Our Amazing Race at Morocco & Andalusia

From busy markets that fill with bold colors and smells of herbs, to the eerie silence in the hypnotized scenic of Sahara desert. If it’s a food, then Morocco gave us a blast of strong flavors, yet rich of unknown ingredients.

Somehow there’s a common thing among graduated students at Enschede; to take the last trip before we’re going back for good to Indonesia. Of course, we’re excitingly followed that pattern, “So, where will we go?”

We’re intrigued to see the picturesque Prague, beautifully refined Budapest, and charming Austria. But long before my feet step on Netherland, I’m already obsessed with Morocco due to their vivid colors, exotic décor, the eclectic culture that heavily influenced by Arab, albeit they are in the North of Africa. Also, we are deeply interested in Islamic History, and from Morocco-Andalusia we could learn more and witnessed some spiritual heritages from medieval Islam.

Cordoba x

It’s been a year since our trip to Morocco – Andalusia. It was a hectic trip, I’ve tried to meticulously plan our itinerary but there’re still some flaws here and there. We step our feet on at least 15 cities within 11 days, that vacation obviously the most challenging trip we’ve ever done, but also the most memorable one. How can not, we missed our last bus to Seville – Spain, one of city listed on the itinerary (we already paid the bus and accommodation), and on the few hours before we’re going to the airport, we thought we’re going back to Eindhoven from Madrid, while apperantly, I bought tickets that depart from Barcelona. Ooowh, you should see how my husband took that shocking information, and i’m just spechless realized i could make that huge mistake *Yaikks!

Najwa Breakfast.jpg

We took the trip when it was fall in The Netherland, and the temperature could as low as 6 Celsius. Meanwhile, at Morocco, December means modest sun exposure where normally spring and summer’s temperatures are 29 – 39 Celsius. We still wore our winter jacket on our trip to the Sahara Desert, but we seldom need them when strolling the cities at day and night.

Due our limited time to exploring Morocco, we prefer to choose Sahara Desert tour via Atlas Mountain from Marrakech to Fez, rather than go to see Rabat and Casablanca. Normally it took not least than 3 days 2 nights but we don’t have much time so we try to find a travel agent that could arrange a private tour. We got a recommendation from our friends, but at the end, we choose Zuwaina Tour, runs by Indonesian students, but the driver (also as the guide) is a local guy from Berber tribe. “Najwa Habibi,” he likes to call Najwa, and the meaning is “My dear Najwa”. Along the road, he with his co-guide play a playlist of Moroccan songs that really suit to be our soundtrack music while passing the Atlas Mountain. Just hearing that songs gave me a mix of lingering memories.

Sahara Desert Tour

Along the tour, the scenic was mesmerizing, the weather is perfect, we could clearly see the faces of Atlas Mountains. Being on the road for over 8 hours per day wasn’t a pleasant thing especially when you rode with a toddler. Luckily because this is a private tour we could request for a stop in every two or three hours, to keep her mood good. The trip is good, although Najwa vomits several times, she’s still healthy and happy. One thing that we regret is for not asking the guide to stop at a local mosque where we could pray in there, an activity that we love to do wherever we go, both in a foreign country or when we visit other cities in Indonesia.

*I will post more stories about our Atlas Mountain and Sahara Desert Tour in next post (hopefully not long after this post).

The Preparations

We have friends that visited Morocco or Andalusia, but not in one trip. Now, this is the hardest part; There are limited flights from/to Morocco and Andalusia, even though I re-arrange the itinerary many times by switching cities but I still couldn’t find flights that match our route. So, I decided to go from Morocco to Andalusia by train and ferry. A decision that gave me a headache and I keep feeling nervous from planning ’till executing. Foremost I arranged this whole itinerary by myself because my husband already gave his 100% focus on his thesis.

So, while my husband struggling to wrap his thesis and practice for his defense, I spend my nights reading countless pages relating our plan to visit Morocco and Andalusia. Like I said, it was the most challenging trip I’ve ever arranged, juggling so many things between all those traveling and moving back preparations.

It wasn’t a smooth trip. But, I could say it was TOTALLY WORTH all the hustle and penny. It is not exaggerating if we remembered our adventure as The Amazing Race of Morocco – Andalusia. Oh please, put the trip to Morocco and Andalusia on your bucket list. With better hints, and more efficient preparation you will have the most indelible journey ever. AFRICA!

Sahara Desert Tour 2

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