A Cool Country with a Hot Sun
Morocco is cool, literally and figuratively. It’s no wonder western travelers and free spirits have been heading here since the 50s and 60s to bask in the warm rays of the Moroccan sun and to soak up an experience like none other. With its varied landscapes (beaches, cities, deserts, mountains, forests, ski slopes, and just about everything you can imagine), colourful people, unique culture, and convenient combination of western amenities mixed with old-school traditions, it has a little bit of something for everybody. Our guide to Morocco includes details on:
- The hustle and bustle of Marrakesh
- The beautiful seaside town of Essaouira
- The cascades of Immouzzer
- The desert oasis of Ouarzazate, Aït Benhaddou, and the road to Telouet
- Sahara and the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi
- Relaxing at the lake in Ouirgane
Elliott had been to Morocco before and was eager to recreate that trip with Lisa while trying to discover new things as well. After two weeks in the country we are left with an insatiable desire to go back again soon, possibly with our own found or borrowed wheels driven and ferried down from Europe.
When to go
Both times Elliott has been to Morocco has been in February. The weather was cool but comfortable with a light jacket or fleece, and there was plenty of sun at midday to feel warm and cozy. There were fewer tourists milling about February too, which is always an added bonus. Believe it or not, the coldest place to be in the country is indoors, although the cooling effect of the buildings is probably a god send during the hot summer.
If you want to see the Sahara Desert (and you should), it can apparently be unbearably hot for western tourists there in the summer (domestic tourists start arriving for “heat baths” in the sand, however). If you’re into surfing or beaches, though, the water is probably a bit warmer for swimming at the height of summer.
Marrakesh often offers the first experience for many when they initially arrive in Morocco… and what an experience! After a calm, easy, and relaxing experience getting on the local bus from the airport, arriving on that bus in the center of town is unforgiving with its in-your-face introduction to the country. There are people everywhere, horses and donkeys sharing the sidewalks and alleyways, motorcycles buzzing by, throngs of shops and salesman offering their goods, snake charmers and their serpents, the loud drone of traditional music, and the steady beating of drums. Grab yourself a freshly pressed orange juice or your first taste of what will be many fresh and super-sweet peppermint teas, and stand there for a while just taking it all in. The main square in Marrakesh is a UNESCO heritage site, which is no surprise if it indeed has always been as wondrous to the senses as it is now.
Marrakesh serves as a convenient and familiar hub when traveling to other destinations in the central part of the country. It has a couple of well-serviced and easily accessible bus stations depending on your destination (reachable by foot, but a well-negotiated taxi will only cost a couple of bucks if you’re short on time), cheap accommodation, and plenty of interesting things to eat and buy during your transit time there.
On our first time through Marrakesh we booked a hostel in advance for just a few dollars a night, but on a later occasion we found ourselves unexpectedly in Marrakesh at about 9 PM without a place to stay. We asked around at a couple of hostels, but they wanted way too much money ($15 per person), so we did what we do best- go with the flow! We sat down and had a tasty meal and casually asked the cook if he knew of a cheap place to stay. He pointed us down a little alley directly off the main square where we got an adequate little hotel room for just $9 a night- perfect!
The art and necessity of haggling
Marrakesh is a great place to pick up all sorts of unique Moroccan souvenirs, but be aware that it usually costs a bit more in Marrakesh than in smaller towns, and that there is never a fixed price on anything. Like it or hate it, you’re going to have to learn how to haggle.
Find something you like and ask how much it costs. Remember the price the shopkeeper says, and then go ask about the same item at three different shops. This should give you an idea of what amount is reasonable and what amount is just plain crazy. Next, go to a fourth shop and ask how much, and then offer half or less. This is when the game starts. There will be a lengthy back-and-forth, demonstrations of superior quality, stories about the shopkeeper’s family, and just about anything you can imagine that might somehow be related to the price of a cotton scarf.
If you’re still not getting a price that you think is reasonable, walk away and commit to it. The shopkeepers will be able to tell if you’re faking, and if you are actually walking away they run after you and accept your “last price.” Beware that it is rude to name a price and not commit to it if the shopkeeper accepts it. So only offer what you are actually willing to pay.
Most importantly, don’t take it too seriously or personally. View it as a fun game and remember that the shop keeper is a human with his own wants and needs too. And last but not least, don’t risk your satisfaction by asking other travelers how much they paid for the same item- while you might feel proud that you got a better deal, there’s always somebody who got a better one.
Ah, Essaouira. There is something about this seaside town. You would be hard pressed to find a place as relaxed as this, all wrapped up in a historic old town with soothing peppermint tea and fresh seafood abound. The pace of life here is slower than in bustling Marrakesh, and the locals somehow seem a little closer and warmer in their interactions.
Wander down the old town’s winding alleys and Portuguese fortifications, weathered to various degrees by the power of the wind and sea. Watch stray cats sneak what they can from the bounty of the sea that is hauled in each day. Enjoy some of the catch of the day yourself down at the docks. Our favourite pass time is to wake up early and have a tea and some soup within one of the local markets as locals bring in bushels of fresh mint and the smell of hot bread and breakfast makes its way through the streets. By nightfall the streets are all but deserted, only to come to life again at the crack of dawn. While there are indeed tourists in Essaouira, you get the feeling that locals are actually living here as they would for the most part with or without tourists in a living, breathing seaside market town.
We wish we had more to tell about Essaouira, but we were just chilling out for most of our time there, as you should too!
The Land of Intricate Doors
It sounds odd at first, but Morocco is known for its doors. And really, once you start hitting the streets it won’t be long before you’re tempted to take out your camera and snap a shot of one of the thousands of intricately carved and painted doors that you will see. When you think about it, it’s a pretty nice thing to come home to.
From Essaouira we wanted to head to a small place we had read about called Immouzzer, and apparently the first leg of the journey was to take a bus down the beautiful coastline to Awrir. After arriving in Awrir we found a bus that was meant to head to Immouzzer, but as is often the case in Morocco, the bus wasn’t going to leave until it was at least partly full. We sat around in that bus for probably an hour and it didn’t appear as though other passengers were coming, so we eventually decided to hitchhike. What a great decision it was!
After about 30 minutes on foot we were picked up by a smiling Moroccan. He spoke none of the languages we did, but we managed to communicate a little bit with Elliott’s awful French being put to the test. At one point our driver realized that Lisa spoke Spanish and got very excited. He couldn’t speak Spanish, but called up a friend who could and passed the phone to Lisa. They had a nice friendly chat as we bumped our way through oasis valleys and along mountain ridges, hoping he was taking us where we needed to go.
As is pretty much always the case, we just went with the flow and ended up getting to where we needed to and had a great time in the process! Along the way we also picked up the driver’s friend, a teacher in the local town, and then all proceeded to Immouzzer together (despite it being out of the driver’s way) to all have tea together with a guest house manager there.
Mohamed saw to it that we found a room in his guest house, although given the meager number of tourists (all of them domestic except for us) it really wasn’t like we were scrambling to find a place to stay.
The main attraction in Immouzzer are the cascades, but at that time of year they weren’t exactly roaring. Nonetheless, they were a sight to see and one can imagine how magnificent they are in the spring. We also took a stroll around the beautiful countryside, which was well worth it and even more relaxed than we could have imagined.
The next morning we left Immouzzer. Instead of waiting for a bus that may or may not have come, we went by foot!
We made our way past wild lavender up up up to the top of the valley. It was a bit chilly, but the emerging sun and the hike up the hill kept us warm. Once we got to the top we followed the road we had come in on. It was a long, long road… And then we started going a little bit crazy.
Eventually we waved down a passing bus and had it take us to “Paradise Valley” on that way back to the coast.
While it was pretty with its drastic cliffs and blue, inviting water, a group of cocky and provocative Moroccan young men ruined the experience a little bit.
Prior to arriving to Morocco, Lisa was concerned with bringing the right clothes. Especially in the more conservative countryside, she wanted to make sure to be respectfully and modestly dressed. She ended up mostly wearing baggy jeans and long sleeved, bigger tops. That type of clothing was not only perfect for the season, but also seemed to be perfectly respectful.
As a general rule, do as the locals do. In Morocco, both men and women usually have nothing but their hands and heads exposed. While covering your hair as a woman seems optional, it is definitely seen as respectful to have very little skin exposed. Other than in places like Spain or Central America, Lisa was not cat-called once in Morocco and believes that that was largely due to her choice of clothes (being accompanied by Elliott as a man might have helped too). So, whether you are a guy or a girl, pack accordingly and try to minimize how much skin you are showing.
We walked, hitchhiked, and bused our way out of the valley, to Agadir, through Marrakesh, and over the Atlas Mountains to our next destination and probably the highlight of our time in Morocco: the desert city of Ouarzazate.
Ouarzazate, Aït Benhaddou, and the Old Caravan Route
While most tourists on our night bus continued on to Erg Chebbi to see the famous sand dunes of the Sahara, we were one of the few to get off the bus in Ouarzazate. Another young German couple also got off the bus, so we all sat down together for a tea and breakfast snack and decided to go on a little trip together the next day. The couple went to their pre-booked hotel for the night, while the two of us simply asked around a little bit and found a decent little hotel room for $10 a night WITH shower, and $9 a night WITHOUT shower. We opted for the $9 room of course.
Go to a hammam- they’re great!
Considering that our room didn’t have a shower, we asked our hotel clerk (an old man sitting under the stairs) the way to the nearest hammam, a public bathhouse. We found it, went in the separate entrances for men/women (Lisa paid the meager entrance fee for us both, which caused a bit of confusion that the man wasn’t paying), and proceeded into the change rooms where we used our smattered French and a bunch of hand signals to figure out where to undress, how much to undress, how to fill our buckets up with water, etc. The hammam consisted of two separate chambers with vaulted ceilings and tiled floors and walls, one warm and one even warmer, where individuals and families merrily relaxed in the heat and washed up with soaps and shampoos rinsed away with giant buckets full of warm water.
Lisa was offered to receive a “gommage” from a hammam employee, and for $5 she was treated to the ultimate personalized spa treatment. Soaps, shampoos, scrubs, brushes- you name it, she got it. After over half an hour Lisa came out of that hammam cleaner than she has ever been in her life!
The next morning Lisa and I found a good deal on a small little rental car (take standard precautions when renting a vehicle) and picked up the German couple. ROAD TRIP!
First stop: the historic UNESCO fortified town of Aït Benhaddou. This place has been used as a location for a number of films over the years, and despite being somewhat touristy there are still a few locals living there. It offers a fascinating glimpse into what can be built with mud and ingenuity, what life might have been like in the many four-towered walled-off kasbah houses, and makes you wonder at just how important grain must have been in the middle of a desert to prompt the building of an entire fortress around a citadel guarding a grain storage building.
After a couple of hours it was time to keep on heading further down the road, even though Aït Benhaddou is usually the last stop for most travelers. What awaited us was more than we could have hoped for.
As we wound our way around tight curves and deeper into the valley, a landscape of stark red desert hills and cliffs flanking a lush green river valley unfolded before us. The locals who served us lunch along the way were happy to have our business, and we were constantly left with a sense of wonder at the many towns and villages scattered throughout the valley bottom, some of them thriving, some of them abandoned countless years ago.
At one point we found ourselves above the valley entirely. With the Atlas Mountains in the background and just the dark suggestion of a valley running through stark desert, one would hardly know that communities were thriving just below.
The two of us fully intend to come back to this valley in the future with time, hiking boots, and camping gear. Hiking from end to end along this beautiful river valley would be truly remarkable.
The road then left the valley and continued gaining elevation, offering stunning glimpses of the Atlas Mountains as we passed lingering bits of snow on the roadside.
It’s always nice to give back, and as we passed locals making their way around often by donkey, there was one man with his thumb out asking for a lift. We had already been picked up several times by friendly Moroccans, so we thought we would return the favour.
We eventually reached our arbitrary end destination, the chilly mountain town of Télouet. We sat ourselves down, had some tea, and one of the locals went out about finding accommodation for us and walking us to our guest house. Going with the flow has never been so easy! We ended up staying at Maison d’Hotes Dar Aissa and had a very pleasant stay. You can reach the owner at 00212670222247 or by email.
We dropped off our bags, made friends with our host family, and set off to explore the extensive ruins surrounding the large and impressive Télouet Kasbah as the sun set behind the mountains.
The next morning started with a rooftop breakfast followed by a tour of the inside of the castle.
The craftsmanship that went into the interior of that castle is mind-blowing. It is also sad to consider that at one point it was filled with countless more priceless artifacts and furnishings of untold beauty, many of which have now been lost or stolen.
Another tour of the ruins in the daylight was in order…
… and then sadly we had to be on our way back down the valley to Ouarzazate.
However, on the drive back we noticed a small sign by the side of the road advertising the words “salt mine.” That was all the convincing we needed to make a detour, and we pulled off the main road onto a little trail that we were uncertain our little rental car would be able to make.
We eventually made it to the end of the road, with the white salty residues clinging to the red cliffs around us giving the illusion of a snowy Martian landscape. After walking a little further we encountered a hole in the side of the mountain with a horse waiting outside. We called into the space but heard nothing in return. Strange. Eventually several men came out and loaded the horse with bags full of salt. We saw the guy with the horse pay for his salt, and it only cost a couple of dollars for a whole horse load of it. Salt miners ain’t getting rich any time soon.
We asked for a tour, and the salt miners obliged. They lit up their super sketchy gas torch, which wobbled around on the compressed gas tank and loudly released gas as it did so, and showed us how they mine salt both from a small saline lake inside the mine, as well as by pickax from the walls of the mine. They showed us the many different types of salt they mine, and we got to take home handfuls of samples!
After the little tour we paid them about $20 ($5 each really isn’t that much), and they were visibly impressed to receive what was the equivalent of about 10 horse loads of salt. They invited us back to their small mud shack where they evidently lived when not working in the mine, and treated us to a cup of peppermint tea. It was one of our most humbling and memorable experiences in Morocco.
After winding our way down the valley and getting back to Ouarzazate, we still had some time left with our beloved Clio and decided to head to a desert oasis just outside the city. As we were trying to find the way, a man enthusiastically waved us down and asked if we were headed to the oasis. It turns out he was too, so we gave him a lift! He guided us through an eerily undeveloped suburb and into a nearby valley, where he assured us that our little car could make it through the river he told us to drive through, and where he invited us to tea in his home after we had arrived.
After tea we headed down to the small, clear river and cooled our feet while enjoying the warmth of the day’s last rays of sunshine.
With that, we headed back to Ouarzazate, had dinner in the friendliest restaurant in town where the owner insisted that we have our picture taken together, accidentally stepped on a prayer rug in the bus station (and felt really really bad about it), and had a good night’s sleep before splitting up with the German couple and heading on to our next destination.
Hassilabied and the Sand Dunes
Further down the highway from Ouarzazate lie the great sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. No trip to Morocco is complete without checking out this highlight of the Sahara.
We got off the bus in a town called Erfoud and waited for a local taxi to fill up and take us on down to Hassilabied. We had arranged to stay there for a couple of nights through couchsurfing, but we are sad to say that for the first time in our traveling lives, it was a little unclear whether this was simply two travelers staying with a friendly local, or whether the situation was more of a business interaction to bring customers to our host’s camel trekking business. It was one of the most awkward couchsurfing experiences we have ever had, which is a very unfortunate thing… but we still love couchsurfing and everything it makes possible!
The ethics of hospitality exchange
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of hospitality exchange, it basically involves staying on a stranger’s couch (or bed, or floor, or whatever) for free. That stranger will often also offer to show you around the city or introduce you to friends. Nothing is expected in return aside from a cultural exchange, a show of interest, and general friendliness, but it’s often also nice to maybe buy some groceries, cook something, or bring a small gift if possible. You can always host travelers once you get home from your journey as well. It’s basically just a way to be a decent, kind, generous person while facilitating travel for everybody involved. There are a number of platforms that help connect people now, and although we used to do it through couchsurfing, but they have unfortunately turned their back on the fundamental tenets of the concept and started charging money, so we have now switched to bewelcome.org. The platform even facilitates things like meetups and ride sharing even if you’re not staying at somebody’s house. We have had some of our best memories through hospitality exchanges and use it every single time we travel.
There are, however, some faux pas that should be avoided:
- Hospitality exchange is not a dating platform. Sure, now and then you’ll have a couple of people who are mutually attracted to one another and who knows what could happen, but it’s just not cool to put somebody in a situation where you are making a move on them and maybe they aren’t feeling it, especially as a guest in an unknown home in an unknown land. I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubble here, but consider avoiding any romantic encounters while staying on somebody’s couch altogether. If for some reason you’re 100% sure that the feeling is mutual, double check that you are 200% sure and be extremely cautious and respectful if you decide to find out if they are interested as well. Polite words are your friend here, not rash actions. Sometimes we encounter men who have set their profile preferences to “only prefers to host women.” While there could certainly be some sort of plausible explanation to this, we find that it sends a bad message and we try to avoid these hosts altogether. One creep can make a bad name for the entire platform.
- Couchsurfing is not a business. You should never pay anybody for staying at their place, nor should they ask you for any money (or anything else) in return. Sure, you could split groceries. You could take them out for dinner. You could buy them a beer. But you’re not required to do any of that, nor are your hosts expected to feed you or provide anything other than a warm, dry place for you to catch some sleep.
- Remember that you are a guest in somebody else’s home. Be tidy, be respectful, buy your own groceries, offer to clean, obey their rules, and do whatever you can to make their hosting experience easier. When you start hosting people, you’ll understand how simple things can go a long way.
- It’s not just about sleeping somewhere for free. The focus really lies on connecting with the person hosting or surfing with you, experiencing their culture, and providing an amazing experience for everyone involved.
Elliott had spent just a short day around Erg Chebbi on his previous trip to Morocco and wanted to spend a little bit more time in this unique area with its views of the Saharan sand dunes. We spent our time in Hassilabied getting lost finding our way home among the rows of squat, square houses, walking out among the dunes, playing with the fine desert sand, and strolling through the ingeniously designed oasis, which is a noticeable few degrees cooler than its surroundings and has running water channels and palm trees that support the growth of local agricultural products. At one point Elliott hiked-barefoot- for about an hour up the tallest dune he could see and tried “skiing” down… it almost worked.
We also hitchhiked to the neighbouring town of Merzouga and decided to take the long hot road back to Hassilabied by foot… more details on why this is relevant later.
In the end, we also arranged the typical tourist camel trek and overnight stay in the desert through our couchsurfing host.
While not exactly adventurous and firmly a part of the tourist trail, it is still an experience that is worth experiencing, especially on your first visit to Morocco. While you can arrange such a tour that will pick you up in Marrakesh and organize everything along the way, it’s really quite simple to do yourself and you’ll save a ton of money.
Our tourist-Berber camp of blanket-tents was cozy and warm (the last time Elliott was here in February he nearly froze), and we enjoyed a windy sunset from the top of a dune.
Our delicious meal and sound sleep was followed, of course, by an even prettier sunrise, and the camel ride back to town.
Animals in your travels
In many travel destinations some of the attractions focus on wildlife. Our wild world is full of fascinating creatures, and it can be truly amazing to see and interact with some of these animals. Unfortunately, travel and tourism can have negative effects on wildlife, both direct and indirect.
It is never easy to know whether your actions as an individual will have a positive or negative effect, but you can try to make informed decisions to minimize your impact.
In Morocco the camels we rode were directly owned by our couchsurfing host and they appeared to be treated well, though it is hard to know definitively when you only see them for a short time and don’t really know anything about camels.
In Thailand Elliott rode an elephant as part of a tour package and immediately regretted it. Those poor animals are far too intelligent to be kept tame, and the sight alone of shackles and chains around the legs were an obvious indication that he was supporting something he didn’t agree with.
On Tioman Island in Malaysia Lisa had a dangerous encounter with a monkey that probably resulted from tourists giving it food.
It can be tough to know what is right, but do your research, try to talk to locals and animal owners, and make a decision whether you really need to see an animal in a zoo or tourist hotspot, or whether you prefer to keep wild creatures wild.
We were scheduled to leave Hassilabied that evening, but an interesting thing happened. We went to the bus stop with our bus tickets in hand, but due to a snowstorm in the Atlas Mountains the buses weren’t running and we were stuck in the desert- imagine that, stuck in the desert because of a snow storm! Only in Morocco.
A random man at the bus stop informed us of this, and then proceeded to offer us a very expensive private taxi ride onto the city of Fez despite the apparent storm. We didn’t exactly trust his credibility, and waited around for up to an hour just to make sure the bus wasn’t actually coming. We still didn’t trust the man, so we decided to head to the official bus station in the neighbouring town of Merzouga to get the news straight from the horse’s mouth the next morning. A scared little British traveler was also in the same situation, and he decided he would tag along with us.
From our experience the day before, we learned that the best way to get to Merzouga was by hitchhiking. And so, walking down the pitch-dark highway in the middle of the desert, we held our thumbs out to passing cars until one finally pulled over. Also from our experience the day before, we learned that when cars drive to Merzouga, they for some reason tend to leave the main road right before town and turn off onto a bumpy, scary, off-road trail for the last part of the journey. Our little British friend didn’t know this, and for his first hitchhiking experience, bouncing around in the back of an SUV on an unknown trail in the middle of a dark desert with Moroccan music blaring, it was probably quite the thrill, if not outright terrifying.
We made our way to a friendly restaurant we had eaten at the day before, talked to the young man working there, and it turns out he had an apartment right above the restaurant for us. We negotiated a reduced price for the use of just one room, slept the night, and had our tickets refunded the next morning (turns out the bus actually WAS cancelled) in exchange for tickets back to Marrakesh. It wasn’t our initial plan, but we would make it work. As for the British guy? Well, he missed his flight from Fez back to London… but didn’t seem to mind!
An Unexpected Visit to Ouirgane
On our unplanned return to Marrakesh we arrived back in the city around 9 PM after a harrowing journey over the Atlas Mountains by an absolutely suicidal bus driver. We sat down for some street escargot (how Elliott didn’t get food poisoning is anybody’s guess) got a cheap hotel room right off the main square, spent the night, and hopped on a grand taxi early the next morning to head off to a nearby lake we read about near the town of Ouirgane.
The grand taxi (i.e. a shared taxi in which you pay per seat rather than for a private ride which only leave when full) first went to a town called Asni, and from there we decided to keep walking down the road in the direction of the lake we had read about, with the beautiful mountains in the background acting as a constant beacon and local goats serenading us with their jingling bells and gruff goaty noises. All we were doing was walking down a road, but sometimes it’s the simple experiences that are the most beautiful and most memorable.
After a couple of hours we stopped at a restaurant for an unfortunately-pricey lunch, but we didn’t have much of a choice given that we were in the middle of nowhere. After eating we continued on the road, and were soon greeted by a local man who joined us and we all hitchhiked successfully into Ouirgane together. The local man told us he would have never gotten picked up alone, but since we were tourists people were happy to give us a ride.
We popped into one of the first guest houses we saw, arranged a cute little bungalow and dinner for a decent price, and headed off for a walk by the lake. The gentle blue hues were a stark contrast to the red-hued hills around the lake, and we spent a beautiful afternoon sitting beside the lake with some goats and the sun.
When we returned from our relaxing walk down the lake, a hot dinner of traditional Moroccan tajine was waiting for us. While we were eating one of the guest house staff let himself into our bungalow and we had a warm, roaring fire waiting for us to warm up before bed. It was an unexpectedly perfect day in a place we had never heard of a mere 24 hours prior.
The next day we went for a little hike up above the town, up a valley, and back down to the main road. It was another scenic walk, and we only got a little lost. We made it back to the road with time to spare, hitchhiked back to Ansi, got a grand taxi back to Marrakesh, and sadly had to head to the airport to end our short two weeks in Morocco. We hope to go back soon!
Too hungry to wait!
When creating this page we noticed that we didn’t take a single photo of any of the delicious food we found in Morocco. This is a pity, because there really are some tasty and enticing dishes on offer.
Expect lots of goat and chicken-based meals in Morocco, along with cooked veggies and rice or couscous. The traditional tajine dish is a slow-roasted mix of all of the above cooked in a special shaped clay pot thing, and it is a super tasty dish everywhere except for in Marrakesh (don’t ask us why). If you’re in Marrakesh after sundown, the main square explodes in hundreds of food stands with eager cooks and hosts wanting you to sit down. The less tourists you see at a stand, the more authentic and tasty the food will be. Try the egg sandwich- it’s a local favourite and highly recommended.
If you’ve read this far, you should also expect a lot of peppermint tea in Morocco. Lots of it. Tons of it. They love to put a ton of sugar in it, and from all of the yellow teeth you see in the country it’s no surprise that it’s not exactly the healthiest thing to drink in excess.
We also discovered some sort of rich herbal tea offered in the evenings from little stands in random places. We never learned the name, but if you see a bunch of people mulling around with little glasses of brown tea, ask for one too. It only costs a few cents, and after you’ve finished your first glass you’ll get a refill along with a tiny Echinacea crystal dissolved in the bottom. Beware- your sinuses have never felt so assaulted, but it feels great afterwards!