Rita Bacyte - a photographer, husband Linas and two kids - 7 year old Kipras and 10 year old Adele once travelled to Morocco for holidays.
It was on their minds for a long time. We were enchanted by those images of childhood readings of Eastern fairy tales about flying carpets and genie from a bottle, - said Rita. Later in life, there were new pictures in their heads from the movies Casablanca, Only lovers left alive, Razzia...
Rita has always been attracted by countries with a multi-layered culture and Morocco is full of this: Berber, African culture, Muslims, the legacy of the colonists.
Already on the plane, Rita started reading a wonderful book by Tahir Shah - Caliph Palace, therefore she was already inpatient to see whether everything was so magical as in the books and in the movies.
They flew to Morocco at the beginning of November, when there is school holidays in Lithuania. They chose a direct flight to Agadir airport, and the price of the ticket was around 150EUR.
The goal of this trip was not to travel from one city to another, but rather visit only a few cities and spend more time near the ocean. Their wish was to enjoy the sun, sand and the ocean.
The ultimate destination was beautiful Essaouira, where the family spent most of the time. In the mornings they used to go to the beach next to the Atlantic ocean and in the second half of the day they just wandered through the streets of Medina, watching people.
Streets of Morocco is like a big boiler, where life is "boiling", - I could go there for days: groups of tourists, streets full of cats, scooters, merchants and all kinds of freaks., - said Rita.
Music was spreading around from every corner, from drums to strings, from amateurs to professionals. The whole city was filled with musical magic.
And the smells...such a variety, unfortunately, not always the most pleasant ones. Their noses were filled with exotic smells from the seafood market. Kids could barely bear with those smells - they often walked around with their noses covered. The family enjoyed wandering around without any direction in their heads, and the roads would carry them somewhere very interesting. We used to go where your legs carry you and where your eyes see,- said Rita. Although Essaoura itself is a miniature city, it is easy to get lost there, because the whole Medina is narrow and full of winding streets. How did you travel from one destination to another?
The most comfortable to travel with kids is by car. They drove from Agadir stopping by at little villages/towns. If we find an interesting and beautiful place, we stop there for a longer time, go to the local market, taste local food or just stop to drink pomegranate juice next to the ocean,- explained Rita. In more remote villages people would look at us like at aliens :)
Was it not hard to travel with two kids?
Oh no! We travel with them since they were babies. Now they are grown up already - 7 and 9 years old,- said Rita. There is even a greater incentive now to visit more, see more, show more and get acquainted to more things and places. Rita would not like if her kids spent their holidays next to the warm pool landing tracks. My mood was much higher seeing them surprised and interested in things,- said Rita.
What did you like or dislike most about this trip?
As a photographer, I wanted to make photographs,- said Rita. Morocco is a very photogenic place, the light there is special. Rita was mostly interested in local people, unfortunately, it was not very easy to approach them. More time was necessary. When photographed, locals are not very happy, even angry - they all want dirhams (local money) or other benefits. So if you want to push your camera's button, be prepared to pay for it. Actually, be prepared to pay for anything in Morocco - if you want to park your car, ask for directions or just stare at the people...
Another disadvantage was cold weather in Africa. It was very windy near the ocean and it even rained for a few days while they were there. For kids - it was not a problem, they used the pool for most of the day.
For the first night in Agadir, the family stayed in one of the hotels, because they did not feel like traveling to Essaouira late at night. Later on, the trip was divided into two parts: 5 days of staying in the old town riad (local house) and the other 5 in a huge villa out of town. This villa was in the middle of nowhere, with sheeps, goats and chickens strolling around. The family had a huge courtyard and really large pool.
Life in riad has left a great impression to all the family members, especially children. Riad is an ancient Moroccan house, which was built in the 19th century. They lived in a four-storey riad, with an open roof in the middle. The aura there is amazing - zellige tile patterns, carved canopies, shutters, antique furniture and the bath - size of half the room. To find your family member in this riad was a challenge, - said Rita. And what a wonderful feeling to fall asleep with seagull noises and wake up with early morning call to prayer.
The best memory from the trip
It was special sunrises in the morning and lots of stars at night, a stay at the village villa were the most memorable moments to Rita. Besides, I will never forget the feeling of strolling around the evening streets of Medina quarter, - said Rita. Those streets become very similar to the corridors in the building. You really start to have a feeling you are in the movie: the market "bee" is calming down, cats are walking around, some stranger passes by with a djellaba.
Kids in Morocco are definitely welcome, loved and respected. If we, as adults, felt that in every step locals tried to drill every cent from us, but the attention towards kids was very sincere.
Thank you to Rita for sharing this story, check her beautiful pictures below or here.