24 Hours in Marrakesh

marrakesh marketMarrakesh is home to enough attractions and curiosities to keep people occupied for several days, but if you only have 24 hours, here is one way to fill your day:

9:00 a.m.

Start your day with a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice while you watch the city begin its day. You can purchase a large glass for around 3 Dh in the Djemaa al-Fna. Next, get your bearings by sauntering over to the Koutoubia Mosque. This building has the tallest minaret in the city and is one of Marrakesh’s most iconic sites. While non-Muslims are not permitted entry to the mosque, everyone is welcome to roam around the gardens.

10:00 a.m.

Take a spin through the souks in the heart of the medina and start shopping for souvenirs. Shopkeepers traditionally gave a discount to the first customer of the day, although usually it’s worth checking out a few stalls before you buy anything. (more…)

Morocco for Food Lovers

morocco foodWhile Morocco is justifiably famous for breathtaking scenery, Islamic architecture and a rich history of arts and crafts, the country truly stands out as a paradise for foodies. Diverse peoples, including Berbers, Arabs, Sephardic Jews and Muslims from Andalusia, and Spanish and French colonizers, brought their own culinary traditions and ingredients to the kitchen. This is combined with the marvelous variety of foodstuffs produced in the country´s different regions. The quality of beef and lamb in Morocco is outstanding. Fish is popular, especially in port cities, and there is an astonishing array of fruits and vegetables.

Of course, no tour to Morocco arranged by an in-country operator would be complete without sampling couscous, tiny grains of semolina pasta served with stewed carrots, zucchini and other vegetables, with or without meat. Rabat is especially famous for its couscous aux sept légumes (couscous with seven vegetables), in which an enormous mound of couscous is beautifully and carefully adorned with vegetables and served with a small bowl of broth on the side. Another famous variant of the dish is couscous tfaya, topped with caramelized onions, raisins and chickpeas. Couscous was traditionally eaten on Fridays after the midday prayer, but is now often enjoyed by extended families over the weekend. (more…)