A week ago today, the 8 of us and Sarah headed out to Marrakech. We spent 2 days in Kech, and then drove down to Essouira until Friday. The trip was… A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! There’s no better way to describe it. It was beautiful, exhilarating, relaxing, delicious, I could go on and on and on. I wrote 24 pages worth of journal entries from the week and have over 700 pictures to show from it. I could write post after post about every minute of the trip, but instead I’ll save you the pain of reading it all and do my best to give you a brief idea of what it was like.
On Monday we left Rabat at 8:30am and arrived at our hotel in Marrakech sometime around noon. We got our rooms and dropped off our luggage before racing to the Medina. We got lost in empty residential alleyways, wove our way through crowded tourist filled streets, and bargained our way to true Moroccan prices. It was almost easier to bargain in Marrakech. The sheer amount of tourists makes prices skyrocket, so revealing that you live in the country and speaking a little Darija can get you a long way as far as prices go. I had a super fun conversation with a lantern shop owner, (shhh no one tell him I’m not actually Norwegian), and even tried escargot! When sun went down, Jama El Fna, (the square outside the Marrakech Medina), came to life. Smoke rose from the food vendors, snake charmers played their flutes, storytellers told folktales, henna women called out, drums played, bells rang, and people were everywhere. It was exhilarating. The smoke gave everything an enchanting light that drew us into the excitement around us. We had dinner at a restaurant with a roof overlooking the square and then sung our way home in a horse drawn carriage.
|First ever bite of escargot!|
|Jama El Fna at night|
On Tuesday I woke up early to get a head start on the day. A few of us left the hotel at 7 and got a taxi to the Jama El Fna. We stopped briefly for some warm rife and honey and strolled through the awakening Medina. The square was silent, a stark contrast to the night before. Store after store began to open, and by the time we left around 9, tourist began to trickle in. We took a grand taxi to Jardin Majorelle to meet up with Sarah and the rest of our group, then walked around the garden inside. It was beautiful. We piled into the bus and drove into the High Atlas Mountains where we had tagine by a river before heading back to Marrakech. Catherine and I swam in the pool and practically froze ourselves to death, while French tourists looked on in amusement. I relaxed and journaled for a bit, then met Catherine for dinner in the dinner at an amazing restaurant.
|Jama El Fna in the early morning|
Wednesday we were out of Marrakech by 8:30 and en route to Essouira! We stopped at a weekly souk on the way as always, saw our first goats in argan trees, (The goats eat the argan fruit, digest it and the waste is collected and used to make argan oil), and then got to Essouira at 12:30. We had tea on the roof of the hotel while waiting for our room keys, and then grabbed crepes for lunch. Sarah took us on a walk around the city and then one of her friends gave us a tour of the different artisans.
|Goats in Argan Trees!|
|First sights of Essouira|
Thursday was one of the best days of my life! I woke up early and sat on the roof journaling, then had a great breakfast around 8. We left at 8:30 for Imsouane, a small fishing village full of surfers and well fisherman. About an hour later we arrived and walked down to see the boats, and then explored the cliffs for a bit. I sat looking out over the water for a long time, it was one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen. On the way back to Essouira, Catherine and I decided to get off at beach to ride camels. We negotiated the price with the owner, then hopped on! His name was James Bond. After the camel ride we walked along the beach back to Essouira and had all sorts of grilled seafood for lunch. At 5pm, we put on our djellabas and met in the lobby. We followed Sarah through the Medina to our private Gnawa performance! It was so so so so so amazing. We danced, laughed, and clapped along to the music. I can’t describe how amazing the experience was. It was beyond words.
Friday was a sad day. I went out on a walk in the early morning to explore the city, and then did a bit more shopping until it was time to leave at 10:30. We got our luggage together, walked to the bus, and headed back to Rabat. The drive was around 6 hours long, but we stopped for lunch at a rest stop along the way. The crazy thing was that pulling back into Rabat felt like coming home. You have to go away to come home, and that really was coming home.