Imperial Cities

Read / lees in : Nederlands

Rabat / Morocco
They’ve got sunsets and beer in Rabat. What a great city.

After I had dealt with the hassle regarding my drone, I was finally able to start enjoying my holiday. I had heard lots of stories about the fabulous imperial cities in Morocco. Where you feel like you’re in a one thousand and one nights fairytale. I think that my parents made up those tales because the first city, Fez (or Fès) were anything but a fairytale. I visited the old medina. A labyrinth of alleys where you slither with your nose pinched shut past little shops, that sell cell phone cases or shampoo, over donkey shit. After that Rabat, the capital of Morocco, was on my itinerary. That city I liked a lot better. In the old casbah the alleys are clean and the houses neatly painted blue/white. The mausoleum of Mohammed V and the ruins of Chellah also looked tip top. Finally I went to Marrakesh, and there I felt like I was back in India for a moment. And that’s not a compliment. The touristic old centre is overcrowded and in the small alleys of the medina Moroccans race their loud mopeds through the hordes of tourists while honking like there’s no tomorrow.

Rabat / Morocco
It even looks like Chefchaouen.

Hello my friend

Everywhere in the world tourist are not likely to provoke the best in people. Morocco is no exception. If you happen to walk around in one of the imperial cities it never takes a long time until a Moroccan guy walks alongside you. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about that. While he (it’s always a he) walks next to you he’ll start talking to you, telling you something about what you are seeing and asking you questions. That all seems like he’s interested in you and wants to help you, but it’s best to brush him off as soon as possible. If you fail to do so he’ll say, after a minute or ten, that he has been your guide and wants to be paid. He’ll easily ask the equivalent of twenty euros for his ‘services’. But in all of these cities there are also modern neighbourhoods where you’ll be the odd foreigner. My advice is not to stay in one of the hotels (riads) in one of the historic neighbourhoods but in other parts of the city. The hotels are cheaper and cleaner (check the reviews) and around it you will find much better restaurants and even hip bars (with alcoholic beverages). The people there are extremely friendly, not pushy and genuinely interested in you. As far as I’m concerned that’s the real Morocco, where I could stay for one thousand and one nights without a sweat.

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