Today my little blog is the stop for the Culture Smart! blog tour, as they have two new guides coming up Bhutan and Nicaragua, and also new editions on Greece, Austria, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa, Hungary, and Morocco.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous post about my giveaway for the Portugal guide where I also wrote a mini review:
If like me you are the kind of person who loves to learn more about the country you are visiting, this is the guide for you. If like me even when you can’t really afford to travel you still love learning about other cultures, this is the guide for you too.
This guides are like a mini crash course in the cultures and customs of the country, so they are perfect to give you a sense of what to expect when travelling there.
The beginning of the year is usually the perfect time to get together with your partner and decide where you will travel to, especially because in January there are amazing travel deals going on. My boyfriend and I have different ideas of travelling, I love the idea of backpacking and immersing myself in the culture of the country, while he prefers a nice hotel, to relax and with planned excursions. He has a very demanding job so we tend to compromise (not that I need much convincing if a pool is nearby!) and we have had great holidays so far.
With that in mind, when I looked at the list of guides to choose from for this blog tour I asked him to pick two places where he would like to go. No surprise when he picked Greece, as we loved it when we visited Corfu some years back and we talk about coming back again quite often. However, I was very surprised when he selected Morocco (I think my sense of adventure is rubbing off on him), as it’s not a place he ever mentioned to me that he wanted to go to. He said he was very curious to learn more about it and this made me really happy because since I was about 13 years old I was fascinated by the culture during a Brazilian telenovela called O Clone (The Clone, which was set in the country), and I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco.
Alright, I will stop rambling and move on to the point of this post. I wanted to check if after reading both guides if we would be more inclined to go back to Greece on a holiday or if we will try something new and different and decide to go to Morocco.
I actually know quite a lot about the history of both countries so I felt that I wasn’t learning anything new, but for anyone that hasn’t studied classic literature and cultures, or had an unhealthy obsession with Morocco due to a telenovela, these guides have such nice little snippets of History in them.
It will help you turn your visit into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include:
- local customs and traditions
- the impact of history, religion and politics
- the Greeks/Moroccans at home, work and play
- eating and drinking, Greek/Moroccan style
- dos, don’ts, and taboos
- business practices
- communication, spoken and unspoken
and many practical tips for managing the unexpected.
With the Morocco guide I got drawn into the Fitting In bit of the guide. I believe that when visiting a country we should try our best to respect the country’s culture and customs. I’m very glad I made sure to check that part of the guide, because I had no idea that tattoos where haram (forbidden in Islam), and for that reason they need to be covered up. I have two ‘visible’ tattoos, they can easily be covered up but they are also in areas that you don’t really want to cover up when in a hot climate.
My boyfriend made sure to check the Food and Drink section, while I drooled at every single thing, being a picky eater himself he was slightly worried about how he would cope with the food there. He was glad to know that there seems to be quite easy to find a KFC in the vicinity!
The section we both loved was the Festivals and Celebrations. We especially loved the idea to travel in June during the time of the Cherry Festival and the National Folklore Festival. We think it would be a great way to enjoy the culture to its fullest.
When it came to check the Greece guide we wanted to find if there was anything new that will give us a good reason to comeback. For those who don’t know it yet, my handsome man is also very much a train geek. So when he sees a section in the guide with the following: Trains – A Secret World, I knew that Morocco would lose a few points with that one. Yes, his idea of fun is steam trains or in this case it would be the old timer’s trains, the slow ones with rickety carriages.
I find that Greek culture is very similar to mine, all Mediterranean countries have some similarities, in particular awesome people and good food! The fact that I have been there once before, the reason to go back would probably be due to its food and history. Greek food was so delicious and I’m sure there is still a lot I haven’t tried. If we do go back to Greece I know I would like to go to the mainland instead, somewhere like Athens where we could visit more historical places would be lovely.
In the end, these guides gave us so much more information about these lovely countries. I would still pretty much prefer to go somewhere new like Morocco, even though I have a bit of an added concern about my tattoos. However, my boyfriend can’t forget how lovely Greece was and now wants to do the whole of Greece by train!
Wherever we decide to go, we feel that we have more inside knowledge than before due to Culture Smart! to make an informed decision and would definitely recommend these guides for any travellers out there.
Thanks Culture Smart! for sending me the ARC’s of Greece and Morocco in exchange for my honest review, and also for providing the Portugal giveaway guide that will be in the safe hands of our winner Nicola.