Encore les vacances! Thank you, France. During yet another vacation period, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel with my dear friend, Elise, and with a lovely fellow language assistant friend here in Strasbourg, Verena. The three of us had several great adventures in Morocco:
- Marrakech – very cool city. We got incredibly lost in the winding streets of the souks in the medina (the old city).
I generally pride myself on my good sense of direction, but I was nearly useless in this crazy mess of tiny, winding streets.
- Tagine for DAYS. This is the good stuff. I got a recipe from a friend we made in Fes (see next post for that story). Many of our meals consisted of tagines.
- I likely drank more than my body weight in mint tea. Very delicious. One guy here jokingly called it Moroccan vodka (not much booze in this Muslim country).
- We went to a hammam. It was alright. Burned buttcheeks and raw skin aside, I think I prefer my Turkish hammam experience. Hard to compare since I’ve only been to one touristy hammam in each country, but I will report back after further investigation!
- Souks – We worked on our bargaining skills. It is such a culturally different thing for Americans and Europeans.
Also, all the unwanted comments and male attention as we wandered through the medina made the experience unexpectedly draining, though nothing truly bad ever happened. We just ignored all of it. The bargaining and the tourist touts stand in rather stark contrast to the genuine, above-and-beyond kindness we found in many other Moroccans we met.
- Imlil Valley – We went on an excursion to Imlil Valley, an area in the Atlas Mountains about 1.5 hours from Marrakech. Our driver was a Berber man named Omar and our walking around guide was a Berber man named Hassan. Both men taught us a whole lot about Berber culture (and the language!). We hiked around a beautiful valley and through a few small Berber villages overlooked by the largest mountain in northern Africa, Jbel Toubkal.
We then boarded a train for the 7.5 hour trip to Fes. Which turned into 9.5 hours. It was hot and uncomfortable without the AC when the train stalled, but we bonded with our compartment mates.
One of our new friends, Laila, fell into the above-and-beyond kindness category…..see my next post about Laila and our adventures around Fes!