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#57810 - 09/19/00 09:38 AM Madrid and beyond - Morocco
mclarke Offline
Member

Registered: 09/19/00
Posts: 179
Loc: Arlington, VA
I will be visiting my 20-year old daughter who is spending a semester in Madrid. I'll be arriving Dec. 29 and will celebrate New Year there. We would like to visit Morocco (Jan 2-7) and need some guidance from a seasoned traveler like you. Any help/warnings you could provide is appreciated. The trip is a mother-daughter holiday.

I really enjoy reading your site. Your information on Madrid give readers a true picture of Madrid.

I hope you will be around when I visit Madrid.

Regards,

Mother Clarke

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#57811 - 09/19/00 10:22 AM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
rgf Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 666
Loc: New York, New York
I have never been to Morroco, and yet I have read many travelers' experiences. In general, if you are a tourist with no inside link to the culture, you may be disappointed, if these reports are true. Why do you want to go there? If I had that amount of time, I'd spend it in the south of Spain instead (Sevilla, Granada, etc). Also GORGEOUS at that time of year, and very easy to get to on a quick plane hop, are the canary islands, espec. the less traveled ones (La gomera, el hierro, etc). I am sure Morroco holds some great appeal, so maybe others can help!

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#57812 - 09/19/00 01:08 PM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
Jen Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/00
Posts: 217
Loc: Chicago
Morroco is definitely woth a visit. I was only there for about 5 days and I recommend that you skip Tangiers and take a ferry from Algeciras(sp?) to Tetuan instead. It is a smallish city and will not be so overwhelming. I also recommend the small village of Chefchauen(Chauen, as the Spainards say). It is lovely and very picturesque. Enjoy the green tea!

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#57813 - 09/19/00 01:26 PM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
mclarke Offline
Member

Registered: 09/19/00
Posts: 179
Loc: Arlington, VA
Jen
Thank you for your reply. However, could you give us a travel itinerary such as: Things to do; places to see, accommodations and any tips or warnings you give a mother-daughter travellers. We will be staying around five days in Morocco. Your help is appreciated.

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#57814 - 09/20/00 06:25 PM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
Jen Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/00
Posts: 217
Loc: Chicago
mclarke-
I'm afraid I won't be too much help in that department. This was 10 yrs. ago when I was in college and I and two friends(1 guy 1 girl) went there with no plans or anything. We were greeted when we got off the bus by a 20 something guy who played on the Tetuan soccer team. We had no intentions of getting a "guide" but this guy was really nice and he approached us and said that he wanted to practice his English and would we mind if he showed us around? He assured us that he didn't want anything in return, which he didn't. I'm sorry, but I don't even remember the name of the hotel we were in or where we ate or anything. He escorted us everywhere (we actually wanted to be just us at times so we could breathe and compare notes...but oh well, we considered ourselves to be fortunate)and one day he couldn't make it so he sent his cousin to the hotel in the morning to pick us up. One afternoon he took us to his house and we met his mom and his sisters and we ate couscous and that was a really wonderful experience. In Chefchauen we did the same thing(except for the family part) and we just had incredible luck and met nice people who just seemed to want to meet new people. I remember in Chefchauen we took a long walk up through the village to a hotel at the top of a hill and had a nice meal. Other than that, we just wandered around with them and drank tons of tea. Sorry this isn't much help. What I saw(which wasn't much) was beautiful and I plan on returning some day. All I can say is that you should stick together. Good luck and enjoy!
Jenny

[This message has been edited by Jen (edited 09-20-2000).]

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#57815 - 09/21/00 01:32 PM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
Sarah Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/00
Posts: 13
Loc: Scotland
I spent 3 months wandering around in Morocco a few years ago, alone. It is a fabulous place and I do recommend you take the opportunity to go, if you can. I'd agree that Tangier might be best skipped - I spent about 10 days there initially, and then a few more on my way out, and it was...trying. And not the most interesting place. Still, it's harmless enough if you're passing through and there are some great walks around the edge of the medina (by the sea) and up to the kasbah. Be prepared to get lost but don't panic.

My favourite places were all towards the south, and/or inland, where you get away from the crowds and the hassle. Places I would suggest for mother&daughter:
Essouira is an amazing walled town on the sea (but busy);
Meknes had a pleasant and non-threatening atmosphere and a Europeanish new town, with the rambling ancient medina as well and some monuments, and it's handy for Volubilis (the roman town, ruined of course).
Rabat is fairly cosmopolitan, with a touch of the ancient and a good souk (market); I loved Casablanca as well but many don't.
The Todra Gorge is heaven on earth (two hotels, no village, no electric after midnight: perfect peace under a zillion stars if you sleep on the roof) - but probably too far away if you're only there for five days.
Marrakech drove me mad.

If you're concerned about safety, it's not nearly as bad as some would have you believe. You get hassled in the market, yes. If you want a guide, fine; if not, a firm no and a smile usually does it. What doesn't work is arrogance, ignorance or silence: the surest way to get an unshakable pest is to be rude to them. Obviously you want to avoid walking in dark and dubious places after dark etc. Use your head, be modest, be civil and keep an open mind and you'll love it. Make yourselves some women friends - they're genuinely warm and welcoming and family life is great.

My 55-year-old (not well-travelled) mother went earlier this year and LOVED it. Sounds, smells, faces, nifty things to buy and eat. Go for it. Check temperatures though - won't be too warm.

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#57816 - 09/21/00 01:47 PM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
mclarke Offline
Member

Registered: 09/19/00
Posts: 179
Loc: Arlington, VA
Thanks Sarah. Your observation has convinced me to visit Morocco. If you have to choose between Morocco or Rome, which would you visit. My daughter is under tight deadline. She has to be back in school on Jan. 15.

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#57817 - 09/22/00 09:47 AM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
mclarke Offline
Member

Registered: 09/19/00
Posts: 179
Loc: Arlington, VA
Sarah,

Thanks so much. I will map out travel plans according to your recommendations. Do you have phones/addresses of hotel accommodations that you could remember or places your mother stayed during her visit? That would help a lot.

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#57818 - 09/25/00 07:34 AM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
Sarah Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/00
Posts: 13
Loc: Scotland
I'll dig out some info and ask my mother, and get back to you (via email maybe).

Glad to help.

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#57819 - 09/29/00 05:50 AM Re: Madrid and beyond - Morocco
Sarah Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/00
Posts: 13
Loc: Scotland
Sorry I haven't come back yet with my mother's hotels etc - she's just out of hospital so I don't want to hassle her! But she'll have time on her hands recuperating and can put her mind to it. Myself, I stayed in rockbottom places, with no running water often, and they were very clean, safe and pleasant, and well located. The few times I went a bit up market (like 1-2* places) I was disappointed - centipedes on the wall, for instance. The very cheap ones were cleaner. But then I guess when you get up to 4-5* they're clean again. But I WILL come back to you with information.
Do be thinking about Meknes - I really liked it. My mother loved Fez too but I didn't get there.

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