Morocco

Day 81- Day in Marrakech

Today I felt so much better!! I was even able to eat and enjoy breakfast! Sleeping for 14ish hours definitely helped a lot! 

I was so relieved that I felt better because today we hit the ground running as we explored Marrakech! We met our local guide who took us to some of the city’s highlights. 

We started at the King Palace! It was made of up several riads, each with it’s own purpose. They each had intricate tile mosaic floors and carefully carved cedar wood doors and ceilings.  

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From the palace, we continued walking through the streets of the Medina. We noticed that they are much cleaner and wider than those in Fez. 

Eventually, we got to the Quran school. It was the biggest Quran school in Northen Africa! We walked through the main hall, the Mosque (it is one of only 4 that non-Muslims can visit in Morocco!), and the living quarters of the students. The boys at the school would sleep 4-8 in one small room and for half of the week they lived off of dates and milk. 

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Next, we went to the big markets (sorry for the blurry photo). Here we saw where they use natural minerals and plants to dye wool and other yarn to make colorful clothes. I bought a beautiful silk, rainbow scarf! 

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We also saw a wood worker and he made me a decorative rod that he put on a necklace for me!  

We also saw a wood worker and he made me a decorative rod that he put on a necklace for me!  

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Outside of the market is a large square where we found little shops, snake charmers, and fortune tellers! I thought it would be fun to get my fortune told in Morocco, so the old man told me that Alexander and I would live happily ever after and that I would have no problem having a baby- surprise surprise! 

Before meeting up with our driver again, we stopped at the oldest Mosque in Marrakech. I think this building really speaks to how inclusive and respectful Morocco is, because of the three spheres on the top. They stand for the unity between Muslims, Catholics, and Jews.  

Before meeting up with our driver again, we stopped at the oldest Mosque in Marrakech. I think this building really speaks to how inclusive and respectful Morocco is, because of the three spheres on the top. They stand for the unity between Muslims, Catholics, and Jews.  

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When we met up with our driver, he took us to Le Jardin Majorelle Gardens. It’s a very peaceful and colorful gardens with a variety of plant life. It also has a memorial to Yves Saint Laurent along with a brand new museum dedicated to him because of the work he did to restore the gardens. 

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We had a lovely lunch at the cafe in the gardens before getting back in the car with our driver and Ali. We had a nice chat with him before being dropped off at our hotel to relax for the rest of the afternoon.

After a while we decided to go back to the markets because we were told they were fun to see at night. There were many street performers and food vendors and you could hear the mysterious type music played by the snake charmers! It was really cool to experience, but it didn’t take long for us to become annoyed at how persistent people were at trying to sell us something. One woman started pulling my arm because she wanted to give me a Henna tattoo! 

Once we were frustrated enough, we went back to the hotel for dinner. Since, again, we were the only patrons, we got to speaking with our night manager. He showed us friends of his that were extras in a couple Game of Thrones episodes since he is originally from Ouarzazate (the cinema village). 

Then we went upstairs and sat on the terrace, enjoying our last evening in Morocco.  

 

Day 80- High Atlas Mountains and Travel to Marrakech

Today I did not feel well after I spent the night in the bathroom. I knew it was inevitable that one of us would get sick from something in Morocco, I just wish it would have hit after we left! We went downstairs for breakfast and all I could eat was a couple bites of Alexander’s yogurt. 

When we hit the road, I was still feeling ill, so Lahcen pulled over at a gas station and bought me a handful of cumin. He had me swallow about a tablespoon of it and then drink a bunch of water. Apparently it helps an upset stomach and diarrhea. I think it did help in that respect, but unfortunately it didn’t take away my intense nausea or icky sick feeling.  

After the gas station, our first stop was at the Rose City. I can’t actually remember the real name of the city, but it is known for the vast amount of roses its grows and its annual rose festival. Many of the villages we visited were known for a specific thing, and it’s easy to tell what that thing is by the sculptures they have in the middle of their round-abouts.

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Our second stop was at the cinema village of Ouarzazate. Many, many famous films have been shot here. To name a few: Gladiator, Sahara, Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, Jewel of the Nile, and scenes of the Bourne Ultimatum, Inception, and Game of Thrones. Almost everyone living in the village works with the movies whether it be hospitality for the cast and crew or actually being extras and crew members.  

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Lahcen dropped us off so we could walk around the old city through where different films took place. We even saw a small film crew working! Below is Alexander standing by the gate used in Gladiator!  

Lahcen dropped us off so we could walk around the old city through where different films took place. We even saw a small film crew working! Below is Alexander standing by the gate used in Gladiator!  

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After exploring, we ate lunch in the Ouarzazate. Since my stomach was upset, the waiter gave me a few bananas to take with me and eat in the car which was really nice! 

Then we got back in the car and drove through the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech. We were surprised at how cold it was up in the mountains! I had a jacket and a scarf on, then again I am sick- Alexander said he was only a little chilly in his T-shirt. 

Along the way we stopped at several lookouts to see the magnificent views!  

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In the early evening we arrived in Marrakech where we had to say good bye to Lahcen. We checked into our riad, where we are the only people staying! 

While we were driving through the winding roads in the mountains with my stomach ache, I tried my hardest just to hold out until we got to our hotel. Once we arrived, I suddenly felt completely terrible. From the time I first laid down, I didn’t get up again until the next morning!  

Alexander even went down to dinner by himself (and since we are the only people at this hotel, he had the whole dinner staff to himself!) However, the cook and night manager were so kind as to bring me a tray with plain rice and a fruit cup and some cumin-water!