New Year in the Sahara Desert

New Year in the Sahara Desert,

We just returned from winter Morocco, where we welcomed the New Year in the desert, strolled along the fabulous promenade of the pirate city of Essaouira, met Barbary tailless monkeys and, of course, ate delicious Moroccan tangerines, tajine with quince, pastilles and couscous.

And we also brought with us a huge luggage of colorful photos, memories and emotions that we just can’t help but share with you.

Impressions of the participants of the expedition:

Svetlana Khardinova: SHUKRAN! THANK YOU! MERCI! To all participants of this grandiose journey, sometimes beyond time and space! A special shukran to our wonderful guides Kirill and Philip! May this year be as indescribably wonderful for all of us, as the first morning in the desert!

P.s. As for the tagine and couscous) now, back in snowy Moscow, even I am ready to sit with you for these masterpieces of Moroccan cooking and drink mint tea)

Ksenia Ovchinnikova: Kirill and Philip, THANK YOU for everything. The expedition is filling. Head, soul and heart. Thank you for the magical beginning of the New Year. The appearance of the sun on January 1 I will remember for the rest of my life. I admire each of our five drivers – to drive for 2 weeks in such a different Morocco is definitely worthy of respect. Today, smacking my freshly bought winter boots:) on the Moscow mud, I realized that I would not mind to eat tajine in wind-blown coastal Essaouira)

Anton Bozhko: So, Morocco. Before the trip, I spent very little time getting acquainted with the history and features of the modern structure of this country, so that the first date with Africa and the Arab world would be more interesting and unexpected. And it worked, I think. The country of Morocco has surprised us with a variety of landscapes, vegetation and climate, has been an example of a relatively secular state, the main religion is Islam and has instilled lasting sarcasm in relation to the main dish of the local cuisine – Tajine. We will talk about all this separately and in detail, so read the detailed report in Anton’s LiveJournal.

Travel Diary of Sharofat Bogacheva: I have dreamed of going to Morocco for several years, and I was very happy when I saw an auto tour around the country in Chiptrip, and even in the New Year.

As always, before the trip was hectic, work and stuff. I felt that I was on my way to the trip only at the airport. I went alone and had to meet the other participants in Casablanca.

26.12 We flew to Casablanca. I will be driving the car, which is great, as I don’t like to sit next to it. I got a Renault Simble – a stool with a manual gearbox, but with a roomy luggage compartment, which turned out to be important, because there were suitcases. Went to town. It was nice that the legs and hands quickly remembered what to do, but … Many people know or have heard about driving in Arab countries – I’m involved in it. Driving in the city is an extreme. Not only do cabs, cars, trucks, etc. four-wheelers and multiwheelers drive how they want, turn where they want and so on …, but horse-drawn carts, bicycle and motorcycle riders are trying to throw themselves under the wheels, dogs and foot Arabs. At the same point can leave at the same time from four sides. In general, after a sleepless day cheered up. I can not even imagine how it would be possible to go without an attendant / without Cyril:))/.

Casablanca did not like it, nothing interesting, dirty city and in general… I fell asleep instantly and in the morning / did not switch over / thought I was home – that’s because I brought my favorite pillow ;)) / it’s important – to get enough sleep!!!

27.12. We started at 7:30. Stated to overcome the pass – a beautiful serpentine through the foothills of some mountains, 330 km. In 25-30 km landscapes began to change (for the better), in some places it seemed that in Europe driving – cultivated fields, greenhouses. Closer to the mountains and in the mountains – it was very beautiful in some places, and there we made small stops. We rode through small picturesque villages where we could see mandarins, oranges, bananas, strawberries on the carts, which of course we bought for a non tourist price. It was a long journey, we drove 7-8 hours. And we arrived in the beautiful blue town of Chefchaouen. The city is on a mountain, so climbs, descents, steps / I do not like it 🙂 )/. Immediately went to the Medina. I liked it very much. Southern flavor, architecture, all the houses painted in white shades of blue, beautiful doors, windows, streets. Clean

But it’s cold… Africa! We bought a local djellaba, camel’s hair shirts, everyone wears them in the Sahara Desert, where we will spend the New Year, because it will be even colder at night. The furs are good for warmth (and will be good for meditation in the future). In Medina we ate local food – a very tasty Moroccan soup / bean soup / couscous with vegetables and dried fruits – all fragrant. We had Moroccan tea, asked without sugar – tastes better to my taste ;)). Went away, went away, tired. Tomorrow we will walk till 16, take pictures, try something else from local cuisine and go to Fez. In Chefchaouen we want to stay for 2-3 days. The city disposes to walks. To relax, to contemplate.

28.12. Going for a wander through the streets and the Medina 🙂 ). People went for a walk on the mountain. The weather was wonderful. It was nice to sit in the sun and drink hot tea. In Chefchaouen, should buy a woolen jellaba / I like the men’s, women’s very decorated and very colorful / and woolen sweaters, those who are cold, or who like handmade national clothes. We will move to Fez by evening.

December 29. Today is the day in Fez. We continued to try national dishes – harira soup, tagine, pastia – delicious! Walked around the Medina. When you deviate from the tourist trail – there is real Medina life, workshops-people sewing, making pots… life is teeming. But it doesn’t feel cozy. We quickly returned to the trail. And in the evening, a hamam. We were washed, anointed, massaged, washed our hair, dressed and given Moroccan tea -super!!! We went back to the hotel clean and happy. We will drive to Midelt tomorrow morning.

December 30, It was a beautiful sunny day /but windy/. We drove to Midelt. Jellaba – local clothes / cool/, I think it will fly to Moscow / on the plane will warm / very helpful. On the road changes the landscape, there are well-groomed avenues of plane trees and shrubs, lawns, European houses in the beautiful olive foothills. Contrast with the red earth, boulders – beautiful. Storks are flying around. This is us entering the town of Ifrane, a Moroccan Switzerland. There are storks’ nests on almost every roof. It is very rich, classy, and cozy. The streets are fattened lazy cats walking around / unlike in Casablanca and Fez.

We went to a cafe “Bethofen” and indulged in a delicious omelet, Moroccan tea, orange juice and green salad with some parts of the palm tree / I did not understand the taste / just like radishes – crunchy. There! A photo shoot, of course.

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