Going to Morocco, Spain, France, and Amsterdam...What should I know?

So, in about 2 weeks irishfella and I are heading off to the sun.
Firstly a few days with my manic family in Spain (parent’s place in Marbella), then on a ferry to Tangier, and a month inter-railing.
We have no real plans, we’re taking a tent, so we’ll use that if we need to.

Rough itinerary includes:
Chefchaouen (which I’m sure I havn’t spelt right), Fez, Marrakesh, Casablanca, Tangiers

Seville, Madrid, Barcelona

Arles/Avignon, Paris, Bayeux


Amsterdam (where our flight leaves from)

I’ve Inter-railed before in Eastern Europe, and don’t think that we’re fitting in too much, but if we are, we’ll just move on and leave something out.

Has anyone got any advice, things to add, etc?

PLEASE don’t tell us to avoid Morocco, both of us grew up in Northern Ireland, a bomb isn’t really much of a deterrant.

We’re vaccinated, and I’m planning to get a gold ring, just in case we get hassle as an unmarried couple.

Anything else we should know? Neither of us have been to North Africa before.

Here is a good site for budget hotels in Spain.

I know Madrid pretty well if you have any specific questions about it.

Things I remember most from Amsterdamn:

  1. the art museums
  2. the narrated canal boat tour
  3. Anne Frank’s secret annex – That was the most overwhelming.

You’ll be tortured by hawkers in Tangiers, all day and constantly. Don’t buy anything, its all toss. The shops are good though, if you want something specific, like a rug. Expect to haggle a lot. I can’t speak for the rest of Morocco, having not been there. Oh, and it was well fecking hot, hotter than anywhere I’d been in Europe. Dry, uncomfortable, hard-to-breathe hot. Bad news for my frail celtic skin. :wink:

Barcelona is a fantastic city, but I was constantly approached by ‘pickpockets’ who, lacking any form of subtly, just stuck their hands in your pockets / rucksack as you stood there watching them. It was surreal, they didn’t give a toss to who saw them. And some ‘protector’ boy flashed his gun when you challenged them on their behaviour. But there is so much to see I can’t begin to start, I loved being there. The Picasso museum is a must.

BTW, where is your parents place in Marbella? We have an apartment in Puerto Banus, just down the road.
And my friends Dad owns a bar in Marbella, called “O’Willie’s”.(I think). Great wee place, check it out. :slight_smile:

Oh, the bus down to Algeciras is crap, so get a lift if you can (parents?).

And bring plenty of water for the journey, as the ferry over to Tangiers doesn’t sell drinks (or at least didn’t when I was last on it).

what, on your way from Paris to Amsterdam?*
Go see Manneke Pis. There’re lot of guided tours around, they’re well worth the money.

I’ve only been there abt 4 times myself.
If you want to see a nice place in Belgium, go to Brugge. Or Gent.
*whenever someone asks me where I’m from, and I say belgium, people always reply: oh, i’ve passed through belgium once.

And it’s usually from P to A or the other way around.


Very cool. The first part of you trip sounds very similar to a trip we’ll be taking in October (fly into Marrakesh, trains to Fez and Tangiers, ferry to Spain and then a week based in Marbella).

We’re just starting our research now, so I can’t offer much, but some consistant comments from people we’ve talked to are:

  1. Take a trip up into the mountains outside Marbella and visit the town of Ronda
  2. Get out of Tangiers as soon as possible (i.e. don’t bother spending the night). To many hustlers, hassles etc., and it isn’t the “real” Morocco.

You might try posting this question over at the Lonely Planet boards (called the “Thorntree”).

I’ll be sure to hit you up for info when you get back!

I’ll second **Aro’s[//b] advice on Tangiers. Get out of there as soon as you can.

Every street urchin there knows how to say “I can be your guide, OK?” in a dozen or so languages.

But the mint tea and the couscous were sumblime … but I’m sure they are just as good in the other Moroccan towns you plan on visiting.

Just to echo what Aro said about pickpockets in Spain. They. Are. EVERYWHERE. I have never been in a country so full of pickpockets (and Seville and Madrid are both particularly bad in this regard).

Sorry to be alarmist here, but you really should mind your handbag VERY carefully. And don’t take anything more than you need with you when you leave your hotel.

Very important: make sure that you get your rail pass time-stamped at the compositeur before getting on the train. I had an outrageous fine on the TGV – in cash – because I didn’t on the route from Paris to Lyon.

What else?
– a Visa card is Carte Bleu in France
– a martini is Martini & Rossi sweeth vermouth in France; “un martini americain” gets you what they serve in the U.S.

That should do. Don’t forget our trip report!

Altho’ you may not be a U. S. citizen, the U. S. Dept of State has info. pages on countries, like for Morocco:


I did not know that “the United States Peace Corps suspended its volunteer operations in Morocco on April 3, 2003, and has sent all Peace Corps volunteers back to the United States for the duration of the hostilities.”

I never had pickpockets approach me in Spain. Madrid has a great “disco” in a building that used to be a palace.

For other suggestions, it depends on your interests. Outdoors? Museums? Music? Dance?