Our expectations for each country we’ve been to thus far have always been met, and in most places exceeded. From New Zealand’s landscape, Australia’s inevitable nature, Taiwan’s completely different culture, Philippines’ tropical living conditions, UK’s small-town charm, and Italy’s incredible food and history, on the general side of things we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Even our future countries, we know why we’re going there and what we’re thinking will happen during our month.
Morocco, however, was the wild card. Ever since making it our plan, we shifted often from excitement to dread and everywhere in between. Ultimately, we figured that we would plan as best as we could for hot weather, dusty roads, and either overly friendly shop owners or rock-throwing teenagers, as that’s all that the internet led us to believe would exist throughout our time in Essaouira and Marrakech.
That’s the last time I’ll ever trust the internet’s opinion on a place again. Perhaps it was simply having little expectation that led me to feeling so overwhelmingly blown away by how amazing this country is. But here’s our real opinion: Morocco just freaking rocks.
When we got to Marrakech, there was hot weather, dusty roads, and very friendly shop owners. We thought we had it all figured out. Even all the next day we kept our bags close to our bodies and kept an eye out for malicious rock throwers around every corner. It took a couple days for us to realize that we were not only wrong, but stupid. There weren’t kids waiting with rocks around corners, and no one was out to get us. No one cared that the American couple with a baby just moved in to the building on the corner, even in a 100% Moroccan neighborhood outside of the touristy zone. If anything, they were happy about it—Carter got more kisses than he did even in Taiwan and Philippines combined!
As our preconceived notions were torn down, the rest of our inhibitions crumbled as well. Soon enough we were enjoying every minute we got to spend outside, in the medina, on the beach, in a cafe, eating tagine, watching sunsets, meeting people, haggling with shop owners… you get the point. Everything about this place was reminiscent of the best things each country prior had to offer. Everything about this place was incredible.
So why is Morocco our favorite country so far?
Because the food is the best we’ve ever had (tied with Mexican, of course).
Because the landscape rivals New Zealand’s coastline.
Because Essaouira has the only honest and friendly taxi drivers we’ve ever seen. They even gave my money back when I accidentally overpaid.
Because the artwork is colorfully unique and spectacular.
Because the beaches are long, flat, and perfect for Carter.
Because the architecture is equal parts art and utility.
Because the shop owners ARE friendly, and hilarious to barter with.
Because the prices of everything is the exact opposite of Italy. (Full breakfast for 5 and a half people: $9 USD)
Because the mint tea is delicious and plentiful.
Because the value of family and friends is still held with the highest possible regard.
Because the culture is so different from our own.
And last, but certainly not least, because we would be hard-pressed to find a country with people more amazing and friendly as a whole than we’ve experienced here.
We love Morocco. We would consider living here for a couple years. And remembering we almost didn’t think it would be worth it, we’ve never been so glad to be wrong.