MOROCCO II


Essaouira
One of the highlights of our Moroccan adventure! We felt so free and happy after leaving Tamraght and we really enjoyed our short stay in the "Pearl of the Atlantic". We really felt like home, in part because it's a bit "european" and also because it's always VERY windy like Menorca.


We stayed in a lovely riad in the medina, in a quiet street parallel to the main road. We enjoyed long walks on the beach and the port, the windy sunsets and the crazy medina. 

Our lovely Riad in Essaouira

Homemade breakfast by Manuel on the rooftop of the Riad



We found a charming bookshop with old books in different languages




One of my favorite things from Essaouira was the street art; there are so many murals inside the medina, some of them with beautiful messages. If you have time to get lost through the crowded and narrow streets, enjoy them!





Some recommended places to eat vegan food in Essaouira: 

Tamouziga Bio. A small place run by a french lady with fresh juices and homemade sweets to take away. Juices are freshly made and they don't use frozen ingredients. The vegan brownie was soooo good that we went two more times to get it! 




Le corail et Latifa. Small restaurant run by a lovely couple. The menu was delicious and inexpensive. It's located in a quiet plaza with other charming restaurants (Place Chrib Atay). Very good option to escape from the crowds and have yummy vegan food (other than cous cous and tajine!). 




Yoo. Located in a quiet street not far from the port, they offer fresh juices, frozen yogurt and healthy food. The menu is small, but they have vegan options. We had a juice on the place and we asked vegan sandwiches to take away (hummus and grilled vegetables) that we ate in the bus on the way to Marrakech. The young couple who run the place is very friendly. 




To see more beautiful photos of Essaouira, check the Spanish blog Nada Incluido
  

Marrakech
We took a bus from Essaouira to Marrakech where we spent our very first night in Morocco in the "Red city".  We knew we wanted to go back, so we stopped there for a few nights on our way to the north. It was extremely hot! But we enjoyed our stay and found very charming places in that crazy and overwhelming city. 

The Kasbah Mosque

We stayed in a Riad run by two british ladies in the Kasbah area, a less touristic and more authentic neighborhood where the Royal Palace is. You can feel the real moroccan lifestyle without the crowds of tourists. 

Breakfast at the Riad

The Kasbah neighborhood

One of the things we enjoyed the most were the fresh juices. It was very hot and that was a delicious way to stay hydrated. We found a juice place not far from the Riad and we went there many times. Manuel loved the mango and orange juice and I discovered the panache, a mix of fruits. 


And we visited all the parks we could to find some shade and beat the heat.  You will find a lot of the locals doing the same!

Cyber Parc Arsat Moulay Abdeslam

Looking for the shade to beat the heat

The best lunch from the trip was in the vegetarian restaurant Gaia. We were walking all morning in the heat and we wanted somethings fresh, healthy and tasty. That was the perfect meal and exactly what we were looking for. The prices are european (= not economic) but it was totally worth it. 

Gaia has lovely decoration




In the Medina there is another vegetarian restaurant we tried called Broc the Kasbah. Again, it was nice to find some healthy and fresh food and we had a quiet dinner, as all the shops were already closing down. The portions are a bit small and so is the menu, but the service was very good and the owner is a designer and he sells his own clothes and accessories in the restaurant. 



Our last night in Marrakech we went to Café Clock to see Sara, a friend from Marrakech who we met in the surf camp in Tamraght. It was very nice to see her again and she gave us good insider tips! 
The café is a cultural centre that offers workshops, storytelling, concerts, cooking classes and much more, it's a beautiful project that keeps the moroccan culture and traditions alive. Café Clock is also in Fez and Chefchaouen. 


Sunset from Café Clock 


Rabat and Salé
During our stay in Morocco we wanted to do something meaningful and help people in need, so we contacted a NGO (non-profit) in Salé, a city next to Rabat (they are separated by the Bu Regreg river) to volunteer there. We took the train from Marrakech to Rabat and we met the manager of the school in the small town of Karia, where the school is located. The exchange was a few hours in the afternoon at the school (mainly conversation) for accommodation and food staying with a local family. But when we arrived he told us that all the host families were on holiday (it was in August) and the only place he could find was an apartment from his family, but we had to pay to stay there. We were surprised because this wasn't the deal and it definitely wasn't in our budget. 

Karia and its cafés

The street market in Karia

We went to the school to meet the students and we even went to the beach with them on the weekend. They were all very nice and open, we had a good time with them. But after 3 nights there still wasn't any local family available to host us so we had to leave. 


We played rummy on the beach with the students

Beach volleyball in Rabat

During our short stay in Karia-Salé we had time to visit Rabat, and we found it very clean and charming. It's much less touristic than the other cities in Morocco and we really liked it. I finally learned a valuable lesson: do not have expectations; I always travel with high expectations and I usually find myself being disappointed, but this time was great and I finally understood how important it is to have zero expectations!



 

                  

The Kasbah of the Oudayas is a beautiful place to get lost in. It's a fortified city built in the XII century and today is UNESCO'S list of Human Heritage. It has narrow streets with blue walls, a clean medina, an Andalusian Garden and the best view of the river, the Ocean and the beach. 



Andalusian Gardens inside the Kasbah


We were lucky enough to be in Rabat during the African Games, and we had the chance to see two volleyball matches: Cameroon vs. Egypt and Morocco vs. Algeria. 




Casablanca
We tried to find another school to volunteer at, but in the end it did't work out. We already had the train ticket to Casablanca, so we went there to visit the city and found out what plans life had for usWe stayed there for only one night, and we visited the Mosque of Hassan II, the biggest in Africa and the 3rd biggest in the world. We also had a walk inside the Medina (and we got lost!).



Plastic free peanuts in the medina

Juicing again! Casablanca wasn't as hot as Marrakech, but we were already addicted to juices

While in Casablanca, we tried to contact other places to volunteer and we got an answer from a Hungarian woman who has a language school in a small city and was looking for teachers. 


Khouribga
We took a bus from Casablanca to Khouribga to meet Eszter and visit her school. She went to Casablanca some years ago to do an internship and she met the love of her life there. They both went to live in Khouribga, his hometown, and she opened a language school there. 
Khouribga is a very small city, it's 120km away from Casablanca. There is not much happening there, but it's interesting to see the traditional lifestyle (there are zero tourists!). 



Eszter and her family were very, very nice to us. She said she was a traveller herself a few years ago and she met good people on her way, so she was returning all the favors she had received by being a good person and helping other travelers. A true angel! 


We stayed at her the apartment with Jon, another English teacher from Turkey and his kitty Hash. He was very nice and helpful, he showed us around and we taught him some Spanish. We went with Eszter and her family for a drink a few times and they invited us to spend the day with them at a public pool to escape the heat. They are lovely people and we felt really grateful! 



Pool day

She wanted us to stay and work at her school, she was very honest and clear about the job conditions, and we thought about it for days... but at that point Morocco wasn't a place we wanted to be at the moment, so despite her kindness and the good job offer we declined. 



After almost one week in Khouribga, we finally got an answer from another Workaway host. Eszter's place was nice and we were extremely grateful, but we weren't doing anything there and it was very hot, so the new offer we got sounded very good! It was from a french family in Dar Bouazza, a town by the ocean 30km away from Casablanca. We thought it could be very nice to finish our moroccan adventure in a house by the beach. 







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