RYMING with travel in Morocco

RYMING with travel in Morocco

Growing up between South Carolina and Morocco was a truly unique experience (thanks mom and dad).. I always felt like a chameleon, slipping back and forth between two very different worlds. When people ask me what the biggest difference was between my two cultures I always say: everything. Which is true in many ways, and of course, there is a shared basis of human framework. People are people and the people of Morocco are absolutely stunning. Weather wise, the ideal time to visit Morocco is during spring (April and May) and fall (September to October). And if you want waves, more like winter (November-February). People are very multilingual in Morocco but try to learn at least this basic greeting,  “Salaam alaikum” (peace be upon you). Also you will hear the prayer call 5 times a day, something to get used to and a very beautiful opportunity to experience and practice gratitude and presence. 

Be Smart Be Respectful, I mean, duh
I get asked a lot if it's safe to travel solo in Morocco (especially as a woman). Again, a very relative question. Be smart, be safe. Wherever you are, that is the golden ticket. Ok let’s talk about being smart. Research the country, understand the culture and be respectful. Understanding your environment is always essential. Morocco is a (very open but still) Muslim country. It’s a place where you should watch and learn. As a rule of thumb, the less you wear, clothing wise, the more attention you will get. I suggest loose clothing, covering your body as much as comfortable but don’t worry about a headscarf. The further south you travel, the more conservative it gets, so be prepared for that. From Tangier you can literally see Spain, so much more Euro vibes in the north. Use your awareness to put yourself in the shoes of a Moroccan carpet salesman for example. If you are whipping around your iphone and wearing your finest jewelry, the prices will match that. No one will ever touch you, but the more you cover your skin, the more mutual respect you will experience. Use your energy. We had a client who walked around and embodied “no” energy after getting all kinds of calls into shop after shop in the local medina. Once she decided and emitted that, she got way less attention. Play with it, it’s kinda fun for a while, then it can be exhausting. Rest as needed. 

Get Ready to Haggle your Face off 
Carpets, leather, spicesssss, pottery, textiles, all the things. You will want to buy them. Pretend like you don’t. It won’t feel expensive, pretend like it is. Lol, it’s all a part of the game. The more you play it, the better your deals will be. Pick something up, put it down, say you saw it cheaper somewhere else, act like you’re debating, leave and come back. Whatever they say the price is, cut it in half and start there. Trust me. You’ll end up somewhere in the middle. Carry cash. And if you rent a car, carry small bills to use in case you get stopped by the police. You’ll figure out what I mean. 

Don’t Drink the Water and Pack Imodium 
Of course, you can find modern medicine in Morocco and most everything you will need at local pharmacies. But you will probably get diarrhea to be honest, so pack some imodium and do not drink the water. I repeat, do not drink the water. If people say you can, you can’t. Also for that same reason, stay away from ice and any raw/ uncooked fruits and vegetables that could have been washed aka contaminated. Say no to salads and yes to traditional boiled beet salads and fruits with peels like oranges and bananas. 

Where the F do I go? Well I can basically tell you about Tangier and surf spots lol 

Well of course that depends on what you want. Big cities are dope, you get to have it all, restaurants, shopping (look for the old medinas on the map), easy taxis, cute airbnbs. Tangier is where my father is from, so I am biased. You can take a 45 min ferry from Spain and spend the weekend there if you’re frolicking around Europe. It’s highly influenced by the Spanish and French, super multi-cultural, and diverse. Also very open, and “modern” aka you will see women dressed in a huge diversity of clothing from covered head to toe to bikinis on the beach. Again, you are free  to do and wear whatever you want, just feel into the moment and respect the people in the spaces you enter. You can catch a taxi anywhere, super easy. Make sure you carry cash, ask for prices before you get in and keep your bags/ belongings close when you’re walking the streets. Ask around for local hammams to get the authentic and local bathhouse experience. Again, don’t take valuables and get ready to get nude (men and women separate here) and get scrubbed down. Oh yea and alcohol is technically “illegal” but you will be able to purchase in most modern/ European restaurants and in big grocery stores. 

Some sweet spots in Tangier: 

  • Le Salon Blue - nice view, old city, lunch only 
  • Cafe Hafa - sunset, ask taxi for Marchan park, Hemingway used to chill here
  • Hotel Chellah for music /  drinks 
  • Thé grand hôtel / villa de France 
  •  Saveur du poisson - famous hole in the wall fish resto 
  • The American Legation of Tangier has a lot of great art and history 

Fez is fulllll of artisans and craftspeople and is known for the artsy vibe. 

Chef Chouen is a blue washed mountain town nestled in the Rif Mountains

Casablanca and Rabat are big cities, still with charming older parts, but not really my thing so I don’t know much about them. 

Marrakesh is a really nice mix of old town, and big city. Beautiful old markets, artisans galore and good restaurants. (not coastal but you prob know that, just look at a map) 

If you’re into it, the ancient city of Meknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis, both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites are pretty dope. 

PS the train is really easy and sometimes even fast, you can check all of that out too. And be sure to listen to this song while you’re on it, Marrakesh Express.

Going further south, Essouria and Agadir are bigger towns and you can fly into them (or take a bus or rent a car and drive your way south).  Taghazout is a super cute surf town, with a unique blend of surf and Moroccan culture. Around here, there are many famous waves, Anchor Point, Killers, Draculas, Banana Point & Boilers to name a few. So many vibey restaurants around and the whole coastline is sprinkled with cute spots, enjoy exploring. 

Even further south you will find yourself in the Sahara Desert, which of course is quite remarkable. You can find companies to take you into beautiful rich bedouin culture and savor traditional mint tea in a Bedouin camp. I recommend spending a few nights under the most stars you will ever see in your life. It would be nice if I knew the names of some good ones, and had sponsors but I don’t so just google around now that I have planted the seed for this idea and let me know if you find a good one!! 

Some Must Trys, not many details because you just must try (mostly food) 

A local Hamman / bathhouse 
Chicken and Kifta Tajine 
Mint Tea
Sunsets, watch it sink baby
CousCous (on Fridays) 
Spicy (grilled) Sardines, just trust me and eat them whole
Jardin Majorelle 
Henna on the hands

Hopefully you find some useful tools and tips for your upcoming trip to Morocco. If you are joining us already, we highly recommend you extend your trip to explore on your own, pre or post retreat... and if you stumbled up this randomly, in your Morocco research, there is still time to join us for our all women's surf and yoga RYME retreat, Sept 20-25.

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