When planning for a splendid holiday full of attractions in a faraway land, this time around it was Morocco on my mind in an instant!!!
Let me tell you that Morocco in fact should make it to your winter holidays bucket list for more than one reason. I had always heard about its astonishing beaches, historical remnants, cultural attractions and of course the its unabashed natural splendor. Now, I was ready to enjoy a warm winter holiday in comfort while enjoying some great site visiting too!
So, here’s to plenty of sunshine, warmth and recreation as I hit the streets of Morocco…
Romancing at Casablanca
Most people would immediately associate Morocco with the Casablanca made so famous by the romantic movie of the same name. The city surely lives up its reputation of having plenty of plush hotels, restaurants and of nightclubs for some outstanding nightlife experience. Its sheer entertainment from dawn to dusk!
But there is much more to Morocco than Casablanca. I was in a mood to explore and savor the true taste of the spirit of the country and headed out to different destinations. Having had my share of and frivolity at Casablanca, I headed out to soak in the true essence of this historically rich and culturally vivid land!
Marrakech mystery land
My next stop was at Marrakech, that is known for its rich historical and cultural attractions that make it so beautiful. The city in fact showed me what a true Arabian Night can be like with its snake charmers and fire eaters performing alongside with belly dancers and musicians. The lip-smacking true and authentic taste of traditional Moroccan dishes and the experience of living in Marrakesh riad was like being transported to another era and time. I also spent considerable time at the Djemaa El Fna Square that exposes the complete cultural colors of the country.
The Asilah splendor & splash
It was time to move on and what better option than the bright Asilah a mix of Spanish taste served with Moroccan tradition! The town can be explored in a day and its inspiring artwork is something to be amazed by. In fact, the wall art in the old town is its main attraction and you will bump into tourists admiring one or the other murals that fill the whole world.
Asilah has a rampart that was built by the Portuguese back in the 15th century. Ever since, the walls have been cared for and the art maintained. Together, they give character to this charming town keeping its history alive and kicking. The rampart has two piers that stretch out to the ocean and encase the medina. The southern part remains open giving tourists the opportunity to witness spectacular view of the sunset.
The typical colonial and Moorish style Church of San Bartolome stands to the northwest of the center of Asilah. It was built by the Spanish Franciscans and is among the few churches in Morocco that are allowed to ring the Sunday Mass bells. A living sign of Catholic presence in the Islamic country, it still houses resident nuns that are more than happy to give visiting tourists a guided tour.
The El Hamra is another 15th century iconic and charming tower built by the Portuguese that is well-preserved and suited for some picture postcard photos.
Asilah is well-known for its charming beach that is directly off the old medina and its beauty has aptly named it the Paradise Beach. It is among the most tranquil beaches that is perfect to enjoy some secluded moments that I enjoyed to sooth my mind and body while enjoying the typical Spanish chiringuito.
To cape off my visit to the city, I went to the Souk that also happened to be a Thursday which is the market day. The enchanting stalls filled with all types of goods, souvenirs and textile makes it a marvelous alternative to the sterile malls in the cities! I was more than happy making a couple of buys from the local artists that come rushing to any tourist to sell their goods. Bargaining is a way of life here and I made a good buy starting with one-third of the price they asked for!!!
The Chefchaouen blue pearls
Having rested the night at one of the well-appointed hotels of the town, I headed out for Chefchaouen the next morning. It is easy to recognize this “blue pearl of Morocco” from its blue color! Going back in time, the Chefchaouen was founded by the Jews and the Moors that fled Spain in 1471. There is of course no dearth of accounts as to its blue color! While some say that it represents the blue of the sea, yet some other say that the blue was painted by the fleeing Jews to keep mosquitoes away. Whatever be the reason, the town is just picture-perfect that way!
It is only when I was in town and felt the chill that I realized that the town is built up on the mountains with an amazing landscape view. Its an ideal place to go hiking for those of you that wish to add that sporty twist to your holidays. To escape the cold, many go to the local hammam or bathhouse where people are given a scrub on their skin to leave it warm and tingling! I skipped it and headed straight for some good local food!
It turned out to be a perfect holiday in this quaint country that has so much to offer than meets the eye and left for home with a heart full of warm memories to cherish for the rest of my life!!!