Everything in Morocco seems more intense than anywhere else in the world, the colors of the landscapes, the passion of the locals, the harmony of the silence, in the desert and the music of the soul in the heart of the Berbers.
This is not a story, this is an enchanting fairy tale, which has a beginning, but doesn’t seem to have an end. You can find and lose yourself over and over again under the perfectly blue sky of Merzouga. It seems that everything you wanted to see and experience is locked in the heart of Morocco.
In Morocco your senses are triggered to the extreme, that’s why most of the people love it and some hate it, but you could never remain neutral.
Moroccan people are usually loud and expressive, while walking through the narrow curvy streets of the medina you can hear their hearty laughter, encounter avid discussions, magical story tellers, even passionate arguing or fighting, followed by even more passionate hugs and kisses. You will be enchanted by the sounds of traditional instruments, variety of string, drum instruments, flutes etc. When there is an important football game you will hear them cheering from every café around the city supporting their favorite team. In the crowded big cities you will hear the not so pleasant hectic sound of traffic with all the honking and vehicle noises. Certainly you will hear the call to prayer from the mosques five times per day, every day from the biggest cites to the tiny little villages. In the dessert you can enjoy an evening serenade by the Berbers under the starry night sky in the middle of the sand dunes or experience the long longing night in total silence. In the small villages very often you can heard women sinning while preparing the couscous or the bread, you may stumble onto a traditional wedding with a lot of music, drums, cheerers and dancing.
Weather you live or you just joined of the Morocco tours for few days, you’ll never get bored of the landscapes that changes before your eyes in hours, from the seaside of the Atlantic Ocean with its vast blue horizon, the nimble goats climbing the argan trees around Essaouira, through the astonishing greenery of the Atlas Mountains and the exotic oases, the crystalline white snow in the High Atlas, the picturesque Cedar forest with its wild monkeys, the lush fragrant rose valley in May, the blossoming almond trees in February, the rich northern coast of the Mediterranean sea, the blue town of Chefchaouen, and of course the infinite desert and its graceful wavy sand dunes which colors change depending on the light of the sun. The never ending transformation of colors before your sight, the diversity, the spectacular sunsets and sunrise, the stunning starry sky, the lavish vivid local markets. All these sights are like an explosion of shades and contrasts in your eyes.
Moroccan cuisine is known for the variety of spices, while the most common is cumin, the local people love using their spices collection. The food is always fresh from the market, juicy and absolutely delicious. The mostly known dishes are the tagine and couscous, but there are so much more things to experience in Morocco. The tagine pot is a cone-shaped cooking vessel, traditionally made of ceramic or clay, but nowadays you can find a stainless steel or cast iron version. It is used to cook variety of dishes with red meat, poultry, fish, vegetarian and even legumes, depending on the area you visit, you will find all kinds of different recipes and you can always improvise, because no matter what you put in your tagine, it always turns appetizing. Well-known, the couscous is very time-consuming, especially if you prepare it the traditional way, where you have to shape the couscous grains by hand from scratch. However nowadays you can buy а ready to cook couscous from the local shop. The couscous is cooked in a two-tier pot steamer, the grains are on top and the vegetables and the meat are cooked at the bottom of the pot. Let’s not go into details of the whole preparation, but the taste is incredible and you should definitely try it while you are in Morocco. Oh, you surely can’t miss the mint tea, traditionally poured from a distance to enhance the flavor and create a foam, if you are a sweets lover try it with some Moroccan pastries like Chebakia, a rose-shaped deep-fried dough coated with syrup made of honey and rosewater sprinkled with sesames on top. You should definitely try Amlou, which is a spread made of argan oil, toasted crushed almonds and honey or the dates syrup called tahlaout. Well, Morocco is well known of its abundance of date palms and olive trees, so you can enjoy the variety of dates and olives. A very simple traditional breakfast consists of olive oil dip with some homemade bread and tea.
When Moroccans meet and greet, they kiss their cheeks numerous times, they shake hands, may kiss the hand and hug, they are affectionate and don’t really keep distance. In Morocco you can feel the silky sand sliding through your fingers, sense the tender touch of the sand on your feet, and feel the water falling down on your hands from the waterfall of Ozoud, to dip your feet in the ocean or the sea, to feel the sun on your face. You have the freedom to eat tagine with hands and bread, to feel the crispy bread soaking in the sauce while dipping it. You can feel the gentle breeze of the Atlas or Rif mountains, to connect with nature and animals. Feel the textile, the traditional carpets made from wool by hand, the stunning vibrant scarfs, and the traditional jalaba for men and caftan for women. Be present, touch and feel with your hands, skin and feet the diversity of all resources, the textures, the nature, the food and the traditional products.
The smell of Morocco is a smell of exotic spices, freshly plucked mint, freshly squeezed oranges, a smell of homemade dishes, crispy daily baked bread. There is the smell of roses, the smell of argan oil, which trees are found only in Morocco, there is the smell of adventure along with the smell of different animals like camels, wild monkey, donkeys, fennec fox (the desert fox) and others. The smell of the see and the ocean, the smell of the mountain fresh breeze, the smell of a wood fire in the dessert, the smell of freshly pressed olive oil .The smell of Morocco is distinct and unforgettable remaining intact from centuries.
If you ever wondered whether you have a sixth sense or more than five or six senses, after visiting Morocco all your senses will open unlock an revive so that you will experience everything in a whole new unexpected way.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Guardian Talks journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.