The trip was an exciting and challenging introduction to Morocco.
Our travel agency provided excellent service; contact availability was always high. They checked in regularly as we traveled to make sure all was well. Took us into settings we would never have encountered on our own were we planning it ourselves, which is a testament to their ground level connections and knowledge. Provided us with a superb and engaging driver. For the most part, excellent riads and exciting food.
We loved the diversity of geography, climate, and culture we experienced as well as the contrast of old and new in Morocco. We loved the conversations with people in their homes, in riads (I had a great conversation with the daughter of the folks who owned the riad in Fes), on privately guided tours (especially Chefshauon and our guide, photographer and the latter's family), the visit to Volubilus, Fez, and at the Berber Village hike (including lengthy conversations and tea with his family and a wonderful restaurant meal in the village), long conversation with the patron of the fromagerie in Essauera. Some of the riads brought real luxury to the experience. Wonderful walks and tours that exposed us to these places and the nation's architecture throughout the trip. We loved the souk workshop/history/mosque/synagogue and food tours in Fes; the cooking lesson, hammam and St. Lauant Garden and Berber Museum in Marrakech; and the fine dining experiences along the way such as the winery in Essauera, and Rick's Cafe. A special treat was the photography museum in Marrakech that our driver recommended based on his knowledge of us as people in lieu of more shopping. Finally, our exposure to the Berber component of Morocco transformed our understanding of the country. We are deeply grateful for that aspect. It was great.
All understood our love of photography and the importance we put in documenting our own experience of the country.
We have to pay special tribute to the work of our driver. His knowledge of excellent restaurants along the way from our very first day after landing in Casablanca and travelling to Rabat and the various producers' cooperatives (rosewater, argan oil) added greatly to our experience. His recommendations were always thoughtful and excellent. He was always open to serious conversations about Morocco and had a great sense of humor as he attempted to teach us bits of Arabic and Berber. He was always willing to assist us with special needs, including during periods of ill-health. All of those were important given the lengthy time we all spent together.
Cut out the rushed visit to Meknes or add a full day there. Put in a down day after touring cities that would allow for quieter walking, personal jaunts, shopping, etc. with a base of knowledge. I know it would increase costs but it would improve the experience as well. It would also mean a less frenetic pace of travel.
We'd also appreciate a bit more insider background as to what relationships, if any, exist between the guides and the various stores/galleries/workshops we visited (and especially at rug sales venues). Each one said there is no push to buy, but we wondered if they had financial relationships of any sort with these venues. In that sense, more knowledge on the front end about these experiences would help us feel more comfortable s we went into them.
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