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Small-town Moroccan Life

November 21, 2012

We spent five days in Marrakech exploring and waiting for our surfboards to arrive, as they didn’t fit into the hold of our turbo-prop plane coming from Lisbon. The airline sent the boards on the following flight with a big enough airplane, which was a few days after we arrived in Marrakech.

We stayed in the Medina, which is the area enclosed by 19 kilometers of 6-meter high and 1-meter thick mud rampart walls. Most of the streets within the Medina are narrow and maze-like, creating a rabbit warren where it’s impossible not to get lost.

Luckily, as long as you can see the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, the tallest minaret in the city, you can always orient yourself.

Motorcycles and scooters zip by an inch or two beside pedestrians, and you have to always be on the alert so as not to get sideswiped by the vehicles.
The Djemaa El Fna is the heart of the Medina. It’s a wide-open square where vendors, street performers, snake charmers and food sellers set up, and tourists and locals alike mill about day and night.

The architectural and decorative details inside and out of most buildings are intricate and beautiful. The wood and plaster carvings, tilework and metalwork are gorgeous.

My two favorite places that we visited were the Musée de la Photographie, which holds a collection of vintage black-and-white photographs of Morocco from 1870 to the 1950s:

The Musée de la Photographie also serves up a mean chicken tagine at their rooftop café:

and the Jardin Majorelle, a garden that belonged to Yves Saint-Laurent and was gifted to the city of Marrakech upon his death. It’s a peaceful and soothing respite from the heat and traffic of Marrakech.

YSL’s ashes were scattered in the garden, and his memorial is tucked away in a shady corner.

When our surfboards arrived, we took the bus to a small town on the coast near Agadir. The most famous surf town in Morocco is Taghazout, which fellow travelers had warned us had become so overrun that it should be called Tagha-zoo; aggressive touts, crowded waves, and pricier-than-average food and accommodation. We heard about a small fishing village with a few good-quality breaks, close to but much less crowded than Taghazout, and we headed there.
The village is super small, with no wired internet and only one local payphone. There are no ATMs or supermarkets, and only a handful of cafés and small restaurants. The entire town can be walked across in ten minutes.

The first few days we were here, the waves were mediocre: disorganized swell caused by a storm front. We were  worried that we’d made the wrong choice of towns. But then the weather cleared up, the sun came out, and the waves turned on.

There are two point breaks and a reef, and the waves are fun and uncrowded.

We rented a nice apartment and will just be hanging out, surfing and enjoying the Moroccan food and village life for the next month.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. neversabrina permalink
    November 21, 2012 10:39 am

    Happy, happy Thanksgiving M + D! I’m gearing up for a houseful of 13 (my Moroccan friend will be there! Will show him your latest blog entry) and really looking forward to it. Will also have a reps from Germany, Russia, Holland, Suriname and Brooklyn…a very international crew indeed. And of course the 4 rabbits and 2 dogs.

    Will be thinking of you both and sending lots of love, xo Melissa

    • November 23, 2012 12:33 pm

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too! How did it go? Did you have international food as well as guests? Miss you and thinking ofyour henna’d hands while we’re in Morocco. xo

  2. November 21, 2012 11:44 am

    beautiful. i would love to visit.

  3. jon wagner permalink
    November 21, 2012 10:02 pm

    hey! while between surf sessions, check out this backgrounder on the designer who styled the ysj joint and others over there

    Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2012 14:18:52 +0000 To:

  4. Marie permalink
    December 4, 2012 3:26 pm

    Hey Delfine and Michael!
    So nice, to read what you’ve seen the last month… I’m back to Germany for one year now, so fast the time go’s by 😦
    When i want to go back in my mind sometimes, i’m starting to look at my photos or read your blog. It’s not really helpful to feel better 😉
    Good luck for you bouth and nice christmastime!
    I’ll never forget your surfing tips and my addiction to surf in Lima! Went to Huanchaco later and every day going to the beach to try to catch some waves… Met Luis and Lacey there again 😉
    Didn’t find Michael in Facebook…

    Muchos saludos desde Alemania y un abrazo muy fuerte,

    • December 11, 2012 1:52 pm

      Hey marie! It’s so cool that you continued with the surf obsession after Lima! We are in Dakar now and staying at a super fun surf camp on ngor island with a whole bunch of German surfers, many of them quite good! So if there’s a will, there’s a way. Keep at it and I hope we get to see you again at another surf destination. Do you know where and when will be your next surf trip? Merry Christmas and happy new year to you! We will find you on Facebook.

  5. Slip permalink
    November 14, 2013 1:41 am

    Hi Guys,
    Love your article…so full of adventure and beautiful places. My wife and i want to do a similar trip especially spain. Didnt think of morocco but the place you are surfing looks pristine and quiet. i think we will try find it. Are you able to give me a heads up as where the small town was you visited while avoiding Tagher zoo. 🙂 Kauai has definately been added to the list!!!
    Slip from down under!

  6. Craig Smith permalink
    November 6, 2014 7:04 pm

    Hi there, great article. What was the name of the small fishing village? I’m planning a trip to Morocco and i’d like to check it out, and the waves!

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