Hey guys hey!!! Its amazing that in just a few short months of being in Madrid I was able to accomplish one of my goals. I made it to Africa y’all, another continent down. Only Antarctica left to concur. Hmmmm, that might be a while though lol.
First stop on this beautiful continent was Morocco. I went with a large group through City Life. We were able to hit a lot of the cities, which was good and bad because this required a lot of time in buses but it was still an awesome experience. From laughing and listening to music on the bus & to impromptu photo sessions its always fun to meet new people.
Going to Morocco was the longest road trip I have ever endured. The trip began in Madrid where I got on the bus to go to Spain’s most southern province Cadiz to catch the ferry from Tarifa. As the boat approached the port in Tangier it was such an amazing and surreal feeling to finally step onto Moroccan soil for the first time.First stop was the capital, Rabat. Before this trip I always assumed Marrakesh was the capital because that was the city I always heard of but upon arriving to Rabat I realized the error of my ways. Here we visited the Hassan II tower and tomb. This country has some breathtaking doors and here was no exception.
From here we headed to Casablanca where we visited the Grand Mosque of Hassan II. This mosque is the largest in Morocco, the 13th largest in the world, and has the tallest minaret. The architecture and ambiance of the structure is stunning, from the ocean breeze to the fountains to the archways, what a site to behold.
Next stop was Marrakesh to visit the famous square, Jemma el Fnaa and the markets. The square was definitely something else. From the bustling people all about, to the dancing snakes, to the local women pouncing on you to get a henna design it’s definitely an experience.
Gladiator is one of my favorite movies and a classic. I had the opportunity to see and stand where so many scenes from the movie was shot. The old town of Ait Ben Haddou is the home of two large studios and Hollywood’s favorite location to portray ancient cities. Guess what show was also shot here as well, the good ole Game of Thrones. After leaving the town we made are way up the Atlas Mountains. Its utterly amazing to see and transition of scenery and temperature as you climb the mountain is something else. The trek started off in warm climate, some browns but definitely more grass and green than soil. Halfway up we stopped again and it was like a different world, cold barely any green, and oh so windy. At the top was a little bit of snow but apparently last years group had a lot more snow because they were able to stop for a snowball fight.
Oh Blanca how I miss thee. I know you might be thinking who in the world is Blanca, she was my camel that I rode through the Sahara Desert. She was a precocious little thing, living life on the edge and trying to see how scared I could get. She kept walking on the edge of the trail. So let me set the scene, there are two sides to the trail we were on. One side was flat and quite a bit of space but on the other side where dunes and big drops that if you fell you would roll down a big hill. Blanca loved to walk on the edge where the dunes and hills were. But other than that, it is such a calm ride, a bit uncomfortable but epic non the less.
Fes is an interesting city but unfortunately I didn’t get to see a lot of it. By the 6th day I was more than ready to come home but the reason I didn’t see a lot of the city was because about 60% of the group got food poisoning. Even though I did not get sick, I was not a happy camper that day. I was extremely miserable and over everything. We had another guided tour here in one of the biggest markets in the world. I was also able to see the oldest university in the world. The University of Al Quaraouiyine was founded in 859 and is still a functioning university today.
The last day was spent in Chefchaouen aka The Blue City. This city was very picturesque and it felt like you could reach out and touch the mountains surrounding it.
Overall, the trip was a success and I enjoyed it but there were some things that I didn’t like about the trip. The fact that we barely spent 12 hours in any one location was a bit disheartening. The downside of visiting so many cities in just 7 days is that I really didn’t have the chance to explore each city as much as I would have liked to. I was also extremely disappointed in the food. For the abundance of spices in Morocco the food was so bland. And I know, you are probably thinking that I only went to tourists places. That was so not the case. I ate where the locals ate and it was still very bland.
People, oh people. One of the biggest joys of traveling solo is the opportunity to meet new people but on the flip side it also allows you to drop/escape said individual or individuals when you have had enough.
Another country down, so many more to explore… On to the next country.