Lost in Africa: Molly Gallagher Explores Morocco

Blogging Your Trip, Dispatches from the Road, Food & Wine, Morocco, Studying Abroad — By on November 25, 2009 at 7:00 am

By Molly Gallagher
LG International Correspondent

When I arrived to Morocco I had no idea what to expect. I traveled to the country through a group called Morocco Exchange. The program is meant to give Americans a better understanding of Islam and the cultural differences that exist. I knew nothing about Morocco before I went and I knew very little about Islam, so I wanted to experience the country and religion for myself.

Some things to know before you go:
• Muslims pray five times a day. At some point you will hear the call to prayer. Some Moroccans go to the mosque when they hear the call and others continue on with their day.
• If you are a woman dress modestly. You do not have to cover yourself head to toe, but wear pants, at least a t-shirt, and a sweater or jacket.
• If you buy things at the market-BARGAIN. Often they will say no at first, but if you start to walk away they will most likely lower the price.
• Don’t drink the water! If you are planning to live in Morocco or stay for an extended period of time then start drinking and get used to it, but it you are only there for a few days stick to bottled! It’s not worth being sick.

Cities and Places to Visit:
• Tangier – Located on the northern most coast of Morocco. The city has great views of the Gibraltar.
• Rabat – This is the capital of Morocco. Some things to visit: Roman Ruins of Chellah. The Roman ruins in Rabat are special, because you can walk through the ruins and they are not gated off. The ruins are twenty minutes outside of the center city of Rabat. The Mausoleum contains the tombs of King Mohammed V (current King of Morocco’s grandfather) and his sons. The building in which they are buried is beautiful and covered in Moorish style tiles.

• Asilah – A town close to Tangier in northern Morocco. It is on the Atlantic Coast. There are white washed walls throughout the entire city and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. An arts festival takes place in the city once a year, so there are several wall murals all over the city.
• Rif Mountains – We visited a portion of the Rif mountain range in the northern part of Morocco.
• Chefchaouen – Also in the north, but not on the coast. This was the most touristy town I visited, but still beautiful. The buildings are all white and blue-washed. If you go, take a walk in the morning outside of the city gate to see the village while locals are heading to work and school, as well as to see amazing views of the town. The markets in Chefchauouen were a little cheaper than Rabat, so if you go to both cities wait to do your shopping in Chefchauouen

Food to Try:
• Couscous – In Morocco Couscous is traditionally eaten on Friday’s, because Friday is a religious day. In Morocco, couscous is made with potatoes, carrots, onions, chicken, zucchini and other vegetables. Moroccans eat the dish with a spoon or with their hands.
• Chicken Tajine – This chicken dish is stewed in a sauce similar to curry. However, the sauce contains olives and lemons. It is served with vegetables or potatoes.
• Bastilla – This food is a delicacy in Morocco. Moroccans serve it as restaurants, for special occasions or at weddings. The dish is a mixture of eggs, almonds, and chicken (sometimes seafood) encased in a pastry and topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
• Fresh Fruit – Especially the pomegranates and clementines
• Pastry Shop Treats – Visit a local shop to sample the bread and any sweet pastry!

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  • Lily Riani says:

    i went to morocco 2 years back, covered marrakech – a must go city and casablanca – nothing like the song. would like to advice travelers to check with respective embassy on travel in/out as we got into trouble when exiting via tangier port. apparently your traveling in/out must be of the same mode, ie you cant travel in via plane and out via ship/cruise.

    not sure whtr others experience the same.

    other then that, i miss morocco and plan to go again.

  • Courtney says:

    I went to Morocco last Spring and I would support Lily's comment about checking in with the embassy. It was such an interesting country and it took me awhile to appreciate their culture… but now I really do. I would love to return to Morocco and explore more that it has to offer! Definitely visit Casablanca and Marrakech… two GREAT cities. I would also recommend going country side and seeing the beautiful land in Morocco. See more of my Moroccan adventure at: cmcarr.tumblr.com

  • workhard says:

    Those pictures are lovely.. Morocco must be a very beautiful place but a tough place to live because of cultural differences!!

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  • Moha says:

    Nice blog and great experience, youa re weolcome in Morocco