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‘If you are not lost within a minute, you’re not trying hard enough’ – my search for magical Morocco | Morocco holidays

‘If you are not lost within a minute, you’re not trying hard enough’ – my search for magical Morocco | Morocco holidays

In Tangier, fresh off the ferry from Spain, I walk along the esplanade in cool morning air, then take the steps up into the casbah. My journey to Morocco started at St Pancras station in London three days earlier, and I spent a night each in Barcelona and Algeciras. I feel none of the dislocation or awkwardness that a flight would entail. I’ve seen the landscapes change: the lavender fields of Provence, the peach groves of Catalonia, then the wild upland magic of La Mancha. I spotted my first Arabic sign in Spain yesterday. Now the crafted casbah of Tangier seems like the natural next step. I take a turn up a narrow alleyway and pass an elderly couple, the woman in a straw hat decorated with fresh flowers, her husband hooded in a thick woollen burnous.

Map Morocco

The casbah is quiet. I stumble into the only place where things are happening: the meat market. By western supermarket standards, this bazaar is a challenge: entire blood-dripping carcasses on hooks, a man sorting through yards of slithery steaming intestines with his bare hands.

Morocco was once a place where Westerners headed for a decent dose of culture shock. In 1867 Mark Twain arrived on the grand tour that would result in his classic, The Innocents Abroad: “We wanted something thoroughly and uncompromisingly foreign – foreign from top to bottom – foreign from center to circumference – foreign inside and outside and all around – nothing anywhere about it to dilute its foreignness – nothing to remind us of any other people or any other land under the sun. And lo! In Tangier we have found it …”

He was not the only one. William Burroughs wrote The Naked Lunch in a Tangier hotel room. Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles all came for inspiration. Later came the musicians: Graham Nash jumped on the Marrakech Express in 1966; Hendrix’s Castles Made of Sand was inspired by Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast, while the Rolling Stones almost came to grief here in 1967.

But that’s history: what about now?

Tangier station is clean and cool, the high-speed train leaves on time and we are soon whipping down the coast. At Casablanca I change to an older, slower train, but to be honest I am glad of the switch in pace. I want to see the environment: the spectacular bougainvillaea, the vast pastures dotted with flocks and shepherds, the houses built for both heat and extreme…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Travel | The Guardian…