Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The Cast of Characters....

.....Danny and I, our friends Mick and Susanna who live near us, Susanna's son, Dougal and his Algerian wife Manelle who are newlyweds.  Also joining us was Micky who is a Brummie (from Birmingham, England) but has lived in France for about 35 years.  His wife was unfortunately unable to join us.

Agadir is not at all what I imagined when I read the description and reviews by previous tourists prior to our trip.  It was described by some as a large city with no redeeming qualities which is primarily for European tourists.  Yes, it is primarily for tourists, but is not tacky or tasteless.  It's not the real Morocco as it's designed mainly for Europeans, but is a pleasant place to stay.  Most of the hotels and homes are very attractive with an appealing architecture.  The long promenade along the beach front is well-designed.  It is mainly hotels and restaurants along the promenade and almost all are pleasing to the eye.  There are no tacky souvenir shops and the only chain restaurants I noticed were a McDonalds and a Pizza Hut.  Currently there is a lot of construction in progress - new hotels, new houses, new restaurants.

Our accommodation was a very large 5 bedroom villa in a nice area which wasn't too far from the beach.  However, taxis were easy to find and quite cheap and we always took one coming back in the evenings or for grocery shopping.  There were 7 of us occupying the house and there was more than enough room for everyone.

Villa we rented

The beach is very long and wide with many private areas for hotel guests, but there were plenty of public access areas as well.  The promenade runs along the length of the beach and we walked the entire length many times, and this became my exercise for the 10 days.  We felt very safe, even walking in the evenings.  The promenade has security police which are not obvious unless you are looking.  All beachfront hotels have security.

There were NO mosquitoes!!!

Photo albums


I love Moroccan architecture.  Buildings are most often white stone or terracotta or clay colour. 

Architecture photo album

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Food & drink

I highly recommend Le Nil Bleu for meals!  Reviews including one by me

Traditional food is a tagine (clay pot for slow cooking) with various ingredients such as meat, vegetables, potatoes, couscous in a very tasty sauce made from Moroccan spices. 

Entertainment at many of the beachside restaurants with traditional music, pop music, whirling dervishes which can make you feel dizzy if you watch too long, especially after a few glasses of wine. 

Moroccan beer and wine was quite good, and there was a red wine I became very fond of.  

When we stopped at cafes for refreshment - usually beer, wine, coffee or Moroccan mint tea - we were usually served a bowl of green olives, and sometimes a plate of cucumber, peppers, cheeses.  I loved the Moroccan mint tea which has pieces of mint floating in your cup.  It's usually sweetened. 

One evening I had a fabulous dish at Palais de roses Moroccan restaurant - pastilla de poulet amonde (chicken almond pastilla) - a pastry filled with chicken and almonds and the pastry is topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

I found the Moroccans friendly and the service impeccable. 

On one afternoon we went to the large souk to shop.  It was very large with the most beautiful displays of vegetables and fruits and spices and at very cheap prices.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Even though it was  the rainy season we had sunshine the entire visit.  Temps were pleasant - 70'sF/20'sC.  The beach becomes very breezy at certain times of day which could be very chilly.  We usually brought jackets with us.  In the evening it can get quite cold so going out to dinner at one of the many outdoor restaurants requires trousers and a jacket or sweater.

The sky was always clear so sunsets were fabulous.  Due to the humidity the sky turns an ususual shade of green just after sunset and remains that way for quite a while.  On two evenings we witnessed incredible sunsets and this strange luminous green in the sky.  However, I didn't bring my camera on either night.  On one of our last nights I brought the camera in hopes of capturing this.  The sunset wasn't as spectacular as there was a haze low down in the sky.  The sky did not turn green.  

Antiatlas Mountains

On Thursday five of us hired a driver to take us on a tour of the mountains, stopping at a village to wander through the souk (market) and on to Tafroute where we stopped for lunch.  The landscape was very dry but beautiful.  We passed a walled town - photos below.

Photos for this area

Lion face

Anti-Atlas Mountains

Near Tafroute we stopped at a small village with interesting homes and a rock formation called Napoleon's Hat.
Ameln Valley - Aguerd Oudad

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This and that

One day 4 of us had a 2 hour massage and the price was only 30 euros each.  

I found the hooded robes that some of the men wore to be an interesting and mysterious sight. 

The language we heard spoken most often was French, but we also heard Arabic or Berber.  Fortunately, 3 people in our group were fluent French speakers and one was fluent in Arabic.  I occasionally work on learning French with my Rosetta Stone programme and I now feel inspired to work on it more consistently.  I enjoyed using what few French phrases and words that I remembered.  Danny and I (and maybe others) plan to return to Agadir in the future and I'd like to be able to speak much more French by then and not be dependant on an interpreter.

On Sunday we paid 400 dirhams each (about 40 euros) to spend 7 hours at Club Med.  This included all the food and drinks we wanted and access to the pool and private beach.  While sitting on the beach we noticed 3 women sunbathing topless.  This is not common in Morocco (a Muslim country) but seems to be allowed if it is discreet.

For sale in many shops are rugs, traditional clothing, pottery, and handmade multi-coloured shoes with pointed toes, something my big feet could never wear. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012


In Morocco the currency used is the dirham (MAD).  Currently the exchange rate is:
1 US dollar - 8.26 MAD
1 GBP - 13.07 MAD
1 Euro - 10.89

The price of our villa was 1300 Euros for 10 days.  The prices of meals and drinks varies widely.  It can cost 80 MAD for a tagine (slow cooked meat and veg meal) or 120 MAD.  A beer can cost 35 MAD, a bottle of wine 180 MAD.  Beachfront outdoor restaurants and cafes are more expensive because they have the view and the atmosphere and often have entertainment.  Even though only one of us had the Euro as our normal currency, we all estimated value by quickly converting 100 dirhams as 10 euros, etc.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A brief description

Morocco is located in North Africa and its coastline borders on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The geography is diverse with beaches, mountains, and the Sahara Desert.  

A few facts
  • Politics:  Constitutional monarchy
  • Capital:  Rabat
  • Largest city:  Casablanca
  • Population: 32 million
  • Languages:  Berber and Moroccan Arabic with regional dialects.  French is also spoken.
  • Religion:  98% Muslim, small percentage Christian and Moroccan Judaism
My birthday is in late February and Danny and I will be going with friends for 10 days.  We will be based in Agadir which is located on the Atlantic Ocean near the foot of the Altas Mountains.  It's not a typical Moroccan city as it has large buildings, wide roads, modern hotels and European-style cafes.  The city attracts tourists mainly from Europe.