Emma–Adventures in Morocco

So, I went to Africa this week….no big deal.  I spent 5 days in Morocco and it was quite the adventure.  I went with a company called Discover Excursions; a trip like this one really requires the help of a company, as it is difficult to get around Morocco alone.  So,  Friday night/Saturday morning those of us who went had to get on a bus at 1am…then we drove a few hours to Sevilla, where we picked up the rest of the group.  Then we continued a few more hours until we got to the port, where we got on a ferry to take us over to Tanger, Morocco.  That was a few hours as well.  We spent a lot of time traveling…like, a lot.  Once we made it across the border in Tanger, we drove for a couple more hours to the capitol of Morocco, Rabat.  Here, we had lunch and did a walking tour around the old part of the city.  It was on the coast of Morocco, and it was absolutely beautiful.

 

 

 taxi anyone?

 This was the main part of our first meal, and it was delicious.  It is a pastry, covered with powdered sugar and cinnamon.  On the inside is an almond chicken mixture sweetened with dates and raisons.  It was delicious.  In Morocco, the water isn’t safe to drink, and drinks (including water) are never included.  So we had to buy large jugs of water at every meal.  Other than that the meals were all included in the trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ‘door of magic,’ I guess all the gypsies were here.

 

 This is a small portion of a huge cemetery that was right on the beach.

 Pictures at one of the tours/monuments/mosques in Rabat. 

 

 The flag has a five pointed star on it; for the five times a day to pray.  Morocco is an Islamic nation; however it is also a free nation.  Everyone is free to practice whatever religion they choose, but a vast majority are practicing Muslims.  So, there was a “call to pray” five times a day which was just a song of sorts that blasted through the cities when it was time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Rabat, we continued on our journey to Meknes.  We took a short break to hang out with some monkeys first!! They were pretty fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some pictures from the hotel in Meknes.  When we finally arrived we were absolutely exhausted from all of the traveling. We ate and showered and passed out!

 

 

 

 

The next day, we got up and ate and took off again, towards the next city making our way across Morocco towards the Sahara desert.

And by the way…this is part of our itinerary.

 

 Snow!

 

 

 Stop for lunch!

 Some kids begging for food/money while we fixed our bus.

 Sahara ready!

 

 

 This is the “River of Palms.”

 

 

 

 

The hotel we stayed at was amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A feast in paradise!

 

 

 

 Live music and dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning, we took off in 4X4 jeeps and had an off road adventure for about an hour in the desert to get to the hotel by the sand dunes in the desert.  It was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip–I felt so bad ass!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we got there, we took a short walking tour through the little town/pueblo out by the desert.  It had a little oasis, or area with spring water, that was very green with a date farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A typical oven for baking bread.

 

Then we took a stop at a local rug shop, where they make traditional Moroccan rugs, one of the things Morocco is most known for.  They are also known for wood work, jewelry, tile work, and other art things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that we had lunch at the hotel in the desert and had some time to hit the pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the time came, we all hopped on camels and started our 2-2.5 hour venture into the dunes for our night out in the Sahara.  FYI: Camel is not a very comfortable mode of transportation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sand for dayyyssss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sand fish!! They were really cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The caravan 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Some people just took off in the jeeps through the dunes….looked terrifying to me.

 

 

African parking lot.

 

 

 That would be the oasis where our camp was set up.  It was pretty nice!

 

 

 

 

 

 The Berber men playing for us.  Berber is a race/culture of people who came from southern Africa up to Morocco.

According to google: Berber is a member of an indigenous people of North Africa.  The majority of Berbers are settled farmers or (now) migrant workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we got to the camp, we just kind of hung out and talked until dinner time. After dinner we had a “Berber” party, which included a lot of wine (just for us the Berbers don’t drink…), a bonfire, music with drums and singing, dancing, and some late night dune climbing. 🙂  Needless to say, I didn’t get to bed early…The next morning, it was optional to get up at 5:30am and hike up the big sand dune next to camp to watch the sunrise.  So, on about 1-2 hours of sleep, I got up and started the long trek up the dune.  The dune was humongous…it takes 30-45minutes to get up it, and it’s a bear crawl up because it’s too steep to just hike the normal way.  And, once I got up, it was SOOO windy; I had sand everywhere.  However, the views were absolutely amazing, so I guess it was worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t really tell how high up we were from my pictures, but it was like we were on top of the world.  The way down was a lot easier, one step got you like 10 feet down because it was soo steep and you would just slide down.  It was pretty fun, I managed a few cartwheels on the way as well.

After our morning sunrise, we had to start our trek back. So we hopped back on our camels (which when a little hungover in the middle of the desert for 2.5 hours isn’t very pleasant) and made our way back to civilization.

 

 

 This picture is looking straight up.

 

 

 

 Tomas, a young man who was rather entertaining.  He had issues with his camel hump on the way back, we had to beg the Berber men to stop to re-adjust.

 

 

 

 

 Everyone feel asleep on the way back in the jeeps; we were all so exhausted.

 

We made it back to the hotel near the desert and had breakfast, and after that we had a long day in the bus back to Meknes, where we spent the first night.  The next day we made our way to Asilah, where we were going to stop and do some sight seeing and shopping.  It was pretty fun; the town was beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ricardo, one of our very handsome guides.  We had a great group of people working; it was a very fun trip.

There was a lot of street art in Asilah, a lot like Granada.

 In fact, this may look sort of familiar.  I did a blog entry at the beginning about El Niño, the artist from Granada.  This is another one if his pieces in Africa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 There was a lot of white and blue.  I guess it symbolizes the Arabs living with the Spanish all together, joining their cultures and living as one community.

When we left Asilah, we began the journey back to Spain.  It was a LONG day.  

I believe this is a version of Ikea??

 

 

 

 

 

 When we were waiting for our ferry, we played this game, Jungle Speed. It was a lot of fun! I definitely want to buy it!!!

 

 

A gazillion hours later I eventually made it back to my bed in Granada.  The trip was absolutely amazing, but I was soo happy to be back.  We spent a lot of the time just traveling to get all of the way to the Sahara, but it was so worth it.  It was really cool to see all of the diversity in the land in Morocco.  The next day, I had a very upset digestive system, in fact I am still dealing with that…so I don’t know what I ate but whatever it was was terrible.  I am still soo exhausted.  However, this week is Semana Santa, so I am going to have to make an effort to get out this weekend and experience all of the festivities going on in Granada.

Then, next weekend, I am going with the same company to Portugal, and the weekend after that I’ll be in Amsterdam. Then, I just have two more weekends in Granada until my program is over! I can’t believe how fast time is flying.

 

Anyway, I’ll keep ya updated on my travels.

Until next time,

Emma

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