Where in the World Is ....

Old May 14th, 2002, 12:39 PM
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Where in the World Is ....

Matt Lauer is visiting Marrakech today. I'm wondering if anyone has taken a trip from Spain to Marrakech and am interested in their experiences? Not sure of the logistics? Would you take the ferry to Tangiers and then a train? I know this may belong on the Africa site but hopefully you Spain visitors might have some insight??
Old May 14th, 2002, 12:56 PM
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We took the ferry to Tangier and then flew. At the time, (four years ago), it only cost about $50.00 to fly between cities within Morocco. It seemed far preferable to an overnight train.
Old May 14th, 2002, 01:33 PM
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Fly from Spain to Marrakech. Tangiers is not a great introduction to Morocco. If you take the ferry, avoid all the touts at the exit area, get a cab to either the airport or train station. We did the overnight train from Tangiers to Marrakech (buy a first class berth - they aren't very expensive - there were only two other passengers in the whole car other than the three of us) and enjoyed it. The trains are old SNCF, clean but not plush.

Marrakech is fantastic. Do hire a guide through your hotel or the tourist office (NOT the guides who offer their services at your disembarkation point); the licensed guides have to pass tests about the history, culture, etc. of the country. They WILL take you to a souvenir shop or a rug store, but that's not their main focus (if you do want to buy a rug, ask your guide to take you).

Morocco is a different world from Europe - our trip was one of the most enjoyable of any we've taken, and we want to go back again.

P.S. Though an Islamic country, the vast majority of the population is Berber and Tuareg, not Arab. The tall regal ones are Tuareg; the smaller, gentle-faced ones with light eyes are Berber. I had a hard time not staring at these "new" faces!
Old May 15th, 2002, 04:52 AM
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Thanks..Elvira, where would we fly out of in s. Spain? Any recommendations on where to stay? How long would we "need" in Marrakech? Did you go anywhere else there?
Old May 15th, 2002, 06:31 AM
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We spent two weeks in Morocco - we flew from New York via Royal Air Maroc (great airline, by the way) but both Iberia and Royal Air Maroc fly out of Madrid and Malaga to Marrakech - probably from/to other cities as well.

Marrakech is three days at least - there's so much to absorb that a whirlwind 2-day tour will leave you unclear of what was where. We liked Fez, Volubilis and Chefchouan. Casablanca is a nice city, but scratch it from the itinerary in favor of cities like Meknes or Tetouan.

We also did a trip into the desert on camels, for an overnight in an oasis, and an overnight with a Berber family in the Atlas Mountains (definitely the highlights of a trip that was jam-packed with highlights).

Be prepared for the poverty - it is dire. Yet we never felt hopelessness, nor even resignation from the Moroccans. The country depends a lot on tourism money; after Desert Storm, American visitors dropped to a trickle and the economy suffered. Now, after 9/11, it has to be much worse (country has no "unemployment insurance", so if you're a guide with no customers, you don't eat). If you would like more info, you can email me directly.

Don't short-change this magnificent country - if you have only a few days, see as much as you can and vow to return!

Old May 15th, 2002, 06:56 AM
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I've been to Morocco twice, most recently last November, but not arriving from Spain (flew from Marseille last time).

Marrakech is an incredibly heady place. Í was there for 4 days in November, which included a day at cooking school and a half-day trip up into the Atlas Mountains and a full-day trip to Agadir. The day trips were spectacular, but so was Marrakech itself...many hidden gems to discover in the labyrinth of the old medina. Yes, the poverty is ever-present, and you should brace yourself for new experiences if you haven't traveled to a developing country, but it is a safe and welcoming place of incomparable beauty in many respects. If you do decide to go, feel free to e-mail me. I wrote a rather lengthy trip report about it, which I wouldn't bore you with, but which does have some specific information about guides and restaurants, etc., that might be of use.
Old May 15th, 2002, 07:14 AM
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I have spent roughly 3 months tota; in Morocco and yes Marrakech is lovely as is Fez but I think too many Americans bypass Agadir which is lovely. Agadir was dystroyed but an earthquake about 30 years ago so it is brand shiny new by Moroccan standards. It boast boasts the old and the new, Club Med and wonderful Berber people, I have always felt that Morocco gives you the best of Europe and Islam. Cafe life and veiled women. I can't go on enough about morocco.
Old May 15th, 2002, 07:23 AM
Alpha Girl
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Oh my gosh, I think I have just made up my mind about our itinerary in September! We are flying into Madrid and were thinking about a day trip to Tangiers, but now I have the Marrakesh bug! Thanks for all the info!
Old May 15th, 2002, 09:19 AM
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For what it's worth, we found Tangiers to be a dirty, almost scary place.
Old May 15th, 2002, 09:21 AM
Alpha Girl
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This is what I have heard, too...good to know there are lovely places as well. I would hate for travelers to judge the USA based on one town, so I guess it goes both ways!
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