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Escape Winter with Warm Thoughts from Morocco

Travelers Today       By    Katherine Hewitt

Updated: Dec 15, 2014 01:53 PM EST

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Morocco, the destination of Europeans.  It has been the inspiration for artists and writers alike.  It offers a sense of mystical adventure and is closer and safer that its Middle Eastern and African counterparts.  The winters are rather mild and sunny making it the perfect escape from wintery weather and snow. 

First visit Casablanca, a city in Northern Morocco that inspired the love story movie Casablanca.  The city was once part of French occupied Morocco.  French colonial buildings meld into the Art Deco buildings creating a unique scene.  This is the bustling city of Morocco and is heavily westernized.  It is a good place to begin your cultural stimulation, as you won't be completely thrown into the Moroccan culture. 

Volubilis is a Roman city outside of Casablanca.  It is easy to forget that the expansive Roman Empire reached into Africa, but it did.  Volubilis offers the best Roman Ruins in Morocco.  This town was once an example of combing Roman life with the indigenous cultures.  It was also home to several civilizations including an Islamic empire between the eighth and tenth centuries.  Because the city has not been occupied for thousands of years, it holds a high authenticity that not many other Roman cities offer.

Probably one of the most well known cities of Morocco is Fez.  You could spend a week here alone exploring the mosques, medinas, and markets.  The medina here is from the eleventh century, the largest in the world!   You can also visit the founder of Fez's mausoleum, Moulay Idriss II.  There is also the Bou Inania Medersa, from the fourteenth century, which functioned as a mosque and educational center, and the Al Karaouine University founded in the ninth century.

Take time to visit the desert and take a camel ride in the cool of the evening. Even try staying at a camp in the desert for the night.  Learn how to tie your turban to keep the sun off your face, sip on the mint tea, and enjoy a traditional Moroccan dish for dinner.  There are longer camel desert treks that explore sights in the desert and the mountains for those seeking more adventure! And of course, before you head out your guides teach you how to handle the camel!

An important aspect of the Moroccan culture is drinking mint tea.  The Moroccans drink it several times a day, usually before and after a meal.  There is an elaborate art form in serving the tea that is believed to bring out the flavor of the mint and to symbolize the hospitality that surrounds the drinking of tea.  While in Morocco, definitely experience this tea service either by ordering mint tea or going to a teahouse.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

Tags
Morocco, Casablanca, Fez, camel, desert, mint tea
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