I was born in the Netherlands to Moroccan parents. As a child I always spent my summer holidays in Morocco. Every year we would drive 2500 km in a hot minivan crammed with kids, gifts, peanuts and chocolates to see our family in Morocco. They have always been the purpose of our trip and the main reason for our love for Morocco. I am truly blessed to have such a great family. But that’s certainly not the only reason I love Morocco. I cannot live without Morocco! It has my heart, my love and my soul. Maghrib, kan bghik!
50 things I love about Morocco
Here are just a ‘few’ things I love about Morocco, beside my family.
The pictures are taken with my phone. I wish I could show you fancier stuff but my camera broke and the point of having a camera was to take pictures with that instead of my phone… Luckily I have some shots.
- Mountains A poor neighborhood with a rich view! I love how you can enjoy the mountains straight from the city.
- Palm trees on the streets and along roads. Palm trees! And sea! This is what you see when you enter Morocco from Ceuta.
- Beautiful beaches
- All sorts of landscapes From mountains with lakes to deserts.
- Their outdoor culture. I feel like those people are truly alive.
- That warm, Mediterranean sea air (in the north). Spain in the distance. (OK technically the sea in this picture is not the Mediterranean sea, but you get my point)
- Singing birds – I hardly ever hear those in the Netherlands.
- A clear sky all summer.
- It never gets too hot or too cold. Ok maybe some areas get very hot, but you can go on vacation to the sea without having to leave your country.
- Cool and diverse music.
- All the different languages
- Beautiful people. Seriously, they have good looks.
- Hilarious people.
- Takshitas and caftans. Need I say more?
- Henna tattoos.
- Religious tolerance. Jews and Muslims coexist peacefully.
- A king who’s actually loved by people. No civil war, yay!
- A lot of freedom compared to other countries.
- Moroccan architecture! I love the Arabic-Spanish architecture too (in the north).
- The color themed towns (in the area of Tetouan, not sure about the rest of Morocco) A random picture I took so I wouldn’t get lost on the way back. Spanish style streets in the center of Tetouan. White houses, green details.
- The cute little streets of the old Madina. A small street in Asilah
- The relaxed holiday atmosphere year round.
- The always touching adhan – except for the husky one in my grandmother’s neighborhood who sounds like a smoker who’s about to choke and die.
- Beautiful mosques everywhere. I just cannot stop looking at mosques!
- Moroccan mint tea. SO good.
- Hrira (Moroccan soup). Also SO good.
- Moroccan food in general!
- Standing on the rooftop of my grandmother’s house during Ramadan, a little before sunset, enjoying the view over the city and the mountains, smelling hrira from all directions, seeing hasty people, streets that go from crammed to deserted within a minute, the streetlights turning on and then complete silence, followed by the sound of the call to success, the sound of inner peace… And a shout disturbing my peace, telling me to get down to break my fast.
- The solidarity during Ramadan and religious holidays.
- Their hospitality. Somehow I always end up in somebody’s house.
- No fear at night during the summer (where I live). Women, kids, they’re all out at midnight so a girl doesn’t have to fear anything.
- Everybody shares their stuff with everybody, including strangers.
- It’s completely normal to sing while walking down the streets.
- White houses (where I live)
- Big houses! The stairs of a normal sized house in the city. Quite a difference with those tiny Dutch houses.
- The cute Moroccan decor.
- Moroccan tiles. A picture that says ”traditional Moroccan house”.
- They trust people. At the beach they always share their stuff with everybody and they leave their bag, iPhone and money with you while they go for a far swim.
- They also become friends instantly.
- Nice cars. I like seeing luxury cars.
- The way people deal with kids they don’t know. They let them play with their kids’ toys and offer them cookies.
- Streets with Moroccan decorations and pretty lights.
- Moroccan flags everywhere. It’s a nationalistic trick of course, but I don’t mind falling for it! Moroccan flags here… Moroccan flags there…
- All the flowers in the city. Flowers make me happy.
- The fact that every man in the street will immediately chase someone when they hear the word ”thief”.
- Mountain ladies in traditional outfits selling fruits and vegetables along roads outside the city.
- The masses of colorful jelabas.
- Halal food. Well, you’re allowed to assume it is halal.
- Menu cards that make you want to choose everything instead of nothing.
- Neighbors and random strangers care about you. I was in Morocco in February one time and it was sunny, so I decided to sit on my grandmother’s doorstep to finally feel the warmth of the sun on my face again. I moved to the roof after five minutes because three people (including an old soldier!) told me to watch out for the sun. It was 18° C (64° F) so they were just overreacting, but hey they care and that’s sweet!
I also love how every experience is extra charming in Morocco. I experience intense happiness by just walking around or staring at the sea. The country has some sort of magic.
Like that time I was chilling in my brother’s hotel room after a nice, sunny day. The light in the room was flattering for a change (not that horrible fluorescent light people always use there). That quick shower was heavenly and I decided not to wear any makeup. Then we (my brother, nephew and I) walked to a restaurant. The view was nice and the weather was perfect. A normal afternoon was just about perfect. It’s the charm of Morocco!
Or that time I stayed at the beach until the moon rose. We watched the full moon rise at sea. The moon was huge, apparently a once in ten years thing. I wished I could take pictures with my eyes, because the picture doesn’t do justice to the view we had!
Or that time I was staring at the appealing calm sea at sunset, thinking ‘’should I…?’’ A life guard who was packing his stuff saw me looking. He smiled and said: ‘’go for it’’. ‘’It’s late…,’’ I said. ‘’This is the best moment to swim. The water is amazing today. It’s warm and clean, and all yours.’’ I just stared at the water and smiled at the thought of jumping in there. After a few minutes I suddenly grabbed my cousin’s hand and ran into the water. It was the best swim of my life. We couldn’t stop laughing. When we left we started laughing again because people at the boulevard were all dressed up and we had wet clothes and a towel wrapped around us. Then when I arrived home I found out the water was cut off in our neighborhood. I started laughing again and called my cousin on the phone just to laugh with her. Those are the best moments.
The best in me
And you know what else love about this country? Apart from my family, the weather, the mountains, the beaches, the architecture, the colorful jelabas and the nice outdoor atmosphere, I love how Morocco brings out the best in me.
Morocco makes me feel
- happy and confident
- energized and an outdoor person
- more social; I know all neighbors, parking security staff and shop owners and get along with random people my family bring along to the beach.
- understood by my surrounding. I am with ‘my’ people (religion, values) and so I can be my authentic self.
- more generous and therefore more valuable. I can help poor people and make kids happy by taking them out and giving them attention, ice cream and gifts. I can mean the world to an orphan girl by simply letting her chill with me and letting her use my sunscreen. That smile… heaven!
- appreciated. The Dutch culture is a lot about assertiveness. In Morocco people seem to appreciate a more calm and reserved attitude. I feel like people appreciate the true me, so much that even a very strict father doesn’t mind leaving his teenage daughters with me. I enjoy their company and I also enjoy ‘teaching’ them to be respectful, while still being hip and fun. It’s very rewarding!
In short: I freaking love Morocco!