Some places you fall in love with. Other places, you just want to see the top tourist attractions, get out, and never look back. When you are in love, you want to savor and enjoy every moment, taste and touch. You want to explore it fully and completely. When you love a country, the top tourist attractions are either A. The most incredible thing in the world that you must experience over and over again or B. The worst part of the country that people who do not truly understand the country want to wallow away in.
I loved both Portugal and Morocco. Portugal has sunshine, yellow flowers and powerful winds. Portugal is a place of unparalleled ambition, splendor and enduring beauty. I would love to explore the more obscure monasteries, the splendid countryside and the mysterious islands. The islands are marketed mostly for Portuguese and other European explorers, and it is almost impossible to find information on how to get around the islands in English. I did not have the guts to go there and regret it to this day. I am generally fascinated with both island countries and mother nature, but always have a hesitation towards exploring their because I travel alone so often. I feel less secure being out in the wild when I am by myself, in lieu of a city, which I dislike more than nature, but feel secure traveling alone to. I think this is a primitive human mechanism, that we need other people to survive in the wild and unknown, but not in a city. Cities are designed for a multitude of personalities, including loners, lonely people, independent travelers, permanence from mere wandering, civilization, commerce, trade and symbols of power.
Morocco is another love. Morocco seemed forbidden, being Middle Eastern and semi-unstable. The hocus pocus was not there when I got there, and you are more likely to be heckled by aggressive shop keepers than you are to be the victim of a terrorist attack. Morocco is a place for art lovers and history lovers because it is rich in both. I saw the historic madrassas, mosques and bazaars. I saw the modern luxury hotels, the Atlas mountains and tourist traps, mostly in Marrakech. Tangier was the only coastal city I was in and was otherwise in the center of the country. Next, time I would like to explore the Atlantic coastal cities of Rabat, Casablanca, Essaouria, and Agadir. I heard Rabat is more mellow and peaceful and that Casablanca is a stewing chaotic mess of a city. As much as I love history and art, I am fascinated with why some cities grow to prominence and wealth and others flounder. Rabat and Casa are commercial centers and Essaouria and Agadir are mellow hippie surf towns with great hotels.
The food in Morocco is world famous and truly tastes better there than here. Moroccan cuisine can be cooked correctly anywhere else in the world because the way the produce and meats tastes in Morocco is fresher and purer than anywhere else. A trip to Morocco is worth it for the cuisine alone.