by David Coffey, Managing Director, Travel Services, CAA North & East Ontario
My wife and I researched “ different” destinations for two weeks and after looking through dozens of options, we decided on a two-week trip to Morocco with a small group. We’re comfortable travelling on our own, but needed a vacation that didn’t require a lot of preplanning.
To cut to the chase, we loved it! Morocco has everything – ancient ruins, crazy markets, stunning vistas and friendly, welcoming people. Sitting at the northwest tip of Africa, just a short hop from continental Europe, it’s a magical blend of cultures that is well worth the trip. Here are our top highlights, and why we would put Morocco on any bucket list!
Food! Tajines are a treat, usually a lightly spiced base of couscous baked with meat and veg; varieties of this aromatic dish vary to suit local tastes. Travelling down the Moroccan coast (in particular, Essaouira) offers the opportunity to feast on seafood, whereas further inland you’ll find more lamb, goat and other grazing beasts. Our local guide took us to indoor and outdoor eateries that offered amazing meals, all of which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Spellbinding architecture. There is so much detail in Moroccan architecture – the tiling is exquisite and featured on floors dating back to Roman times, as well as recent builds. You can lose yourself for hours admiring the attention to detail. Once you are done with the tile, take a peek at the carved wood and stonework, which are equally intricate.
Morocco is a living lesson in history. Explore lively markets that trace their roots back to biblical times and carry an aura (and sometimes an aroma) of authenticity and deep, living tradition. Then switch gears and roam Roman ruins in a tranquil countryside setting. It is the perfect country to stroll in a small group and listen to a local guide paint a verbal picture of life now as compared to the two millennia ago, where many older sites trace their birth.
Steeped in tea and coffee culture.. Our guide took us to a traditional Berber village where we were welcomed for tea inside a cool, earthen house. Our guide explained that a group, quietly listening to the tranquil burbling of tea meeting cup achieves the shared peace and camaraderie that fulfills the true destiny of every pot of tea. I used to think it was just a “cuppa!” As a largely Muslim country, alcohol is limited to more touristy locales, but the local beverages more than make up for it.
Shop till you drop. From glitzy, modern indoor malls with oversized, two-story fish tanks, to winding souks jammed with purveyors of just about everything, you cannot beat the shopping in Morocco. Where haggling over a carpet is as much about building a relationship between buyer and seller as it is agreeing on price. Here again, travelling with a smaller group enabled us to benefit from both the guide’s advice on quality and pricing, as well as having enough people to warrant carpet, pottery and other stores putting on a bit of a display to show off their wares.
Interested in seeing the magic of Morocco for yourself? Get help planning your trip there with the experts at CAA Travel! You’ll get the inside scoop on the best ways to meet your travel needs and budget, as well as information on insurance plans, and more.
Call CAA Travel at 613-820-1890 or 1-800-267-8713, or visit your nearest CAA Travel Store.