conversation with two doubtful looking young guys. They promise to show us a cheap riad close to main square. Doubtfully we are following them trough big crowd and after some minutes we are in front of closed door in a tiny street next to the main square. The doors open a funny looking older guy, he shows us riad. Zanes first impression is : ” no way I will sleep here”, seems like riad is under a bit of construction, the room they offered for us has a separate bathroom and toilet, BUT without doors, so everybody in the room can pretty much see, listen you taking a shower or going to the toilet:) Non the less as all riads, this one has a nice roof top as well. We start to talk about the price, to see is it worth it or should we look for another place. The guy asks for a room 600 dh per night, we laugh, then he understands we are not complete dumb asses and asks for 400 Dh, which would be less than 10 EU per night, but we think we can find a cheaper and better place. As we are trying to leave the house, the guy does not want to let us out and gives us ”last price” 350 Dh. We agree, as we are tired and hungry. After leaving our things and finding out that key of the room does not work, we ask about safety of our things. The man just answers: ” It is a top security here, I never move away from here, and if I am not here, there is other man! Top SECURITY!” We laugh and afterwards it is a joke of our trip.
After a lunch and short walk around and eating snails for 5 dh ( around 50 cents) we are back in a riad, to rest and drink some rum and cola we have brought with us. On the rooftop we meet a funny looking Czech rasta, who is in Morocco for a third time, he is planing on leaving Marrakech in the morning and go spend a month hiking in the mountains. We are listening to his stories, but after a while we have an impression that he is always high and/or drunk and has no slightest idea what he is doing, what so ever he is quiet entertaining. After a while, some rum colas and chilling with a background sound of praying and crowd of main square we decide to go and have dinner. Every night at dinner there are huge restaurant tents build, some of them are decorated with heads of goats, some more traditional – with big mountains of all kind of food. We stop at one, where ”chef Silva” after getting to know our boys are from Portugal starts to shout out all kind of random Portuguese words he knows. The food is delicious, and cheap and we are entertained by a show, how waiters are trying to get tourists to eat at their place. Such a circus ! When we are done and want to pay, the old wise man comes and makes some only for him understandable counting. Our bill, no matter who ate what , is 40 Dh per person ( less than 4 Eu)including bread, olives and souse for bread. Full and happy, the first day is over!
On the second day we got lucky and found a perfect place for cheap breakfast, crepe with honey, chocolate or cheese only 4 Dh ( around 40 cents) and a wide choice of natural juices ( even avocado !). In the end the guy liked us a lot, or they had some special breakfast offer, because every time we ate there, and no matter how much we always paid 10 Dh for whole breakfast, juice including.
The second day in Morocco was spent in a rather touristic way, we went to see the Majorelle garden ( 40 Dh enterence !) and had a ride with horses. In my opinion, nothing special, I rather enjoyed the spontaneous getting lost in the city than seeing touristic places. Anyway, on the way back from the garden we got completely lost and entered, what it seemed poor people area. Zane and Miguel got attacked by little kids and a football ball. All the way trough the block we were followed by at least 10 kids. Funny for me, scary for Zane. The day ended with nice dinner in the restaurant next to the main square ( again not more than 40 Dh per person) and the rooftop.
Next day we were planing on leaving Marakesh at 11.oo, we had an agreement to rent a cheap car from the local company, we had to meet them at one of the squares. Getting a car was a new adventure again, we waited for them just for 2 hours and when they arrived they, of course, took with them more expensive car than we ordered, but we still agreed – 30 Eu per day, 4 doors, air conditioning etc. Pretty awesome! We are on our way to Essouira, the town next to the ocean side. after few hours we are there, Essauira is nothing like Marrakesh, it is clean, white and very turistic. The old town/center of the city is surrounded by walls and contains of huge amount of small tiny streets and markets to get lost in. When it comes to prices we are even smarter now, we walk around and look for different riads, in the end we find a beautiful one, which coast 35 eu per person, but we get a special price, 10 eu 🙂 Moroccian style, with beautiful room, living room and rooftop. Breakfest ( fresh orange juice, crepes, bread, jam, honey ) included. Happy, but tired we walk around, have a nice dinner and local beer on a rooftop. Thats it for this night, tomorrow off to Tagazout – best surfspot in Morocco!
Next day, 200 km more and we are in Tagazout. Such a surfer town, with beaches for everyone, beginners, intermediate and pros. Rui has friends staying here, so we decide to share house with them, 5 meters away from pro surfspot – Anchor point. Beautiful, but rocky beach, nice houses and atmosphere, when it is high tight, we can ahve a refreshing shower of waves right in our front yard:) All the houses there are lined up next to each other facing ocean. Around surfer families, friends – people from all around the world. After barganing about prices of stay and some little issues we are finally unpacked ! Three days no moving anywhere else, this is the paradise ! Lazy mornings and afternoons on front yard whaching pros surfing and catching sun, cooking dinner on the grill and wondering around the area. I thought it is perfect, but then Rui decided to be super awesome and give me a private lession in surfing ( we got to know each other , when he was a teacher of the surfcourse I took a year ago). So we headed to a different beach, some kilometers away, on the way one more check on ” definetly to do things”. We stop beside huge field with camels and take pictures like real tourists. The beach good for my beginner surfing, was not so clean and nice. Little kids with camels trying to get you on them and make a picture to get some cents, lots of tourists and surf school students, but yeah, it still was fun 🙂
The good surprise for us was going to shopping center in Agadir, very touristic and modern city near by. This was the only big shopping center we saw in all our trip. It took us some hour to find it, but it was defenatley worth it! Little insight in prices :
- huge choice of olives ( black, green, purple, with pickles, chilli and other things) one kilo around 2 eu.
- menthol Halls ( my addiction!) 20 cents per package ( imagine how much of them I bought ! :D)
- muffins, little chocolates and other snacks starting from 9 cents
- avocado aroun 1 eu per kilo
- local beer 1, 6o eu for half a liter, imported beer expensiver
- cheapes gin, 1 L 10 Eu
Some more time in the paradise of surfers and we already had to head back to the Morocco. Last day in there – shopping day. We went to the same riad. Now, we are owners friends already, the price gets even cheaper. Well, we even did not bargan about it, we just gave him smaller amount and he did not seem unhappy about it at all 🙂
Each of us knew already what we want and where to buy it. Zane got cheap and nice leather shoes, I got scarf for mom and hand made puzzle for my bro. Rui, gave away his old T-shirts and got two handmade, nicley painted wooden things for 2 eu and so on. On the way back from the tiny streets of market we met a very nice owner of the spice shop. Who gave us free and the best mint tea we tried there ( mixed with chilli, cinamon and other spices), showed us his photo album, showed his pet chamleon and dressed Miguel in the tradicional outfit. We promissed him to come back and exchanged with emails.
All smiling and with fool bags we were on our way to airport, this time, once again, cheaper taxi than ever.
Goodbye Morocco, and we will definatley be back as soon as possible 🙂