When flying internationally by yourself, you really have to take a big leap of faith – trusting that God will not seat you next to a complete wacko for a 9 to 10 hour cross-Atlantic flight. This was the only nervous thought that crossed my mind as I prepared to travel to North Africa. Having purchased my tickets last summer, excitement was my main emotion. As the plane began its decent into Tanger, I knew that I had an amazing 10 days in store as I travel through the country of Morocco.
Looking out on the Atlantic Ocean and a well-known surf spot in Rabat.
Inside the fort – Outside the fort
Rabat acted as our hub for the week I was there. As the capital of the country, there were surprising not that manly tourists. We found ourselves in the medina at least once a day. And the city might have had the most beautiful view of ocean. Further north, we traveled to Meknes, an old imperial city outside of Fez. We stayed in this city for 2 nights with a day trip out to Fez. I adored Meknes, and the guest house we stayed in. We paid to take a cooking class lead by a local who was in graduate school studying English. (The tagine we made was out of this world!)
A beautiful (and huge) door right outside the Meknes’ square and medina
Orange trees lining the streets – the alleyway leading to the guest house in Meknes
Carriage ride to the train station
Traveling to Fez and stepping into its medina was like stepping back in time. The medina was huge! Sadly it was Friday, so many of the shops were closed down for the afternoon, but we were still able to view the famous tanneries from the rooftop of a leather shop. Plus, the city had mapped out these wonderful walking tours that you could follow by colored signs.
A sign of democracy and sweet wall message in Fez
My flight back home flew out of Casablanca, so we traveled down a day earlier to check out the city. To be surprise, Casablanca is not the huge tourist attraction you would think it would be. Though we did check out the two things that were “tourist-y” – the 3rd largest mosque in the world (located right on the beach with this huge, beautiful square) and the Morocco Mall (something you would think belonged in Las Vegas or Dubai).
I didn’t take a million pictures like I wish I did, but what made this trip so amazing was its constant sense of adventure. There were no museum lines or major tourist attractions. Instead, we wondered around the medina markets, full to the brim of people, food and crafts. We ate and shopped among the people who lived there, with lots of help from my brother and sister-in-law’s Arabic skills. It was a trip all about the experience. And the experience blew me away.