THE SPELL OF MOROCCO. WHY DOES THIS COUNTRY CAPTIVATE US SO MUCH?
Garmin Titan Desert 2021 |
February 26 th 2021 - 10:07
The Titan Desert is returning to its original scenario: Morocco. On 23 May Boumalne Dades will give the signal to start the 16th edition of the race, which will finish in Maadid five days later, on 28 May.
There must be something about Morocco for it to be the most visited country in Africa. Landscapes full of enchantment: deserts, seas, wildernesses and mountains which, combined with political stability, make Morocco a top tourist destination, especially for Spanish and French visitors.
So far… yet so near
Another culture, another religion, other landscapes… Another continent! So far, yet so near. Spain and Morocco are diametrically opposite, but they almost touch each other. Only 14 kilometres separate Tarifa (Province of Cádiz) from the Moroccan coast, exactly the width of the Straits of Gibraltar. Just fourteen kilometres that separate Europe from Africa.
Local flavours and cuisine
Mint tea is the national drink of Morocco and can be found on every table. There must be a reason for Morocco to be the biggest importer of green tea in the world. For its part, the tajine is the traditional dish of Berber gastronomy that carries the name of the earthenware pot it is cooked in. There is not just one recipe, but several, and they are as tasty, original and different as each other, for example, chicken with lemon and olives, lamb with caramelized quince jelly, beef with vegetables, or the kefta or sardines version. All of them really tasty!
Dromedary camels, an animal that captivates you
During the Titan you can come across them as you are riding the route, and they will always surprise you. Dromedaries only have one hump; a false urban legend says that the hump is full of water, but in reality it stores fatty tissue. Thanks to it, the animals can survive -even for weeks- without eating or drinking. The dromedaries originated in the Arabian Peninsula and can bear temperatures of up to 50 degrees in the desert.
Merzouga, good for health
As well as having the highest dunes in Morocco -crossed by many Titans- this town is also well-known for its health tourism and its famous ‘sand baths’, a treatment that is growing in popularity. The landscapes are delightful and allow you to enjoy the desert in its pure form. The magic of the Sahara. An ideal place to be in touch with oneself.
A climate of contrasts
Morocco is a country with great climatic contrasts. The climate is Mediterranean on the coast, continental in the mountains (there are ski resorts) and desert in the areas of the Sahara. The Titans know these contrasts well, and the nights in the bivouacs in the desert can be very cold in April and May, when the Titan Desert takes place.
Ancestral culture and education
Fez is home to the oldest university in the world. It is called al-Qarawiyyin, and was founded in 859 by a woman, Fatima al-Fihri. It is now one of the best Natural Sciences centres in the world, although it also offers courses in other fields.
Different -and sometimes intriguing- customs
One of the main sources of value of peoples lies in their ancient traditions, and there are many in Morocco. For example, the left hand is considered impure because it is used for ablutions; therefore, it should be used as little as possible, above all, when greeting other or eating. Another feature of Moroccan culture is bargaining, which is very common in markets and shops because products do not have the price marked. There are other local customs, such as taking your shoes off when you enter someone’s home. Another, more peculiar, is related to widows: tradition says that a widow should dress in white for 40 days after the death of her husband.