READERS PLEASE NOTE: This article was published
*1 dollar CAD = 7.4 Moroccan Dirhams, 1 euro = 10 Moroccan Dirhams
Want more? Scroll the gallery for further anecdotal overshare.
- Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca.
- The sun sets behind the sea, next to the Hassan II Mosque.
- Hours after Josh lands in Casablanca, we sit on the curb delirious from jet-lag, trying to decide where to spend the night. A man in a passing car shouts, "Watch out for vagrants!" I think we are the vagrants.
- Vats of dye fill the courtyard of a leather tannery in Fes.
- Leather at a tannery in Fes.
- The Fes medina was by far the most confusing maze of cobblestone streets and winding roads. From 5 a.m. until 6 a.m. we search for our hostel, enlisting the help of a variety of Moroccans.
- In search of wine to sip as the sun sets in Fes, Josh and I stumble into this gorgeous hotel lobby. The owner isn't able to find us a bottle, but invites us back to hear him sing and play guitar.
- The medieval walled city is even more beautiful from above.
- Moments after snapping this photo, a group of children approach, wanting to take photos using my camera. In some combination of French, Spanish, and English, we manage to understand each other. Sort of.
- Colourful planters line the steps in Chefchaouen. Walking through the medina, you're either walking uphill or downhill.
- A terrace view of Chefchaouen and the Riff Mountain tops cloaked in fog.
- So. Much. Tagine. We eat tagine every single day. As vegetarians, it's one of the few dinner options we have.
- Outside of the medina, Chefchaouen seems entirely different- rolling green hills and mountain peaks shape the horizon, while blue is (somewhat) less overwhelming.
- The weather in Tangier goes from storm to sunshine in a matter of minutes.
A man asks us if we need a hostel. Todd, a Canadian we're travelling with for the day, explains that we we won't be staying in Tangier for the night. "Cheap tourists," the man says, "go home."
- Chipped paint from the sea breeze adds to Tangier's beach-like feel.
- Moments before the storm.
- We eat dinner at a restaurant with the most amazing sea view in Tangier. The food is nothing special, but it's one of the nicest meals I have while in Morocco.
This Berber shopkeeper will forever hold a place in my memories of Morocco. We run into him twice. The first time, we purchase four rings. Later, we buy two carpets.
He has the best expressions. When bartering, if he deems a price too low, he'll exclaim "never ever!" which sounds more like, "niver ivir!" Later, he assures us we got a great deal on our rugs, "student discount, wallah."
- A man wearing djellaba walks through the Marrakech medina. Djellaba's are for both men and women in Morocco, and can be purchased in the medina.
One end of the souk in Marrakech.
Josh and I spend the better part of the morning lost here.
- The Marrakech streets are insane at night. Scooters, motorcycles, bikes, pedestrians and even some cars all share roads as wide as what we'd consider to be one lane.
The nicest riad we stay in is here, in Marrakech. Nevertheless, the breakfast served still consists entirely of bread.
Moroccans seem to be obsessed with bread- it's served at every single meal, and in large quantities.
- Rugs in Morocco are not hard to come by. It isn't until Marrakech, though, that I'm tempted enough to make the purchase. I may have been swayed by mint tea.
I didn't want this! Why is there glitter?! A fully cloaked woman grabs my hand and begins her masterpiece without my consent! I am later told that when this happens, you're meant to just be firm and walk away. Josh falls victim, too. A lovely scorpion takes up residence on his hand for a week or so.
Jardins Majorelle is a retreat from Marrakech's hectic medina. We are lead to the oasis by a Moroccan man who now lives in Amsterdam, but is home for a visit.
He asks if we've been to the Netherlands, and I say I have. He grins and nods his head, "Good!" A knowing smile spreads across his face.
- Djemaa El Fna by day is a bit of a disappointment. To be fair, we're both a little grumpy about the heinous henna tattoos we've been given, and are exhausted from our overnight train ride from Tangier to Marrakech.
By night, Djemaa El Fna comes to life.
Men impersonate women, belly dancing in circles, while snakes are charmed at every corner. Each food stall is numbered, and there's many. Smells of tagine and Moroccan pastry waft through the air, but to pull customers' attention, cooks yell directly at tourists, inviting them to try their cuisine.
After a long day of driving en route to the Sahara, we stop at Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, a UNESCO kasbah, in time to see the sunset behind the Atlas Mountains.
In order to make it into to Erg Chebbi, we will spend roughly nine hours driving split between two days.
- We wake up with the sun in Ouarzazate, ready for day two of our drive into the desert.
- We find the greatest little breakfast nook in Ouarzazate. Below, one of many kasbahs.
Husband and wife pose for a picture in Ouarzazate.
After travelling through Istanbul solo last April, it's a relief to travel with a male and have some attention deflected away from me. Everywhere we go, it's just assumed we're married.
- A regal camel stands in front of snowy mountain tops. A normal scene in Morocco.
- We ride into the Sahara on camels, totally in awe.
- Erg Chebbi: the ultimate desktop photo.
- As the sun lowers behind the dunes, desert shadows make Erg Chebbi even more picturesque.
- The desert sky glows pink and purple during the sun's slow descent.
- We spend one night here, at a Berber campsite in the Sahara.
- I wave goodbye to my crazy camel, looking like a hobo but feeling great. His mouth continues to froth from underneath his muzzle.
- We make many stops on our drive back from Erg Chebbi, each more beautiful than the last.
- On our way into the desert, the Tichka Pass road was entirely closed because of a snow storm. No joke. Fortunately, conditions improve in time for us to take it on our way back to Marrakech.
- Essaouira oozed charm.
- Theoretically, Game of Thrones has shot in this area of Essaouira.
- Clouds or no clouds, Essaouira is stunning. Seagulls here are monstrous in size.
- Our Moroccan friend, Maji, and his dog, Lucky. After approaching us on the beach, the three of us go for coffee.