Morocco

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I am more than  a little behind in updating the blog but in reality haven’t felt like posting much. In a space of a few weeks in October I lost two people I cared about. Travel isn’t all hearts and roses, there are some black days in there and being away when loss happens is really hard.  My great-aunt was an amazing part of my life and I carry her with me every day. My friend Swaff came completely out of the blue and that is a different kind of pain. I really hate losing people I love – I have never dealt well with loss..I made a very conscious decision before I left that I would not be going back for my great aunt’s funeral.. She really wouldn’t have wanted me to do it anyway.

Had some technical problems with my laptop – have completely wiped it to the factory settings and now it’s all fixed again.

So it’s a rainy day today in Bodrum Turkey and I hope to get semi caught up..At least to talk about the Morocco portion of our trip.

Lee and I arrived in Casablanca early November from Spain. Besides the architecture I can’t say that I saw anything special about Casablanca..We joined our G Adventures Tour Group the next day (and an hour late. Apparently Apple had not updated the Daylight Savings time that the Moroccan government had decreed a few weeks earlier..) Our group was 14 total, Lee and I were about in the middle in terms of age. We had a diverse group, Germans, Australians, another American couple, a few Canadians and a guy from Sicily (his wife is Australian) and our guide Lacsen who is Berber.  The native Moroccans were not Arab but actually Berber and there is a movement to bring back the Berber language. #Amazigh

Our first stop after leaving Casablanca was Meknes where we toured an ancient granary and stables..

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Our next stop was the Roman Ruins at Voulubilis where we saw some decent Roman Ruins. The mosaics were relatively intact.DSCN2661

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On to Fes and after a few days of our group riding together in a minivan, we had kind of figured out everyone’s personality. In booking this tour I was a little apprehensive of group dynamics but this group was great! Not a diva in sight..which is good since we all ended up getting sick at some point or another..Lotrimin was the drug of choice for 2 weeks.

In Fez we had a tour of the Medina..A Medina is a city within walls and most have been in existence for hundreds of years. You need a tour guide because it is really easy to get lost. I dusted off my negotiation skills honed in Asia. At the tannery, they were preparing brown leather items and not the vibrant colors you see in the postcards.  While we were at the Tannery, I negotiated a really good deal on a camel leather bag for Lee. We had a few expert negotiators on our trip – Roya who is Persian and Helen who is Chinese..It was amazing to watch them in action.DSCN2701

After Fez we headed up to the Atlas Mountains and the highest point in Morocco. Along the way we did spot a Barbary monkey and stopped to take his picture. DSCN2712

We also stopped at scenic spots along the way and I think this captures what I always thought Morocco looked like. DSCN2718

Finally onto my favorite part of the trip. Earlier in Spain we had met another couple that had just come from Morocco and did a camel tour in the desert. They told us that riding camels was extremely painful. Since that conversation Lee was absolutely dreading this part of the trip. I figured it couldn’t be any more painful than riding a horse – and it wasn’t.

Here’s a picture of Lumpy (Nicknamed after my sister’s stuffed camel in childhood). He was very sweet.

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Here is my selfie from the back of my camel. Yes they did teach us how to wrap our heads.

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A few great pictures of the trip into the Sahara. We learned that we were actually riding dromedaries rather than camels.The difference? Camels are from Asia and have two humps. dromedaries are in Northern African and have 1 hump. Lee got over his fear and had a great time.. We slept outside under the North African sky and listened to the camels groan all night. At least I think it was the camels.

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After the Sahara we continued up to Todra Gorge and then the High Atlas mountains to visit our guide Lacsen’s village

Todra Gorge

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Imlil – Lacsen’s village
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We had one more stop in Ait Ben-Haddou which is a UNESCO World Heritage site where they film part of Game of Thrones, Gladiator and some other movies like Lawrence of Arabia. Bonus points if anyone can guess what town this represents in GOT.

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winding down the end of our trip we had two days R&R in Essaouria and relaxed by the beach.  DSCN2835 DSCN2836

Our final days were spent in Marrakech where we moved to a luxury hotel to relax before our next destination – Turkey. A few last pictures I took that I liked.

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One Response to Morocco

  1. creissig says:

    Really enjoyed reading your post! Del, your photography skills are improving – those photos are beautiful. Keep it up, I can’t wait to see the rest! How cool is that. Maybe a career in photography is in your future?!? :)

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