About Me


My short visit in Menkés gave me the most local impression of Moroccan everyday life so far. As I was staying with the family of a friend from Essaouira i got a glimpse into traditional family life and the city itself is not very touristy. Walking around the centre and the medina I heard little English, some French but mostly Dherija. Moroccan style cafes with their plastic chairs, all aligned to look out at the street and predominantly local men sitting there, sipping tea or coffee and smoking between cloth shops, snack stands, cosmetic salons and phone shops make up most of the street front around the medina and in the new centre. The two main parts, the old medina and the quater Hamria with its shops and tea salons, lie ca. 25 min walk from each other and for me one day was enough to walk around both areas sufficiently. Though many attractive sites in the Old town: the ‘Bab el mansour Laalej’, the courtyard ‘Madrasa Bu Inaniya’, the shop fronts and parts of the big ‘Lahdim Square’, are under construction and closed off to the public until 2023 at least, there are some nice things to do. I went to the National Music Museum ‘Dar Jamai Museum’ located at the north corner of the square, this place is worth a visit for the building alone. The palace was build by Ben Laribi Jamai, the first Minister of Sutan Moulay Hassan I, in 1882. In the middle is a beautiful courtyard garden with fountains and colourful mosaics, in the royally decorated rooms around are traditional musical instrument, the craft of their making and different music styles from Morocco’s past and present on display.

Another interesting thing to see around Meknés is Volubilis, city ruins once important to Amazigh, Romans and other tribes near Moulay Idris. Due to the little tourist activity in Meknés i could not find any tours but local transport to Moulay Idris is cheap and the 25 walk from there takes you along one quiet street through nice nature and little fields. To get there take a grand taxi from the Taxis station on Rue Talda ( Grand Taxis pour Moulay Idriss ,jerf ,sidi kacem the taxi should fill up quickly and cost you 11 dhm. I would recommend getting out at the Grand taxi station in Moulay Idris so you know where it is but optional you can ask the driver to drop you down at the main road and safe ca 10 minutes walk to Volubilis, on the way back just follow the road up to the town and you will get to the grand taxi station where frequently cars go back to Meknés. In Meknés itself grand taxies are also a cheap way to get from one area to the next, 4 – 5 dhm, just finding the right station where the taxis to the desired area leave can be a bit tricky, they are not necessarily in one place but scattered across the city. See this list for some of them:

Getting to and from Meknés is easiest with one of the many local or the established bus company CTM or the train. Taxies to the gare routier or train station are not expensive and they leave to different location several times a day.

The life in a traditional Moroccan family is very different from what I am used to at home or even from any other country I have travelled so far. In the spacious three-story house are now only my mates parents and their daughter in law from their second son who is living in the US for work. I still don’t really speak any Dherija and zero French so communication was mere impossible with the family there, so time to time different members of the family were called for translation or entertainment. Regardless of the language barrier they were more than welcoming, and I want to elaborate on that with the upmost respect for the culture and their personal way of life. Me as a solo traveling individualist was challenged with some of the customs being somewhat contrary to my own believes and mind-set. For example, I perceived it as slightly uncomfortable and bewildering, that the father of the house would serve me tea, as the foreign guest, but for himself the daughter in law would get up and place the tea in front of him. Neither was I ok to help the women with setting or clearing the table and as a matter of fact got additional eggs, fresh juice and salad for my breakfast, which none of the family had. With all appreciation for their hospitality and concern being tucked into bed and what said above conflict my sense of equality and self-determined life. The wife of my friend’s brother was my age and super lovely, two evenings she painted Hanna on my hands and feet, we listened to some music and she was so kind to leave me her room for a couple of nights.

It was a very special time and I am very thankful for experiences like this, where people welcome me with open arms into their home or life for a while.