Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara - Welcome to Marrakech!

The Cheers Travel /
Morocco and Western Sahara - We travelled to Morocco on 24th Nov 2008 & came back home on 7th Dec 2008. / post by Siim Einfeldt, Day 2 of the trip

Posts from this trip

- Journey to Morocco and Western Sahara – Düsseldorf Weeze
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara - Welcome to Marrakech!
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – trip to Agadir
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – Agadir, a place for tourists?
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – off to Laayoune, Western Sahara
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – Laayoune, Western Sahara
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – Laayoune, where’s the snitch?
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – Laayoune, Western Sahara (meeting with Islam)
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – back to Agadir
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – hmm, occupation?
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – Essaouira, anyone?
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – Amsterdam, back in Morocco?
- Journey To Morocco and Western Sahara – Weeze, forgotten village?
- Driving in morocco – all hell’s broken loose
- Morocco - work and poverty
- Hotels in Morocco – you get more than you pay for
- Morocco and dealing with street sellers
- Students and English teachers in Morocco
- Food in Morocco
- Prices in Morocco / Morocco price guide
- Morocco myths and reality
- Most common mistakes travelers make
- When searching for cheap airline tickets
The name Marrakech comes from a Berber language and means a Land of God. With its one million inhabitants the city is divided between two parts – the new town (Gueliz) and the old town (Medina).

Couple of decades ago Marrakech not only was the name of the city, but referred to the country itself. Morocco as a country was known by many as the Kingdom of Marrakech.

Marrakech airport has been built to use solar energy to heat and power the building. While we were there, the screen showing all the solar energy information was always down to 0% in the "solar energy currently used" space… that wasn’t too awe-awakening but then again, there was no sun at the time anyhow. Silly me.

Once you’re out of the airport, you can either take the bus or catch a taxi. It costs 20 Dirhams to get to town but the bus departures quite randomly so sometimes it’s a better idea to take a taxi instead. But be sure to negotiate – if they tell you a price of 100 Dirhams or more, you should be able to get it down to about 50 (we did) or even less.

But before you can actually get out of the airport, make your first cigarette after a long flight, and find your transportation into the city, you’ll be required to fill in a paper which you then give to the police/boarder guard. It’s a piece of paper where you write information about your passport, the place you stay in Morocco, your occupation, your reason for visiting Morocco, where you are coming from and so on. You need to fill in the same paper again and again in all hotels later on with only a few exceptions. I don’t know why they’d still ask for that information, considering most likely 90% the people lie at least about something (maybe about the next place they are going to visit – hell, I usually even don’t know that; or maybe about their profession).

The idea of submitting that information in the beginning of your trip as well as in every hotel is to make it possible for the police to track you down, should they feel the need to. But considering the truthfulness of the information submitted by a person who wouldn’t want to be found, it’s nonsense.

We arrived in Marrakech around 7pm and for the sake of simplicity for the first night, we decided to go to Hotel Des Voyageurs. The hotel my friend had stayed in the first time he was in Marrakech. The hotel is located in the new town, Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni, 40.

We aren’t really the most accurate bullets in the rifle and finding a target is usually a painful process, we still hadn’t started to believe the reality we had discovered back in Düsseldorf – we should never go to the direction we WANT to go, rather we always should take the OPPOSITE way. So it took us for nearly 2 hours to find the hotel 30 minutes walk away, walking back and forth and probably passing the hotel couple of times without even noticing it.

Once we finally got there we paid 200 Dirhams for a room for two (well, it was a hotel below my standards without a very decent bathroom or mainly, without hot water 23 hours a day, but a good place to finally have a rest anyway) and 10 minutes later we went off to find a place to eat. As it happened, we found a bar, which was just about 20 meters from our hotel, first and we couldn’t move on until we had been there. It was great – it wasn’t meant for tourists and usually those places tend to be better. Not that they look nicer but the aura, the feeling inside the place is what’s different. You can find a tourist bar in any country...but you don’t really even need to leave your own country to visit a tourist bar, right?

The next morning, before my friend had woken up, I sat down for a coffee in a cafeteria 30 seconds away from our hotel and finally started to see the real Morocco. At least something like 30% of it as Marrakech isn’t too bad comparing to some other towns in the Northern part of the country. And by bad I don’t really mean bad. I just mean all the selling that take place.

I think roughly within the first 5 minutes there were two guys who offered to sell me a Rolex, at least 3 guys offered to clean my shoes and a guy offering some perfumes. Surprisingly, I didn’t really mind, it was great and it seemed easy to let them know I’m not interested.

The same day we thought we’d go on to Agadir, town which supposedly is very expensive in Morocco (that was said in every town we were in, including Agadir itself) and we started walking towards the bus station .....

Continued in Next post....

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