Chefchaouen, Morocco, North Africa.

Title

There’s a reason why you should add a Moroccan sunrise to your bucket list

Published June 6th, 2017

There are very few places left in the world that haven’t been touched in some way by globalisation. However, when you travel to the Middle East and North Africa, there are still incredible artifacts and customs, recognisable from the ancient civilisations that walked the land before.

Whether it’s in the colossal ruins of Petra, Jordan or in the textiles and jewellery being sold among narrow souks and medinas in Morocco. The spirit of travel and mystery is alive in these otherworldly destinations.

We had a chat with our travel expert, Steph Dunn of Student Flights Curtin, who recently followed the path less travelled on a once in a lifetime Road to Marrakech trip with Topdeck.

Where did you travel on your two-week trip?

I started my trip in Barcelona with a few nights by myself to get over the jetlag and explore. I then headed to Madrid by train to join my Topdeck tour. From there we travelled to Granada, before catching a ferry over to Morocco (Did you know you can actually see Africa from the southern coast of Spain!?). In Morocco, we visited Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech and Asilah before heading back up to Seville in Spain. We had two nights in Lisbon, Portugal and then finished back in Madrid.

That’s a huge trip! Tell us, what was the shopping like?

The shopping in Morocco was great - we visited so many local stalls and got lost in the medinas a few too many times. Our local guide in Marrakech took us to a leather shop and tannery in the middle of a medina where we were able to learn how they make all their leather goods. We were even able to make a few things too! 

 

Some women might find it intimidating travelling through Morocco, how did you find it?

Mostly I felt safe while I was in Morocco, but it can definitely be intimidating if you are walking around without a male companion, even if you're in a group with other females. If you've got a male with you the locals tend to pay less attention to you.

 

Can you tell me a little about some of the food you ate in Spain, specifically how were the Tapas?! 

The food was amazing in Spain - we went out for a group dinner for tapas one night in Seville and it was great to experience the local food. We ate a lot of cheese and olives alongside other typical dishes including Spanish omelettes, Patatas bravas (a type of fried potato), and of course you can't forget to wash it all down with a glass (or three) of Sangria.

Is there anything you forgot to pack or would recommend packing for this sort of trip?

Because the Topdeck accommodation is so central this sometimes meant we had to walk through the Medina to get to our hostel, or the streets were too narrow to get the coach all the way there. I would definitely recommend taking a backpack or smaller bag that's easier to carry just so you can pack a couple of day’s worth of clothes and valuables then leave the rest on the coach. 

 

What is your favourite city and memory from the trip?

Chefchaouen was our first stop in Morocco and we only had one night there but it was one of my favourite destinations.

We arrived late in the afternoon and walked around town and shopped at the local markets. We also heard the call to prayer for the first time on our trip and it was interesting to see everyone drop what they were doing to go and pray.

That night a few of us wanted to make the most of our short time there so we went for a walk - there are hundreds of tiny alleyways (which are easy to get lost in), all the walls are painted blue and after walking around for an hour or so that's where we found an art gallery.

The owner invited us in for some traditional Moroccan tea and then started showing us his beautiful art.

Most of his painting were of the town, the blue alleyways, locals in the markets, the sunset over the blue town and some of the elaborate doorways that you can find all over Morocco.

He told us that the sunrise from the top of the town is amazing to watch, so the following morning we got up before dawn and hiked to the top of the town to see what he was talking about. It was well worth the early rise as it signalled a beautiful beginning to our once-in-a-lifetime trip.

 

Student Flights

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.