Morocco: How not to travel
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Visiting a muslim country during Ramadan shouldn’t be a problem. But you might be hungry. And don’t always trust the cheap flight tickets. There’s a reason to why they’re cheap. And please make sure that your friends don’t bail on you. Read about how not to travel.
This is how I got to experience Morocco – the real Morocco, and not touristy Marrakech. And this was definitely an experience and I ended up having a good trip. But it’s not something I would wanna do again. Here’s the full story of reaching my country number 51.
Nador was truly beautiful
Being bailed by friends
So, it all started because I (as always) obsess about looking at flights. I’m an expert in finding cheap flights. And Ryanair had a very good offer to fly from Barcelona to Nador, Morocco for 26€ – I mean, how could I say no? So I wrote a couple of my friends and asked if they wanted to join me. They got excited and were on board, and we agreed to buy tickets. But then I was apparently the only one, that actually did it. And then they bailed and decided that they didn’t wanna go. So I was left with a flight ticket to Morocco. Alone. Great friends, I know.
I didn’t feel safe travelling to a muslim country (at least one I don’t know) all alone, as a blonde, white girl. So I asked all of my other friends, but no one could go with me. I really really wanted to go, and experience the magic of Morocco – and country number 51! So I wrote in a Facebook group for Danish people living in Barcelona, asking if anyone would wanna come with me. And to my rescue, a Danish guy (Kristian) was spontaneous enough to join me! So Kristian and I met, and became friends 🙂
Watch out for donkeys
Arriving in Nador, Morocco
We only did a little research and we could see that Nador was a small town, but it seemed to have beautiful nature and beaches. When we boarded the plane in Barcelona, we were the only blonde people on board. We just looked at each other and decided to make the most of this adventure. Whatever it might bring.
When we landed Nador, the airport was basically just a hangar, rebuild to an airport. When we came out on the other side, we got thrown into a cab, that would take us to the hotel. The cab had no seat belts, and there was bees living in one of the doors. Fantastic (feel the sarcasm?).
We just booked the cheapest hotel we could find, as we figured we were not gonna spend any time there. So we stayed at Hotel Mediterranee, which we found through Booking.com. It was a nice hotel, which had what we needed and located right down to the beach promenade.
The beautiful beach promenade in Nador
First impression of Nador
After putting our bags in the room, we decided to take a stroll through town, and get a first impression. We were hungry, since we didn’t eat anything before flying. When we walked around we didn’t think about all the restaurants and cafes being closed. We found a small bakery that sold some very sugary arab cakes (honey dipped cakes). We bought a few different ones to try and snacked on them as we walked around the streets. People were looking, but we just thought it was because we were both very blonde. Because that actually happens a lot when you travel as a very blonde person. Then some guys started yelling and acting quite aggressively towards us. We felt very uncomfortable and tried to just walk away fast. Then it dawned on us, that it was because we were eating. In public, during the day. It was Ramadan. Something that we had not thought about at all, but suddenly we came off really disrespectful. So we rushed back to the hotel to hide the food, before anymore attacks and screaming would happen.
The famous honey dipped cakes
Having a traditional Ramadan dinner
After our little misfortune, we started googling all about the Ramadan and how it was in Morocco during the Ramadan. It should be fine in more touristed areas as Marrakech and Fez. But we were in the real, local Morocco, where they’re more extreme muslims. So we prepared ourselves to starve for the entire trip.
After being yelled at in the street, we didn’t exactly feel comfortable. And we couldn’t be bothered to find a restaurant. We saw that Mercure Hotels had a beautiful hotel across the street from our hotel, which served a traditional Ramadan Dinner, called Iftar (or Ftour).
Iftar is a (in my eyes) rather odd combination of dishes. It starts out with traditional arab honey dipped cakes, dates and figs, accompanied by milk or milkshakes. There’s also served hard boiled eggs, which you dip in cumin. Another thing, that they often start with is a lentil and tomato soup. And then an assortment of bread, potatoes, noodles, and different dishes with either chicken or beef. There will also often be salad and olives. They then flush it down with a lot of mint tea – which I’m a huge fan of.
The market in Nador – filled with spices and fruits
McDonalds – our saviour
Now, since this majestic dinner would only be served after sunset, we were kinda starving during the day. So to our rescue, we were lucky that Nador has a McDonalds! And it was open! Thank god! So we ended up eating breakfast at McDonalds (with a few weird looks from the employees). It was open because kids, sick, pregnant and elderly people are allowed to eat during Ramadan.
On our way home, I got screamed at in the streets for carrying a water bottle. Not even drinking, I just had it in my hand. A bit extreme I would say. So I hid it in my purse.
The streets were completely empty once the sunset hit – everyone was home eating
Hiding at the hotel pool
Walking the streets of Nador were not exactly a success. So we ended up hiding by the pool all day. We took occasional small trips to the market, where we tried to find something to eat. We ended up buying bananas, ice tea and energy drinks, which we then had to “smuggle” back to the hotel. Well, at least now we can say that we’ve tried that.
Kristian matched with some fellow travellers on Tinder, that had the exact same experience as us. So we met up with them (Antonija and Majka). The girls also matched with two Welsh guys (Tom and Ian). And we ended up having a lot of fun all 6 of us, playing in the pool and hanging out. Thank you guys for making it an awesome trip, despite the challenges!
The amazing pool at Hotel Mercure – with the best view possible
This was my really different experience of the real, local Morocco. After all, it was a good trip and I’m also happy that we got to experience the country from a more local perspective, instead of the more touristy one we would’ve gotten in Marrakesh or Fez. But one tip I’ll give you, if you plan on travelling to Morocco: don’t go during Ramadan – you will get hungry!