With 115 islands, the Seychelles are definitely a dream destination for those who want to lying under the palm trees on long sandy beaches, swimming and snorkelling in a turquoise blue sea, admiring nature and generally enjoying the tranquil atmosphere that reigns on virtually the entire archipelago.
At the end of our journey, we stopped on the main island, Mahe, where live almost 90 percent of the whole population of Seychelles, and most of them live in the capital of Victoria. The tranquil and casual island atmosphere we have been accustomed so far, has quickly been replaced by clusters of people and crowd on the roads.
We continued our journey on the island of La Digue… a really small island. It is 5 kilometers long and only 3 kilometers wide and depending on population, it is still the third biggest isle on Seychelles. Yeah, it is small as hell 🙂 There are only a few cars on it, and they are just like those golf carts you see in expensive resorts. The locals as well as tourists for moving around the island and searching for their spot under the palm trees use bicycles. But forget about relaxed cycling along the beach and prepare yourself for some real steep climbs along the way. You can hire bicycles right next to the port or arrange a rent in your hotel. Daily rent of a bike will cost you 150 rupees, which is approximately 10 € (1 € = 15,3 SCR).
Our first destination was the second largest island of Seyschelles – Praslin, which is only 20 minutes by plane away from the main island of Mahe. A flight with a small plane that accommodates only 16 people, is a unique experience that can be extremely adrenaline and at times not that pleasant (of course, depending of the weather ). Instead of flying, you also have an alternative, which in this case is a ferry. Driving with it lasts a good hour, you can seat in the air-conditioned room and there is also a small bar on board, where you can grab something to drink or have a snack. Luxury at its finest . Regardless of whether you are traveling by plane or ferry, your ticket will cost you around 70 €.
This time, our trip will be a little different than we are used to, we will visit three continents in ten days! Perhaps at first glance, this really seems like and extremely crowded travel plan, but according to the calculations, this will be a really great daily schedule for us 🙂
In the beginning of June, we will fly with Turkish Airlines from Venice to Seychelles, but we will do a short stop in Istanbul, which lies in both Europe and Asia. The city has as many as 15 million inhabitants and it is the largest city in Europe. There we will certainly be impressed by architecture, which is a mixture of Christian and Muslim origin. Istanbul was in the past a capital of Eastern Roman and also Ottoman empire.
After 8 hours train ride, in late afternoon we finally come back to Marrakech, where we had spent the first two days of traveling through Morocco. As we mentioned in an earlier post, for a trip across the desert we would not have enough time, because on 7th May early in the morning we already have a flight back to Italy – Milano. As we saw in Marrakech practically everything, instead of slacking and sitting in bars, we made a decision, that last day of our trip we will spent in one-day excursion to Ouzoud waterfalls. We reserved our excursion through our hostel (Amour de Riad) because prices are virtually in all local “agencies” the same. For two persons, we paid 500 mad, which still isn’t exactly a little, but okay.
At eight in the morning, our tour guide is already waiting for us. He escorted us to the outgoing location, and from there we started our tour to the waterfalls. The road to get there takes about 3 hours (about 250 kilometres) and for a ride, we have a new and quite comfortable minibus (without air conditioning). Ouzoud waterfalls and the village was named after the olives – why this is so, it is clear from the outset. In the Berber language Ouzoud means olive, around the neighbourhood grow plenty of them – each olive tree has its owner, which is marked with a specific colour.
As we are used to in Morocco, we again travel by train. ONCF has very good connections between certain major cities (even smaller), but if you are one of the road transport supporters, you may take a ride also with one of the private bus companies, Supratours. They offer better conditions, while local services in Morocco are not just so recognized.
Railway Station in the city of Fes was not long ago renovated and its design is identical to the station in Marrakech. To walk to the main road, you need to cross the beautifully landscaped park in front of which is bunch of cars – and those are not ordinary, of course we talk about famous taxis, to which you could in Morocco face every second. Let us therefore briefly given a few words about those… first about colours. Almost every city in Morocco have the taxis painted in his colour. In Marrakech are beige, blue in Rabat, in Casablanca and Fes are red. Drivers are required to pay a licence, while the car get from the state or it’s purchased by themselves.
Railway station in Casablanca (Casa Port), which is reminiscent of some of our smaller stations in Slovenia, we had close to the hotel… so, we get there without any problems. We wasn’t in a hurry, because trains in Rabat drives every half hour and ticket to get there, for both us together cost 70 mad.
After a relatively short ride, we arrive in Rabat, which immediately positively surprised us. Large, beautifully decorated streets, fountains, a lot of people… just the opposite of what we saw so far in other cities. Station Rabat Villa is located on one of the main streets, Mohammed V. However, we had just one problem here, how to find a place to stay for two nights and for little money. Back home we didn’t find any on the Booking. Prices ranged from € 120, which is too much for this country. We followed the Lonely Planet and started searching. First, we stopped in front of Hotel Central, which should be considered as one of the low budget hotels. The hotel is old as hell, the receptor with no will to live and price considerably more expensive than it is presented in the book.
In Marrakech, we stopped a taxi near our riad, which took us to the train station for 20 Moroccan Dirhams. There we bought a train tickets to Casablanca (2nd class cost us 180 MAD for both, 1st class tickets were 50 MAD more expensive per person). The train was crowded and soon we recognized similarities between the ONFC (Railway Company that operates in Morocco) and Slovenian Railways. The train had half an hour delay, trains wait for each other and the appearance of those trains is not far behind ours 🙂
At the moment we stepped off the train, a friendly taxi driver offer us a drive to the hotel. We gladly accepted it, even though the price was a little high, but we really didn’t have energy to haggle. We were surprised, because outside the train station stood his tiny taxi – old at least as we are and it was literally falling apart. There wasn’t enough space for our bags, so he put them up on the roof. We just hoped that they will still be up there, when we get to the hotel.
With the landing on the Marrakech airport, our story officially began. Without any specific problems, we found a bus that runs directly to the city centre, on the main square Djemaa el-Fna. Our first task was to find our “hostel” Riad el Az, which we had pre-booked via Booking.com (on this page we booked other hostels and hotels too, except in Rabat). However, find this one was hard, it was a real small puzzle in which we inadvertently entangled with one local man, who drove us through the maze of narrow streets. At the end we finally found our Riad, but we had to pay off our “tour guide”, 20 Moroccan dirhams (1 € = 11 MAD) was enough for that.