Back in 1969 when Morocco’s ancient capital was a hashish-clouded hippy Mecca, Crosby, Stills and Nash recorded their cheesy (and hopelessly inaccurate) foot-tapping anthem ‘Marrakech Express’.
A generation on Peter Millar, award-winning journalist, author and one-time glamrock fan, uses what is now the country’s best visited tourist destination as the embarkation point for a literally reverse-engineered train journey through this still exotic, diverse and challenging North African country that is struggling to maintain its unique blend of tradition and tolerance in the turbulent winds of the Arab Spring.
From the snake charmers and food stalls of Jamaa el Fna, Millar takes us to the ancient walled city of Fez, the wineries of the Meknes valley, cosmopolitan Casablanca, tacky Tangier and the anomalous Spanish exclaves of Veuta and Melilla, squatting on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast like a counterpoint to British Gibraltar.
‘Witty yet observant … this book smells of train travel and will appeal to wanderlusts as well as armchair train buffs’ Time Out
‘Fills a hole for those who love trains, microbrewery beer and the promise of big skies and wide open spaces’ Daily Telegraph
‘An entertaining companion and at times endearingly self-deprecating in highlighting instances of his cultural naivety. All of which makes this book a must-read and a must-laugh’ Jonathan Fryer