Rather than describe the many beauties of Morocco, I’ll show photos.
Dressing like a local
There are many more beautiful Moroccan clothes that I didn’t have the opportunity to photograph, try on or buy.
Language in Morocco
There are many languages spoken in Morocco. It is a wonderful place for a linguaphile! The official language is Arabic but most signs are in Arabic and French.
When I arrived in Morocco, I thought that I would be returning to my good, loyal, sometimes close, and sometimes not-so-close friend, the French language. I was surprised to find that several of the young people I met in the tourism industry actually preferred to speak to me in English rather than French.
In schools, Moroccans learn both Classical Arabic (Fusha) and their dialect, Darija.
Arabic sign in the Chefchaouen, Morocco’s Blue City
Morocco was under French rule for many years and the French language is commonly spoken throughout the country. In Casablanca, I saw more signs in French than French-Arabic or Arabic-only signs. In some fancy restaurants in Casablanca, I didn’t hear Moroccan Arabic spoken at all.
French herb signs, Medina in Essaouira, Morocco
Le saveur de poisson, Tangiers, Morocco
Parts of Northern Spain were a Spanish protectorate until the 1950s. Given the Spanish history in the north and the many Spanish tourists who travel to Morocco, you can still find people who speak Spanish in places such as Tangiers and Chefchaouen. (I didn’t visit other parts of the north.)
Buen Gusto Cafe, Tangiers
Sign in Arabic, English and Spanish for the communal oven to bake bread, Chefchaouen
The signs on this bus were in Catalan because the buses were donations from Catalunya, Spain
Berber (Amazigh or Tamazight)
The Berbers are the indigenous people of Northern Africa. There are different Berber languages. I saw some Berber signs on government buildings in Morocco.
Berber sign, Morocco
The title is in Berber, Arabic and French, but there is no Berber language description for this Islamic School in Fes, Morocco
Morocco used to have a large Jewish population that lived in the Mellah neighborhoods in various cities. Most of the population has left the country, but there are still signs in Hebrew, French and Arabic for Jewish synagogues and museums.
Synagogue in the Mellah, Essaouira, Morocco
Some segments of the Jewish communities in Morocco are descendants of the Spanish Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition. They speak Haketia, a form of Spanish from the 15th century mixed with Arabic and Hebrew words. I did a presentation about the Judeo-Spanish language and the film Saved by Language at the Cervantes Institute in Casablanca, Morocco.
Some of the foods
Cheese in palm leaves
I watched the CNN Parts Unknown show about Tangier, Morocco several years before going to Morocco. Le saveur de poisson is a fish restaurant that Anthony Bourdain had visited in the show. One of the only reasons I went to Tangiers was to eat in this restaurant.
(When Mr. Bourdain ended his life in June 2018, I was deeply saddened for several days. He had shown parts of the world that I, along with millions of viewers, had never seen and may never have the opportunity to visit. I liked how he showed how normal (not rich) people lived in various parts of the world and was willing to be frank with his thoughts. I would not have gone to this restaurant and eaten the wonderful fish if it hadn’t been for his show.)
Moroccan fish restaurant, Le saveur de poisson, Tangiers, Morocco, featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown
Moroccan mint tea
Fresh pomegranate and orange juice stand
There is still so much of the country that I did not see. I very much want to return. The people were extremely friendly and went out of their way to help when needed.