Chefchaouen – Fez – Errachidia – Merzouga
I’ve let our camera run out of battery several times now because I can’t stop filming or taking pictures. This country is breathtaking!
Every day it seems like *now* we have seen the most beautiful scenery, only to have it surpassed again later.
I find it all actually hard to take in. I have to keep reminding myself we are *actually* here and that it’s all real. I am moved and overwhelmed and grateful to be able to travel here with my family.
At the same time I can see that the people living here are struggling. This is not an easy country to live in. It seems to be a country of contrasts, especially in cities. Large, new buildings stand in one street while deteriorated or partially collapsed homes are in the next. Beggars on the streets are being passed by businessmen in new suits with new cell phones (and tourists with western wallets like ourselves). Donkeys and horse and carriages are being overtaken by new Porches in the streets.
In the smaller villages inland people draw water from a communal well as plastic and garbage scatter the area. With the occasional solar panel being the exception, they often go without electricity.
The amount of plastic litter may be the one thing that has been truly shocking to me, so far. In Rabat and Sale we could see there actually were garbage cans in some places like a park or square (while noticeably absent in most other places), but those garbage cans had no interior (anymore, or ever?), resulting in garbage piling up near them or just on the streets.
In more rural areas the ground near homes was simply littered with trash.
There seems to be no system in place for disposing and collecting of trash, other than burning it in a field outside the village in some places. When people do seem to use trash bags to corral everything, the wind just rolls them across the ground until they break, causing whatever was inside to spill out again.
I can imagine the people living there don’t notice anymore. It’s just there. And they probably have more important things to worry about.
The places that I’ve found on Airbnb where we have slept have been incredible so far and the people we have met incredibly nice.
In Chefchaouen we slept on a rooftop.
In Fez we stayed in a beautiful riad in the medina.
In a small village near Errachidia we stayed with a man who used to be a berber nomad but now studies Biology at the university and lives in a traditional house renting out rooms on Airbnb.
We are now in Merzouga and have slept in a kasbah minutes from the dunes of the Sahara.
Of course one of the first things we did was walk over there and take a closer look!
In about an hour we will leave with a tour that will take us on camelback (they insist on calling them camels despite having one hump, so for the sake of ease, so will I) into the desert to spend the night in a tent.
I’m really looking forward to it!