My UK visa was expiring in March 2015, and I knew I didn’t want to go straight home after Scotland so I booked a ticket to Morocco and planned to explore the country for a month before heading back home. So here on some of my first impressions of Morocco:
Getting to Morocco
I ended up booking my flight to Morocco from London, because it was so much cheaper then flying from Edinburgh (anything to save a little bit of money, right?).
Before a big trip I’m always really excited to explore a new country and can’t sleep. This time was no different, I didn’t get any sleep the night before. On top of that, I had to get out of bed and catch my 7 hour bus from Edinburgh to London at 5 am. Oh and the day before I was packing up all my stuff and moving it to a friends place for storage. I suck at planning.
I arrived into London at around 1 pm, and I had booked my flight to Morocco for the next morning at 8 am.
I had planned to explore London for the day and then just spend the night in the airport (again the money saving thing). But in true London fashion after about 2 hours of wandering around it started pouring. And it didn’t look like it was going to lighten up any time soon. Oh and I didn’t get any sleep on the bus ride from Edinburgh to London.
So I grabbed some food, and then took the bus to the airport. Let me tell you, the London Luton airport has nothing to do. So let’s fastforward to landing in Morocco.
Leaving the Airport
I arrived in the early afternoon. The trip through security and getting my luggage was uneventful.
The first thing I noticed stepping out of the airport was the heat. Coming from England I was wearing jeans, a hoodie, and my trusty doc Martins all while dragging along my luggage.
As soon as you exit the airport there are taxi’s waiting that you can take that will take you to your hostel. There’s also a bus just across the street from the airport that will take you to the media.
I opted for the taxi, especially since I still didn’t get any sleep since leaving Edinburgh. It’s always good to look up how much a taxi ride from the airport should cost before getting into one. Or check with your Hostel to see how much the ride should cost. The airport taxi has a set fare of 20 euros from the airport, but still check with the driver before getting in, as most taxi’s in Morocco don’t bother using the meter.
The drive took about 20 minutes. My hostel was located right in the old Medina.
My driver stopped on a busy street and told me my hostel was just down the street. Before I got out of the cab, he called over a young kid and handed my luggage to him and gave him the address to my hostel. Before I had a chance to tell the kid “no” he was already walking towards my hostel.
I figured I was too tired to try and figure out how to get there on my own anyways. We walked for about 2 minutes and we were at my hostel. The kid wanted 20 Euros for helping me find my hostel. I refused to pay him that much. By this time I was standing in front of the hostel and the woman running it came outside. She yelled at the kid in Arabic, and I gave him a much smaller tip.
Normally I would’t pay a child for a service, but I didn’t have a chance to stop him from taking my luggage. This seems to be common all over in Morocco. People are always willing to help you carry your luggage and find your hostel, normally for a much smaller price then what this child was asking for.
The woman brought in my suitcase and showed me to my room. I quickly changed my shoes and headed down to pay for my stay. There was a girl from New Zealand who just arrived at the hostel as well, and we decided to take a quick wander around the area.
We picked a busy street and started walking down it. The roads in the Medina are chaotic, full of cars, donkeys, scooters and people. The roads are narrow and can normally only fit one car going one way at a time.
As we were walking men would yell “nice tits”, and other uncomfortable and inapproiate things. Young boys would tell us we were going the wrong way and the big square was that way. We’d say we were just going for a walk. They’d leave us alone after that.
We ended up stumbling upon Marrakesh’s tannery. As soon as someone noticed us as we took a peak, they were offering us some mint to smell, so it’d cover the smell of the leather. We took a quick tour of the tannery, but before leaving it we were lead into a carpet shop-a common happening in Morocco.
The man running the carpet shop offered us some mint tea, and continued to tell us about how each carpet was made while piling them on top of use so we could feel them. He said no pressure to buy, and we told him we weren’t interested in a carpet thank him and left.
As we left his shop we were lead to another shop. This one selling spices and Berber make-up. Again not interested in purchasing anything, after a few minutes we thanked him for showing us around and left.
As you leave a man asked for some money for the tannery/shop tour. I can’t remember what he asked for but we negotiated down a bit, paid him and heading back to the hostel for a much needed nap. (remember still haven’t slept since Edinburgh)
My First Impressions of Morocco
-It’s chaotic. cars are consistently honking, cars are crazy.
-Every one is willing to help you….for a price
-It’s hot, very hot. Even in April.
-During the day Marrakesh is busy, but the city really comes alive at night
-If you’re a woman, you will be harassed no matter how modestly you dress, although I was constantly harassed in Morocco, I never felt threatened or unsafe.
Although my first couple of impressions in Morocco may not have been the greatest ones, I still loved the country. It took some getting use to, but I’ll defiantly be going back. There’a still a few more cities I’d like to explore more of.
So there you have it my first slightly hazy impressions of Morocco.