Monday, July 15, 2024

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Travels from the perspective of a professional tour guide; Exotic Morocco

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Hello everyone!

Today I am with you with my first article. Since I work as a professional tour guide, my articles will mainly be about tourism and travel. I will tell you about the places I have visited and seen, their history, culture, and places worth seeing. I was born in Istanbul, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I live in Miami, also one of the most beautiful cities. I studied geography at Istanbul University and I have a master’s degree in tourism from the same university. I also studied marketing at Louisiana State University. all this education as well as my love for travel led me to pursue a career in tourism. Apart from the trips I take with tour groups due to my job, I also travel with my family and friends for pleasure. I also enjoy traveling alone.

The first place I will tell you about is Morocco, which I went to alone a few months ago and was amazed by. On my way back to America after my holiday in Istanbul, I stopped by Morocco. I have wanted to see this country for a long time. I wasn’t sure if it would be safe for a woman to travel alone, I stayed in Morocco for 5 days. I walked around alone until late hours. I didn’t experience any fear or distress. Morocco, an Islamic country in North Africa

As tourism is developing, it offers a comfortable travel environment. I arrived in Casablanca from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport with Royal Air Morac. The airport is named after Mohammed V, who became the first king of Morocco after it gained independence from France in 1956. There is a train station right below the airport. I preferred to go to the city center, Casa Port, by train. My hotel was Moraccon House, which was within walking distance of the station.

All rooms were decorated differently from each other in Moroccan style. The hotel, built with Moroccan architecture, is located in the modern part of the city, but when you enter, you go back in time. It was a great surprise to see a Turkish TV series on the TV in the room and the Turkish actors speaking Arabic. Turkish TV series are watched with interest in Arab countries.

The next morning, I had a Moroccan-style breakfast. I liked the special tea that the Moroccans serve by garnishing it with bay leaves. It gave comfort and calmness to the body, but they added a lot of sugar. I planned to spend the first day in Casablanca and explore this city. First, I went to the exchange office and bought Moroccan dirhams. I visited the market called Medina. There are two types of taxis here: the red Petit Taxi and the white Grand Taxi that works like a minibus.

Taxis also have taximeters, but drivers generally do not want to turn them on, so you either have to bargain before getting in or insist on turning on the meter. I tried the bus. It was 5 dirhams, which is only 50 cents. I arrived at the second Hasan mosque, which is the largest mosque in Africa and the 12th largest in the world. This mosque was built in 1993 so its history does not go back very far. It was closed at the time I went. A taxi driver came to me and said he could show me around the city until the mosque’s opening time if I wanted. He asked for $50, and we negotiated for $40.

I toured the city with him. I talked about the El Hank Lighthouse, the beaches, and restaurants along the Atlantis ocean, the rich neighborhoods he called like Beverly Hills, Mohammed V Square, the Notre Dame de Lourdes church, and the Church of the Heart of Jesus. I told him that I wanted to buy argan oil, but he took me to a carpet shop first. and a carpet show was held, just like the carpet sellers in the Grand Bazaar. They said they would send it to my address if I wanted, of course, I didn’t fall into this tourist trap and I bought the argan oil by bargaining. The 1942 movie Casablanca is set in this city. The shots of Rick’s cafe, where most of the movie takes place, were shot on the set, so there is no such cafe in reality, but an enterprising lady named Kathy Kriger built a replica of the cafe in the movie. When you enter the cafe, which was opened in 2004, you go back to 1942. They make you experience those years with the decorations and music. So, I sat at the bar and had a cocktail. The bartenders and waiters were also wearing clothes and fez belonging to that period. Then I went to the Hassan II mosque. In Morocco, non-Muslims generally cannot enter the mosques, but in the Second Hassan Mosque, they can visit for a fee during special hours. Since I was there during prayer hours, I proved that I was a Muslim by saying Bismillah in Arabic to the officer at the door, and I entered free of charge.

The next day I went to Rabat by train. The compartment for 6 people was full and since I was sitting by the window, I was very disturbed by the sun. There was no air conditioning. Since Rabat was the capital city, it was much tidier and cleaner. I walked from the train station to the Tomb of Mohammed the Fifth and saw the Hassan Tower right next to it, but I couldn’t go inside. There were renovation works due to the earthquake a few weeks ago. I liked the Kasbah of the Udayas, which I walked from the beach to, consisting of narrow little streets, stone houses, and bazaars within the walls. I liked the historic city very much. Tired of walking all day, I returned to Casablanca by train.

On my third day in Morocco, I bought a tour to go to Marakesh. While I was waiting for the big bus, a private car arrived and the driver said that there would be a private tour for me since I was the only person signed up for the tour. We arrived in Marakesh after a 3-hour journey. My guide Nora met me there. First, we saw the famous Kutubiyya mosque. The 77-meter-tall minaret of the mosque, built in the 12th century, was square-shaped like other mosques in Morocco. The call of the prayer recited here was also different. He took me to a shop selling argan oil and the shop owner got upset when I didn’t buy much. We visited the market called Souk. In this place where leather, food. Spice, iron, and jewelry were sold, and there was also a slave market in the past. My guide showed me a woman wearing a white chador and said that she wears this color chador so that it is obvious that she is mourning for her husband’s recent death and that people understand that her husband has just died and respect her. The Secret Garden, which has a large garden in the middle with plants brought from all over the world, a museum, galleries, and cafeterias, was very beautiful. Then we went to Câmiü’l-Fenâ (Jemaa el-Fnaa) square. This name means the gathering of death. The square is very lively during the day with snake and monkey charmers, street vendors, musicians, fortune tellers, henna makers, and jugglers, but the real fun begins when the food vendors and all the entertainment groups arrive in the evening. In the past, the slave trade was also carried out here and even gallows were set up. Marakesh is an exotic and interesting city that is visited with interest by Western tourists. I will never forget the monkey on my right arm biting my cheek and the one on my left urinating on me while posing for the camera with monkeys. Then we had two Moroccan meals at the Khayma (tent) restaurant, from whose terrace we saw Kutubiyya and the bazaar.

Pastillo and Tangia were both very delicious. Tangia is a dish unique to Morocco, cooked over low heat in casserole-like containers. Nora continued to tell me interesting things about Moroccan food and culture during the meal.

After saying goodbye to Nora, my driver took me to a Bedouin village. I rode a camel there. The cameleer was a 15-year-old high school student. While he was taking me around, he made a camel-shaped ring from grass and gave it to me as a gift. My camel’s name was Shakira. While riding and traveling. I didn’t have any difficulty, but it was quite difficult to get off, they made the camel kneel and I was able to get down.

Then we returned to Casablanca by car.

On the last day, I went shopping in Casablanca, but there was a holiday due to the Prophet’s birthday. Most of the shops were closed due to the holiday. People were celebrating the holiday by eating at home with their families. King Muhammad VI also came to the second Hasan mosque for morning prayer. I walked around the city and shopped at a few shops I found open. I bought long traditional clothes and slippers that are unique to this place. The next day, I left Casablanca airport with good memories as I said goodbye to Morocco.

Morocco has gone through many economic and social changes, especially during the reign of the last king, for example, men are prohibited from taking a second wife, and the first wife must be sick or given permission. Although it is governed by a monarchy and the king has many rights, the people are happy with the regime and they love the king very much. It is possible to see pictures of the king everywhere. He is also the richest person in the country. The people speak French as a second language. Since I went there after the earthquake, I also saw collapsed buildings. It is a place I want to go again. This time, I want to travel in the Sahara Desert and go to cities such as Tangier and Fez. Morocco is a country worth seeing with its people, culture, and food. I recommend it to you.

See you on the next trip!

Your Friend who loves to travel …

Canan Sezgin

Instagram: @cansez2013

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Canan’cigim anlattıkların o kadar güzeldi ki kendimi seninle beraber geziyor gibi hissettim. Ayrıca cesaret ve bugüne de hayran oldum. Güzel Arkadaşım başarılarının devamını diliyor tebrik edip kutluyorum. ?‍♀️????????

  2. Sevgili Canan ,
    dünün çabası ve yarının başarısı için tebrikler.
    Başarı tamamen senindir , çünkü çaba ve özveri ile bunu hak ettin
    Başarılı yazın için seni çok tebrik ediyorum
    tebrikler! ?

  3. Değerli Canan hanım bu içten samimi yazınız için teşekkür ederim .Yazınızı okuduğum da evime esen Fas rüzgarları, sayenizde ziyaret ettiler beni. Şimdi , ziyaret sırası ben de!
    Dilerim ki sizinle , sizin rehberliğinizle…

  4. Çok güzel anlatım, çok detaylı seninle birlikte gezmiş olduk, diğer gezilerinide paylaşırsan mutlu oluruz, kolay gelsin

  5. Sevgili Canan, kalemine sağlık, çok güzel bir gezi olmuş ve bizlere çok da güzel aktarmışsın, bir sonraki gezini sabırsızlıkla bekliyoruz , Montenegro’yu da gezi planlarına dahil etmeyi unutma ???

    • Aslında Montenegro’ya gittim ve orası da yazacağım. yerler arasında ama sizler oradayken gidip görmek ve yeni anılar ekleyerek yazmak çok daha güzel olacaktır. Yorumun için teşekkürler.

  6. Canan’ım çok çok güzel anlatmışsın, kalemine sağlık. Gitmiş kadar oldum, yeni yerleri merakla bekliyorum. Senin anlatımınla yeni yerleri keşvetmek çok güzel olucak???

  7. Canancım çok güzel anlatmışsın, gitmiş kadar oldum, gidersem bu güzel yazını rehber edineceğim, yeni gezi anlatımlarını merakla bekliyorum, takipteyim???

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